Secret Islands of the Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll - with National Geographic

13 days / 12 nights
    Diving
    Secret Islands of the Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll - with National Geographic

    Cruise Asia, Africa

    from 14 December 2019 to 26 December 2019
    13 days / 12 nights

    Departure Port : Victoria, Mahé
    Arrival Port : Victoria, Mahé

    Ship : LE BOUGAINVILLE

    • Ref : G141219

    In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.  

    Set sail for a 13-day expedition cruise to discover the most beautiful islands of the Seychelles. PONANT invites you to follow an unforgettable itinerary aboard Le Bougainville, against a backdrop of turquoise waters and coconut palms.

    Leaving from Victoria, the archipelago’s capital, fall under the spell of the idyllic landscapes, with their exceptional flora and fauna.

    Your first port of call will be Poivre Island, an idyllic coral atoll where sea turtles can be found swimming in the lagoon.

    During your cruise, you will have many opportunities to dive or snorkel, notably in Poivre, Astove, and at the heart of the sublime coral reef in the Alphonse lagoon.

    Highlight of your trip will be the port of call at Aldabra, a gigantic coral atoll that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Edged with mangrove and fine sandy beaches, it is home to the largest colony of land turtles in the world.

    You will then explore the far reaches of the Seychelles, the most remote and rarely visited islands such as the Farquhar Atoll or the islands of St. Pierre and Marie Louise, renowned for their numerous colonies of birds such as noddies and angel terns.

    Before you return to Mahé, Le Bougainville will chart a course for the coral island of Desroches and the sublime beaches of La Digue, some of the most renowned of the Seychelles

    The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

    • Naturalists Naturalists
    • Diving Diving
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    Highlights

    • A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert specialised in the destination onboard.
    • Outings in Zodiac®inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides and landings on idyllic deserted beaches.
    • UNESCO site: Aldabra, the largest coral atoll in the world.
    • Discovery of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles and the Farquhar Atoll. These islands are very remote and rarely visited.
    • The coral island of Desroches, an intimate destination home to lush vegetation of coconut palms, takamakas and filaos.
    • Anse Source d’Argent, the most famous beach of La Digue, surrounded by large blocks of granite and edged with coconut palms.
    • Possibility of observing tortoises on Aldabra.
    • Encounters with the locals.
    • Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team.

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    Staterooms & Suites

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      LE BOUGAINVILLE

      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE
      • LE BOUGAINVILLE

      LE BOUGAINVILLE

      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 Bougainville 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

      14 December 2019 – Poivre Island

      Victoria, Mahé

      Embarkation 14/12/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 14/12/2019 at 18H00 .

      Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

      15 December 2019 – Poivre Island

      15 December 2019 – Poivre Island

      Arrival 15/12/2019. Departure 15/12/2019.

      At some 200 km south-west of Mahé, discover Poivre Atoll, a small paradise that is part of the Amirantes archipelago, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Consisting of two coral islands, Poivre Island and Ile du Sud, separated by a small lagoon, it owes its name to Pierre Poivre, the Mauritius intendant who introduced spices to the Seychelles in the late 18th century. Once used for coconut plantations, Poivre Island is now focused on tourism. Visitors come here for scuba diving or big-game fishing in waters that are particularly rich and clean, where the marine life includes sea turtles.

      16 December 2019 – Alphonse Island

      16 December 2019 – Alphonse Island

      Arrival 16/12/2019. Departure 16/12/2019.

      Alphonse Island is located off the Seychelles archipelago. Discovered in 1730 by the Knight Alphonse de Pontevez, this island, specialised in coconut processing in the past, is now a veritable natural reserve, home to different species of marine mammals, sea turtles and many birds. Alphonse Island is also renowned for its rich underwater life and coral, among the best preserved in the Indian Ocean. A marvellous spectacle that can be admired with just a mask!

      16 December 2019 – Bijoutier Island

      16 December 2019 – Bijoutier Island

      Arrival 16/12/2019. Departure 16/12/2019.

      17 December 2019 – At sea

      17 December 2019 – At sea

      Arrival 17/12/2019. Departure 17/12/2019.

      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 observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

      18 December 2019▸19 December 2019 – Aldabra Atoll

      18 December 2019▸19 December 2019 – Aldabra Atoll

      Arrival 18/12/2019. Departure 19/12/2019.

