Jump to content
der110

Ponant v Seabourn

Recommended Posts

Via trip advisor, I found some fairly cryptic info on these two lines. Both are luxurious. Seabourn is the bigger boat, probably a bit more comfortable when underway. Ponant is smaller, can perhaps get in closer, perhaps more time ashore. Also, more expensive. Ponant goes to the Falkland islands, Seabourn does not but cruises some Chilean waterways. Both apparently have massage therapists, a bid deal for me. More airplane time with Ponant, more boat time with Seabourn. Any words of wisdom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Seabourn does go to the Falklands on all but the Holiday Antarctica cruise which instead spends a few days in landing various spots on South Georgia Island. Have not been on Ponant but did do the Seabourn one that included South Georgia. I have been on a number of Lindblad/Nat Geo expedition trips and while they were wonderful I chose Seabourn for this cruise. It is really a hybrid cruise - great expedition teams and landings but Seabourn pampering and luxurious ambiance and dining.. Also remember that the Falklands are often missed by many cruise ships due to weather.


Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks, Chairsin. How much time did you get ashore? Larger number of passangers an issue in this regard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We went ashore once a day for an hour plus or minus the days we were in Antarctica and South Georgia. There were a couple of days when because of rough waters we were only able to ride around in the zodiacs and not go ashore. That of course will be the case no matter whom you cruise with - safety is paramount. Per the Antarctic regulations no more than 100 on shore at a time. We were broken into color groups and when one group returned another group was launched.


Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='der110'] Any words of wisdom?[/quote]

Carefully research Ponant. We were set on booking with them until we saw some scathing reviews re food, service, and ambiance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Chairsin']We went ashore once a day for an hour plus or minus the days we were in Antarctica and South Georgia. There were a couple of days when because of rough waters we were only able to ride around in the zodiacs and not go ashore. That of course will be the case no matter whom you cruise with - safety is paramount. Per the Antarctic regulations no more than 100 on shore at a time. We were broken into color groups and when one group returned another group was launched.
Sent from my iPad using Forums[/quote]

On our cruise on Hurtigruten's Fram, we went ashore twice a day. On the rare occasion staff found conditions unsuitable for landing, the Captain would relocate the ship to a more suitable location.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='notjaded']Carefully research Ponant. We were set on booking with them until we saw some scathing reviews re food, service, and ambiance.[/quote]

I did on CruiseCritic. Both Ponant and Seabourn have vastly more excellent and very good ratings than those lower than that. Specifically for Antarctica, Ponant was even better. As I recall, there were 15, almost all excellent. There were only two for Seabourn on Antarctica, but at least there were strong. That said, when I read the negative reviews, they mostly seemed reasonable, i.e. people seemed to have fair objections and were not just being whiny. I have only been on one cruise, but my sense is that all of these outfits blow it once and a while. We have to hope it does not happen while we are cruising. We can't expect any cruise line to only get perfect scores. Still, I can understand why the reviews made your nervous. When I researched Ponant, they seemed to get more complaints for non-Antarctica cruises, FWIW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, my girl friend vetoed the tiny rooms on Ponant, so it looks like we are going with Seabourn. As Chairsin said and Seabourn confirmed, we will only get to go ashore once a day for about an hour. But Seabourn spends about 6 days in Antarctica, so hopefully we will get our fill. Seabourn is also about $6000 cheaper for the two of us for more time on the boat and a 40% bigger room. Also, Ponant requires a 25% nonrefundable deposit, while Seabourn is 12%, fully refundable up to around 100 days before the trip starts. We will miss the Falklands, but will get to see the Chilean Fjords and the Straight of Magellan. Either line probably gives you a great trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='MMDown Under']On our cruise on Hurtigruten's Fram, we went ashore twice a day. On the rare occasion staff found conditions unsuitable for landing, the Captain would relocate the ship to a more suitable location.[/quote]
Seabourn Quest carries twice as many passengers as Fram, so for Quest to get everyone ashore under the 100-pax limit requires at least 4 rotations. Hard to get through that many people and still have time for a mid-day reposition. Fram does try* to get in two landings per day despite her 200+ passenger load, but it does mean shorter landings than I've experienced on smaller ships.

