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    FAQs About Ocean Cruise Trips

FAQs about Ocean Cruise Trips

Helpful answers to frequently asked questions about our new Ocean Cruise Trips including: lodging, meals, itineraries and activities, support and more.

General Info

Commonly asked questions about small ship ocean cruising with Ponant are answered on Ponant's FAQ page. There you will find information on amenities, dress code, food, dietary restrictions, internet, etc.

Lodging

We sail on Ponant's luxurious yachts, which are built on an intimate human scale and are consistent with the level of comfort and service expected on a Backroads trip. Depending on availability, you can choose among several stateroom options, which vary in price based on size and location. Please refer to the Lodging tab on your trip's Backroads webpage or contact your Trip Consultant for details.

Please refer to the Dates & Prices tab for each itinerary or contact your Trip Consultant to see which ship is going to be used on a particular departure. On the Dates & Prices tab you'll also find information about stateroom category availability, floor plans and amenities: Iceland Ocean Cruise Walking & Hiking Tour.

Ponant ships offer a spa, pool, a hairdresser, laundry service, gym, as well as several bars and lounges.

When selecting a stateroom you may wonder whether you should pick port or starboard for better views. During cruising time, both sides have equal appeal.

Just like any hotel, we'll be sharing the ship with other guests. Depending on the ship being used on your trip, there may be 150 to 240 other guests on board. Backroads takes you away from the group through our shore excursions and there is ample common space on ship.

Stateroom bedding options are either one large bed (larger than queen size) or two twin beds.

The staterooms are not set up to provide a third or rollaway bed. On select ships there is an option to join two adjacent staterooms into a suite with a capacity for four persons.

Backroads has a minimum age requirement of at least 4 years old. For children aged 4 to 8, permission to board the ship must be requested by writing to Ponant. On Backroads Classic Trips, we are unable to accept reservations for children under the age of 14 and we allow only one family per departure traveling with a child or children 14 to 17 years old. Guests 18 and over are considered adults and are welcome on all Backroads trips.

Cell phone and data service is available in nearly all of the areas we visit on this trip. Backroads provides up to 100 minutes of complimentary wireless internet, after which you can purchase wi-fi access directly from the ship. Note that the connection may be slower than ideal or temporarily unavailable depending on the ship's location.

The electricity on ship is 220 Volt AC (European standard) and 110 Volt AC (North American standard). For safety reasons, the use of irons and hair irons is not allowed in the staterooms. The electricity in Iceland is 220 Volt AC (European standard) so if you are planning to travel in Iceland before or after your trip, a plug adapter is necessary if you plan to bring appliances from home. You may also need a converter, but many newer appliances, such as computers and digital devices, are designed to work/charge over a wide range of voltage levels.


Meals

Throughout the trip, there will be a combination of on-ship dining at Backroads group tables in one of the ship's two restaurants and at-your-leisure dining on board the ship. The on-ship dining experience will be complemented by some off-ship lunches and picnics that more fully immerse you in the local culture and cuisine.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary and unlimited throughout the cruise. This includes drinks from the minibar and room service but excludes a la carte premium alcoholic drinks.

The leaders will dine with guests most nights, and there will be dinners and lunches when you may eat at your leisure.


Backroads Activities & Itineraries

Weather and sea conditions may impact cruising schedules and shore activities. Should any unforeseen change happen during your cruise, we will work closely with Ponant's captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow.

Our daily itinerary is based on scheduled sailing and port arrival times and, as a result, some days have more opportunities for exploring on land while other days have more cruising time. The majority of sailing happens overnight so typically you'll arrive at the next port in the morning ready to hike.

Yes, multiple supported route options are offered each day as on any other Backroads trip. As with all Backroads trips, you are welcome to opt out of the planned activities and choose your own adventure as long as you're back on ship on time.

Yes. You are welcome to skip hikes and join one of the ship's excursions that day. Note that all Ponant shore excursions carry a fee, ranging from $59 to $259 per excursion. Advance on-ship registration is required, so be sure to connect with the onboard Ponant Excursion Desk.


Support

The number of Backroads leaders depends on the group size to maintain high a level of support during biking, walking & hiking, and other activities. There will be at least three leaders on trips up to 20 guests; four leaders on trips up to 30 guests; and correspondingly more leaders and vans on larger departures. Due to the unique nature of our active Ocean Cruise trips, we welcome more guests on each departure than on our land-based trips, which are limited to 20 guests for Walking & Hiking and 26 guests for Biking and Multi-Adventure trips. This allows us to create our own robust active community with that special Backroads camaraderie during our week-long journey. Sometimes walkers and bikers—and occasionally families—will travel aboard the same ship, but participate in separate activities with their own dedicated leaders. With our usual choice of fantastic route options each day, rest assured that you'll have plenty of like-minded travelers with whom to ride, hike or enjoy cultural interests. Our unique logistics model—which includes both onboard and onshore Backroads staff, plus additional leaders and vans—allows for meals and shore activities to be organized into smaller groups, ensuring the same unparalleled support and service as on any other Backroads trip.

One or two leaders will typically stay on the ship overnight and during daytime cruising while other leaders move equipment to the next port and prepare for your arrival on shore each day.


Emergencies

The ship departs promptly from each port in accordance with its sailing schedule, barring unforeseen river flow issues. Wallet-sized Safety Cards containing important contact information for the ship and your Cruise Director are handed out prior to every shore excursion and will be collected upon your return. The ship is unable to delay departure for guests who may not be on board. If you miss the ship while participating in a Backroads activity, your leaders will assist you with rejoining the ship at the next port. If you miss the ship for any other reason, your leaders can assist you in finding transportation or lodging, but neither Backroads nor Ponant is liable for any costs incurred if you miss the ship's departure.

The ships are fitted with fin stabilizers that adapt to the movements of the ship. This system compensates for the pitching and rolling to provide stability. Passengers who suffer from seasickness usually have greatly reduced symptoms and are often surprised to find that the ship's motion does not bother them. There is a medical center on board and the doctor is available at all times for emergencies.

Yes. For trip-specific information about arriving late and leaving early, speak to a Backroads Trip Consultant or see the Travel Planner. You may join or leave the trip at most scheduled ports and would be responsible for the costs of land transportation. Your Backroads Trip Leaders and the Ponant Cruise Director will be able to help make arrangements.


Booking an Ocean Cruise Trip

Possibly: if you plan on sharing a stateroom, you would both have to book a Backroads Ocean Cruise Trip, regardless of the amount of hiking you plan to do. However, if you are going to use separate staterooms, your non-hiking travel companion(s) may book their cruise through Ponant. Note that if booked through Ponant, you will not be able to join Backroads activities.

Each trip departure has one or more stateroom options. Availability of suites is limited so we suggest booking early if that is important to you.

If you must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the policy outlined in our Reservations FAQs. Note that Ocean Cruise Trips are considered Special Departures with terms that differ from hotel-based trips.

Backroads covers all gratuities for Ponant staff and local guides. Suggested gratuities for Backroads leaders are listed in the Travel Planner and will be shared among the leader team.