      Located in the very heart of this faraway archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by 4 small coral reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. As your ship slowly nears the clear, reflective waters along its shoreline, do not miss your chance to discover this natural wonder, which is considered to be the largest atoll in the world and once fired the imagination of many an explorer.

      20 December 2019 – Cosmoledo Atoll

      20 December 2019 – Cosmoledo Atoll

      Arrival 20/12/2019. Departure 20/12/2019.

      20 December 2019 – Astove Island

      20 December 2019 – Astove Island

      Arrival 20/12/2019. Departure 20/12/2019.

      Closer to Madagascar than to Victoria, Astove is the southernmost island in the Seychelles. It is part of the Aldabra group, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Now uninhabited, this coral island covered in coconut trees was once home to the employees that worked on the coconut plantations. Renowned for the richness of its seabeds, Astove Atoll is now a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. It also attracts experienced divers, who visit the atoll to explore the “Astove Wall”, where the sea floor drops to a depth of about 40 metres. The wall is covered in coral and many fish and green sea turtles can be found there.

      21 December 2019 – Farquhar Island

      21 December 2019 – Farquhar Island

      Arrival 21/12/2019. Departure 21/12/2019.

      22 December 2019 – Cerf Island

      22 December 2019 – Cerf Island

      Arrival 22/12/2019. Departure 22/12/2019.

      22 December 2019 – Saint Pierre Island

      22 December 2019 – Saint Pierre Island

      Arrival 22/12/2019. Departure 22/12/2019.

      23 December 2019 – Marie Louise Island

      23 December 2019 – Marie Louise Island

      Arrival 23/12/2019. Departure 23/12/2019.

      24 December 2019 – Desroches Island

      24 December 2019 – Desroches Island

      Arrival 24/12/2019. Departure 24/12/2019.

      Coconut trees, she-oak, white-sand beaches, warm and clear waters: everything here is conducive to daydreaming and relaxation in an intimate setting where the blue sky completes the picture postcard. You are on Desroches Island, the largest in the Amirantes group in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. This 6-km long coral atoll covered in lush vegetation is surrounded by spectacular seabeds where encounters with sharks and manta rays are not uncommon. On the beach, you may be lucky enough to observe sea turtles, there to lay their eggs. In the island’s north, a lighthouse that is still in operation stands guard, and the small village is home to a chapel and a cemetery.

      25 December 2019 – La Digue Island

      25 December 2019 – La Digue Island

      Arrival 25/12/2019. Departure 25/12/2019.

      La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard… Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.

      25 December 2019 – Victoria, Mahé

      25 December 2019 – Victoria, Mahé

      Arrival 25/12/2019. Departure 25/12/2019.

      Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

      26 December 2019▸25 December 2019 – Victoria, Mahé

      Victoria, Mahé

      Disembarkation 26/12/2019 at 07H00 .

      Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

      Formalities

      • 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.

      • Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

      • In order to participate in diving sessions, guests must have with them a medical certificate less than 1 year old and their up to date dive book.

      Scuba diving

      Scuba diving

      Fauna and flora of the Indian Ocean

      The fauna of the Indian Ocean is very varied. During the various dives, divers can observe various species of benthic fauna such as napoleon fish, oriental sweetlips, blackspotted  sweetlips, batfish and pelagic fauna such as manta rays, gray reef sharks, dolphin fish,rainbow runner as well as endemic wildlife such as different soft corals.

      Supervision of the dives

      Your dives will be led by your PONANT instructor. He will take care of your safety and that all goes smoothly. On some diving sites, as in natural reserves or if the local regulations require it, a local guide will escort the diving.

      Level required for scuba diving on this cruise

      The minimum level required for scuba diving on this cruise is 2 stars CMAS or the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent). The certification card, the diving log book and a recent medical certificate (less than 12 months) must be presented at the beginning of the cruise to our main diving instructor.

      Process of the dives (certified divers)

      The instructor can dive with 4 certified divers at a time. The instructor reserves the right to check divers’ ability for maximum safety. As we will dive in remote places, the dives will be done without decompression stop. A safety stop of 3 minutes at 5 metres will be mandatory. The depth that can be reached will depend on the certification of the divers:

      • For those with PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certificate (or equivalent), the maximum depth can be up to 25 metres.
      • If two PADI Advanced Open Water Divers (or equivalent) wish to dive together independently, they must have a briefing first. They must have dive computers and are allowed to go to a maximum depth of 20 metres.

