French cruise line Ponant's newest vessel Le Lyrial

It’s a cold blustery morning when Le Lyrial finally appears across Marseille’s harbour. Sharp in her lines, her look is something on which a James Bond super-villain might be found, rather than the floating apartment blocks cruise ships can resemble. It’s only appropriate that she resembles an upscale yacht. Ponant, the French line which operates Le Lyrial, is originally famous for its three-masted super yacht ‘Le Ponant’. It was only in 2010 that a record multi-million dollar investment in new builds saw Ponant expand into larger vessels and subsequently to markets beyond its traditionally French-speaking world.

While Ponant has increased the size of its vessels, the luxurious nature and commitment to service that solidified Le Ponant as one of the world’s premier cruise experiences has been maintained through the upgraded fleet. Sailing with a ratio of around one crew member for every one and a half passengers, it’s easy to see how such standards are maintained. Upon boarding Le Lyrial, it is evident that the passion for service comes from the top, with each passenger personally greeted by the Captain and a multitude of officers before being escorted to your stateroom or suite.

It’s upon arrival at our Deck 6 Grand Prestige Suite that we are introduced into the beautiful modern chic interiors that would be just as suitable in a beach house in Bondi as they are aboard the ship.  The only hint that we may not be within walking distance of the beach is a beautiful print showing an abstract angle of an iceberg – a cool insight into our eventual destination. Beautiful hues of blue and crisp whites appoint the spacious 49 square metre suite.  Stunning mood lighting makes even the most jetlagged of faces look refreshed and revitalised.

Split into two spaces, one featuring a living/entertaining area and a master bedroom, our mid forward location was perfect for our intercontinental adventure. With over a month to come on board, we took advantage of the ample space available by hosting not only a cocktail party but also dinner parties in our suite, with the dining table providing room for our new friends and ourselves.  Two bathrooms (one full ensuite featuring a Jacuzzi tub and a guest bathroom) allow for a private facility should your guests require one.

Stay tuned for the next update from onboard Le Lyrial tomorrow.