Land of the Rising Sun:Northbound March 29-April 11

This was our 15th international tour with Tauck, and although we usually take land tours, we were fully aware this was a land/cruise tour. We based our decision about taking this type of tour on our outstanding experience on Treasures of the Aegean on the Windspirit in 2008. On another thread I mentioned what I perceived to be the "new" Tauck business model, and I will try to clarify that in my post.
First, the positives...We loved the itinerary and activities in this tour! We visited smaller places that would be very challenging to visit on one land tour or on one's own. There was not one stop or activity that we did not love. Our Tour Director (and each TD...more here later) was beyond professional and embodied all of those superlatives that could be used to describe a great TD...fun, organized, informative, caring...etc.! If you are going on this tour, revel in the Okonomiyaki experience in Hiroshima! Delicious! Cherry blossoms? We were worried about not seeing any, for when we departed Kyoto they were still buds. On our last ship day we visited the Black Castle in Matsue. The blossoms were in full bloom and people were celebrating with food booths, hanamis (picnics beneath the trees to honor their beauty), and an incredible festive atmosphere. On our return to Kyoto, they were in full bloom and stunning! I could go on about the taiko drumming, the calligraphy, the Geiko performance, the sumo wrestlers and other experiences Tauck provided. So, with all of these wonderful experiences, why are we writing a letter to Tauck about this trip and not sure that Tauck is still our "go-to" travel company??
Originally we thought this would be a one-group tour on a ship where the rest were independent travelers, much like our experience on the Windspirit. At some point we thought it would be a 2-group trip. Upon our arrival in Osaka, as others were escorted to another hotel, we realized there would be 4 Tauck groups on this trip! This does not seem problematic until you consider the organizational logistics of the trip. The groups were divided into teams, groups 1 and 2 and groups 3 and 4. We were group #4.
At both the welcome dinner and farewell dinners we were the last to arrive. Both of these events were performance based, and our tables were relegated to the back of the room as those arriving earlier, naturally, were seated closer to the performance. At the welcome dinner there were 2 groups per venue and the farewell dinner seated all 4 groups, but we always were scheduled to arrive last. Perhaps reserving tables for each group would have been more equitable.
At the final lunch in Kyoto, prior to traveling to Osaka to board L'Austral, all 4 groups ate at the same restaurant. Again, we were the last to arrive, filling in empty seats that the other groups had left over. We were starting to feel like we were not valued, a feeling that was pervasive during the entire trip.
Once we boarded the ship (last, of course) we realized how the organization of the trip was to work. 4 groups would leave the ship at 10-15 minute intervals (we were not always the last to leave and the TD's tried to alternate departures), and there might be 4 sites to visit. Groups 1 and 2 would visit 2 sites in the morning (switching sites at the halfway point), and groups 3 and 4 would visit the other 2 sites. In the afternoon these visits would be flipped. When one thinks about the logistics of this, it is clear how limited the time is and how little time there might be for a longer visit to any one site. Combine that with a traffic snafu or a group that might take a little longer to walk through a site due to mobility issues or interest in a particular site, and you might see where the time at some sites becomes very limited for some groups. This seemed to happen on a number of occasions.
To complicate matters, there were some ports where we only had a 4 hour morning visit due to ship departure, and that time had to be divided by 4 groups. Figure that the last group leaving had 30 minutes less that the other groups. Fewer groups would leave more time at the various sites.
My biggest disappointment came on day 6 when we visited Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima. I had done my research and knew that the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima was a very special place. When the tide is in, the shrine seems to float on water. Sadly, groups 3 and 4 visited that in the morning when the tide was low. It would not be high tide until the afternoon groups, 1 and 2 would visit. One has to wonder if there were only two groups, would the tour be arranged so that guests would be able to see this magnificent shrine at its optimal view.
Another problem with having 4 groups was the quality of the local guides. I think it is difficult to provide 4 outstanding guides at each location (I believe Tauck contracts with a local company and they provide the guides), and we only had one guide at each location. In India last year we had two guides at most sites, and we were only a group of 21! In Kyoto we had a very poor guide for three days. I gave up trying to follow her commentary and know I missed some vital information. After that the TD's seemed to try to rotate the guides.
The reason that I am making such a point about the difficulty of managing 4 groups on this tour is that on the 2018 tour, Tauck will be having 6 groups on each tour! They will have the entire ship, but I cannot help but wonder how these special visits can be divided by 6 when we felt rushed and shorted by 4 groups!Imagine trying to find 6 outstanding guides next year!
This is the reason for my comment about the new Tauck. I understand that cruising is a viable trend in the travel industry, whether a traveler has less mobility, limited time to travel or just likes the comfort of settling in, and Tauck is responding to that. It is my sense that they are attempting up their game by trying to combine both types of tours into one and taking some of their fabulous land tours and creating land/cruises with large groups (Australia, Southeast Asia, the new Galapagos) for more of a profit margin sacrificing that feeling of immersion into the culture, history, etc. .
I suspect that on this trip the TD's are frustrated about keeping to the schedule rather than having the freedom to respond to guests' reactions to sites. Interestingly, we met some people who were mainly cruisers and first-time Tauck guests. Some were so angry about the trip, they vowed never to travel with Tauck again. I don't think it was the itinerary or the activities but rather the organization of trying to fit 4 groups into the day's sightseeing. I was saddened to hear this but understood why they felt that way.

