Revealing the Mysteries of Melanesia
* Subject to availability.
- Expedition voyage discovering Vanuatu: traditional villages, tropical beaches, coral reefs, active volcanoes.
- Zodiac® outings & shore visits with your expedition team.
- Visit the last known location of the 1788 “lost voyage” of La Pérouse in Vanikoro.
- Sail into the Caldera of Ureparapara.
- Stand on the edge of an active volcano on Tanna Island.
- Swim in the famous “blue holes” of Espiritu Santo.
- Discover a wide range of cultures and traditions, like the Rom dances of the inhabitants of Ambrym Island.
- Staterooms & Suites
- LE LAPEROUSE
- Port of call & excursions
- Guest(s) Lecturer(s)
- Important information
- Pre/Post & Overlands
Staterooms & Suites
Deluxe Stateroom AU$8,610 Not Available Prestige stateroom Deck 4 AU$9,120 Not Available Prestige stateroom Deck 5 AU$9,410 Not Available Prestige Deck 6 AU$9,680 Not Available Deluxe Suite Deck 3 AU$13,080 Not Available Deluxe Suite Deck 5 AU$13,080 Not Available Deluxe Suite Deck 4 AU$13,080 Not Available Deluxe Suite Deck 6 AU$13,080 Not Available Prestige Suite Deck 5 AU$18,840 Not Available Prestige Suite Deck 6 AU$19,410 Not Available Privilege Suite Deck 6 AU$20,000 Not Available Privilege Suite Deck 5 AU$20,000 Not Available Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 5 AU$20,600 Not Available Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 6 AU$20,600 Not Available Owner's Suite AU$21,210 Not Available
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.
As the first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Lapérouse will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.
Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.
Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.
Port of call & excursions
NouméaEmbarkation 20/04/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 20/04/2019 at 18H00 .
Perched on a peninsula between bays and hills, on the south-west coast of Grande Terre, Noumea enjoys a magnificent natural setting. The town shelters some exceptional biodiversity, thanks especially to the coastal mangroves. To feel the town’s heartbeat, you can mosey in the place des Cocotiers, where Noumeans love to gather. The Tjibaou cultural centre unveils the secrets of the kanak culture. As for the Hagen castle or the maison Célières, these are precious witnesses of a colonial past. But Noumea is also about sumptuous beaches.
21 April 2019 – LifouArrival 21/04/2019 early morning. Departure 21/04/2019 late afternoon.
You’ll land around 100km east of Grande-Terre. An ancient coral atoll atop a collapsed volcano, Lifou is today the largest and highest of the Loyalty Islands. This is an outstanding natural site, waiting to be explored: to the north, the coastline ends abruptly in sheer cliffs, while to the south lie expanses of long white sand beaches. Lovers of wild plantlife may well be tempted by a walk further inland, where the rich and authentic Kanak culture is proudly upheld by the local community.
22 April 2019 – Tanna IslandArrival 22/04/2019 midday. Departure 22/04/2019 evening.
A visit to Vanuatu cannot be complete without viewing the erupting Mount Yasur Volcano on the Island of Tanna. It is regarded as the world’s most accessible active volcano. Known for its spectacular persistent strombolian activity consisting of regular small to violent explosions, it has been in more-or-less continuous activity since Captain James Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. Often referred to as “the lighthouse of the Pacific”, the glow of the volcano apparently led Captain Cook to Tanna during the first European journey to the island. Today the volcano is considered a sacred area by members of the John Frum cargo cult, who believe their deity resides in the heart of the volcano.
23 April 2019 – At seaArrival 23/04/2019. Departure 23/04/2019.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
24 April 2019 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo IslandArrival 24/04/2019 early morning. Departure 24/04/2019 late afternoon.
