Day 7 of our Ponant “Luxury” cruise. Today they told us that, because of maintenance, there will be no water on board from 2pm until 5pm. Typical of this remodel cruise. But first things first….DO NOT, EVER TAKE A PONANT RELOCATION (ie remodel) CRUISE. There are only 88 passengers on this cruise from Ushuaia Argentina to Easter Island instead of the 249 capacity so I guess they thought they could treat us as a cattle cruise, removing all lecturers, most entertainers and probably the first string cooks. The staff that’s left is very nice and doing the best that they can.
The hallways are filled with furniture and carpets going in and being removed and stored in the hall way.
The first 2 days the main lounge and dining room were closed which, I thought was bad. But little did I know. The 3rd day out they closed the Observatory lounge and the smaller buffet dining room, both on the 6th floor, with good view and an outdoor area with the, unheated, swimming pool (and no hot tub on this boat). They did open the main lounge, 3rd deck and main dining room, 2nd deck and closed everything else. Now the only area with a view or some sun or fresh air is your balcony. And did I mention that the only place to warm up was your stateroom. They seem to keep the boat at an extremely low temperature. Saving money I guess.
After being awoken from an afternoon nap by constant pounding on the balcony next door to mine I finally complained to the hotel manager who say I was told there would be remodeling before we bought our tickets. We weren’t and I quizzed a bunch of the other passengers and nobody was warned. Consider this your warning, DO NOT TAKE A PONANT OCEAN CRUISE. Full disclosure: after my complaint to the Hotel Manager my wife and I each received 100 euros as compensation :=)
Now for some general complaining, read if you want.
A little more on the entertainment. Did I mention that there are 2 pianist on board and they play for about 1 hour each a day. One of the pianist is classically trained and he did one evening show even though the theater is unused most evenings. The Paris Dance Troop is nice enough (teaching Charleston and yoga classes) until they put on their show which was embarrassing enough that I could only sit through the first number, a characturture of ancient Egyptians, complete with side to side head movements. The show was so “good” they repeated it.
About the TV. I guess you can watch movies all day, sitting on your bed. No room for a couch or even 2 chairs in the stateroom. There are 64 available movies, maybe 2 of which were made after the year 2000. And the pause and fast forward button doesn’t work with their system. Watching the Goldfinch last night, the movie froze about 45 minutes in and the only option was to start over.
And no magazines available except Ponant magazines. And no books for sale or a lending library.
And 1 last thing……We’re on a French boat and wine is included. I admit I did not take the premium drink package but it is a French boat so I expected good wines. Some of the wines were good but one night, it’s hard for me to believe but the actually tried to serve a bottle of Emilia Malbec from Argentina. It cost about $2.50US in the Buenos Aires supermarkets, a wine store wouldn’t carry it. And it’s bad. There are good, cheap wines in Argentina but Emilia is about the bottom of the barrel.
Now I’ll stop whining. Thanks for listening.
Addendum: Just when you think things can’t get any worse, we are in our room packing. It’s the last day and instead of arriving at Easter Island between 9:00AM and 10:00AM we are arriving between 5:00PM and 6:00PM. No problem with a late arrival after an 8 day cruise. Hard to be exact on a boat. So we are in our room packing and, now that the weather has changed to warm and sunny for the first time, looking forward to spending a little time in the sun on our balcony and a workman walk across our balcony from next door. Glad we weren’t undressed or doing things we would like to do in private. Turns out that all the connecting doors on the balcony are open and they are washing and, I suppose getting ready to paint, or something. So our decks are off limits as is our privacy. And the one sun deck off the Observatory Lounge is still closed as they refinished the deck yesterday.
I almost forgot, last night when we received out bill we are told what the gratuity rate should be. When I made my reservation I saw and was told tips and drinks were included. I called the desk and they said they didn’t see that on my record but that if we made our reservation through New York they tell people tips are included. I should contact them. Except it’s Sat night and we are getting off on Sunday so, do I count on NY living up to what They told me or no tip the only bright spot of this cruise. Always something with this company. It almost seems that they are going out of their way to make life miserable for us on the remodel cruise.
I only hope the landing goes well and I don’t have to report on a capsized Zodiac or similar occurrence.
Ok but small. Sit on bed to watch TV (see comments above). Only one chair. Limited desk top space and had to ask for extension cord so I could plug my watch and phone in by my bed (no plugs on left side of bed). Small claustrophobic toilet room with toilet that's too high. Tiny bathtub which wouldn't matter if there was a hot tub on board but there's not.