L’Austral Cruise from Malaysia to Borneo to Darwin

Was I crazy as a young mid-forties mother of an eight and six year old to embark upon a luxury French Expedition Cruise Ship? Wouldn’t there be more appropriate travel plans for a young family? Turns out, my seeming illogic was absolutely brilliant! And the cruise was BRILLIANT. Our captain, crew and expedition director attended to our every need with the utmost professionalism.

Our 12 day journey began in Malaysia and ended in Darwin. I was naïve to the beauty of this part of the world and didn’t expect to get to experience it so first-hand, up close and personal. Excursions were so exceptionally run delving into the local culture they made my children’s eyes pop out as my family created memories on this journey we will never forget.

Having never cruised before, I presumed the cruise would center around the ship with scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner times, activities on board, very regimented dos and don’ts. But it wasn’t that way at all. It was cleverly orchestrated mixture of getting to experience the rawness of parts of Borneo and Indonesia off the ship, down previously unexplored rivers to find Orangutans playing in the trees, buffalo racing in Indonesia, Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island, snorkeling in some of most beautiful remote archipelagos – all the while getting to experience the complete luxuries of a 5 star holiday on board L’Austral.

Much to my relief and the delight of my children, the cuisine was delicious and in an environment which was relaxed – fine dining but not stuffy dining. We enjoyed fabulous food options suitable for all age palates.

The cabins were perfectly appointed and interconnecting by balcony. The ship itself left us wanting for nothing. Its design was extremely classy and more than comfortable. Impressive yet didn’t feel too precious. Intimate but still vibrant and welcoming. L’Austral is so skillfully designed with all the facilities of a huge cruise ship but done in such understated elegance featuring two restaurants, three bars, a piano room, games room, gym, pool, theatre and spa. There is a place and space for everyone of all ages.

No wonder we didn’t want for anything in 12 days. It’s official – I’m a Cruise Convert. Thank you Ponant!

by Head of Corporate Sally Bird

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