At the end of the world, in the north of New Caledonia, lies Vanuatu, a little archipelago that subsists mainly from fishing and farming. It is composed of several islands, Espiritu Santo being the largest and one of the most beautiful. You can meet the people here who are very welcoming and who live in harmony with nature. Plus you’ll see unimaginable landscapes formed of volcanic rocks, as well as sandy beaches and lagoons beckoning you to dive into their of turquoise waters. You’ll be surprised to find, in the middle of dense vegetation, brackish water with an amazing ecosystem called “blue holes”. If paradise exists, it must be here.
25 April 2019 – South West Bay, MalekulaArrival 25/04/2019 early morning. Departure 25/04/2019 late afternoon.
Malekula is the second largest island in Vanuatu and the most diverse, culturally and linguistically, with over thirty distinct languages spoken. Some of the best custom dances come from the island. The very friendly villagers will be proud to share with you their cultural heritage. Guests will be transferred ashore for a welcome and cultural performance. Afterwards, you will have an opportunity to witness traditional village life in Malekula, with demonstrations of traditional village practices such as weaving and Kava, and purchase genuine artefacts.
26 April 2019 – Ambrym IslandArrival 26/04/2019 early morning. Departure 26/04/2019 late afternoon.
The island of Ambrym in Vanuatu is often referred to as the "black" island due to its volcanic ash and because of its 'black magic' steeped in mystery. In the villages, the ancient customs play a significant part in day to day living. The "Man blong Majik" are treated with the utmost respect and practice sorcery and magic beyond all imaginings. Ambrym prides itself on some unique characteristics, such as the magnificent tam-tams (or slit gongs) sculpted out of tree trunks, sand-drawing, black-fern masks and local dances. The most striking custom dance is the Rom (or masked) dance – where 9 foot covertly cloaked and masked 'spirits' stomp out ancient rhythms to the beat of the tam tam.
27 April 2019 – Ureparapara IslandArrival 27/04/2019 early morning. Departure 27/04/2019 midday.
Ureparapara, also known as Parapara for short, is the third largest island in the Banks group of Northern Vanuatu and formed by an extinct volcano cone that has been breached by the sea on its east coast, forming a spectacular 3km long harbour. During your voyage, your ship will sail into the natural harbour, affording guests spectacular views from the outer decks. You will also have the opportunity to go ashore for a welcome and custom dances. An opportunity to witness life in one of the remotest parts of Vanuatu. Very few vessels visit this part of Vanuatu and the local residents are eager to welcome visitors.
27 April 2019 – Sana IslandArrival 27/04/2019 early afternoon. Departure 27/04/2019 late afternoon.
The Reef Islands, also called Rowa, are a cluster of uninhabited coral cays between Mota Lava and Ureparapara, in northern Vanuatu, and enclosed by a large, horseshoe-shaped reef that protects an expansive lagoon with sandy shallows. The five small islands, including Sana, are mostly sand and coral cays built up over reefs. During your stop, you will be transferred ashore by Zodiac® to a wet landing onto a sand and rubble beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling from the beach.
28 April 2019 – Vanikoro IslandArrival 28/04/2019 early morning. Departure 28/04/2019 early evening.
The French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded on Vanikoro after both his vessels, struck the reefs of the island in 1788. The complete disappearance of La Pérouse caught the imagination of the European public. Songs, stories and plays were written about the possible fate of the expedition. It is believed that some of the men were killed by the local inhabitants, while the surviving sailors built a smaller vessel and left the island, but were never seen again. Those that remained on the island died before search parties arrived in 1826. Today guests have the opportunity to head ashore to the infamous location of this historical event. Enjoy a welcome and cultural performance whilst pondering the fate of the expeditioners.