Comments

  • edited April 2017
    Joyce, I have been waiting eagerly to read your comments because I trust your opinions. All my Tauck tours have been land based except one, Galapagos, which we enjoyed so much we are repeating the tour this year. But of course that is a small ship with only a max of. 40 travellers.
    Every time I see a new Tauck tour appear that is based on a ship, I just cannot understand it from my point of view, The type of experience I want, and even more so you, because I know you do so much extra when you visit a place, lots of research and so on, more than we do and I love when you write about it. You certainly are not what I would say is a bucket-lister, someone who just checks a place off on a list, to go home and boast about their latest trip. Japan is a prime example of a place that needs as much time as possible on land to fully see and understand it, a bit like India, where just walking around is an experience in itself as you watch people conduct their day to day lives in such different ways than we do in the US. As you probably know, I've been to Japan twice, some time ago, we even almost got to live there once and my husband even speaks Japanese. But Japan is just an example of one of these shipbased tours. I have been concerned for a while that Tauck will eventually do away with the land based tours, not I think because it is a way of making more money but because the 'Standards' of accommodation are so much easier for them to 'control' than the hotel based tours. Don't forget how many times there are complaints about rooms/hotels on this forum, completely unfounded in my own opinion, but people are fixated about how their room/hotel is, even though they are going to do nothing but sleep there. We often think what a waste it is that Tauck puts us in fantastic hotels when we actually are never in them because we are out site seeing, there is no time to swim in a fantastic pool, have a massage and all the other things one has time to do on a relaxing non touring type of vacation where it might be worth being in a fancy hotel. You and I might prefer a great central location in a less upscale hotel, but many of the travellers who are attracted to Tauck don't want that. On our last tour, a couple complained about their room location, we overheard and could not understand it because my husband remembers we had stayed in that room before. Anyway, we watched from a distance as we enjoyed our food in the nearby dining room where a huge amount of time went by while they complained about a room that actually had a larger bathroom than we had and a king bed, our room had two full sized beds, so we decided to sleep separately, we are not sleep separately kind of people, if we hadn't unpacked, we would have swapped, but they had put on their preferences that they wanted to be near the main building, and so they were given a very nice 'disabled person' room near the reception. Anyway, it created time and headache for both tour director and hotel staff in a full hotel. All about a room which they said did not have a view that basically they were never in during daylight anyway.
    We do have four Tauck tours booked, one is the Iceland cruise! We were disappointed to read that next year we have to make choices about which tours to do on this cruise, but this is a tour where a forum person complained bitterly about the lack of time on land if you remember following that reading a couple of years ago. And boy are the ship based and river boat cruises expensive compared to the land based tours. The only downside of land travel is the getting your stuff together on hotel moving day, trying not to leave anything behind and keeping your stuff organized, but other than that, you see more of a country even if you spend some time driving along major highways, there is always something different to see that you will never see at home which always adds to our experience of a place . When you are on a boat, the sea is the sea!
    So let's hope the land based tours continue where customers generally get 'Equal' treatment. Joyce, I am so sorry for your experience and hope that Tauck rectify how that tour is conducted, please share your response.
  • Dear Joyce,
    Thank you for your perspective on the land/sea trip. We have three Tauck trips booked however none are land/sea. We'll be very cautious if/when we consider this format. Our land trips and river cruise with Tauck have been outstanding and your letter/posting should be a wakeup call for them. We have seen changes made based upon traveler feedback and would hope that they will consider your experience.
    All the best.
  • Thank you both for your comments. British, how ironic that you mention hotel rooms as I did not even touch upon that part in my review. So, here goes on that one! Groups 1 and 2 stayed at the Hotel Granvia and 3 and 4 at the Westin. I originally thought there were two hotels listed for Kyoto and Tokyo as there were booking issues on some of the dates, never imagining that both hotels would be used and there would be 4 groups. I called early on to see which hotels our tour date was using and found out we'd be at the Westin and Palace. Again, thinking that those were the hotels available for our tour date. I was not informed otherwise, and merrily made our pre and post tour plans around the location of these hotels. The Palace was not an issue as it was beyond our expectations and in a great location. The Westin, however, not so much!
    Our arrival in Kyoto at the Westin was a disaster as the first room we were given, a "preferred guest" room if I am to believe the plate on the door, was a smoking room and reeked! We complained and after much chatter with the lady escorting us to our room and the front desk, we were shown to an alternate room. This room was much smaller, the carpet was very stained and it was located right on the main drag, and when the first motorcycle went by we had to talk loud to be heard! More telephone chatter...now hubby takes the phone, but no luck as "we were such a large group" another room was not available. Since this was a night for which we were paying (gift of time was used for the more expensive room in Tokyo), I decided to go to reception to negotiate in person! Now, here is where I can find some humor in the situation as I apparently take the wrong elevator, get so lost in this huge hotel with wings upon wings upon wings, (I really thought I would never find the lobby) that it takes me 25 minutes to get to reception! The poor lady escorting us to our room had been waiting there and couldn't imagine what had happened to me!
    After much negotiation and insistence, we were finally given a non-smoking room exactly one floor above the original room. We ignored the torn drapes as the carpets were clean and the room didn't reek of smoke! I have no idea what the problem was about giving us this room as the room was no better that the first one. From what we saw, the rooms were the shabbiest Westin rooms we have ever experienced.
    Another problem was the location. It is not centrally located and, while they do have a shuttle that goes to the train station, it did not begin its run in time for us to take the train to Nara for our pre-arranged tours the next day. It took a $20 cab ride to get there. The Granvia is located next to or above the train station, and from what we heard was a great hotel.
    Tauck will not be staying at the Westin next year as the 2018 tour stays at 3 hotels in Osaka. The good news is that next year's 6 groups will be visiting Nara.
  • OMG Joyce, but the part about the smoking, you may have noticed by the end of the trip that a huge number of Japanese men smoke and drink heavily but i am not sure how strict they are about smoking in a non smoking room. My husband says he never had trouble getting a no smoking room in International hotels.
  • edited April 2017
    Joyce and I have emailed about this situation and I have the same concerns. I was looking at the new (land/cruise) Treasures of the Aegean. As expected due to the ongoing situation in Turkey, Istanbul is not on the new (2018) itinerary, however, thankfully, Ephesus in southwest Turkey is back. Bodrum and Rhodes, however, are out, replaced with Patmos and Monemvasia. I haven't done enough research to evaluate those swaps.

