Ponant's Le Laperouse Ship Review by Cruise Express

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Ponant’s Le Laperouse

Cruise Express’ Kathy Fossati, recently spent time onboard Ponant’s Le Laperouse. This was Le Laperouse’s much-anticipated inaugural visit to Sydney and she positioned herself at Point Piper on Sydney Harbour. Below are Kathy’s thoughts on this beautiful ship.

Reviewed: February 2019

Cruise line: PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions

Size of ship and passenger capacity: 10,000 gross tonnes | 184 passengers

Maiden voyage: June 2018

Where the ship cruises: Seychelles, Asia including Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Currency onboard: Euro

Most suited to:  Retired or semi-retired clients. Being the first ship in Ponant’s new expedition class known as Ponant Explorers, this ship is especially suitable for those who love expedition style travel, but want to come back to luxury and amazing food at the end of the day.

Unique feature: So many to mention but it has to be the much anticipated Blue Eye Lounge, the world’s first underwater multi-sensory lounge space. This space has portholes that allow passengers to see directly what is below the water line – whales and dolphins, turtles and fish, sea lions and whatever else is on offer!  To top it off there is an aquaphone that picks up subaquatic sounds up to three miles away and projects them back to the lounge.

Atmosphere: Felt very homely with, as you’d expect, French elegant yet understated decor, neutral tones, soft textures and finishings reflecting the destination. I didn’t hear announcements however I have been told they will always be first in French, then English – showing that no matter where they are in the world the French DNA onbaord will always be strong – not that this is a bad thing!

Encounters with service staff: Friendly, unobtrusive yet attentive multi-lingual staff who strike up a quick rapport with passengers.

Staterooms:  All interior-designed cabins have private balconies, a king-sized bed (2 singles) and a complimentary mini-bar. Additionally, as you’d expect from Ponant, a flat-screen television with satellite TV and video on demand, an iPod dock, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes and fine French bath products, Hermes.

At 19m.sq, 79 of the Staterooms are for two guests, five Deluxe Suites at 27m.sq can accommodate up to three guests. Four Privilege Suites are larger again at 32m.sq. and cater for up to four guests.

The Grand Deluxe and Privilege Suites have a bath instead of a shower and all of the suites come with a butler. There are also two wheelchair accessible staterooms, and apparently, these do go quickly.

Dining options: Being French-owned, it’s no surprise that the meals onboard have a strong French influence. The main panoramic restaurant (with inside and outside seating) on Deck 4 is a buffet style offering of salads, cheese (of course breakfast, lunch and dinner) and desserts. If you would like a- la-carte ranging from vegetarian to seafood, just ask your waiter.

The Grill on Deck 3, was not open on our visit but again we were informed the all-day dining menu focuses on grilled meats, salads and desserts.

Teas, coffees and pastries are always on hand, and most drinks are complementary.

Drink options: Ponant includes drinks in its fare, although these are restricted to house wines, which like anywhere can be limited. Naturally, premium wines and drinks can be paid for as you go, or you can purchase a Premium Drink Pass for 20 Euros per day, per person. The stylish lounges and bars are comfortable areas to relax with any time, day or night.

Room Service: Room service is available free of charge for all cabins, 24 hours.

Onboard Entertainment: Seating 188 people, the theatre is state-of-the-art and although Le Laperouse isn’t about all the show bells and whistles, they do have several class-performances. There are also a few dress requirements and ‘formal’ nights onboard so please make sure you are aware of these and pack appropriately.

Being an expedition ship, their focus is really on destination-appropriate presentations by naturalists, lecturers, experienced guides and specialists. Another entertainment option is the on-demand videos available in-room.

Offshore Entertainment: Your on-shore activities will undoubtedly be exceptional and slightly spontaneous as real adventures are!

Zodiacs and adventure equipment will be provided, and a hydraulic ‘Marina Platform’ with adjustable height provides easier embarkation and disembarkation for expeditions or access to swim. The platform can also rest just above the water for those wanting to use kayaks, paddle boarding or even snorkel.

Spa & Fitness Facilities: The ship has salon facilities (no surprises) and uses the lovely product, SOTHYS of Paris. The ocean view fitness room is significant for a small ship, offering equipment and classes.

Families: The appropriateness of children onboard depends on the destination (and the children themselves!) Ponant generally accepts children 8 years and older and while younger ones aren’t denied travelling however there is no formal kids programs or facilities.

