SHIP REVIEW: Ponant Le Lyrial
Ponant’s fleet of luxury, small ship vessels draw an international client base. Guests from the US, Australia, Europe and of course, their home country of France are to be found on every voyage. Le Lyrial was launched in 2015 and has an ice classification (1C) hull, which enables her to sail in both the Polar regions. Her 6 decks and shallow draft of just 15ft, mean that she is able to navigate into much smaller ports than many other vessels – making her a perfect expedition style, luxury cruiser.
With capacity of just 244 guests on Le Lyrial, (and her sisterships of Le Boreal, L’Austral and Le Soleal), the atmosphere on board is very amiable and relaxed. The French lifestyle phrase ‘joie de vivre’ very much suits the onboard experience. There is a crew of 140 onboard - all the Captains of the fleet are French and the onboard crew are an international mix with all staff speaking perfect English as well as many other languages!
I sailed from Venice (San Basilio terminal) and because of the small size of the PONANT ships – they are able to have the most incredible ‘sail away’ from the heart of Venice...passing San Marco Square as the sun was the perfect start to my voyage…a truly incredible privilege.
I would recommend if you are starting or ending a cruise in Venice to pay for a private vaporetto to take you from the airport to the ship - it is an utterly enchanting way to experience this ancient city on water!
The voyage to Croatia was utterly perfect with glass-like seas all the way. Trogir was fascinating and Hvar was an utter delight, the history and culture of this coastal country is a wonderful experience.
An essential component of French culture is its cuisine – and the 2 onboard gastronomic restaurants are first class! In January 2016, PONANT announced it had joined forces with Ducasse Conseil, run by Michelin starred chef Alain Ducasse (his Michelin starred restaurant is at The Dorchester in London). All the onboard chef’s are trained at his Academy to ensure that the high culinary standards of PONANT are constantly the best in their field. A sample menu - which is a feast for the eyes as much for the tastebuds...
Cep and chestnut velouté
Lobster, celery "rémoulade", truffle cooking juices
Langoustines with pepper, tender fennels, light broth Beef Rossini, Anna potatoes and candied shallots, sauce Périgueux
Voiles Ponant chocolat-praliné
The Gastronomic Restaurant (Deck 2): serves a la carte meals at the table. At lunch, a selection of dishes inspired by French brasseries is offered. Dinner is the taste sensations of traditional French fine dining and with the menu..’paired wines’ as recommended by the onboard sommelier.
The Grill restaurant (Deck 6): the ‘indoor/outdoor’ dining at this restaurant offers breakfasts, buffet lunches and themed dinners in a relaxed atmosphere. The ‘cheese counter’ at this restaurant is an absolute work of art and has some of the most incredible cheeses I had ever tasted!
Guests with special dietary requirements are all catered for (low fat, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and so on).
The onboard French baker also makes the most beautiful bread onboard and bakes it freshly. Organic baguettes, sublime French croissants and pain aux raisins...your waistline will be something to worry about when you get home!!
A PONANT cruise combines exploration with a small scale level of traditional onboard ‘entertainment’. The evening entertainment in the Grand Salon will include dancing, a classical performance, a show performed by a small group of professional dancers or a film in the lecture theatre. The focus of the cruise is rather more on the land programmes and included excursions…rather than the latest West End hits!
My cabin onboard was a ‘Prestige Stateroom with private balcony’ on Deck 4. An 18 sqm little oasis with a gorgeous balcony to take in the views from. The amenities in the stateroom included:
- Individually-controlled airconditioning
- Stateroom layout: king-size bed, or twin beds, interconnecting sStaterooms available (Children welcome)
- Flat screen satellite TV
- Bose™ Bluetooth speaker
- Desk with stationery
- Hermès® bath products
- Dressing table, bath robes, hairdryer
- Direct line telephone
- 110V American (two flat pins) / 220V European (round sockets with two round pins)
- 24hr room service
- Inclusive Internet access Wifi
Have you been on Le Lyrial? Or are you interested in booking your dream cruise holiday on board a beautiful Ponant Expedition Yacht? Take a look at Ponant cruises here. Don't hesitate to get in touch on 0161 513 8200 for more information.
Thanks to Amy Sharpe for providing this article.