Winter at Tantora

Ponant’s Le Soléal

by Nicole Quasté

Dec 11, 2017

Ponant © Ukrphoto | Dreamstime

Reviews / Other

This fall, I had the pleasure of touring French cruise operator Ponant’s Le Soléal ship while it docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal for its maiden call to the city.

Unlike larger cruise ships, the 132-room Le Soléal felt intimate from the moment we boarded. Though it is a smaller ship, we were welcomed to an open, airy lobby boasting a clean, chic, modern design. The ship’s elegance was immediately palpable. The luxurious décor was simple but beautiful, with natural wood and shades of grey and white. The staterooms had plenty of space, while the large private balconies exceeded expectations.

One of my favorite rooms was the Panoramic Lounge, a space boasting comfortable seating, nautical colors, a library, internet desk, cocktail bar and live music. The lounge offers access to a terrace and great views. There’s also an open-air bar overlooking the pool deck and a main lounge, where afternoon tea and cocktails are served as well as live music and a dance floor.

We were fortunate enough to enjoy lunch while onboard in the ship’s elegant dining room, boasting French and international cuisine and fine wines.

Even a short visit demonstrated the cruise company’s impeccable, personalized service — a benefit of smaller-ship cruising in general but also distinctly Ponant.

The cruise line will launch four new Explorer ships in 2018–2019, as well as the world’s first underwater multisensory lounge called Blue Eye. The lounge will be located under the water line, featuring two glass portholes shaped like the eye of a whale allowing guests to look out under the ocean. Digital screens will adorn the walls projecting images filmed by live underwater cameras, and a sound system will play a natural symphony of the sea.

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