I chose this so called ‘expedition’ cruise mainly for the Orangutan encounter in Tanjung Puting in Kalimantan. Well, because of the total incompetence of the ‘Expedition Team’ we never got there. The expedition guide totally miscalculated the bearings and took us for one and a half hour, over a very bumpy sea, in totally the wrong direction. How this happened is an enigma to me, as he has already been there the same morning with another group. He also had GPS coordinates for the entrance point to the river, but didn’t use them. In fact he didn’t even turn the GPS on until he realised that he was totally lost, one and a half hours later. Now if that’s not incompetence, what is! We eventually found the river’s entrance but it was by now getting dark and we were very far from the ship, we had to turn back. Very, very disappointing and all this could have been avoided if the expedition guide was better trained.
The other “expedition” excursions were very run of the mill i.e what any cheap tour operators offer. When we complained about this to the Ponant Group after our return, we were ignored completely, not only by the public relations department and the Customer care department, but also by the Managing Director himself!
The food on board is not bad, however the choices are very limited. The expedition personnel should to my mind give preference to the paying customers, but this was not the case, several times I had to make an alternative choice at the buffet, because the expedition staff swept the serving dishes bare. The service in the restaurants are excellent as is the housekeeping staff. The bar staff are friendly and always ready to assist.The Cruise Director, Simone, was outstanding. He could defuse several heated situations on this particular cruise.
The cabin is very small and quite tight with 2 pax. If you open the drawers you can’t get passt anymore. At first glance it looks nicely appointed but for a longer period it’s very crammed. Also the balcony is very small, but enough space for 2 chairs. The airconditioning is also a joke, the moment it gets close to the Equator it can’t cope anymore and the cabins get very hot. This was admitted by the ships engineer.