APT Aegean & Adriatic Cruise

As some of you may know, I was recently asked to go on the APT Adriatic & Aegean 14-night cruise on board Ponant’s Le Lyrial.

What a magnificent journey! Departing Venice, cruising along the Croatian coast, transiting the Corinth Canal, going to Athens, the Greek Islands, Turkey and finishing back in Athens. This cruise had the best of everything, great ship board experience, plus a new port to experience every day. This APT sailing is slightly more active than a normal APT tour, but each shore excursion had active, normal and easy options, so everyone is catered for. I’ll post more about our adventures in the following days, but for now our Le Lyrial sailing.

Le Lyrial is just a small ship but what she’s lacks in size she makes up for in personality. Only 200 cabins (all with balcony) but at no time did the ship feel small, nor did we feel crowded in any of the public spaces. In fact, it was a feeling that we were on our own private yacht! Beautifully presented with understated elegance it was a home away from home. The staff were amazing, always very attentive and friendly. Within one day they knew our name and our preferences. Nothing was too much trouble and they went out of their way to make us feel very welcome, from the captain to our cabin attendant.

Le Lyrial is a fully inclusive cruise experience, so all meals, drinks and shore tours included. Premium beverages could still be purchased if required, as could a wine pairing experience at dinner. The mini bar and room service is also included. Nothing like sitting on your balcony in the morning, and having breakfast! Being a French cruise line, the food is incredible. I definitely needed to do lots of walking on the shore tours! There is a choice of the buffet restaurant, or the main restaurant, and both are excellent. Breakfast is served in the main dining room (or in your cabin if pre-ordered) and if you get peckish during the day, there is a different themed afternoon tea served daily in the main bar. I'd recommend trying the chocolate afternoon tea! 

The Ponant shop has a range of gifts and Ponant themed clothes and accessories and the spa is the ideal place to relax. There is a photographer and videographer on board, and you can buy the photos/videos at the end of the cruise. A nice souvenir to take away.

After a full day, relax in one of the three bars or perhaps take in a show. The theatre seats all passengers in the one sitting and the shows are fantastic. Not all are in the theatre - depending on the weather, the show may be poolside!

For those with an engineering bent there is an option to visit the bridge and the engine room along with the normal daily activities aside from the shore tours. Being a small ship, she can get into locations and ports that larger ships cannot. Also, when tendering, the process is easy and quick with only 400 passengers. It doesn’t take long at all.

Le Lyrial not only cruises in Europe but also does an Antarctic season. I would not hesitate to sail on any of the Ponant vessels and would encourage you to put them on your travel list.

By Deanna Napier

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