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Le Bougainville Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
11 reviews

Lovely Ship - Disappointing Experience

Review for the Western Mediterranean Cruise on Le Bougainville
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: May 2023

This was approximately our 40th cruise, one of the most, if not THE most expensive (per day), and definitely the most disappointing. We went to meet friends who have cruised with Ponant before; this was our first time. The ship is lovely and clean. Our cabin, though small, was adequate with surprisingly good storage space. The bed was comfortable, and our cabin steward was unobtrusive and efficient. Crew were pleasant and generally friendly. The biggest problem was the food. This was a cruise doing a circumnavigation of the island of Sicily allegedly in partnership with National Geographic. Although there were two expert speakers, there was really no NG involvement. Entertainment was extremely limited. They changed the lunch times in the dining room almost every day. Other than a caviar tasting one night before dinner, no hors doevres were ever offered. We had to ask for nuts in the bar and they were rather reluctantly delivered; never offered. Not only was there almost no traditional French food, there was virtually no Italian or Sicilian food, and the menus were extremely limited. We spoke to some other guests who had cruised with Ponant before who admitted that the food on this ship was "just okay". It was mediocre at best. On the first evening, I ordered a vodka martini with olives from the bar in the main lounge area. I was informed of the two vodkas that were included in the included alcohol in the cruise fare. Multiple other vodkas were an upcharge of 9 Euros per drink. Not a problem as I like one of the vodkas offered. The next night, I ordered the same thing. They were not only out of that vodka (and never had it the rest of the week), but the bartender announced they were out of olives. We had looked at olive trees all day on our excursion! We are in Italy! And not a "I'm so sorry, Madam." Just "we don't have olives." I asked, will you have any for the remainder of the cruise? "No." This conversation occurred while the beverage manager was standing next to the bartender - he never looked up at me. The next day, one of the friends we were traveling with walked into town, bought a jar of olives and delivered it to the bar, announcing that it was for me. We asked for anchovies for our Caesar salads - "we don't have anchovies". One night, my Caesar salad was made up almost entirely of iceberg lettuce. All of the soups were thin and had no flavor. One night, I literally could not cut through my lamb loin with a knife. We cannot recommend Ponant and will not sail with them again.

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