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Ponant Collaborates with Smithsonian Journeys on Expeditions in 2023

Ponant, a leader in small ship expeditions, announced its 2023 sailings in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex. The combination is similar to what Lindblad Expeditions has with National Geographic.

Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, the sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment and wildlife. Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys are rooted in common values focusing on cultural immersion and discovery with a goal of further inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel. This is the second year Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys will offer co-branded sailings.

Twenty-one departures include several new itineraries exploring the Arabian Coast, Australia’s Kimberley, the Mediterranean, the St. Lawrence River, and Northern Africa. All of these will debut in 2023 and will provide opportunities to engage with a variety of Smithsonian Journeys Experts, ranging from archaeologists and scientists to anthropologists and historians. As part of the itineraries, Ponant will sail to ports of call never previously visited, including Ploče, Croatia and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Highlights include:

Cruising the Arabian Coast on Le Bougainville: While traveling from Dubai to Muscat, Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, will lead discussions centered around Middle East affairs. With seven ports of call, this new cruise will include a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; a tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, an Arabic-galactic wonder with more than 600 works spread across 23 galleries; and the opportunity to discover Sir Bani Yas Island’s wildlife sanctuary with its roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles. The ship will also sail through the fjords of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, known as the “Norway of the Middle East,” where the sheer walls of limestone cliffs plunge into aquamarine waters. This cruise departs Jan. 6, 2023 for 8 nights and 9 days with prices starting at $6,070 per person.

Solar Eclipse 2023-Indonesia to Australia’s Kimberley on Le Lapérouse: On this new cruise, guests can witness the total solar eclipse out to sea off the northwest coast of Australia—the only area of the world where the solar eclipse will be 100 percent visible. On April 20, 2023, guests will witness the natural phenomenon as the moon passes between the Earth and then Sun, enveloping travelers in complete darkness for a few minutes. This will be one of only five total solar eclipses remaining worldwide this decade. Accompanying the expedition will be Alex Young, solar astrophysicist who serves as an associate director of science at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center located outside Washington, D.C. This cruise departs April 9, 2023 for 15 nights and 16 days with prices starting at $15,770 per person.

Cruising from Morocco to Spain’s Andalusian Coast on Le Dumont-d’Urville: Guests can explore the Portuguese, Moroccan and Spanish coasts, traveling from Casablanca to Lisbon with a stop in Tangier, along the famous Strait of Gibraltar. A highlight includes a trip to Granada for an exclusive private after-hours visit of the Alhambra. After a visit to Marbella, the ship will continue to Cadiz, from which guests can travel to Seville, home to the oldest royal palace in use in Europe, the Alcázar de Sevilla. Discussions will be hosted by Alia Kate, North African international relations expert and founder of Kantara, a fair-trade design business specializing in Moroccan rugs woven in women’s weaving cooperatives; and Rafael Chacon, art historian who has twice walked the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route stretching more than 500 miles across France and Spain. This cruise departs April 20, 2023 for seven nights and eight days with prices starting at $4,530 per person.

A Circumnavigation of Sicily on Le Bougainville: On this new cruise, guests embark on a circumnavigation of Sicily joined by Albert Leonard, an archaeologist who has directed excavations at sites around the Mediterranean during his 30-year career. Travelers will visit the well-preserved Greek ruins in Agrigento, one of the oldest cities is Sicily dating back to 581 B.C., before continuing to Segesta, home to the unfinished Doric Temple. Guests can meander through the ancient (but still used) Greek theater from the third century B.C. during a stop in Taormina and see the Byzantine-Arab mosaics while visiting Palermo. The itinerary offers the opportunity for an evening sail around one of mother nature’s most spectacular sights: the Stromboli Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The fiery crater spews fountains of glowing red lava every few hours and is best seen at night. This cruise departs on May 4, 2023 for seven nights and eight days and is priced from $5,120 per person.

Symphony on the St. Lawrence-From Québec to the Canadian Maritimes on Le Bellot: This new itinerary starts in Toronto and ends in Gloucester, Mass., exploring the waterways of eastern Canada and northern New England. A sample of stops include the Canadian coastal towns of Tadoussac, Percé, Charlottetown and Lunenburg, before heading south to explore the wildlife-rich ecosystem of Arcadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. A musical program curated by legendary Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart will be performed by six extraordinary musicians. Lockhart will conduct four exclusive performances throughout the sailing. This cruise departs on Oct. 16, 2023 for 14 nights and 15 days with prices starting at $11,860 per person.

Created in 1988, by officers of the French Merchant Navy, Ponant has created a new style of cruising under the French flag through a unique conception of sea travel and a commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. The total number of objects, works of art, and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian Journeys is part of Smithsonian Enterprises, a division of the Smithsonian which oversees the institution’s commercial activities, including the Smithsonian Channel, which is available in over 55 million households globally; the retail operation, which includes 35 museum and airport stores, food concessions; an E-commerce business,, and Smithsonian magazine, which reaches more than eight million monthly readers, consumer and education licensing, and books. Smithsonian Journeys is a global leader in cultural travel for diverse audiences, offering unique, expert-led trips on all seven continents.

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