From Philippines to Japanese Coasts
• UNESCO Sites: The underground river of Puerto Princesa; Yakushima Island in Japan; the Shuri-jo castle in Naha on Okinawa Island; the Shinto sanctuary of Itsukushima on Miyajima Island from Hiroshima.
• Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines and its city center blend of ancient districts and modern skyscrapers.
• The island of Coron, with its lush green landscapes and its exceptional underwater world, with lagoons, steep limestone cliffs and beaches.
• Navigation at the heart of the islands of the Southwest of Japan and discover the Shuri-jo castle and its traditional Japanese architecture.
• A lecturer specialist and passionate will be on board.
- Staterooms & Suites
- Port of call & excursions
- Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
- Important information
- A la carte Options
Staterooms & Suites
In May 2011, l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet. This superb mega-yacht with 132 cabins is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral remains faithful to our philosophy - to create a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being.
A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. A welcoming atmosphere of relaxed sophistication revolves around shades of grey, taupe, white and ivory enlivened by touches of cinnamon, caramel and tan.. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht.”
You will encounter unique itineraries, calls inaccessible to large ships, chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalized service as well as gastronomic cuisine.
Port of call & excursions
Kota Kinabalu (Sabah Borneo)Emabarkation 18/03/2017 from 17H00 to 18H00 . Departure 18/03/2017 at 23H00 .
Located on the north-east coast of the Malaysian State of Sabah on the island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the natural attractions of the region. It is close to Mt Kinabalu, but before you head off to climb the holy mountain check out the heart of the old city, nicknamed KK by locals. Although there isnﾒt much left of its colonial heritage, ﾠits multi-cultural restaurants, shops and friendly atmosphere is immensely appealing. Donﾒt miss a stroll along the KKﾒs busiest promenade, the colourful Waterfront.
19 March 2017 - At seaArrival 19/03/2017 at 00H00 . Departure 19/03/2017 at 00H00 .
20 March 2017 - Puerto PrincesaArrival 20/03/2017 at 05H00 . Departure 20/03/2017 at 17H30 .
Puerto Princesa, in the centre of Palawan island, is a great place for exploring many of the regionﾒs natural attractions. You wonﾒt have to go too far before donning your snorkelling kit and swimming with the abundant and richly diverse sealife: off Puerto Princesa, youﾒll enjoy the breathtaking coral islands of Honda Bay. If youﾒd like to experience nature in her most spectacular finery, make sure you see the karstic topography of the underground river in Puerto Princesaﾒs national park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
21 March 2017 - CoronArrival 21/03/2017 at 08H30 . Departure 21/03/2017 at 15H00 .
Anchored off the extreme north of Palawan in the heart of the Philippinesﾒ Calamian Islands, the little island of Coron is an emerald gem adorned with lakes. Among the many activities here, you can explore the shores of Lake Kayangan in a bangka, a traditional outrigger cano dive in the ﾠfresh, warm waters of Lake Barracuda. Famous for its limestone cliffs pierced with caves, the island also has an extraordinary cultural heritage. A stopover in Coron offers an excellent opportunity for meeting the indigenous Tagbanua tribe, a fishing and hunting people who ensure their island remains unspoilt. And it has paid off. Coron has retained all its natural wonders.
22 March 2017 - ManilaArrival 22/03/2017 at 07H00 . Departure 22/03/2017 at 23H30 .
On first sight, the Philippinesﾒ capital shows its highly Americanised Asian megalopolis side, with ultramodern skyscrapers set all along the waterfront. But when you stroll through the cobbled streets of the Intramuros district, youﾒll discover a different side of Manila, one thatﾒs full of old-world charm. An enchanted pause in the middle of urban bustle, Rizal Parkﾒs 60 hectares of magnificent green parkland is perfect for recharging your batteries. To see the city from a different angle, take a walk along Roxas boulevard, a popular seaside promenade.