[I]*We missed one entirely, because ice conditions blocked the landing site, and there weren't any other suitable locations close enough.[/I]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='der110']I did on CruiseCritic. Both Ponant and Seabourn have vastly more excellent and very good ratings than those lower than that. Specifically for Antarctica, Ponant was even better. As I recall, there were 15, almost all excellent. There were only two for Seabourn on Antarctica, but at least there were strong. That said, when I read the negative reviews, they mostly seemed reasonable, i.e. people seemed to have fair objections and were not just being whiny. I have only been on one cruise, but my sense is that all of these outfits blow it once and a while. We have to hope it does not happen while we are cruising. We can't expect any cruise line to only get perfect scores. Still, I can understand why the reviews made your nervous. When I researched Ponant, they seemed to get more complaints for non-Antarctica cruises, FWIW.[/quote]

the CC reviews are a small pool of pax ... if you have not done so already, check the Antarctica forum on trip advisor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I depart on Ponant's Le Soleal on January 23 for a 17 day sailing that does Falklands, S Georgia, Antarctica and crosses the Polar Circle, we fly out next week. When I return I will post my thoughts as to landings, ship, food, staff, ambiance and so on. I have sent many clients on Seabourn and know the offerings fairly well, so should be able to make somewhat of a comparison.
Looking forward to our Antarctic adventure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='terry&mike']I depart on Ponant's Le Soleal on January 23 for a 17 day sailing that does Falklands, S Georgia, Antarctica and crosses the Polar Circle, we fly out next week. When I return I will post my thoughts as to landings, ship, food, staff, ambiance and so on. I have sent many clients on Seabourn and know the offerings fairly well, so should be able to make somewhat of a comparison.
Looking forward to our Antarctic adventure![/quote]

Thank you. In anticipation, I’ve subscribed to this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The expedition team aboard is critical .. We did Ponant with Abercrombie & Kent in Antarctica and the Arctic.- have stayed in the smallest room twice - it is beautiful! and you'll love your balcony. we went ashore twice a day for two hours each time. We found the food excellent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='notjaded']Thank you. In anticipation, I’ve subscribed to this thread.[/quote]

I just posted my review of my Ponant LeSoleal 17 Day sailing, "Beyond the Polar Circle", to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, under the Ports of Call: Antarctica section.
It is titled Ponant LeSoleal, Jan 23-Feb 8, 2018 Review
Hopefully this link will work: [URL="https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2600943"]https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2600943[/URL]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We also love Ponant.
I didn’t find the cabins particularly small, in fact we loved them.
I’d much prefer to go ashore twice a day with a smaller ship than once a day for an hour.
Food and service was excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would not be happy with only six possible short landings just once a day. You are paying a lot for the fancier ship and the massage therapist.

Check into the smaller expedition ships. Here is a place to compare: [url]http://www.traveltothepoles.com/ant-ships.html[/url]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A vote for Ponant here. Basically, the smaller the better, though need to be big enough to deal with whatever mother nature throws at you. Ponant's ships are just about right in that regard. If rougher ocean crossings are in the plan (i.e. the Drake), chose cabinet as low as you can (deck 3) and the middle of the ship. That is where the least amount of motion will be. A few months ago, we sailed on Le Boreal through the back of a hurricane in the Bering Sea, far worse than the Drake for us in 2016. But still OK. The short spells in rough weather are a very small price to pay for the absolutely amazing scenery and wildlife that you then get to experience. This is where Ponant really excells.
Another big benefit I see is that the only things you pay extra for are: top shelf wines, anything you buy in the shop, and shore excursions where a 3rd party is involved. After your first cruise, the next best perk is free laundry on board. That is a real bonus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='kaisatsu']Seabourn Quest carries twice as many passengers as Fram, so for Quest to get everyone ashore under the 100-pax limit requires at least 4 rotations. Hard to get through that many people and still have time for a mid-day reposition. Fram does try* to get in two landings per day despite her 200+ passenger load, but it does mean shorter landings than I've experienced on smaller ships.

[I]*We missed one entirely, because ice conditions blocked the landing site, and there weren't any other suitable locations close enough.[/I][/quote]

We found on our cruise, with less than 200 passengers, we could stay on land as long as we liked. Not all passengers choose to go on land every time and some were happy for a quick visit, e.g. didn't want to walk on the snow. We basically stayed until "all aboard", or until I wanted to go to the toilet (cold does that to seniors like me from the tropics).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='MMDown Under']We found on our cruise, with less than 200 passengers, we could stay on land as long as we liked. Not all passengers choose to go on land every time and some were happy for a quick visit, e.g. didn't want to walk on the snow. We basically stayed until "all aboard", or until I wanted to go to the toilet (cold does that to seniors like me from the tropics).[/quote]
I've had the same experience traveling on a smaller ship, which is part of what made my experience on the Fram feel rushed. On my previous expedition, everyone could be ashore at once, and I'd often be out until "last zodiac." If at all possible, my future trips will certainly be on ships that are under 150 pax. If I find an amazing deal, I might go back on a bigger ship, but it's extremely hard, having experienced a smaller ship experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×