    Along the lines of what Joyce said, what concerns me about the Aegean itinerary is you must select between excursion choices (subject to availability) 60 days before the tour begins:

    On Day 4 you must choose between (1) the tomb of Agamemnon, Palmidi Castle, and, after lunch, a guided walking tour of Nafplion; or (2) the tomb of Agamemnon, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus (a must see in my book), and a winery lunch.

    I would rather see everything, but, if I must choose, I would like to be able to select two from group (1) and one from group (2)!

    On Day 5 you must choose between morning activities: (1) a guided tour of Mykonos, including a visit to the 16th-century church in the village of Ano Mera; or (2) a boat ride to the archaeological site of Delos.

    You are back aboard for lunch, followed by an afternoon at leisure exploring Mykonos.

    On Day 7 you have 3 choices of morning activities! (1) sea kayaking adventure off Patmos, which includes lunch and time for snorkeling and/or sunbathing; (2) an excursion to Patmos' capital city of Chora, a tour of the fortress-like 11th-century Monastery of St. John and its museum, a stop at the Convent of Zoodochos Pigi, and a visit to an icon restoration studio; or (3) Patmos sightseeing including a tour of the aforementioned Monastery of St. John, and a visit to the Grotto of St. John.

    Following lunch, you'll have free time to explore the port of Skala on Patmos.

    This is what is says in the Before You Go:

    "Shore Excursions Selection-

    Tauck will contact guests 60 days prior to departure to assist with shore excursion selections (included in tour price but subject to availability)."


    We have a hard enough time selecting where we want to eat when meals are on our own! Also, I can just imagine what the discussion might be like if you made what you consider the "wrong" selection of day trip (or something went wrong) while your dinner companions rave about their excursions. Kinda like being in Joyce's Group #4?


  • joycesw wrote:
    This was our 15th international tour with Tauck, and although we usually take land tours, we were fully aware this was a land/cruise tour. We based our decision about taking this type of tour on our outstanding experience on Treasures of the Aegean on the Windspirit in 2008. On another thread I mentioned what I perceived to be the "new" Tauck business model, and I will try to clarify that in my post.
    First, the positives...We loved the itinerary and activities in this tour! We visited smaller places that would be very challenging to visit on one land tour or on one's own. There was not one stop or activity that we did not love. Our Tour Director (and each TD...more here later) was beyond professional and embodied all of those superlatives that could be used to describe a great TD...fun, organized, informative, caring...etc.! If you are going on this tour, revel in the Okonomiyaki experience in Hiroshima! Delicious! Cherry blossoms? We were worried about not seeing any, for when we departed Kyoto they were still buds. On our last ship day we visited the Black Castle in Matsue. The blossoms were in full bloom and people were celebrating with food booths, hanamis (picnics beneath the trees to honor their beauty), and an incredible festive atmosphere. On our return to Kyoto, they were in full bloom and stunning! I could go on about the taiko drumming, the calligraphy, the Geiko performance, the sumo wrestlers and other experiences Tauck provided. So, with all of these wonderful experiences, why are we writing a letter to Tauck about this trip and not sure that Tauck is still our "go-to" travel company??
    Originally we thought this would be a one-group tour on a ship where the rest were independent travelers, much like our experience on the Windspirit. At some point we thought it would be a 2-group trip. Upon our arrival in Osaka, as others were escorted to another hotel, we realized there would be 4 Tauck groups on this trip! This does not seem problematic until you consider the organizational logistics of the trip. The groups were divided into teams, groups 1 and 2 and groups 3 and 4. We were group #4.