23 March 2017 - At seaArrival 23/03/2017 at 00H00 . Departure 23/03/2017 at 00H00 .
24 March 2017 - At seaArrival 24/03/2017 at 00H00 . Departure 24/03/2017 at 00H00 .
25 March 2017 - HualienArrival 25/03/2017 at 06H00 . Departure 25/03/2017 at 14H00 .
Nicknamed “the beautiful island” by Portuguese sailors, 70% of the island of Taiwan is covered in lush, subtropical vegetation. When your ship stops in Hualien discover the stunning Taroko Gorge, one of the island’s must-see sites. This natural masterpiece, sculpted by the pure waters of the Liwu River, is known for its 1,200 metre-high marble cliffs, from which a unique panorama unfolds. During your stop here, discover the Eternal Spring Shrine, a complex clinging to the side of a mountain, made up of several small temples and overlooking a glistening waterfall. Then, along the Tunnel of Nine Turns, you will be able to admire the spectacular gorges which wind their way through deep canyons over some twenty kilometres.
26 March 2017 - IshigakiArrival 26/03/2017 at 06H30 . Departure 26/03/2017 at 14H00 .
Located to the south of the main island of the Yaeyama archipelago, Ishigaki boasts all the aspects of an authentic piece of paradise. Youﾒve guessed it, you donﾒt come here for its skyscrapers but for its pure emerald waters and idyllic beaches. Explore pristine coral reefs on a scuba-dive or snorkelling session ﾠﾖ ﾠyou may witness the ﾓflightﾔ of a manta ray. The waters off Shiraho, on the islandﾒs south-west coast, have one of the largest areas of blue coral in the world.
27 March 2017 - Naha, OkinawaArrival 27/03/2017 at 08H30 . Departure 27/03/2017 at 18H00 .
Capital of Okinawa Prefecture, the town of Naha is located on the south-west of the island. Youﾒll love its lively atmosphere, particularly along Kokusai Dori, otherwise known as ﾓinternational streetﾔ. The picturesque Makishi Public Market, nicknamed ﾓNahaﾒs kitchenﾔ offers a profusion of colourful fish, Okinawan foodstuffs and local spices and you can sample delicacies cooked on the spot . For an insight into the islandﾒs heritage, which combines Japanese and Taiwanese influences, visit Shuri Castle, a medieval building protected by UNESCO and surrounded by lovely gardens.
28 March 2017 - NazeArrival 28/03/2017 at 08H00 . Departure 28/03/2017 at 16H00 .
29 March 2017 - Miyanoura - Yakushima IslandArrival 29/03/2017 at 07H30 . Departure 29/03/2017 at 19H00 .
Yakushima is a striking island in the South of Japan, covered in forest and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hikers are very fond of this destination because of the lush vegetation, Mount Miyanoura, the waterfalls and cascades. But without a doubt, the symbol of the island remains its many age-old cedar trees which is said to have inspired some of the scenes in the animated film Princess Mononoke. On this island, you will also find wildlife including the Japanese macaque, the sika deer, and green sea turtles which lay their eggs on the magnificent sandy beaches here.
30 March 2017 - At seaArrival 30/03/2017 at 00H00 . Departure 30/03/2017 at 00H00 .
31 March 2017 - HiroshimaArrival 31/03/2017 at 06H00 . Departure 31/03/2017 at 18H00 .
Visiting Hiroshima is a moving experience. The town spreads along Honshu Island, along the inside coasts of Seto. While firmly focused on the future, Hiroshima doesnﾒt forget its past, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Genbaku Dome is a must. Youﾒll enjoy the city's modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and effervescent nightlife just as much as the peaceful stillness of its natural parkland areas such as splendid Shukkei-en, the townﾒs historic garden.
OsakaDisembarkation 01/04/2017 at 09H00 .
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity.ﾠ The main historic landmark is the 16th-century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
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.
Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
How did the Ponant cruise to Borneo come together?
