From Fiji to Micronesia - with National Geographic

16 days / 15 nights
    Diving
    From Fiji to Micronesia - with National Geographic

    Cruise Pacific and Oceania

    from 1 April 2020 to 16 April 2020
    16 days / 15 nights

    Departure Port : Lautoka
    Arrival Port : Guam

    Ship : LE SOLEAL

    • Ref : S010420

    In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.  

    Embark with PONANT for a 16-day expedition cruise to the heart of remote islands in the Pacific. Aboard Le Soléal, you will follow a brand-new itinerary that will take you from Fiji to Guam to discover very rich local cultures and exceptional underwater life.  

    From Lautoka you will sail West to reach the delightful Vanuatu islands. On Ambrym Island you will have the chance to visit a traditional village where the inhabitants will share their customs and  through singing and traditional dances.

    You will then set sail for the Solomon Islands where you will have the opportunity to have encounters with local inhabitants as well as enjoy stunning white-sand beaches with swimming and snorkelling.

    After a port of call in Papua New Guinea, the mysteries of Micronesia will reveal themselves to you. A scattering of islands and atolls, lost in the heart of the northern Pacific between the line of the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer, this area is rich in Second World War history. This area is a diver’s paradise with stunning coral reefs to explore.  The coconut tree-lined white-sand beaches and traditional villages with deep-rooted traditions will be sure to charm you.

    • 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.
    • Shore visits in Zodiac®inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
    • Vanuatu: traditional villages, tropical beaches, coral reefs, active volcanoes.
    • The Solomon Islands, secret destination in the South Pacific and a real tropical Eden.
    • Micronesia, a scattering of islands and atolls with breathtaking underwater scenery.
    • Encounters with local people: cultural performances, dances, arts & crafts.
    • From Paradise Lagoon, don’t miss the unique performance from the “water music women” on Maewa Island.
    • Regions rich Second World War history, particularly Chuuk (Micronesia), where a number of wrecks from the Japanese fleet can be found under water.
    • 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 SOLEAL

      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
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      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
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      • LE SOLEAL
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      • LE SOLEAL
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      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL

      LE SOLEAL

      Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and her intimate size (only 132 staterooms and suites)make this a rare and innovative yacht on the cruise market. 

      Interior Design

      With her fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white, Le Soléal presents references to a nautical theme.

      Port of call & excursions

      1 April 2020 – At sea

      Lautoka

      Embarkation 01/04/2020 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 01/04/2020 at 18H00 .

      Lautoka is the second largest city of Fiji. Located on the western side of the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometres north of Nadi. Lying in the heart of Fiji's sugar cane growing region, it is known as the Sugar City. Lautoka is the gateway to Fiji’s “Sun coast” a land of abundant sunshine, azure skies and dramatic grass-covered peaks chequered with sugar-cane fields, rural villages and quaint market towns. 

      2 April 2020 – At sea

      2 April 2020 – At sea

      Arrival 02/04/2020. Departure 02/04/2020.

      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.

      3 April 2020 – Ambrym Island

      3 April 2020 – Ambrym Island

      Arrival 03/04/2020. Departure 03/04/2020.

      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.

      4 April 2020 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo Island

      4 April 2020 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo Island

      Arrival 04/04/2020. Departure 04/04/2020.

      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.

      5 April 2020 – At sea

      5 April 2020 – At sea

      Arrival 05/04/2020. Departure 05/04/2020.

      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.

      6 April 2020 – Santa Ana Island

      6 April 2020 – Santa Ana Island

      Arrival 06/04/2020. Departure 06/04/2020.

      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.

      7 April 2020 – Honiara, Guadalcanal Island

      7 April 2020 – Honiara, Guadalcanal Island

      Arrival 07/04/2020. Departure 07/04/2020.

      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. 

      7 April 2020 – Roderick Bay, Florida Islands

      7 April 2020 – Roderick Bay, Florida Islands

      Arrival 07/04/2020. Departure 07/04/2020.

      Part of the Florida Islands, Roderick bay is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and fringing coral reefs. These clear warm tropical waters give rise to a myriad of colourful corals only metres from the shore. To add to this stunning environment, nosed up onto a nearby beach, listing heavily to its starboard side is the wreck of the World Discoverer; an expedition cruise ship beached here in 2001 after striking a charted rock at the Northern entrance to Sandfly Passage. Venture ashore for a welcome ceremony, take a walk through the village or snorkel around the wreck to witness the marine environment attempting to reclaim this invader.

      8 April 2020 – At sea

      8 April 2020 – At sea

      Arrival 08/04/2020. Departure 08/04/2020.

      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.

      9 April 2020 – Rabaul, Bismarck Archipelago

      9 April 2020 – Rabaul, Bismarck Archipelago

      Arrival 09/04/2020. Departure 09/04/2020.

      Set at the eastern end of the island of New Britain, the tropical port town of Rabaul has always been famous for its spectacular setting. Nestled beside Simpson Harbour, the township is surrounded by six volcanoes, one of which, Mt Tavurvur, is still active today. The most recent major volcanic eruption was in September 1994 when Tavurvur and Vulcan covered much of Rabaul and surrounding villages with volcanic ash. This eruption saw the growth of the nearby coastal town of Kokopo which has now become the administrative and tourism centre for Rabaul.
      Join your expedition team for a tour by local transport to see Mt Tavurvur, the Volcano Observatory and various significant sites from World War II.

      10 April 2020▸11 April 2020 – At sea

      10 April 2020▸11 April 2020 – At sea

      Arrival 10/04/2020. Departure 11/04/2020.

      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.

      12 April 2020 – Chuuk (ex Truk)

      12 April 2020 – Chuuk (ex Truk)

      Arrival 12/04/2020. Departure 12/04/2020.

      13 April 2020 – Pulap Island

      13 April 2020 – Pulap Island

      Arrival 13/04/2020. Departure 13/04/2020.

      14 April 2020 – Satawal Island

      14 April 2020 – Satawal Island

      Arrival 14/04/2020. Departure 14/04/2020.

      15 April 2020 – Gaferut Atoll

      15 April 2020 – Gaferut Atoll

      Arrival 15/04/2020. Departure 15/04/2020.

      16 April 2020▸15 April 2020 – Guam

      Guam

      Disembarkation 16/04/2020 at 09H00 .

      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.

      • Solomon Islands: Visa delivered onboard free of charge

      • Vanuatu: No visa required.

      • Papua New Guinea: Visa delivered onboard free of charge.

      • USA : Visa may be required. Please contact USA consulate website for details.

      • 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 Pacific ocean

      The fauna of the Pacific ocean is very varied. During the various dives, divers can observe various species of benthic fauna such as napoleon fish, racoonbutterfly fish, and pelagic fauna such as manta rays, gray reef sharks, dolphin fish, 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

      AMBRYM ISLAND

      YES

      NO

      PARADISE LAGOON ESPIRITU SANTO (VANUATU)

      YES

      NO

      SANTA ANNA  ISLAND (SOLOMONS)

      YES

      NO

      HONIARA, GUADALCANAL ISLAND (SOLOMONS)

      YES

      NO

      RODERICK BAY FLORIDA ISLAND (SOLOMONS)

      YES

      NO

      RABAUL  BISMARCK  ARCHIPELAGO (PNG)

      YES

      NO

      CHUUK  (MICRONESIE)

      YES

      NO

      PULAP ISLAND (MICRONESIE)

      YES

      NO

      SATAWAL ISLAND ( MICRONESIE)

      YES

      NO

      GAFERUT  ATOLL (MICRONESIE)

      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…

      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
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