In the heart of Oceania

16 days / 15 nights
    Expedition
    New itinerary
    In the heart of Oceania

    Cruise Pacific and Oceania

    from 8 December 2017 to 23 December 2017
    16 days / 15 nights

    Departure Port : Cairns
    Arrival Port : Nouméa

    Ship : L'AUSTRAL

    • Ref : A081217

    PONANT invites you to experience a timeless voyage to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Vanuatu archipelago.

    From Cairns to Noumea, you will sail aboard theL’Austral for a 16-day expedition cruise to the heart of the Coral Sea.

    At the end of the world, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s most remote countries. You will discoverlandscapes of wild beauty, including jagged mountains and white-sand beaches.

    Located on the island of New Britain, the port town ofRabaul has always been famous for its spectacular setting. From there, you will set off to observe Mount Tavurvur, the region’s most active volcano.

    Further on, the ship will make several stops in theSolomon Islands. This archipelago composed of 900 mainly volcanic islands is a tropical Eden. You will sail in the clear waters of Roderick Bay, home to a myriad of multicoloured coral.

    Before heading to New Caledonia, the L’Austral will set sail for the Vanuatu archipelago, its long mountain chains, vast tranquil bays and lagoons in a thousand shades of blue. This is an idyllic environment for anyone seeking adventure and a change of scenery.

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    Staterooms & Suites

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      L'AUSTRAL

      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL
      • L'AUSTRAL

      L'AUSTRAL

      In May 2011, l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet. This superb mega-yacht with 132 staterooms 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

      8 December 2017 – At sea

      Cairns

      Embarkation 08/12/2017 from 00H00 to 17H00 . Departure 08/12/2017 at 00H00 .

      Washed by the Coral Sea, the harbour town of Cairns is located on Australia's north-east coast. The seafront esplanade is a popular place for locals and visitors to walk, swim and picnic under the shade of swaying palm trees. The hills surrounding Cairns form the gateway to the Queensland Rainforests, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site for their fauna and flora from the Gondwana era.

      9 December 2017 – At sea

      9 December 2017 – At sea

      Arrival 09/12/2017. Departure 09/12/2017.

      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.

      10 December 2017 – Alotau

      10 December 2017 – Alotau

      Arrival 10/12/2017. Departure 10/12/2017.

      Alotau became the provincial capital of Milne Bay in 1969 and today has a population of approximately 16,000. It serves as our port of entry into Papua New Guinea. Missionaries, miners, pearlers, Japanese and American warships have all contributed to the History of Milne Bay. Perhaps the most significant history surrounds the Battle of Milne Bay. It was here that the invading Japanese army suffered their first land defeat in the Pacific War in 1942. A memorial park at the battle site commemorates the event. The local people are warm and welcoming resulting in one of the most relaxed, secure and easy-going towns in Papua New Guinea. Join your expedition team for a tour taking in the town markets and WWII memorials.

      11 December 2017 – Tufi

      11 December 2017 – Tufi

      Arrival 11/12/2017. Departure 11/12/2017.

      Often described as the “Scandinavia of the tropics”. The spectacular Tufi “fiords” plunge over 90 metres deep and rise over 150 metres vertically above the water making for a spectacular backdrop. The traditional way of life plays an important role amongst the villagers with many living in isolated areas along the coast of Cape Nelson and on the slopes of Mount Trafalgar. The area is known for its production of tapa cloth, made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree and skilfully decorated. Guests will travel into the ancient mangrove forests of the Fiords to witness one of the most colourful traditional performances in all of Papua New Guinea.  There is also the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Kamoa Beach.

      12 December 2017 – Trobiand Islands

      12 December 2017 – Trobiand Islands

      Arrival 12/12/2017. Departure 12/12/2017.

      The Trobriand Islands remain one of the most culturally intact places in the Pacific. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chiefs who wield tremendous power, although inheritances and lines of power are matrilineal. The Trobriands are often referred to as the ‘islands of love’. A reference to the customs and sexual practices of the islanders during the Yam harvesting festival of Milamala. Dance and celebration continue to play an important role in society with the rhythm of the dances retaining their sensuality, despite the best efforts of missionaries. Today you will be welcomed ashore to watch an energetic cultural performance, after which you can walk to the village or swim and snorkel in the clear warm waters.

      13 December 2017▸14 December 2017 – Rabaul

      13 December 2017▸14 December 2017 – Rabaul

      Arrival 13/12/2017. Departure 14/12/2017.

      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.

      15 December 2017 – At sea

      15 December 2017 – At sea

      Arrival 15/12/2017. Departure 15/12/2017.

