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L’Austral D’Light

Dear WoC We have just returned from a cruise on the L’Austral of Compagnie du Ponant and it was certainly one of the best cruises we have done! Here are a few words to tempt the tastebuds of other potential cruisers. The visual impact is impressive. Designed with pleasing

refinement and sleek lines, it is a vision of impeccable elegance and restrained good taste, inviting one to venture aboard to explore and discover more of this enticing yacht-like ship. No disappointment here – stepping inside, a cool and welcoming reception area, enhanced by charming staff, awaits discerning guests. Proceed through the spacious lounge and bar areas, where the rich smell of immaculate, comfortable white leather furniture is gorgeously inviting. Outside, on the aft deck, glass in hand and comfortably seated on sumptuously cushioned rattan furniture was an incredible feeling, in perfect harmony with the ‘sound and vision’ of the wake.

And so to bed – delightful, well-planned, ship-shape suites, the piece de resistance being the shower with sliding glass panel, affording more than a ‘naked eye’ view beyond the verandah as the ship slices through the waters. The Dining experiences are memorable – delicious food, served graciously on fine bone china with gleaming cutlery and elegantly stemmed wine glasses. No shortage of oysters in large baskets and rich foie gras, not forgetting the amazing ‘floating island’ dessert. The feeling of being on a ‘voyage’ rather than just another holiday is greatly enhanced by the ‘Navigation’ information given by the personable, sociable and so knowledgeable Commandant. It is noteworthy that the lifeboat drill on this yacht, which is meticulously and immaculately maintained, was the most comprehensive we have ever experienced. No comment is complete without a reference to the

charming, courteous, friendly, considerate and highly efficient staff, all of who contributed to the ‘feelgood’ factor on this yacht. Mary Isabel Wallace, Alloway, Ayr, UK


Dear WoC I refer to the letter from James Eldridge of London in the Autumn Edition (Issue 52) on the subject of the disabled aboard cruise ships. He will obviously not be using this hospital ship, the Queen Victoria, again for which I will be truly grateful. I am one of these old men who he accuses of whizzing around the decks and in the cafeteria on my mobility scooter – which will do a maximum 4mph with the wind behind me! He’s lucky if he is able to jump out of the way of a speeding scooter; I can only manage to drag myself along for a few steps with the aid of sticks when off my scooter – I would willingly swap places with Mr Eldridge if that was possible and, should he ever become disabled in the future, he would understand what I’m saying.

I have cruised on Queen Victoria on three occasions and have my fourth cruise booked in 2012. And I have managed so far not to break anyone’s limbs! I am truly grateful to Cunard and all its wonderful and helpful staff, who look after me in the way they do so I am able to enjoy a great holiday like this. Many thanks, too, to the many able-bodied passengers who do go out of their way to be helpful to me in my predicament. R Hickling, Malvern, Worcs, UK


Dear WoC I read with interest the letter in your Autumn issue from Elaine Lloyd. I travelled with my wife and another couple on a two-week cruise in the Western Mediterranean on Oceana in August and reading Elaine’s letter reminded me of our experience, which was much the same as hers. Much of the crew were indifferent most of the time and were well trained in their poor response to any complaint. We have cruised with P&O in the past and found

Victoria and Oceana both very good and left with happy memories. So, what has happened to Oceana? I made an appointment to see the Executive Purser to make my complaints known, one of which was the ship was now run more on the lines of a Butlins Holiday Camp. He informed me P&O had made the decision to downgrade both Oceana as well as Ventura in the hope of attracting a different class of passenger. Well, it worked, but not for me. We shall never travel with P&O again and our friends (who were first-time cruisers) have stated they have been put off cruising forever. What a shame when there are some excellent cruise lines who give excellent service at all times. David Duncan-Skingle, via e-mail

8 WORLD OF CRUISING I Winter 2011-12

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