Le Jacques Cartier Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
3 reviews

Bonjour Ponant

Review for the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on Le Jacques Cartier
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Aug 2022

First, let me say that I really enjoyed my 9 day cruise on Ponant’s Le Jacques Cartier. The trip started in Istanbul and ended in Venice. It’s a luxury cruise line and much to my liking, it caters to the small passenger market. I believe there were 164 or so passengers on the cruise. So it creates an environment that caters to meeting people and moving about at an easy pace. None of the facilities were overcrowded, but a prime spot at the pool on the day at sea was tough to come by.

I do think that it is really important to point out that Ponant is a French cruise line. Why is that important? Well, there are subtle things that one would notice, such as the announcements are all made in French first and then English second. However, there were a few times such as when they were introducing crew members as they walked aboard and since they were walking at a pretty good pace there was no time for both languages. The less subtle examples are with the crew-passenger interactions. The Cruise Director Alexandre spoke English but his lack of comfort appeared to have kept him from interacting in depth with the non-French speaking passengers. It wasn’t unusual to see him sitting at tables of French speaking passengers for an extended conversation. However, for the most part, he would only say “hello,” as he walked by a table or group of those who didn’t speak French. The same could be said for the sommelier. During the Captain’s Gala, he and the maitre’d constantly circled the Captain’s table on both nights, attending to their every need. The table was a mixture of ship’s crew and invited passengers. The invitees on both nights were French speakers. Our table was right next to the Captain’s table and it wouldn’t have taken a lot of effort to simply stop at our table for an instant and ask if all was well. There was in fact a bottle of the 2007 Chateau Latour Grand Cru Classe, that I wanted to buy. It was fairly priced at 570 euros. There was also a 2006 for 580 euros. I would have purchased that one as well, and frankly since my friends and I love wine, we would have probably purchased a similar bottle of wine every night. But the sommelier never stopped at our table to simply ask, “do you have any questions about the wine?” I don’t doubt the sommelier was very savvy in regards to wine, but since he wasn’t comfortable speaking anything but French he didn’t stop at our table during the whole voyage. I would suggest that if they would like to sell more wine, they should instruct the sommelier to stop by all of the tables and make some inquiries. People who really enjoy wine can communicate on the subject in any language. It could possibly be fun.

Another point is seating. As in all cases some seats/tables are better than others. This is especially so on a small ship. The best tables in the dining room were reserved at every meal for the Ship Owner’s Suite. I’m guessing that the suite is for friends of the ship’s owners. They happened to all be French families so they were able to sit at the best table for every meal. I get it. Some people will always get priority. But for every meal? A number of people asked about the table’s availability. However, they were always told the tables were reserved. It would have been nice to have been able to reserve one of the tables on just a few days.

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