We just came back from 2 weeks sailing the Secret Islands of the Seychelles on Le Bougainville, a new ship of Ponant. We had never cruised with Ponant but thought the itinerary and their partnership with National Geographic for this trip was exciting. It was a new ship that had just set sail this year so we tried them out. It had great potential with Nat Geo naturalists and photographer to visit remote exotic islands of the Indian Ocean. Our experience with of our trip is below;
- Pre Trip Communication - The information sent ahead of the cruse by Ponant was lengthy but had very little if any content that was useful in preparing for the trip. Some of it was contradictory such as they recommended bring field glasses for viewing. When we arrived on the ship we found complementary Nat Geo field glasses already in your room for use on the trip. There was very little information on the planned shore excursions. Trying to login to their website was difficult. We eventually found out we had to be logged under the country that Ponant had booked your trip in. For us they had booked it through their Australia office so we could not see any information if we logged into their USA website.
-Ship - New this year and very beautifully designed. The common area spaces were good however in inclement weather it's a little tight. There is only had one public restroom. There were signs already of deferred maintenance issues that had not been dealt with such as stair handles coming off, doors not working, leak in the pool etc. They often did not set up the less visited upper deck areas with chairs etc. We would go to those decks to find a quiet area and find the chairs stacked and tied up.
Cabin very well designed and looked nice. It was small but had adequate storage space. The balcony/deck was just big enough to sit outside and enjoy. The bathroom space was very tight.