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Le Boreal Review

Find a Le Boreal Cruise from £3,009

Le Boreal
4.0 / 5.0
56 reviews

Pros
Multiple dining venues, lots of balcony cabins and regular wildlife sightings
Cons
Limited evening entertainment
Bottom Line
An upscale cruise experience in adventurous surroundings

About

Passengers
264

Crew
144

Passenger to Crew
1.83:1

Launched
2010

Shore Excursions
200
Sails To
Antarctica, South America, South Pacific, Alaska, Baltic Sea
Ponant Cruise Deals
Jayne Clark
Cruise Critic Contributor

Le Boreal Overview

Le Boreal, like other ships of its class in the Ponant fleet, is a stunning vessel, with sleek lines and an unusual dark-gray hull that makes it stand out in port. Capable of expedition sailing, the ship has an upscale feel that is unashamedly French: It's chic, the service can be a little slow or arrogant at times, and the passengers are well-heeled, savvy travelers.

Whether or not the passengers are mostly French depends on the itinerary. Ponant has been targeting a more international market with considerable success and also does a booming charter market. Announcements on the ship are made in both French and English, and the menu is designed to accommodate all tastes.

Le Boreal's interiors are like those of a minimalist boutique hotel. Everything is taupe, cream and white, with an emphasis on luxurious textures, from leather-fronted white drawers in the cabin to taupe silk cushions on the bed. Black-and-white Philip Plisson photo art lines the corridors. A cascade of glittering Swarovski crystals glistens in the small atrium.

What distinguishes the ship from other upscale vessels is its adventurous itineraries. Le Boreal is ice-strengthened, so it can sail to Antarctica and the Arctic, destinations that are mixed up with off-the-beaten-track European itineraries, as well as the South Pacific and South America. The ship carries a fleet of Zodiac landing crafts for getting ashore and for sightseeing in remote locations. There's a strong emphasis on coastal cruising, with long days in port, overnights and late departures, so you feel you're part of a destination, rather than just calling for a day.

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Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals
  • Wine and spirits (except premium wines and spirits)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Mini-bar stocked with mineral water, juices and spirits
  • Gratuities 

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Premium wines and liquors
  • Spa treatments
  • Photos and videos
  • Shore excursions
  • Transfers to and from the ship

Top Le Boreal Itineraries

Le Boreal
8 night europe - northern cruise

Bergen, Olden, Geiranger, Tromso, Tromso

8 NIGHT Europe - Northern CRUISE

Le Boreal

View All Ponant Le Boreal Itineraries (17)

Fellow Passengers

Clientele varies dramatically according to the season, with younger families traveling during European school holidays and older couples attracted to the longer cruises to more remote locations. A typical cruise might draw about 55 percent of the passengers from France, with the rest hailing from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany and countries as far afield as Japan and Brazil.

Language onboard is not an issue. The maitre d' will seat you at an English-speaking table at dinner, if you ask, and all the mainly Indonesian crew speak English (often better than they speak French). There will always be English-speaking excursions when there are international passengers onboard, and announcements are made in English, as well as in French.

Several passengers were traveling in extended family groups, and kids ranged from 7 or 8 years old to teenagers. All the children were well behaved, and the teens certainly livened up the dance floor at night. The ship has a small dedicated area for children, which has video games, books and board games, but there's no special programming for the younger set. Children are a rarity on the ship's expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic.

A word about smoking: All the inside areas of the ship and cabin balconies are nonsmoking. But on my cruise, there were a lot of smokers, and the outdoor bar and the outdoor lounge area behind the Main Lounge were often places smokers, including officers, would congregate. Naturally, this will vary from cruise to cruise, but for anybody who objects strongly to smoking, it might be worth bearing in mind.


Ponant Le Boreal Dress Code

Daytime: Casual in the main areas; people dress for sightseeing. Warmer clothes are necessary for expedition sailings. The line gives passengers their own parka for polar cruises.

Nighttime: Passengers were seriously chic, and women will want to pack dresses, nice pants and blouses for the nonexpedition sailings.

Formal night: Women are advised to pack a cocktail dress and some heels for the dressier nights, which brought out the Louis Vuitton and Missoni. Men do wear summer blazers or jackets on formal nights.

Ponant Le Boreal Inclusions

Included in your cruise fare:

  • All meals
  • Wine and spirits (except premium wines and spirits)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Mini-bar stocked with mineral water, juices and spirits
  • Gratuities 

Not included in your cruise fare:

  • Premium wines and liquors
  • Spa treatments
  • Photos and videos
  • Shore excursions
  • Transfers to and from the ship

Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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Le Boreal Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.4
Dining4.53.9
Entertainment4.03.3
Public Rooms4.04.5
Fitness Recreation3.03.6
Family2.01
Enrichment4.03.9
Service4.04.3
Value For Money4.04

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More about Ponant Le Boreal

Where does Ponant Le Boreal sail from?

Ponant Le Boreal departs from Ushuaia, Tahiti, Miami, Colon, Cristobal, Honolulu, Dover, Dover, Bergen and Tromso

How much does it cost to go on Ponant Le Boreal?

Cruises on Ponant Le Boreal start from £3,009 per person.

Awards and Recognition

Ponant Le Boreal Member Reviews

CJSANDFS
Sail Date: Feb 2019
Le Boreal is an elegant and well maintained ship with wonderful staff. It was very annoying not to get our travel documents until 2 weeks before departure.... Read More
Valann12
Sail Date: Dec 2018
Le Boreal is a sleek but sturdy ship. The cabin was comfortable and the food excellent. It is mildly annoying to have every announcement in French then English.... Read More
LizzieL
Sail Date: Jul 2018
We joined Le Boreal in Longyearbyen on the A & K chartered cruise on 27 July.... Read More
SeashellOzz
Sail Date: Oct 2018
We enjoyed four days in Honolulu prior to the arrival of Le Boreal. The ship was actually a day late as she had been stuck in ice attempting a Northwest Passage transit in August.... Read More

Ponant Fleet

Le Ponant
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The 64-passenger Le Ponant is a three-masted sailing ship that sails for Ponant, and is also chartered by other cruise lines, including Tauck.

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Le Boreal
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Launched in 2009 and ice-strengthened for Arctic and Antarctica itineraries, Le Boreal was the first in a series of 264-passenger cruising yachts commissioned by Ponant.

Ponant Le Boreal Cruises to Antarctica Ponant Le Boreal Cruises to South America View All Ponant Le Boreal Cruises
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