It is my second attempt to explore and visit the New Zealand subantarctic islands. 2 years ago, I was on the Spirit of Enderby which I am going to call "SoE". That trip was booked by a travel agent which I trusted. The result however was something I never do again. I can't handle SoE. Sharing a small room, small shower, toilet that isn't allowed to flush toilet paper etc etc.. well, you get the idea. I am 6'10" tall and diabetic and after just 1 day and actually nice weather: Seasickness, hypo's, bad pain in the back, not good. I was able to leave the SoE expedition.
If anyone is okay with that ship, that's fine. I find the ship something you can't relax on and that did it for me.
So here we go, Le Laperouse which took most of the destinations SoE offered on their voyage.
The Le Laperous expedition went way better. You have the room for yourself, no sharing with other travellers, a balcony which is actually great to do some birdwatching and photographing from.
In comparison with SoE though... yep, we obviously don't have 50 people on board but 150 on Le Laperouse.
That means that when you go on a shore excursion or zodiac cruise, you'll be split into groups. That unfortunately means, less time to actually be out of the ship. Nothing the crew could do about it, but something to think about when choosing a cruise. A ship with 50 people on board (SoE) may be too small for some (including me) but having more then 150 people probably means less excursion time.
Excursion time, actually "being out there" is the most important thing for me. I don't really care how diverse the menu is. I go on holiday to watch birds first, and other wildlife / landscape second. Everything else..., yeah it needs to be comfortable so I can:
Work on my laptop to download, store and edit pictures which I have just taken.
Stay clean (shower and toilet)
Everything else, lectures, dancing classes, luxury dinners etc. etc. are a non priority for me.
On the cruise itself, yeah it was great that we were able to go to Sandy Bay on Macquarie Island, since the Australian Government shut down the entire island because of Corona virus but through some tough negotiations we were still able to go to Sandy Bay, not to the Adare Station. Unfortunate that we couldn't do zodiac tours around The Snares but being close to the Snares was still very nice.
We saw plenty of birds, seals as well as stunning landscape in the Fjords. The crew was excellent.
I am certainly looking forward to one's in a few years visit a remote place on a cruise and Ponant's Le Laperouse or the other Exploration vessels do come recommended for certain.
Comfortable enough to me. Just, I don't get it why the toilet is split from the shower area but it's definately a good cabin which I can stay in for 2 weeks. Being on deck 3 also means that items don't move around too much.