      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.

      16 December 2017 – Roderick Bay, Florida Islands

      16 December 2017 – Roderick Bay, Florida Islands

      Arrival 16/12/2017. Departure 16/12/2017.

      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.

      17 December 2017 – Santa Ana

      17 December 2017 – Santa Ana

      Arrival 17/12/2017. Departure 17/12/2017.

      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.

      18 December 2017 – Vanikoro

      18 December 2017 – Vanikoro

      Arrival 18/12/2017. Departure 18/12/2017.

      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.

      19 December 2017 – Ureparapara

      19 December 2017 – Ureparapara

      Arrival 19/12/2017. Departure 19/12/2017.

      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.

      19 December 2017 – Sana Island

      19 December 2017 – Sana Island

      Arrival 19/12/2017. Departure 19/12/2017.

      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.

      20 December 2017 – Paradise Island

      20 December 2017 – Paradise Island

      Arrival 20/12/2017. Departure 20/12/2017.

      The majestic beauty of Espiritu Santo is what inspired James A. Michener to write his classic "Tales of the South Pacific." Michener would gaze across the sea and dream of "Bali Hai". Santo, as the island is colloquially known, abounds with natural beauty that remains largely unspoilt. From palm fringed beaches with powdery white sand, freshwater Blue Holes surrounded by natural rain forest, to Idyllic Islands surrounded by azure seas. Today Guests will have the opportunity to take a tour by bus to visit one of the famous blue holes, enjoy a traditional performance and learn about the important role the island played in WWII. There will also be ample time to swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Paradise Lagoon.

      21 December 2017 – Tanna Island

      21 December 2017 – Tanna Island

      Arrival 21/12/2017. Departure 21/12/2017.

      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.

      22 December 2017 – Noumea

      22 December 2017 – Noumea

      Arrival 22/12/2017. Departure 22/12/2017.

      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.

      22 December 2017 – Overnight at port

      22 December 2017 – Overnight at port

      Arrival 22/12/2017. Departure 22/12/2017.

      23 December 2017▸22 December 2017 – Noumea

      Nouméa

      Disembarkation 23/12/2017 at 00H00 .

      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.

      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.

      • Australia: an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) must be obtained before your arrival in Australia. For more information, please visit www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas. Carriers should be aware that there will not be any physical evidence in your passport.

        Australian customs regulations are very strict, especially for the import of food items such as fresh food (even sealed), fruits, eggs, meat, plants, vegetables, seeds, grains. Fur and feathers are also forbidden. We highly recommend you consult this website for further details : www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas/customs-clearance.

        It is recommended that you contact your health professional for any specific medical advise relating to travel through these regions, including advice on Malaria prevention and dengue fever.

      • Solomon Islands: Visa delivered onboard free of charge

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

      • Vanuatu: No visa required.

      • It is recommended that you contact your health professional for any specific medical advice relating to travel through these regions, including advice on Malaria prevention, dengue fever as well as Ross River fever, tetanus, hepatitis and typhoid.

      Theme

      POLAR EXPEDITION

      POLAR EXPEDITION

      Discover the unique concept of PONANT polar 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 ice floes of the Arctic and the Antarctic, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.

      PONANT, polar specialists

      With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is a real polar specialist. PONANT will take you to the most remote regions in total safety: our Captains and crew are professionals, specially trained to sail in icy waters. 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 polar regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac dinghies and hikes on land so as to get as close as possible to nature and wild fauna. In the Arctic and in Alaska, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to understand the life of these peoples of the Far North, and to share it for a few hours. 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

      Expeditions programs include activities such as Zodiac® outings (often with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Calls, landings & zodiac® cruises will depend on weather conditions, position of ice (during polar cruises) and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.

      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 the expert pilots present on board during the navigation in polar and /or isolated zones.

      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 for 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.

       

      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
        • Binoculars
        • 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.

       

      • 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.

      Pre/Post & Overlands

      1. Before your cruise

        07/12/2017 – Cairns at the Edge of Australia\'s Tropical Rainforest (1night)

        470.00 $ **

        More information

      2. options

        05/12/2017 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Cairns, at the Edge of the Australia\'s Tropical Rainforest 1N (Pre) + Discover Noumea (Post)

        05/12/2017 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Cairns, at the Edge of the Australia\'s Tropical Rainforest 1N (Pre) + Transfer To Airport (Post)

      3. After your cruise

        23/12/2017 – Discover Noumea (1 day)

        505.00 $ **

        More information

        23/12/2017 – Direct transfer from the pier to the airport of Noumea

        45.00 $ **

        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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