      Duration of the dives

      The diving activity lasts from 2 to 3 hours, which includes the journey to the diving site and the diving. This duration may vary according to the site, the level of divers, weather conditions and the number of participants. For experienced divers, the duration of dives varies between 35 and 60 minutes depending on the site, the diver’s experience and consumption.

       

      Supplied equipment

      • Diving wetsuit
      • Stabilising jacket
      • Fins, mask and snorkel
      • Regulator with octopus and pressure gauge
      • Diving computer (for divers mastering their use)

      Scuba diving activities on this cruise

      PORTS OF CALL

      CERTIFIED DIVES

      INITIATION DIVES

      ARIDE ISLAND

      NO

      NO

      PRALIN ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      CURIEUSE ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      POIVRE ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      ALPHONSE ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      ALDABRA ATOLL

      YES

      NO

      ALDABRA ATOLL

      YES

      NO

      ASTOVE ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      DESROCHES ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      LA DIGUE ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      These sites are indicative. The proposed diving excursions may be changed depending on weather and safety conditions and the number of divers.

       

       

       

       

      Rates

      Price per person

      • Dives:
        • Exploration (1 dive) : € 80
        • Excellence Package (3 dives) : € 225
        • Passion Package (6 dives) : € 420
        • Master Package (10 dives) : € 650

       

      Theme

      TROPICAL EXPEDITION

      TROPICAL EXPEDITION

      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…

      National Geographic

      National Geographic

      See the world through National Geographic’s eyes and make a difference.
       
      For 130 years, the National Geographic Society has funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers, sharing their findings with the world. National Geographic’s deep belief is that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and take responsibility for it. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase of any cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions will go towards the National Geographic Society’s non-for-profit mission to explore and protect the planet. (Indeed, National Geographic Society receives funds from National Geographic Partners LLC, funded in part by your purchase. To learn more, visit www.natgeo.com/info.)

      A National Geographic expert and photographer join each voyage to share their knowledge and insights. They will enrich the expedition experience through fascinating presentations, informal discussions and see the world through the lens of a National Geographic photographer, learning new techniques along the way.

      Important information

      Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landings"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.

      Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.

      Travelling to isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. In remote areas, please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.

       

      Clothing tips:

      • Cotton comfortable and light-weight shorts/bermuda shorts
      • Light weight long trousers
      • Long-sleeved breathable SPF50+ shirts
      • Cotton short sleeved T-shirt
      • Aquatic UV long-sleeved T-shirt for sun protection during snorkeling or swimming 
      • Aquatic non-slip sandals 
      • Windproof, waterproof and breathable outer layer
      • Broad brimmed anti-UV hat with strap and veil to protect the neck
      • Comfortable walking shoes

      Accessories:

      • Highly protective sunglasses.
      • Sunscreen and after-sun with high SPF index & insect repellent
      • Binoculars (strongly recommended for wildlife viewing).
      • Small waterproof backpack (to protect your camera from water).
      • Camelbak (backpack with water pockets)
      • Walking poles (highly recommended).

       

      Please 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.

      Do not hesitate to visit the online PONANT store which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations, at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com

      Benefits of the PONANT store:

      • Advice on equipment from our experts to help you prepare for your polar expedition
      • A wide range of technical equipment for polar expeditions, approved by our experts
      • Two delivery options: delivery to your home or directly to your cabin on board the ship
      • Duty Free shopping for cabin delivered items

      Pre/Post & Overlands

      1. Before your cruise

        14/12/2019 – RELAXING TIME IN MAHÉ

        320.00 $ **

        More information

        12/12/2019 – RELAXING STAY AND GLIMPSE OF VICTORIA (2 NIGHTS)

        1250.00 $ **

        More information

      Attention: the prices listed at the time of your reservation can be different from those listed in the brochure. These prices can evolve based on availability and the real time rates of the airline companies selected.
      Travellers are advised to check all the information with the authorities concerned prior to the departure date. Ponant advises Travellers to consult the country factsheets relating to the chosen destinations. Ponant specifically draws Travellers' attention to the fact that the information provided may change up until the departure date, and they are advised to consult that information up until the time of departure. CDP invites Travellers to adjust their behavior to the visited country, to exercise vigilance and to avoid carrying valuable objects during their travel.
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