    At both the welcome dinner and farewell dinners we were the last to arrive. Both of these events were performance based, and our tables were relegated to the back of the room as those arriving earlier, naturally, were seated closer to the performance. At the welcome dinner there were 2 groups per venue and the farewell dinner seated all 4 groups, but we always were scheduled to arrive last. Perhaps reserving tables for each group would have been more equitable.
    At the final lunch in Kyoto, prior to traveling to Osaka to board L'Austral, all 4 groups ate at the same restaurant. Again, we were the last to arrive, filling in empty seats that the other groups had left over. We were starting to feel like we were not valued, a feeling that was pervasive during the entire trip.
    Once we boarded the ship (last, of course) we realized how the organization of the trip was to work. 4 groups would leave the ship at 10-15 minute intervals (we were not always the last to leave and the TD's tried to alternate departures), and there might be 4 sites to visit. Groups 1 and 2 would visit 2 sites in the morning (switching sites at the halfway point), and groups 3 and 4 would visit the other 2 sites. In the afternoon these visits would be flipped. When one thinks about the logistics of this, it is clear how limited the time is and how little time there might be for a longer visit to any one site. Combine that with a traffic snafu or a group that might take a little longer to walk through a site due to mobility issues or interest in a particular site, and you might see where the time at some sites becomes very limited for some groups. This seemed to happen on a number of occasions.
    To complicate matters, there were some ports where we only had a 4 hour morning visit due to ship departure, and that time had to be divided by 4 groups. Figure that the last group leaving had 30 minutes less that the other groups. Fewer groups would leave more time at the various sites.
    My biggest disappointment came on day 6 when we visited Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima. I had done my research and knew that the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima was a very special place. When the tide is in, the shrine seems to float on water. Sadly, groups 3 and 4 visited that in the morning when the tide was low. It would not be high tide until the afternoon groups, 1 and 2 would visit. One has to wonder if there were only two groups, would the tour be arranged so that guests would be able to see this magnificent shrine at its optimal view.
    Another problem with having 4 groups was the quality of the local guides. I think it is difficult to provide 4 outstanding guides at each location (I believe Tauck contracts with a local company and they provide the guides), and we only had one guide at each location. In India last year we had two guides at most sites, and we were only a group of 21! In Kyoto we had a very poor guide for three days. I gave up trying to follow her commentary and know I missed some vital information. After that the TD's seemed to try to rotate the guides.
    The reason that I am making such a point about the difficulty of managing 4 groups on this tour is that on the 2018 tour, Tauck will be having 6 groups on each tour! They will have the entire ship, but I cannot help but wonder how these special visits can be divided by 6 when we felt rushed and shorted by 4 groups!Imagine trying to find 6 outstanding guides next year!
    This is the reason for my comment about the new Tauck. I understand that cruising is a viable trend in the travel industry, whether a traveler has less mobility, limited time to travel or just likes the comfort of settling in, and Tauck is responding to that. It is my sense that they are attempting up their game by trying to combine both types of tours into one and taking some of their fabulous land tours and creating land/cruises with large groups (Australia, Southeast Asia, the new Galapagos) for more of a profit margin sacrificing that feeling of immersion into the culture, history, etc. .
    I suspect that on this trip the TD's are frustrated about keeping to the schedule rather than having the freedom to respond to guests' reactions to sites. Interestingly, we met some people who were mainly cruisers and first-time Tauck guests. Some were so angry about the trip, they vowed never to travel with Tauck again. I don't think it was the itinerary or the activities but rather the organization of trying to fit 4 groups into the day's sightseeing. I was saddened to hear this but understood why they felt that way.



