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PONANT & Smithsonian Journeys Announce Winter 2022 Small Ship Expedition



PONANT, a leader in small-ship expeditions, announces new winter 2022 itineraries in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, the new 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.

Departures exploring Antarctica, Costa Rica and Panama, the Caribbean, and Japan, will provide opportunities to engage with a variety of experts, ranging from geologists and scientists to astrophysicists and historians. The full list of sailings can be viewed here. Highlights include:

Antarctica: The White Continent, L’Austral


The 11-day itinerary will journey into the heart of the Antarctica peninsula. Travelers will begin by crossing the Drake Passage, considered a badge of honor during an Antarctic voyage, before disembarking on Zodiac outings to explore the icy continent. The journey will take guests up close to Gentoo and Adelie penguins and seals and will redirect or stop navigation in order to witness passing humpback whales. The cruise will be accompanied by PONANT’s team of naturalist guides and two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, astrophysicist Michelle Thaller, who serves as the assistant director for Science Communication at NASA’s Goddard Space Center, and geologist Wayne Ranney with over 40 years of experience leading trips to Earth’s most spectacular landscapes, who will join guests on excursions to research stations, volcanic beaches, and along icebergs and ice floe.


Departure on January 22, 2022 / 10 nights, 11 days

Starting from $9,830 per person

Panama and Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America, Le Champlain


Embark on an eight-day cruise from Colón, Panama to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica passing through the Panama Canal. Ports of call include the UNESCO World Heritage site Darién National Park for treks through the wilderness; an exclusive hosted visit to the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City; and Carara National Park, home to over 10,000 species of plants, 300 species of birds and 200 species of butterflies. Guests will join engaging discussions onboard with two Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Matthew Larsen, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, centered around the importance of ecosystems, and Ralph Nurnberger, historian, and expert in international relations.


Departure on January 24, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days

Starting from $4,410 per person

Cruising the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, Le Dumont-d’Urville


Join Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Caribbean historian Franklin Knight, and geophysicist Carola Stearns, with experience in climate geomorphology, while discovering the most enchanting islands of the Caribbean Sea. Departing from St. Lucia, home to The Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ship will travel to ports larger vessels are unable reach: Portsmouth, Dominica; Les Saintes, Guadeloupe; and scattered islands and uninhabited cays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Along the way, there will be opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive in the crystal-clear waters to observe turtles, barracudas and parrotfish; birdwatch along nature trails; and spend days exploring private beaches.


Departure on February 13, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days

Starting from $3,900 per person

Treasures of Japan by Sea, Le Soléal


Sail from Kobe, one of the first Japanese ports to open to international trade in the 19th century, to Japan’s second-largest city of Osaka, where rich heritage blends with the country’s industrialization and modernization. The sailing will be accompanied by Smithsonian Journeys Experts, Jonathan Hall, Japanese film and literature expert with 20 years of experience as a Japanese-English translator, as well as Timon Screech, a specialist in the art and culture of early modern Japan. Highlights of the itinerary include an Udon-noodle master class at a Takamatsu cooking school; a visit to Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park; and a tour through Korakuen Garden, one of Japan’s Three Great Gardens in Okayama.


Departure on April 15, 2022 / 7 nights, 8 days

Starting from $6,500 per person

More on PONANT


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. Accessing exceptional territories aboard yachts featuring refined design, on which the art of living and excellent cuisine takes pride of place: such is the promise of a unique and authentic PONANT voyage.

For more information on PONANT’s worldwide itineraries to the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Asia, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Eastern Asia, Oceania, and Central and South America, visit https://us.ponant.com, call 1-844-747-2873, or contact your travel advisor.

About the Smithsonian


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 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. There were nearly 22 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2019. 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. www.smithsonian.org.

About Smithsonian Journeys


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, Smithsonianstore.com, Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines, which reach more than 8 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. Smithsonian Journeys offers small-group land journeys, ocean cruises, river cruises, active journeys, cultural stays, private jet trips, tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler and student travel programs.


For more information visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 1-855-330-1542.


By ML Staff. Image by Dylan Shaw

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