29 April 2019 – At seaArrival 29/04/2019. Departure 29/04/2019.
30 April 2019 – Santa Ana IslandArrival 30/04/2019 early morning. Departure 30/04/2019 mid afternoon.
Owaraha (formerly Santa Ana) is located at the eastern end of Makira (San Cristobal) and just north of the smaller Owariki (Santa Catalina). Our ship will navigate through the picturesque channel separating the Islands before dropping anchor just outside Port Mary. The islanders are well known for preserving ancient traditions and producing intricate wooden carvings. Their artefacts include magnificently carved fishing floats and ceremonial bowls intricately inlayed with shells. After a short zodiac ride ashore you will be guided through the village to an open area to witness a number of traditional performances. Afterwards experience life in a traditional Solomon Island village or take a swim in the warm tropical waters of Port Mary.
Honiara, Guadalcanal IslandDisembarkation 01/05/2019 at 08H00 .
Honiara is the capital city of The Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the north western coast of Guadalcanal Island. Honiara comes from the local Ghari Language “naho-ni-ara” meaning 'facing the ara', the place where the southeast winds meet the land. Discover this city, its beautiful landscape, and the significant role it played in World War II. Particularly The Battle of Henderson Field, the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese in 1942.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Solomon Islands: Visa delivred free of charge on arrival. Please send a copy of your passport (photo page) to PONANT at least 30 days prior to cruise date.
Vanuatu: No visa required.
Discover the unique concept of PONANT tropical expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.
A luxury expedition voyage
Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the archipelagos of Oceania or the atolls of the Indian Ocean, along the wild coastlines of Central America or Australia, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.
PONANT, expedition cruise specialists
With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is also a real specialist in the planet’s most remote tropical regions. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.
Professional expedition teams, varied activities
After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the tropical regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies so as to get as close to nature as possible. They can reserve local means of transport (dugout canoes, bush taxis, local buses, etc.) in order to reach essential sites for hiking (volcanoes, nature reserves, etc.) or for visiting isolated villages. Indeed, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to share the life and ancestral customs of these peoples for a few hours. The naturalist guides also supervise snorkelling tours to discover the coral reef fauna. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…
Patrick Poivre D'Arvor
Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is a French journalist and writer. He anchored the evening news bulletins for the French TV channel TF1 for 30 years. He is also the author of around 70 works and has won multiple awards. Patrick Poivre d'Arvor is a Knight of the Legion of Honour, an Officer of the National Order of Merit and a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Language spoken: French
Photo credit: aprimegroup
Possibility of withdrawal in case of force majeure.
Expeditions programs include activities such as Zodiac® outings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Certain zodiac® outings will not allow for landings just cruising. Landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. The raw beauty and untouched wilderness offer an unusual chance to experience a place where there is little evidence of human presence. Inevitably, there are some consequences that come with such remoteness: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is highly expensive. Without the necessary medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid from with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe a full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully and be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive.
Taking into consideration the unusual and exceptional character of expedition itineraries, the calls shown are an indication only. The final route will be confirmed by the Captain and Expedition Leader, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. Their decision will be subject to that of local authorities and/or the expert pilots present on board during the navigation in polar and /or isolated zones.
Dressing tips :
- Cotton comfrortable and light weight shorts/bermudas
- Light weight long trousers
- Long-sleeved breathable UPF50+ shirts
- Cotton short sleeves T-shirt
- Aquatic UV long-sleeve T-shirt for sun protection during snorkeling or swimming (except for the Amazon cruises where bathing is not allowed)
- Aquatic non-slip sandals (except for the Amazon cruises where bathing is not allowed)
- Windproof, waterproof and breathable outer layer
- Broad brimmed anti-UV hat with strap
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Waterproof backpack for camera
- Sunscreen and after-sun high index & insect repellent
- Note: During your visits to some local communities, all guests will be required to dress respectfully. Ladies must have their shoulders and thighs covered. Gentlemen should have their shoulders covered also.
Feel free to visit the PONANT online shop which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com
Benefits of the PONANT shop:
- expert advice to gear up
- a selection of technical equipment and accessories approved by our naturalists
- Duty Free prices
- delivery directly on board
Pre/Post & Overlands
Before your cruise
After your cruise
** Prices per person, based on double occupancy