    Dear Joyce,

    Thank you for your participation on the Travel Forums and being such a wonderful advocate for Tauck. As you know, we take all of our guests feedback very seriously and we use guest feedback to improve our journeys. David, who manages our small ship cruises shared that he had a very constructive conversation you and that he will be adopting the ideas that you have shared with him.

    Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any additional concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Emily
  • Emily,
    I certainly hope constructive change will be made for the 2018 trips--if not before. I along with 4 others have already signed up for the 2018 trip...although the trip locale and sites sound wonderful, the current Tauck logistics sounds nightmarish, rushed and downright unfair...not exactly what I expect from Tauck. Yes, I am concerned but I am happy to hear changes are coming ... I hope Tauck communicates the changes to those who have expressed concern and/or have signed up.

    Joyce, thank you for your thoughtful review.
    Nancy
  • I spent a little more time thinking about large groups and options. I think that is one reason we travel with Tauck and not with a company that uses a floating hotel with 5000 of our closest friends. With VERY MINOR exceptions, with Tauck there are no options. Tauck fills up the itinerary with activities (and some free time) and the groups are small enough that everyone has the same experience. If needed, travelers on both small and regular group tours (24 or 40+/-) are broken into smaller groups and provided with separate local guide, but stay in the same hotel, visit the same sites, and eat at the same restaurants at the same time. So far, more often than not, options have been offered by our TDs as extras for those who want to do or see something during scheduled free time: ESW- TD led walk in the fields and fells of the Lake District, TD led group to Evensong in Oxford, K&T- TD arranged extra game drive in Masai Mara, Italy- TD led visit to glass factory, etc., etc.
  • Wow, certainly doesn't make me want to sign up for a small ship cruise. Not unless I knew the group size ahead of time was reasonable.

    Even on river cruises where the passengers are typically put into 3 tour groups each day I don't ever remember a problem like those Joyce mentioned. The 3 groups arrive at the location, head out in different directions with a TD and local guide occasionally passing one of the other groups but that's it. Whether the amount of time spent is enough or too much can vary and depend on lots of factors - personal interest, weather, time of day or date, etc. Most of the time I've been happy with the mix of guided tour and time on our own, but a few times I'd have liked a little more free time and others ready to head back to the ship as soon as possible. I'm sure it's hard for Tauck to always get the mix right.
  • edited April 2017
    Agree totally with Claudia regarding River Cruises. We were on the MS. Joy last June on the Danube and the three equal groups (35-40) were self selected each morning using colored poker chips. We had absolutely no issues. Each group had a Tauck guide as well as our local guide. Once we started the walking tours we hardly ever bumped into each other. It was a very well coordinated and executed experience.
  • I've posted my comments about this trip in the Cruising the Land of the Rising Sun - Southbound section, but I essentially agree with Joyce's concerns.

