“We had a brilliant trip to Antarctica, which exceeded both our expectations.
The ship (Le Soleal) was comfortable and brilliantly run, with all the staff (room stewards, bars and restaurants, reception, and even the bridge crew) exceptionally helpful and friendly. As you would expect on a French ship, the food and wines were excellent for catering on that scale (roughly 200 clients).
The zodiac landings and tours were varied, and very well run by the dozen or so knowledgeable and enthusiastic Expedition Leaders. We also got to stretch our legs on 3 optional walks, the longest being about 7 km, which was well appreciated.
The scenery, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula, was breathtaking, including glaciers, some massive tabular icebergs, and smaller ones carved into all kinds of shapes and colours.
We saw 6 of the 7 species of penguins (including some massive colonies), and fell in love with the Rock Hoppers, which are quite mad. Also, large albatross colonies on South Georgia. Many seals (Fur, Crab Eater, Weddell, Leopard, and Elephant) of course, some at very close quarters, but also out on ice flows. Towards the end of the cruise, before heading back across Drake's Passage, we were lucky enough to see several schools of Type B Orca very close to the ship. We had seen several Humpbacks basically cruising around various bays, but probably the highlight of the trip was in one particular bay (Dalmann?) there were at least 20 Humpbacks in several schools, with many of them actively fishing i.e. bubble-netting! You could see and hear the effort that they were exerting, with massive plumes and intakes of air as they surfaced, at times just within a few metres of the ship. Amazing, and not expected.”
“We're still on a high with our Antarctica trip. It's certainly something we won't forget in a hurry. We had high expectations for the trip and I can honestly say it exceeded in every department.
The ship was beautiful, with a very well designed cabin and the service was second to none. The food in the restaurant was excellent. All excursions were very well organised. We wouldn't hesitate to book another cruise with Ponant. I wouldn't like to cruise any other way now as I think we've been truly spoilt.”
“I'm writing to say how much l enjoyed my trip to Antarctica aboard Le Boreal. I hadn't previously cruised with Ponant and, as a seasoned traveller, wasn't disappointed.
The ship is lovely - sleek, modern and very comfortable with well-appointed cabins. There is a good ambience on board from the Captain down and the crew were always very helpful and courteous.
The naturalists we had were enthusiastic and knowledgeable which really helped to make the excursions special ( l loved the zodiacs! ).
As for the food and wine - what can l say? It's French, it's wonderful!
Antarctica is not just a holiday, it's a truly incomparable experience. Thank you Ponant”