2 Wellington Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was the third cruise we have had on le Boreal and L'Austral. All have been excellent, This cruise was to the Sub antarcic Islands from Dunedin via the sounds and ending in Wellington NZ. As the ship was being repositioned from ... Read More
This was the third cruise we have had on le Boreal and L'Austral. All have been excellent, This cruise was to the Sub antarcic Islands from Dunedin via the sounds and ending in Wellington NZ. As the ship was being repositioned from Wellington to Sydney we were offered a free cruise to Sydney. The expedition could not be faulted as the weather and the seas allowed us to land on all the Islands where it is permitted. This we were told was exceptional. Even the cruise across the Tasman was akin to a Manly Ferry trip. We actually landed on both days as per the itinerary at Macquarie Island. Many of the expedition guides visited many times and had never achieved both landings. Some years were impossible to land at all. We also landed on Campbell Is and Enderby Is which were amazing. The entire operation was exceptionally managed and organised and minor tweaks were necessary to avoid some bad weather ahead of us. The Itinerary was completed with only one Zodiac outing cancelled due to unsafe waters over the loading deck at the Antipodese Is. Landing was not allowed there by NZNP's anyhow and it was a Zodiac inspection anyhow. The ship spent some time circumnavigating the islands so we could see the abundant bird life but missed the close up experience penguins and seals which we seen everywhere else. We had seen so many of these previously we didn't really miss much. All in all the entire expedition was amazing.Bio security was adhered to so nothing was conveyed to the Islands that would affect the ecology. Even no fresh food was allowed ashore. Things changed at Wellinton where many passengers left the ship to be replaced by people taking the 4 day cruise to Sydney. Is was to be a no frills cruise but developed into a big swill cruise with many of the new passengers overindulging in the open bar. They were not typical of the many passengers we have met and enjoyed on previous cruises who are mainly interested in the theme of the cruise - expeditions not boozing to excess. The cabins were comfortable and well serviced. As we were repeat passengers laundry was included. Dining was excellent at all meals. We preferred the more casual dining on Deck 6 which is buffet. The staff there were so accomodating and friendly where we found the dining in the formal dining room more formal and patronised by the more affluent wishing to be waited upon. The food is identical. Service is also more formal. There are no set dining periods or allocated seating. It is as you wish during the opening hours. On deck 6 bookings are often required due to popularity particularly if weather permits and as out-door dining is possible it is often extended to poolside. Each day there was a specially prepared dish available on deck 6 prepared by an exceptional chef (Jerome). Roast suckling pig,roast beef and lamb as well as a steak tartar to die for as well as prawns and scallops and many others. These meals are prepared for both lunch and dinner. Soups are always amazing.Wines are provided, red,white and rose at lunch and dinner which are reasonable but the more exclusive wines which are also available are expensive. Entertainment is restricted to 4 females and a male dancer and their performance is excellent.and if weather permits is performed on the pool deck. Otherwise it's in the theatre. For the more physical active a small gym is available to work off the extra weight that is so easy to put on.. Spa and massages are available. The lounges are comfortable and have singers or pianists playing at set times which are always advised in the daily schedule. Lectures are provided most days by one or other of the on-board guides, naturalists and scientists and are always most interesting and appropriate according to the areas being visited. Briefings and weather forecasts (if appropriate) are held before dinner regarding the next day's activities. In the sub-Antarctic they were were more than interesting and always gave us an appreciation of what we may expect be it good or bad. We have always found the cruise/expedition more than good value for money. The fact passenger size is limited to according to the size of the expedition and guides. Generally around 200 plus or minus a few depending upon how many people are permitted ashore which is dictated by the authorities managing the sites. Zodiac transfers are a breeze and access to/from the ship excellently achieved with ships crew amazing. Announcents are in French and English as there are usually more than a few French passengers on board (and they rule). It is after all a French owned ship. We have Been there and done that now three times and we will not travel with any other company based on ship size and passenger service. Many of the passengers and expedition staff formerly travelled or worked on the Orion which has now left Australian shores. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We upgraded from a standard balcony to a Q4 penthouse suite as we had always wanted to try the Grill and a better price was offered so we decided why not! We embarked in Wellington and right from check in to arrival in our suite were we ... Read More
We upgraded from a standard balcony to a Q4 penthouse suite as we had always wanted to try the Grill and a better price was offered so we decided why not! We embarked in Wellington and right from check in to arrival in our suite were we once greeted with " welcome back or welcome aboard" as we are platinum members and also sailing in the grill. Upon entering the ship we went through the security in to the lobby and stood there for a few minutes and decided there was going to be no bell hop greeting and being escorted to our suite as advertised in the Grill brochure. We arrived in the suite and stayed there about 20 mins thinking the butler would be there to greet us but since no sign of them we went to lunch. On our return we were in the cabin about 30 mins before the butler turned up. The suite itself was nice though a little dated but a very comfortable haven for the 17 day cruise. The butler looked after us well after the slow start and the cabin steward kept the cabin clean and tidy though the balcony and glass was only cleaned once during the voyage when after a week we were having friends over for drinks and we asked for the balcony to be cleaned as everything was caked in salt and we had it over our clothes for most of the voyage. The Grill was ok with exceptional service from the waiting staff but the food was on the whole not a lot better than any 3 to 4 star cruise line. They pride themselves on offering the option to order food not on the menu and to try the chefs which we did but the outcome was not good with the order being wrong and badly cooked so after a lot of excuses with the maitre' d blaming the chef which we thought was unacceptable. We had breakfast in our room most days which was fantastic and always hot and on time and also afternoon tea which was presented beautifully. We tried the Lido for dinner a couple of nights and the food was cold and a very poor selection with no service from the waiting staff who never once offered to bring water or cutlery just avoided eye contact and carried on chatting. The ship is beautiful and apart from carpet in a few public rooms in need of replacement which will happen shortly in dry dock the ship was spotless and well presented. Maybe with the ship going in to dry dock soon the staff were very despondent and no greetings or friendly banter were had throughout most of the ship. The entertainment was great and the band synergy were fantastic with lots of energy and a sense of fun. We would definitely not pay the price for the Grill again when we can have Crystal, Seaborne or silverseas for a similar price with all inclusive fares and 6 star food and service throughout the ship . It is a shame as we have enjjoyed Cunard in the past but we spoke to a number of people in the Grill who have said the same that it is not what it used to be and felt disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017

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