    We had four Tauck groups traveling together, and each tour director did their best in keeping us on schedule and away from other groups so we didn't bunch up. This often led to rushed situations, where many of our group wanted to spend more time on a location/activity, but were hustled away so that one of the other group's could visit. These time limitations were more marked when the ship only visited a port for a limited amount of time. Fortunately, my group visited the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima at just the right tide level. Any other time would have been disappointing, as Joyce noted.

    Many dinners/lunches combined two groups, so 60 people were present. The farewell dinner had all four groups (120 people) and lacked any feeling of the intimacy one usually associates with Tauck trips. I don't envy the tour directors that have to manage six groups at the same ports or land locations.
  • edited May 2017
    Though we just returned from the Southbound trip, we agree completely with Joyce's assessment of the trip--whether it be north or south. The ship, L'Austral was the worst part of the trip. Most of the time the food in the main dining room was inedible. There were few choices on the dining menu for dinner. My husband and I are not fussy eaters, and this is our 10th Tauck tour. We found the ship unacceptable.

    The Hotel Granvia in Kyoto was not up to standards either. Yes, the location was great. The food on the welcome reception dinner was so bad that hardly anyone ate dinner. The hotel staff was unable to communicate to English speaking guests, which seemed unusual in such a large, metropolitan hotel.

    Whereas in every other group I have been in with Tauck, I leave, having made a few friends and know everyone's name, that was not so on this trip. I never did meet everyone in our group. The farewell dinner on the final night was not the way I wanted to end. We had to rush to get a table to sit with anyone we knew. There were all 4 groups there and it was like a big convention rather than an intimate ending with a group of friends.

    This will definitely be my last small ship cruise with Tauck. I am very disappointed. The only good thing is that the itinerary was good, and our tour director was excellent. Beyond that, not up to Tauck standards in any way.
  • Hello grandinroad,

    We sincerely appreciate you sharing your perspective. Company-wide our programs are made better trip after trip, year after year because of our guests sharing examples of what we can do better and then by responding to those suggestions. Of all the places that our Small Ship Cruising operates; the hotels in Kyoto have proven the most challenging in terms of meeting or exceeding western standards. We’ve worked with our hotel partners in Kyoto to improve service for the Tauck guests, but some of the guests’ comments on recent trips indicate that there is more to be done.

    The disappointment or suggestions we have received about L’Austral, suggesting changes for a better cruise experience have been shared with our partner LePonant in Marseille. We’ve appreciated Ponant’s receiving these comments in a positive way and we appreciate their enthusiasm for addressing our concerns; staff changes and training are ongoing and though there is always a bit of fluctuation in service ratings on any of our vessels we’re encouraged about positive trends we’re seeing

    Our cruises accommodate more guests than our land programs do, but in spite of that our guests often bond in ways that lead to friendships, we regret that was not the case on your voyage.


    Sincerely,
    Tauck Emily
  • edited September 2017
    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted follow up on this thread and to share some enhancements planned for the 2018 season based on all your feedback.

    Onshore Experience
    • Osaka change - we have moved the first three days of the program from Kyoto to Osaka, allowing us to significantly upgrade the quality of accommodations we provide at the start of the tour. We will continue to see what makes Kyoto so special, but will now include a more in-depth look at Osaka and also add the highly requested city of Nara.
    • Hotel accommodations - guests will stay at the Conrad Osaka, the St. Regis Osaka or the Ritz-Carlton Osaka, all five-star properties centrally located in Osaka. This central location also broadens our touring opportunities in the region.

    Onboard Experience
    • New locally-influenced events & touches – including sushi making classes, calligraphy workshops, local Japanese performances and more.
    • Dining offerings – more local and extensive cuisine will be served, with inspiration provided by Ponant’s relationship with Ducasse Conseil, an excellence driven catering company run by three Michelin starred and renowned French chef, Alain Ducasse.
    • Ship announcements - ship announcements will be made in English only on full ship charters in order to satisfy the majority of guests on board.

    Please continue to share your thoughts and ideas. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2018 season and look forward to welcoming you onboard!

    Best,
    Emily
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