PACKAGE #264

OceaniaTREASURES OF PNG & THE CORAL SEA

FROM

$23,999pp

Join us on an incredible expedition with Ponant! This 25 night luxury cruise will take you on an adventure that you will never forget.

Departing from Darwin, you’ll visit the legendary Spice Islands, teeming with history from the days of privateering, when the spice market was at its peak. As you walk the streets with their eclectic mix of architecture you won’t be able to help but imagine days gone by when the world powers fought over these beautiful island that are now largely forgotten.

This itinerary however will immerse you in some of the most intriguing cultures as you discover New Guinea, Papua, Solomon Islands and the lesser visited islands of Vanuatu. Meet local tribes and learn their customs, admire their exquisite traditional costumes and learn about village life in these remote areas. Gorgeous artefacts, carefully curated crafts and mesmerising cultural performances await!

Couple the incredible cultural experience with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Crystal clear lagoons teeming with masses of colourful marine life, corals of every hue, pristine white sand beaches, jungle clad mountains … you’ll see it all!

To top it off, you’ll visit New Zealand’s spectacular Bay of Islands before disembarking in Auckland.

Of course, you’ll be travelling in absolute luxury aboard Ponant’s Le Bellot, a luxurious, elegant small ship that you’ll never want to leave! Included in the itinerary are excursions and zodiac tours, as well as the services of an incredible expedition team who ensure you know what you’re looking at!

Read more about the day to day itinerary below but also request a copy of the itinerary from us as there is so much more to this trip!

Your 27 night package departs 02 December 2020 and includes:

· Airfare from AKL/WLG/CHC to Darwin and return from Auckland

· Transfer from Darwin Airport to hotel

· 2 nights accommodation in Darwin

· Your choice of tour (one): 2 Day “Big Bus” Deluxe Ticket (hop on hop off bus) OR Jumping Crocs Coach & Cruise OR Litchfield National Park Adventure

· 25 night cruise aboard Ponant’s Le Bellot

· All meals aboard Le Bellot · Beverages on board (except “top shelf”)

· Evening entertainment and events

· 24 hour room service

· Zodiac shore excursions

· Transfer from Auckland wharf to Airport/Home

PLUS Also receive complimentary chauffeur driven luxury car transfers to/from your capital city airport (within 35 km)

Prices start from $25,679 per person share twin in PR4 – Deck 4.  Please contact us for best available pricing.

Limited Deck 4 & 5 Prestige Staterooms available -  all with balconies!

NOTE: Deluxe Staterooms are SOLD OUT


LE BELLOT

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 Bellot 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.


CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS

Darwin

Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Come discover the town’s still recent history through its emblematic buildings such as the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture or Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids.

Banda Neira, Maluku Islands

From age-old traditional cultures and ancient vestiges, to coral reefs and lush green jungle… The attractions of the remote Banda archipelago seem endless. Better known as the legendary “Spice Islands” of the Ancient World, these small volcanic landmasses were the fabled prize of colonial powers for more than four centuries. Every colonial power of significance fought for control of these ten small islands that today have become largely forgotten. Walking the streets of Banda Neira is a surreal experience as your eyes are drawn to the eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, the remnants of a rich and tumultuous history. It is without doubt the most historically significant and interesting of all the “Spice Islands”.

Cenderawasih Bay

Cenderawasih Bay is located at the western end of New Guinea Island, south-east of the Bird’s Head Peninsula. Covering more than 1.4 million hectares the bay is home to an abundant array of uninhabited islands, pristine coral reefs and the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark. Over the years the whale sharks have learnt the habits of local fishermen who catch baitfish at night in nets lowered from fishing vessels known as “Bagans”. The Whale Sharks are now regular visitors feeding on the baitfish that spill from the nets at the surface. Cenderawasih Bay is part of the Bird’s Head seascape, the centre of marine biodiversity at the heart of the coral triangle. Do not miss the chance to discover these multicoloured reefs and extraordinary marine fauna. Depending on the conditions, you may also have the opportunity to snorkel and swim with Whale Sharks.

Jayapura, Papua

Jayapura City is the provincial capital of Papua province, Indonesia. It is a modern industrial city contrasting markedly with the surrounding hinterland where Papuan tribes live a subsistence lifestyle. The vast majority of Jayapurans are transmigrants from western Indonesia who control most of the industry and economics of the region. Guests have the opportunity to visit the Loka Budaya Museum with its vast collection of Papuan artefacts before leaving the city behind, and travelling to the traditional village of Asai on Lake Sentani. Here you can enjoy a cultural performance and witness life in a traditional Papuan village. Asai is famous for its production of Tapa cloth.

Kopar

The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in systems of trade and cultural interaction. Kopar village’s location at the mouth of the Sepik river makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages. Here the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. As is custom in all Sepik societies, the men’s house is the place where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men and ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. Guests will be welcomed ashore with a ceremony and cultural performance, including the famous “dragon dance.” There will be an opportunity to walk around the village of Kopar to experience traditional life in the lower Sepik.

Madang

Madang Township was once known as the “prettiest town in the South Pacific”. Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. The diverse geographical nature of Madang province is reflected in the 170 different languages that are spoken. This diversity is showcased in the Madang festival with its colourful displays of “sing sings” performed by numerous cultural groups from across the Madang Province. Join your expedition team for a tour to the local village of BilBil, famous for the production of clay pots. You will also be treated to a number of cultural performances showcasing the local customs, costume and dance of the coastal, midland and highland communities.

