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North West Passage 2022- Le Boreal


gogo65
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Good to hear from you - hope you have great weather and safe passage, with lots of wildlife sightings.

 

Bummer that you can't get a haircut. Maybe you'll have to do what Chris did to me during the pandemic - just grab a pair of scissors and start snipping!

 

What's Plan B for your OBC? If there are others in your situation, I suspect that there might be a run on the premium wine list. That would be my default plan, I'm sure.

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16 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

Good to hear from you - hope you have great weather and safe passage, with lots of wildlife sightings.

 

Bummer that you can't get a haircut. Maybe you'll have to do what Chris did to me during the pandemic - just grab a pair of scissors and start snipping!

 

What's Plan B for your OBC? If there are others in your situation, I suspect that there might be a run on the premium wine list. That would be my default plan, I'm sure.

We had an announcement today of a pod of orca whales, they were a little way off so no photos, but it was the start of things to come.

Luckily I had a haircut and colour the day before we left home, DH on the other hand….

I trimmed Tims hair in lockdown (never done before) and accidentally took the cover thingy off, and gave him a bit of a shave behind his ear 🤣, it was OK no one saw him because we were in lockdown (except for his work Skype meetings!).

There was one excursion that had an additional cost that we have booked so that uses a portion of it, we spent €400 in the shop today buying things we don't need, and will likely either buy some nice bottles of wine, some Johnnie walker blue each night or Tim will get the premium pass.

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8 hours ago, gogo65 said:

We have been  advised that breakfast and lunch will always be in the buffet and dinner always in the main restaurant. This is again disappointing (to us), we enjoy  breakfast in the dining room, instead we only have the option of buffet and so far it has been pretty average, food is cold and overcooked. You can order a few things cooked to order so will try that tomorrow. Coffee is bad in the buffet, so we need to have coffee after breakfast either from the observatory lounge (with differing opening times) or the main lounge.

 

Ugh.

 

Unless there's a staffing issue, I'd ask for coffee to be brought from the Observatory Lounge. If you're ordering a cappuccino or something like that, it's coming from the same Nespresso machine anyway.

 

If the breakfast quality doesn't improve tomorrow, I think it's worth discussing with the restaurant manager. One would hope "to order" items are properly prepared.

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11 hours ago, AussieBoyTX said:

 

Ugh.

 

Unless there's a staffing issue, I'd ask for coffee to be brought from the Observatory Lounge. If you're ordering a cappuccino or something like that, it's coming from the same Nespresso machine anyway.

 

If the breakfast quality doesn't improve tomorrow, I think it's worth discussing with the restaurant manager. One would hope "to order" items are properly prepared.

Fresh omelette was good 👍🏽 

 

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3am wake up call for the northern lights!

Ran out in my PJ’s and red parka everyone else suitably dressed 😂

Afternoon spent in Reykjavik yesterday, as this was not a planned stop they pulled together two options:

1: a two hour bus tour of the city

2: a stop at thermal pools for a €110

As we have been to Reykjavik before we just did the tour just to get off the ship.

Feedback was not good, the guide was boring and we spent more time in traffic than seeing sites, we got out 3 times and the rest of the tour was on the bus.

Luckily we’ve been before so didn’t feel like we were missing much. 
Our last time there was after a Silversea cruise when we had to arrive a day early due to a ship inspection, they offered a much wider complimentary selection, we did a four hour 4wd tour which was much more interesting.

We then had 5 days by ourselves to do the usual excursions.

 

 

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Edited by gogo65
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27 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

OK now I am officially insanely jealous!

 

We have been to Reykjavik twice in the winter, with tons of darkness, to try and see the Northern Lights. Both times - dense clouds. Love your pictures. What a sight!

What we need is a travel insurance policy that covers cloudy nights!

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On 9/1/2022 at 7:16 PM, jpalbny said:

OK now I am officially insanely jealous!