The island of Borneo provides endless opportunities for exploration, from the ancient Dayak cultures and rajahs of Sarawak, through the opulence of Brunei, to the rainforests and picture postcard islands of Sabah. However, its sheer size and mountainous terrain can make it a difficult island to travel across. Quality hotels can be hard to find, flight connections are rarely convenient, cancellations are common and the alternate of local bus travel over endless corrugated and potholed roads is a daunting prospect. L’Austral is the ideal platform for exploring this part of the world. It allows guests to experience the many facets of the island before returning to an attentive crew delivering refined luxury with French flair and sophistication. Guests need only unpack once and they are delivered to new and exotic destinations each day. Partnering luxury and adventure in remote seldom visited destinations is the essence of a Ponant luxury Expedition voyage.
What is the experience like?
The diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures mean that no two destinations are the same. Every destination has its own unique charm and intrigue. Guests have the opportunity to experience one of the world’s oldest rainforests, home to the famed Orang-Utan and the ‘Jimmy Durante’ of the primate world – the unique looking proboscis monkey. They can marvel at the opulence and unique architecture of Bandar Seri Begawan in the Sovereign State of Brunei. Or they can journey through the lowland rainforests and mangroves of the Kinabatangan river in Sabah. Described as Malaysia’s gift to the earth, it is one of only two places in the world where nine species of primate can be seen. There’s also seven species of Hornbill, countless other bird species and the world’s rarest elephant, the Bornean Pygmy elephant.
What has it been like to work in that region?
I find working in the region very rewarding. The locals are a very proud people, willing to showcase their culture and beautiful landscapes. Most people visit the island to explore the jungles and see the exotic wildlife. However, it is the genuine friendliness of the people that they remember the most.
Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia are countries that want to expand their cruise markets. This provides a good basis to further develop the region and we continually seek new destinations and experiences for our guests. The island abounds in unique experiences awaiting discovery by even the most seasoned Traveller. The variety and style of destinations are able to cater to all facets of the cruise industry, from the large mass market ships, to small luxury vessels like L’Austral.
Can you elaborate on why itineraries don't normally go there and what spurred Ponant's interest?
Borneo conjures images of a faraway primeval land, a land of head hunters and Orang-Utans beckoning exploration. As the global leader in luxury small ship expeditions we are continually seeking new destinations and itineraries. Our fleet of small luxury ships visit over 400 destinations in more than 80 countries and with four new vessels on the way, we are always searching for new exotic destinations to showcase to our guests. Borneo’s location at the heart of the Malay Archipelago, its incredible diversity and breathtaking beauty make it an ideal destination for exploration by small luxury ships, like L’Austral.
Are there any challenges when sailing to Borneo?
Borneo is an ideal destination for exploration by luxury small ship. The island is blessed with good air access to major international hubs. From Singapore, Hong Kong, Bali or Kota Kinabalu a small luxury ship can explore the many coastal destinations the island has to offer. Guests need only unpack once to experience the rainforests, rajahs and riches scattered across the island. With such a multitude of destinations on offer, each day is a new adventure.
Any personal favorite excursions?
Without doubt my favourite shore excursion would have to be the overnight experience on the Kinabatangan river in the Malaysian state of Sabah. From Sandakan guests travel up the lower reaches of the river to experience the biodiversity contained within the region. The Kinabatangan River meanders 560km from the Crocker Range to the Sulu Sea and sustains one of the world's richest ecosystems. It has been described as Malaysia’s gift to the Earth and the original lowland forests and mangrove swamps near the coast contain some of Borneo's highest concentrations of wildlife. It is considered the best area for viewing wildlife, not just in Sabah but all of Malaysia.
- Currency: Plan to have US dollars in small notes as they are easier to use outside of large cities.
- Vehicles: Road conditions are poor in certain countries. Timings are unpredictable due to heavy traffic conditions. The comfort of local vehicles cannot be compared to that of international vehicles and often lack suspension.
- Guides: PONANT is aware that the quality of guides is of utmost importance and puts all efforts in place to secure the best local guides available. Note that guides in these countries often have heavy accents. Several of our calls visit small and isolated communities where resources (transportation and guides) are scarce, resulting in higher prices.
A la carte Options
After you cruise
Before your cruise
Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Transfer From Airport to Kota Kinabalu (Pre) + Discover Osaka (Post)
Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Transfer From Airport to Kota Kinabalu (Pre) + Kyoto & Nara, Old Imperial Capitals 3N (Post)