2021 Tauck Antarctica expedition Dec 5-20



  • Sealord: I tried to look to see if all Ponant ships flew the same flag. Below is the flag that flew on the Le Dumont d'Urville during our Iceland tour earlier this year. I can't tell if it is the same flag. It looks like it might be. If so, perhaps it's a Ponant flag that flies on all their ships.

  • The one L’Austral is flying appears to only have stripes on the bottom half, and I think they are red.

  • You could be correct, but I think it has stripes like the ones I showed, with stripes all the way across the bottom and half way across the top. It's just flying the opposite direction in the picture you posted and is partially folded over so you only see part of one stripe on the top half. In addition, on my screen, the stripes on the flag in your picture looks blue.

  • I did another screen capture from the L'Austral webcam and it definitely has the same stripe pattern as the pictures I showed.

  • Cathy: hang in!! Your body will acclimate! See if the boat has ginger to suck on. Eventually you will get to land :-)

  • The flag has to be a Ponant flag, I also tried to find reference to it on the Ponant site. It is definitely blue and white.
    Cathy, take care, you will be on land soon! We all look forward to your photos and travelogue. Go easy on any alcohol with the Dramamine.
    A question for when you are feeling better….are there any entertainers on the ship? There were great dancers, singers and a concert pianist on our Iceland and Panama Canal cruises with Tauck/Ponant. Be sure to see them, they were really good, so was the disco night and the tap dancing lessons.

  • Yup. I pulled up webcams on the other ships and the stripes look blue, and all the flags look similar, so it would appear to be a ‘Ponant’ flag.

  • Cathy--I feel like I'm on the tour with you! Feel better, and keep the reports coming.

  • Looks like a very comfortable home away from home. I hope you get to keep those parkas!

  • edited December 2021

    A possible answer- I believe the flag flying on the jackstaff (at the bow of the ship), if the stripes are black and white, not blue and white, is the flag (or jack) of Brittany. If the stripes are blue and white it might be a Ponant version of that flag. Though mostly depicted with black and white stripes I also found one or two examples of the Brittany flag with blue and white stripes.

    It is hard to tell from the posted photos, but like the flag of Brittany, it looks like it has what are referred to as ermine spots in the upper left quadrant.


    Why do they fly it? . . . . . Ponant HQ is in Marseille though the company was founded and initially based in Nantes for 18 years. Nantes belongs historically and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, and its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial.

    That is my story and sticking to it. :) Maybe a topic for dinner at the Captain's table?

  • I think you are closing in on it ‘Alan Holmes’.

  • It sounds as if you are feeling better Cathy! That is just a lovely photo of Steve…and the sea looks calm now!

    Your cabin is the same class we had on our two Ponant trips. We wished we had booked a bigger cabin because you spend so much time there, whereas, on a land tour, you are only in your hotel room to sleep. Mr. B liked to nap on those trips, he gets disturbed by anything, so I used to go to the library at the back of the ship with the large windows and sofas and lounge there and read. It was usually deserted. We wished the bathroom was bigger. It was difficult to both be in the bathroom together, if one was in the shower and one at the sink, the person in the shower couldn’t get out. Of course, if you stagger your ablutions it doesn’t matter, but if you have to get up early, a bigger bathroom would help. We had booked our second Ponant trip before we took our first. Any future trips, we will book a bigger cabin.

  • Just checked the webcam again. It looks as if the weather has deteriorated some from yesterday day. Hopefully not too badly.

  • Cathy - I sure hope the weather and the seas calm down some for you. Right now it sounds like a carnival ride. You just need to get on land for a while.

    Good plan skipping the polar plunge!

  • I was once on a cruise (NCL) returning to NYC from Bermuda. We followed a major hurricane, 6 hours behind the eye (had to get back in time for the next sailing, after all). Waves were 60-80 ft. The gift shops were trashed, with all the Hummels, etc. falling of the shelves and breaking. Fortunately, my family and I don't get seasick, something we learned on that trip. The dining room, which accommodated 3000 people, had about 100, including us, for meals. It was an adventure, but nothing I'd want to repeat. And I'd never sail NCL again, given their irresponsible behavior for the almighty buck.

  • Sadly, the Drake Passage is why Antarctica is not on our go to place. Good for you Cathy that you were game to go!

  • Cathy - Too funny on the entry requirement, but remember you have to pay the same price to leave Antarctica. :D

  • edited December 2021

    Concerning the size of the rooms: We have done a lot of cruising so I feel somewhat qualified to comment. The standard (non-suite) rooms on the L’Austral class ships are all nearly identical except for location. A few forward rooms on deck three don’t have balconies, but they are slightly larger. The suites are mostly rooms made of two standard rooms put together … so they cost about twice as much. The standard rooms are about 193 sq. feet which is fairly large as far as standard staterooms go. Ponant ships have a WC which is separate from the ‘bath’room, which is convenient. If you want to do a Tauck small ship cruise tour with larger rooms, some of the tours are on Windstar’s “Star” ships, which are all suites that measure around 280 sq. feet. Windstar’s ‘sailboats’ are smaller but we find them quite adequate. We do a lot of cruising, but we are rarely in the room except to shower, change, or sleep. We find the public areas of the ships to be far more comfortable and interesting than the stateroom.

  • Cathy, I am one of the unfortunates who is very susceptible to seasickness. I’ve cruised on large ships without incident . But on Tauck’s Land of Rising Sun on a Pondant ship and a cruise on a Windstar ship, I had a 1-2 bad nights - I try to just sleep through the motion! thankfully we were on land everyday! I am anxiously waiting to hear how your trip progresses. Happy to hear you are enjoying this adventure. Your report makes it very tempting!

  • Your enthusiasm brings a smile to my face!

  • Steerage passengers were happy to quickly learn and First Class passengers on high decks usually did not know- the part of the ship least likely to be affected by the motion from heavy weather was lower decks, near the center of the ship.

    However, steerage passengers were likely to be the first to be severely affected and last to receive help in situations like those faced by the Titanic! :o

  • Cathy - Glad you're in the fun part of the tour. Remember these happy thoughts when you head back across the Drake Passage. :D

  • Cathy - I was about to say, "it didn't happen if there are no pics," but you redeemed yourself :)

    And just a suggestion - if you like this trip, you should do Tauck's patagnoia trip. it was outstanding and you'll see 4-legged animals, too.

  • I’m planning on taking the Patagonia trip again once it reopens Highly recommend it!

  • Patagonia, Perito Moreno glacier calving. Note big chunks of ice just hitting water:

  • edited December 2021

    Your pictures don’t have the ‘sound’ of the calving. (;-(

    Cathyandsteve: Thinking about my packing list. I would be interested to know how people dressed for this evening’s (I’m assuming welcome aboard) ‘gala’. I noticed that Rob was wearing jacket and tie at whatever venue that was … Tauck’s welcome dinner? I know Tauck says strictly ‘casual’, but I’ve been on Ponant before.

  • I think the webcam is covered with snow or ice.

  • Cathy- Do you have to set foot on land in order to claim your seventh continent? Or does sailing and zodiacing qualify?

  • edited December 2021

    Cathy - Personally, I'm in Steve's camp w/r to counting the seventh continent. Just sailing around it, to me, is like saying you've visited a country when all you did was traverse through an airport in the country, never getting beyond security.

    I'm sure you will make it to land at some point. It would almost be worthy of some type of refund if you didn't.

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