PONANT Adriatic Cruise - French Elegance - trip report
Adriatic Cruise on L'Austral. We cruised the Adriatic Sea on the L’Austral, a small boutique luxury ship in the French-owned Ponant fleet. The cruise began and ended in Venice, and visited ports along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Here is a report on this truly wonderful cruise.
Game Changer. This trip totally changed our view of cruising. Cruises are no longer the province of vast hordes of sedentary passengers on a monstrous ship. Cruising is a totally different game now. There are all kinds of cruises including cruises catering to those who want to explore exotic destinations unreachable by large ships, want hiking or sporting activities, want a boutique luxury experience, want a sailing ship, a river boat, etc. Our ship, L’Austral, held 270 passengers, with a mix from all over Europe and the US. Interesting group.
Venice - Piazza San Marco
Venice departure. We took off from Venice (where we had arrived for a brief pre-cruise visit). Sailing out of Venice with a champagne send-off was lovely.
Split - Roman ruins
Split and its Roman ruins. Sailing at night, we arrived at our first destination in the morning – Split, Croatia, with Roman ruins in the heart of this ancient attractive city. We started by climbing to a park overlooking the city for the pretty view, then exploring the ruins intertwined with shops and restaurants.
Korcula. After another night at sea, we arrive at Korcula, on the island of Korcula. This is another old fortified city. After exploring the city, we took a water taxi down the island to a beach for a swim and then lunch.
Korcula - water taxi to the beach
Kotor’s castle. The next day we arrive in Kotor, situated in a dramatic fjord. A pretty town with a castle high above it. We started our day climbing up to the castle for the stunning view of the town and the fjord, then explored the town.
Kotor - kayaking in the fjord
Dubrovnik, the walled city. Our next day we visited the famous ancient walled city of Dubrovnik.
Rampart walls. Walking the 12th century rampart walls circling the city provides dazzling vistas looking out and looking down on the town.
Hvar. Our next port of call was the town of Hvar on the Island of Hvar. A lovely harbor, a castle overhead, a large 1000-year-old cobblestone plaza polished with age, a multitude of restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels. A great destination!
Dubrovnik - street sculpture
Hvar - beaches
Pula and its Roman ruins. Our next stop was the ancient town of Pula, with rich Roman ruins including a Roman amphitheater far more intact than the Colosseum in Rome.
Pula - Roman artifacts
We then returned to Venice, where we started (see our Venice report!)
L’Austral. L’Austral was really a lovely ship. Small enough to feel intimate. But big enough to provide all the creature comforts of indoor and outdoor dining, a pool, spa, theatre, and a just the right amount of passengers. And a warmly engaging crew from the captain on down. See more on Ponant's website.
Elegant dining. The food on L’Austral was incredible and the dining elegant whether alfresco, or in the sleek dining room.
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