Posted April 1st, 2017, 02:31 AM
We were on the same voyage as CincyAL and do not hesitate to recommend Ponant.
It must be remembered that expedition cruising is precisely that--every landing is dependent upon water, wind and weather.
Our expedition team arranged a zodiac tour in the Melchior Islands (in the Brabant Strait) on the evening before we had been due to start our expeditions--a nice bonus. Landings at Port Lockroy, Neko Harbour and Deception Island went without a hitch. On our third day the team had intended to cruise through the Antarctic Sound ("iceberg alley") but the weather conditions in the morning made it impossible.
But every expedition you lose presents an opportunity, for abandoning the Sound allowed us to land at the South Orkneys--islands at which no Ponant ship had landed before, and which provided us with exceptional opportunities to view macaroni penguins, to walk on a glacier and to see significant hanging glaciers.
The passengers were roughly evenly divided between English and French speakers (with a small group of Germans who had the services of a German speaking naturalist to provide them with dedicated briefings). Every lecture was presented twice (though not always on the same day). Even expedition briefings were presented twice. The outstanding expedition team included a wide range of expertise.
Westerdam Panama Canal, January 5, 2018
Nieuw Statendam Premiere Cruise, December 5, 2018
Queen Elizabeth Alaska, May 31, 2019
Seven Seas Navigator, South Pacific, April 7, 2020