 

We have been to Reykjavik twice in the winter, with tons of darkness, to try and see the Northern Lights. Both times - dense clouds. Love your pictures. What a sight!

Ahh JP,

we’ve also had a few attempts to see the northern lights, one was Lapland in a glass igloo, a cruise to Svalbard and also Iceland. We were trying not to get excited about the possibility as we didn’t want to be let down again..

We’ve been lucky seeing them 3 nights in a row.

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We’ve just arrived in Greenland after two more days at sea. We spend a week here going up the west coast, with stops in multiple communities on the way.

Today was Aappilattoq, a small community of just over 100 people. The choir put a little performance on in the church which was very sweet.

We’ve managed to see lots of whales and the captain has circled for us so we all get to see.

The northern lights have again been out playing every night. Last night there was a lot of cloud but it was very beautiful. 
 

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6 hours ago, jpalbny said:

That's spectacular. My view from work next week will not compare. Wishing you continued good weather and sightings, both day and night. 

You don't get the Northern Lights in Albany???  I thought you were so close to Canada that you must see them.  [HaHa from the NYC area.  Part of the major NYC-area controversy, "Where does 'Upstate' begin...]

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On 9/1/2022 at 6:16 PM, jpalbny said:

OK now I am officially insanely jealous!

 

We have been to Reykjavik twice in the winter, with tons of darkness, to try and see the Northern Lights. Both times - dense clouds. Love your pictures. What a sight!

 

Slightly OT and hugely off-the-wall:  New French Cruise Line starting Feb. 2023 with Aurora Borealis theme cruise:

https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/new-french-cruise-line-cfc-revive-long-sea-voyages

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Unfortunately due to poor internet I’m not going to be able to do a day by day account so will give a few updates where possible.

We’ve managed to view the northern lights 4 nights so far.

 

It’s been an eventful few days visiting multiple Inuit communities, visiting the UNESCO listed Disko bay, which had the northern hemispheres largest icebergs. 
On Thursday night we were woken with a loud bang and shudder, followed by a very Rocky night. Captain announced the next morning we had hit two icebergs and damaged a stabilizer, two days of rocking and rolling and they have finally fixed the stabilizer.

 

We were Sitting in our Room one day and we could small something burning, the smell got worse until we realised our fridge was on fire. Called the emergency number and they were able to isolate our cabin and turn the power off immediately, a few minutes later they came down emptied the fridge and took it away… apparently it’s not the first time and it wasn’t the last, two days later our neighbours fridge did the same thing. 

Yesterday we were treated to our first polar bear, a sighting not expected as it was very close to an Inuit community and they are still hunted.

 

 

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On 9/9/2022 at 8:42 PM, 10987654321 said:

Last night we all appeared to have been given a survey of the cruise so far, and how it could be improved.

With only 6 lines to reply it appears they don’t really want to hear the answer.

As 10-1 mentioned, they provided a feedback form, I’m not sure they were expecting such detailed feedback.
There are certainly some issues that have impacted the cruise, very poor communication and issues with food/catering.

Some real difficulties communicating in English, when I called the emergency number in regards to our fridge fire the girl could not understand me or the word ‘fire’. Trying to order room service is a nightmare and there has been multiple times where food/drinks have been wasted due to staff not understanding what has been ordered. 
As we do not have the option of the buffet at dinner, if the dining room does not appeal the only option is room service and the always available menu, unfortunately the options are appalling…

Beef burger, chicken burger, club sandwich, rib eye and salmon. No salads, pasta or any other variety. I’ve actually not eaten dinner at all some nights due to the choices on the menu.

There were many complaints after a hike was explained as short, medium and long, rather than level of difficulty. The hikes were in fact clambering over rocks and long grasses (mid thigh), many pulled out within a minute or two.

I managed the medium hike (250m elevation), which was the halfway point of the long hike, approx 3hour return trip, luckily I did the hike with an English speaking naturalist who stopped and explained about the vegetation etc and allowed one to catch their breath.