Tami Island

The Tami Islands (Kalal, Wanam & Idjan) are a small group of uplifted coral atolls, with two main villages on the two larger islands and many smaller reefs and cays. In the centre is a beautiful, crystal clear blue lagoon with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The islands, located in Morobe Province not far from the town of Finschaffen are seldom-visited. Tami Islanders are renowned artisans and are most famous for their intricately decorated bowls.

Trobriand Islands

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.

Honiara, Guadalcanal Island

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.

Vanikoro Island

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.

Mota Lava Island

The Banks and Torres Islands form Vanuatu’s northernmost islands where local culture is still very much alive and unblemished by the modern world. Mota Lava is a stunning island of jungle clad craggy peaks plunging to long white sandy beaches lined with coconut palms. The nearby island of Ra is classically beautiful, an ideal place for travellers looking to leave civilisation completely behind. You will have the opportunity to experience the ancient culture in this rarely visited group of islands. There will also be an opportunity for swimming and snorkelling from one of the many spectacular beaches.

South West Bay, Malekula

Malekula is the second largest island in Vanuatu and the most diverse, culturally and linguistically, with over thirty distinct languages spoken. Some of the best custom dances come from the island. The very friendly villagers will be proud to share with you their cultural heritage. Guests will be transferred ashore for a welcome and cultural performance. Afterwards, you will have an opportunity to witness traditional village life in Malekula, with demonstrations of traditional village practices such as weaving and Kava, and purchase genuine artefacts.

Tanna Island

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.

Prony Bay

The ochre red of the hills rich in iron oxide, the flora with their infinite shades of green, the intense blue of the Coral Sea and the dazzling light of the sky combine to form the spectacular landscapes of Prony Bay. Part of the marine area of Grand Lagon Sud, one of the six lagoons in New Caledonia that are UNESCO World Heritage sites for the diversity of their coral reefs and their ecosystems, Prony Bay offers some splendid landscapes. During your outings in Zodiac® dinghies and your landings in the Cap N’Dua nature reserve and the marine protected area of Casy Island, you will explore the exceptional natural and cultural heritage of this region marked by the colonial, penitentiary and mining history of the island.

Kouaré Island

Aboard your Zodiac® dinghy, you will sail along the turquoise waters of New Caledonia’s coral reef, the second largest in the world. When you land on Kouare Island, in the heart of the southern lagoon, you will discover an idyllic environment. On this small tract of uninhabited land, in a marine area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, the animals rule supreme. From the white-sand beaches where marine turtles and sea snakes like to lay their eggs, take off with your mask and snorkel to discover an abundant underwater world that is home to multicoloured fish, beautiful coral, and marine reptiles. Look up to the sky and admire the incessant ballet of terns and black noddies that appear to be jealously guarding their island.

Bay of Islands, Waitangi

On the east coast of the North Island, the Bay of Islands promises an incredible journey into the origins of the 'land of the long white cloud'. Russell, the first harbour city founded in New Zealand by Europeans, is your entry-point into this corner of paradise. Among whitewashed houses and gorgeous gardens, Russell offers a gentle, romantic atmosphere. A few traces of its past remain, such as Christ Church, the oldest church in the country. Shimmering waters highly prized by local fishermen, beautiful beaches and wild nature make visiting this New Zealand town a picture postcard experience.

Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most populated and busiest city. Located on an isthmus linking the peninsula of Northland to the expansive North Island, it seems to float between land and sea. It is one of the few cities in the world to have two separate harbours : Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. You will understand why Auckland is known as the city of sails when you see the forest of masts in the marina. The 328 metre-high Sky Tower offers splendid views of the city. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes such as Mt Eden, Auckland is noted for its abundant nature and magnificent black-sand beaches. A blend of Maori, European and Asian cultures give the city a vibrant atmosphere.


 

Images ©Studio PONANT/Nathalie Michel, Olivier Blaud & Mick Fogg

Video ©Studio PONANT/Frédéric Michel

*Conditions apply for all bookings. Subject to availability of services at time of booking. All costs NZ$ per person Twin share ( 2 persons sharing) . Or Single based on sole use. Valid for new bookings only. Valid for bookings made directly with Ultimate Cruising only. Not combinable with any other Ultimate Cruising offer, nor with any other Ponant special offer/discount. Flights  AKL/WLG/CHC to Darwin and Auckland to WLG/CHC are Economy Class. Darwin pre cruise is as selected by Ultimate Crusing and is 2 nights on a Room only basis Luxury chauffeur transfers are valid up to 35 kms from your AKL/WLG/CHC capital city airport. Full conditions will be sent with confirmation pack on booking

Cruise Category
  • Luxury Expedition
  • Modern
ONBOARD FEATURES
  • 24 Hr Room Service
  • All meals
  • Boutique &/or Salon
  • Drinks All Day
  • On-Board Lecturer
  • Pool &/or Spa
Itinerary Map Image

Trip itinerary

Day
Port
1
Auckland
Fly To Darwin
Transfer to Accommodation
2
Darwin
Choice of Tours
3
Embark Le Bellot
4
At Sea
5
Banda Neira
6
Mommon Waterfall
7
At Sea
8 - 9
Cenderawasih Bay
10
At Sea
11
Jayapura & Vanimo

Technical Details

  • Built Date 2020
  • Crew 110
  • Capacity 184
  • Length 131M

Cruise Category

  • Luxury Expeditions
  • Modern Style

Le Bellot

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 fifth ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bellot 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.

VESSEL FEATURES

Please select your departure