L’Austral
Ponant
 
 
lobby
L’Austral
Ponant
 
lobby
 
Deluxe Suite
L’Austral
Ponant
 
Deluxe Suite
 
Superior Stateroom
L’Austral
Ponant
 
Superior Stateroom
 

L’Austral

Luxury Cruises with Ponant

With its charcoal grey hull and sleek lines, the 264-passenger L'Austral looks like a smart yacht but is, in fact, far from purely decorative; its ice-strengthened hull means it's built for tough, polar cruising and can cope with most conditions, including the Antarctic ice. A fleet of inflatable Zodiacs is stored on the upper deck, ready to ferry passengers ashore in remote locations. In 2015, the ship will sail in Australasia, Japan, Alaska, the South Pacific and Antarctica, offering in-depth, expedition-style excursions.

Inside, though, L'Austral is all boutique chic, with tasteful fittings in cream, grey, gold and red. The staterooms are spacious and carefully thought through, with features like leather-padded cupboard doors and softly closing drawers. Stylish, black-and-white nautical photos adorn the walls and the furnishings in the lounge are cream, chocolate and gold.

There are two places to eat. The main dining room, The Gastronomic Restaurant, serves fine, French-influenced dishes, course by course, and is open seating. You can reserve a table in The Grill for the evening; by day, it's a casual buffet and at night, there's a menu and romantic outside tables.

The Grill restaurant opens out onto a teak-surround pool area with sunloungers. The Open Air Bar on Zanzibar Deck, which doubles up as a nightclub, with DJ, under the stars, is the perfect spot for people-watching or enjoying a late-afternoon cocktail. Other activities include music recitals in the lounge and organised children's games in summer, although as most of the passengers are European, children tend to be treated like small adults and will dine with their parents at night.

L'Austral has a small spa, too, run by Parisian company Sothys, as well as a gym.

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