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Ponant’s Le Laperouse

Cruise Express’ Kathy Fossati, recently spent time onboard Ponant’s Le Laperouse. This was Le Laperouse’s much-anticipated inaugural visit to Sydney and she positioned herself at Point Piper on Sydney Harbour. Below are Kathy’s thoughts on this beautiful ship.

Reviewed: February 2019

Cruise line: PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions

Size of ship and passenger capacity: 10,000 gross tonnes | 184 passengers

Maiden voyage: June 2018

Where the ship cruises: Seychelles, Asia including Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Currency onboard: Euro

Most suited to:  Retired or semi-retired clients. Being the first ship in Ponant’s new expedition class known as Ponant Explorers, this ship is especially suitable for those who love expedition style travel, but want to come back to luxury and amazing food at the end of the day.

Unique feature: So many to mention but it has to be the much anticipated Blue Eye Lounge, the world’s first underwater multi-sensory lounge space. This space has portholes that allow passengers to see directly what is below the water line – whales and dolphins, turtles and fish, sea lions and whatever else is on offer!  To top it off there is an aquaphone that picks up subaquatic sounds up to three miles away and projects them back to the lounge.

Atmosphere: Felt very homely with, as you’d expect, French elegant yet understated decor, neutral tones, soft textures and finishings reflecting the destination. I didn’t hear announcements however I have been told they will always be first in French, then English – showing that no matter where they are in the world the French DNA onbaord will always be strong – not that this is a bad thing!

Encounters with service staff: Friendly, unobtrusive yet attentive multi-lingual staff who strike up a quick rapport with passengers.

Staterooms:  All interior-designed cabins have private balconies, a king-sized bed (2 singles) and a complimentary mini-bar. Additionally, as you’d expect from Ponant, a flat-screen television with satellite TV and video on demand, an iPod dock, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes and fine French bath products, Hermes.

At 19m.sq, 79 of the Staterooms are for two guests, five Deluxe Suites at 27m.sq can accommodate up to three guests. Four Privilege Suites are larger again at 32m.sq. and cater for up to four guests.

The Grand Deluxe and Privilege Suites have a bath instead of a shower and all of the suites come with a butler. There are also two wheelchair accessible staterooms, and apparently, these do go quickly.

Dining options: Being French-owned, it’s no surprise that the meals onboard have a strong French influence. The main panoramic restaurant (with inside and outside seating) on Deck 4 is a buffet style offering of salads, cheese (of course breakfast, lunch and dinner) and desserts. If you would like a- la-carte ranging from vegetarian to seafood, just ask your waiter.

The Grill on Deck 3, was not open on our visit but again we were informed the all-day dining menu focuses on grilled meats, salads and desserts.

Teas, coffees and pastries are always on hand, and most drinks are complementary.

Drink options: Ponant includes drinks in its fare, although these are restricted to house wines, which like anywhere can be limited. Naturally, premium wines and drinks can be paid for as you go, or you can purchase a Premium Drink Pass for 20 Euros per day, per person. The stylish lounges and bars are comfortable areas to relax with any time, day or night.

Room Service: Room service is available free of charge for all cabins, 24 hours.

Onboard Entertainment: Seating 188 people, the theatre is state-of-the-art and although Le Laperouse isn’t about all the show bells and whistles, they do have several class-performances. There are also a few dress requirements and ‘formal’ nights onboard so please make sure you are aware of these and pack appropriately.

Being an expedition ship, their focus is really on destination-appropriate presentations by naturalists, lecturers, experienced guides and specialists. Another entertainment option is the on-demand videos available in-room.

Offshore Entertainment: Your on-shore activities will undoubtedly be exceptional and slightly spontaneous as real adventures are!

Zodiacs and adventure equipment will be provided, and a hydraulic ‘Marina Platform’ with adjustable height provides easier embarkation and disembarkation for expeditions or access to swim. The platform can also rest just above the water for those wanting to use kayaks, paddle boarding or even snorkel.

Spa & Fitness Facilities: The ship has salon facilities (no surprises) and uses the lovely product, SOTHYS of Paris. The ocean view fitness room is significant for a small ship, offering equipment and classes.

Families: The appropriateness of children onboard depends on the destination (and the children themselves!) Ponant generally accepts children 8 years and older and while younger ones aren’t denied travelling however there is no formal kids programs or facilities.

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