My husband (and 10-1) did the long hike, when asked if they could stop and take photos they were advised they should have chosen the medium hike, the hike was aimed at the staff who went on the hike rather than the passengers with an average age of over 60. Some people got out of the zodiac and couldn’t even walk up the embankment due to steepness. 
the expedition leader seems to forget his target audience!

I don’t want this to be a negative experience and we certainly have some amazing staff that are going out of their way to ensure we are having a great time, we’ve met some lovely people and have seen and experienced some amazing things, but unfortunately Ponant need to take note of the multiple complaints and make changes so that we can experience what we have paid for. 

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This is absolutely heartbreaking! The level of service you've received is unacceptable, and I really hope they get their act together soon. Your experience makes me incredibly concerned about the ocean voyage we will be taking in November. The thought of no masseuse and not being able to order a salad on a nine day cruise with no stops makes me a little stressed. Sending all the prayers and good vibes your way!

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On 8/27/2022 at 9:58 PM, starcluster2 said:

I find your comments useful and informative. Hope that you can keep it up. I will be on Boreal in November for their first cruise in the Antarctic and looking forward to the trip.  (Anyone else on that trip?) Everything 'seems' to be falling in place for the trip but after all the cancellations that I've had from Ponant I'm still on the anxious side.  You mentioned a medical form as one of the heath requirements. I have been hearing that a medical is no longer required by Ponant - can you tell me what this was all about?

 

I hope that ice will not be a problem - it seems these days that the Arctic is fast becoming 'de-iced'  so to speak with climate change. And, here's hoping for great weather for you!

@starcluster2 My husband and I are also on the Le Boreal Great Austral Loop trip departing on Nov. 22nd, so we will look forward to seeing you on board! After 2 years of no proper traveling, I cannot wait for this trip! 
 

Regarding your question on the medical form, per my TA (and because I really really wanted to confirm, I also called and checked), Ponant does not require the doctor filled out form of years past. Now it is a self-atteststion form that confirms your physical fitness level and  medications, but that’s all. Hope this helps. 

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I mentioned on 10-1’s thread, about our delays in Pond Inlet due to paperwork and resulting missing of Beechey Island after the ship was not given permission to sail in Canadian waters, many unhappy people due to what appears to be incompetence on Ponants behalf. 
We had a meeting with the hotel manager and he has made some changes to food options which has been helpful. However, little things continue to annoy. I think I’ll leave it at that for now….

 

Pond inlet was a bit of a dive, but a mandatory stop due to customs and immigration. The community put on a good show that was enjoyable.

As previously mentioned we were unable to do the hike from the ruins due to a 3 hour delay disembarking. 
Pond Inlet does not have the same charm as the Greenland Inuit communities and appears to be very westernized.

Ponant picked up a community member Sarah for a week (who resides in Pond Inlet and wanting to be a guide), she was meant to enhance our experience and knowledge of the everyday life.

We had dinner with her one night which was lovely.

However, one of the expedition staff did a little interview with her at a briefing and it was obvious things weren’t going to plan…

Q:What is your normal diet, what type of hunting do you do and how long are you away for?

A: hamburgers, Chinese, junk food, coke 😂

They just go in their trucks for a day but we just get our meat from the supermarket! 
So while we found it amusing and I’m sure Sarah has loved the experience I’m not sure it added a great deal to the experience. 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So we disembarked in Nome on the 25th September and after a few days in Seattle and a day in Singapore we made it home 48 hours ago.

I know 10-1 has updated his thread with some further details about the cruise, but thought id continue on the trip report, with more day to day details of our stopovers, so others may benefit, particularly if looking to book a NW Passage cruise.

I think generally the weather was much warmer then expected and as a result the expected landscapes were baron and harsh instead of white and beautiful, so for others considering the trip take that into account because one never knows how the weather will play. In 2018 the NW passage was closed due to ice, this year our only issue was no ice 🤷‍♀️

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