Part II: L’ Austral ship - Cruising Land of Rising Sun

This portion of the trip has pluses and minuses. It’s nice to travel from place to place without re-packing each day. The vessel has good 24 hour laundry service, allowing you to pack less items. The Ponant vessels have cramped stateroom space utilization compared to competitors, but do separate the toilet and lavatory/shower spaces. Food is a disappointment for a French ship. Some meals or items were great, but others poor. All in all, the quality of food is very uneven (I also found this to be true on a sister vessel while cruising the Baltic Sea). Wines were uniformly decent. You will have to climb/ascend stairs to access the dining room, casual dining space (6th level), or the auditorium. Elevators are present at both ends of the ship, however. Room attendant and food service was excellent, but the front desk registration crew was haughty and indifferent – many complained about them. Wi-Fi is very slow and kicks you off-line constantly. Since most non-Tauck passengers pay for Wi-Fi, after every 100 minutes’ use you are forced to return to the front desk for new sign-in credentials when your time is up. Almost all members of our traveling group noted that they would not sail on a Ponant vessel again

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