I’ve never really been a cruiser, preferring to travel with the mobility and flexibility of my own itinerary. However, when sailing to Antarctica, cruising is by far the most practical option. My experience on Le Boreal was nothing short of perfect, and I’ll be the first to admit our cruise to Antarctica changed everything!
For our 17 day expedition, we boarded the Le Boreal, a cruise ship owned and operated by the French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant. With 132 gorgeous cabins for 264 passengers and 140 crew members, Le Boreal is an all-inclusive luxury cruise that honestly puts many 5-star hotels to shame.
Read on for my full review of sailing to Antarctica on board the Le Boreal!
11/10 if I could give it such a rating! Each cabin comes with:
- A full balcony (really a lifesaver for those who are prone to seasickness)
- King/queen bed
- Gorgeous bathroom with Sothys and L’Occitaine toiletries
- Flat screen TV
- Wi-Fi (yes, Wi-Fi in Antarctica!)
- iPod chargers
- Luxurious interior designs
- Everything expected from a high end hotel room
We stayed in two adjacent cabins, and a sliding partition between ensured optional privacy. The designs are sleek, minimalist, with taupe/cream/white color schemes and white leather, satin, silk, and marble textures. Everything felt like a chic boutique hotel.
Le Boreal is a French cruise, and the food was absolutely out of this world. There are two main places to eat, the main dining room (Le Coromandel) on Deck 2, and the casual Deck 6 dining area (Le Rodrigues.) The two areas serve similar food each day, and as the cruise is all inclusive, my friends and I would often go for a nice set meal on Deck 2 to sample everything, then go up to Deck 6 to pig out on specific favorite dishes!
There’s a great variety of consistently changing food: dishes of foie gras, duck confit, veal, boar, and a constant crazy assortment of cheeses and desserts. I don’t know how they did it, but the kitchen made sure that even by the end of our trip we still ate fresh salad and vegetables! The crew is also extremely accommodating with dietary requirements, as we had many vegetarians and vegans on board.
Did I mention unlimited drinks? The cruise sommelier actually told us that Le Boreal stocked enough wine at a rate of 1 bottle of wine per person per day – children included! There was so much wine flowing, not to mention the abundance of different types of liquor as well.
Apart from the gorgeous natural scenery and exposure to wildlife, one of my favorite social memories from the trip was celebrating New Year’s on board, with a bar on an open deck. Needless to say, champagne spraying was involved!
Apart from the educational lectures that happened daily in the auditorium, entertainment facilities include game rooms, music, lounge areas, bar, pool, and even a disco! There’s also a spa with masseuses available and a gorgeous gym with panoramic views. There’s nothing quite like working out to the Antarctic landscape.
I’ve never met a more attentive staff than the crew on Le Boreal. They focused on safety, yet made sure everyone had the time of their lives. By the end of the trip, many of the passengers had become friends with the staff, and we even celebrated together for Christmas and New Year’s.
The passengers on board were from all around the world (Americans, Europeans, Australians, Asians, etc.) but all had one thing in common: a zest for exploration! Sailing to Antarctica, you really have to love travel. There were also a surprising number of younger passengers, from 5 year old children to teens and above, who all came with family.
Of course, no cruise to Antarctica would be complete without offshore activities! Le Boreal paired up with Abercrombie & Kent, and we would approach daily landings on zodiac boats. From visiting the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and actually setting foot on mainland Antarctica (!!!) there are a number of memorable experiences you will cherish for a lifetime. I do wish, though, that Le Boreal offered kayaking or overnight camping like some of the other cruise lines, but that’s a small personal preference.
For those hoping to do an Antarctic trip, I would highly recommend Le Boreal! Here’s a list below of other cruises with great reviews:
Do you have a dream trip, or have you wanted to visit Antarctica? Let me know what you’d like to see most below!
Note: As much as I wish they did, Le Boreal did not sponsor my trip to Antarctica, and all opinions are my own.