Understated and elegant, Ponant's 264-passenger L’Austral takes cruisers to explore remote regions of the globe in considerable style. The mega-yacht is streamlined and sophisticated, with a subdued palette and an abundance of white leather in the cabins, where a glass panel in the bathroom allows natural light to illuminate the opalescent-white tiling and dark teak floors.
What We Love
The Focus on Food: Ponant recently announced that it will join forces with Ducasse Conseil, a catering consulting business run by Alain Ducasse, to ensure the already superb cuisine in Le Coromandel — as well as other restaurants in the line's five-ship fleet — is taken to new heights.
Wellness Amenities: Managed by Paris-based Sothys and using only its products, L'Austral's spa offers professional massage therapies and body treatments. There’s also a hammam, a fitness center, and a Kinesis wall.
Best Known For
Luxe Accommodations: The ship has six categories of cabins, all decorated in soothing variations of grey, taupe, and ivory. Only the seven smaller Cabin Superior units are without private balconies.
Creative Itineraries: L’Austral sets its compass to the edges of the globe, offering leisurely cruises to Asia, Northern Europe and Greenland, Arctic Canada, Australia, and Pacific Russia.
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Who It's Best For
Dedicated Cruisers Seeking Experiential Sailings: There’s typically a convivial bunch of international passengers on board who are interested in exploring lesser-traveled regions. Well-run tours are offered in both English and French, although in remote regions Ponant is constrained by available transportation.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Entertainment Doesn't Always Translate: Shows in the La Compagnie Theatre are geared toward a French audience and can be a bit hit-or-miss, but the parties at Le Comptoir pool bar are often lively.
Gary Buchanan is a UK-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written multiple books about cruising.
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L'Austral at a Glance
- Line: Ponant
- Number of Passengers: 264
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2011