Search entire travel group

Ponant - Revealing the Mysteries of Melanesia - with National Geographic

(11864)
In collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions discover the natural wonders of the Coral Sea in Vanuatu and New Caledonia. From Honiara to Nouméa, set sail aboard Le Soléal on a 12-day expedition cruise into the heart of the South Pacific to discover ancestral tribes and paradisiacal landscapes.
Honiara, Solomon Islands / Noumea, New Caledonia
Cultural
Luxury
Ocean

Highlights

A cruise in collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard.

Expedition voyage discovering Vanuatu: traditional villages, tropical beaches, coral reefs, active volcanoes.

Discover the arts and traditions of Kanak culture, the tribes of the "Big Nambas" on the island of Malekula and the famous Rom dance of the Ambrym Islanders.

On Tanna Island, walk to the rim of an active volcano and view a fireworks spectacle like no other.

In collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions discover the natural wonders of the Coral Sea in Vanuatu and New Caledonia. From Honiara to Nouméa, set sail aboard Le Soléal on a 12-day expedition cruise into the heart of the South Pacific to discover ancestral tribes and paradisiacal landscapes.

Start your adventure at the Solomon Islands, a real tropical Eden.

Continue to Vanuatu, considered by some as the “happiest country in the world”. With its 83 islands, it unfurls a palette of extremely varied landscapes. Active volcanoes, beaches bordered by palm trees, and tropical forests welcome visitors to this exceptional archipelago located in Melanesia. Le Soléal will also allow you to disembark onto dream beaches. Espiritu Santo, the archipelago’s main island, promises you an unforgettable bathing experience in an idyllic setting. During your cruise, you will have the opportunity to visit several traditional villages, particularly on the islands of Ureparapara, Ambrym and Malekula. Their inhabitants will be happy to share their customs, notable for singing, dancing and art, with you. In Tanna, do not miss out on exploring the imposing Mt Yasur, considered to be the most accessible active volcano in the world.

Le Soléal will then take you to the sublime island of Lifou with its picture-postcard landscapes of white-sand beaches and tropical vegetation, located in the Loyalty archipelago. Then set sail towards Kouaré Island which will reveal all its beauty and the richness of its seabed. Your cruise will come to an end in Nouméa, capital of New Caledonia.

Read more Read less

Included

- A la carte meals at the Gastronomic Restaurant
11 nights onboard Ponant Le Soléal
- Buffet Meals at the Grill Restaurant
- Complimentary 24-hour room service
- Keep fit in the gym
- Nightly entertainment in the Theatre
- Relax in the library with a good book
- Free & Unlimited Wi-Fi
INCLUSIONS ONBOARD PONANT:
All meals included whilst onboard Ponant
- Pillow Menu - select the pillow that best suits you
Regular Zodiac outings & shore visits
Unlimited drinks included whilst onboard Ponant

Honiara, Solomon Islands to Noumea, New Caledonia

Your itinerary

Day 1
Honiara, Guadalcanal Island (Solomon Islands)

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. 

  • Emarkation: 4pm to 5pm
  • Departure: 6pm

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Dinner
Honiara, Guadalcanal Island (Solomon Islands)
Honiara, Guadalcanal Island | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 2
Owaraha (formerly Santa Ana Island), Solomon Islands

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Owaraha (formerly Santa Ana Island), Solomon Islands
Santa Ana Island | Credit: ©PONANT
Day 3
At Sea

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
At Sea
At Sea | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 4
Vanikoro Island, Solomon Islands

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Vanikoro Island, Solomon Islands
Vanikoro Island | Credit: ©PONANT
Day 5
Ureparapara Island, Vanuatu

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ureparapara Island, Vanuatu
Ureparapara Island | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 6
Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Espiritu Santo Island | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 7
Ambrym Island, Vanuatu

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ambrym Island, Vanuatu
Ambrym Island | Credit: ©PONANT
Day 8
Malekula Island, Vanuatu

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Malekula Island, Vanuatu
Malekula Island | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 9
Tanna Island, Vanuatu

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Tanna Island | Credit: ©Ponant
Day 10
Lifou, New Caledonia

You’ll land around 100km east of Grande-Terre. An ancient coral atoll atop a collapsed volcano, Lifou is today the largest and highest of the Loyalty Islands. This is an outstanding natural site, waiting to be explored: to the north, the coastline ends abruptly in sheer cliffs, while to the south lie expanses of long white sand beaches. Lovers of wild plantlife may well be tempted by a walk further inland, where the rich and authentic Kanak culture is proudly upheld by the local community.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lifou, New Caledonia
Lifou | Credit: ©PONANT
Day 11
Kouare Island, New Caledonia

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.

Overnight stay onboard Ponant Le Soléal.

All-inclusive beverages - mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee and tea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kouare Island, New Caledonia
Kouare Island | Credit: ©PONANT
Day 12
Noumea, New Caledonia

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.

  • Arrival: early morning
  • Disembarkation: 7am
Breakfast

Additional information

Official language
English, French and Bislama
Local currency
Vatu
Ocean Cruising

Redefine your sense of comfort and luxury with our carefully selected expedition cruises. Don't miss these ultimate experiences!

11 nights
from AUD10,260
per person, twin share
Vanuatu, New Caledonia
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Noumea, New Caledonia
Cultural, Luxury
November 2022

Hotel options

Ponant Le Soléal
Ponant Le Soléal

An elegant appearance and refined interior design combine with cutting-edge technology to offer a new type of cruising: adventure in a luxury setting. Le Soléal further reaffirms PONANT's signature approach: to take passengers to the farthest reaches of the planet onboard five-star ships offering top-of-the-range services.The interior design of the 132 staterooms and suites of the Le Soléal features a range of entirely soft and gentle colours, with greys and whites combining with natural wood. The Le Soléal thus brings to mind the looks and styles of the world of yachting, whilst at the same time adding a touch of sophistication.

Maximum 264 guests, 132 staterooms & suites, 140 crew members, spa and 2 restaurants.

Stateroom facilities:

  • Individually-controlled air conditioning
  • Stateroom layout: king-size bed, or twin beds, interconnecting staterooms available (Children welcome)
  • Minibar
  • Flat screen satellite TV
  • Bose™ Bluetooth speaker
  • Desk with stationery
  • Safe
  • Hermès® bath products
  • Dressing table, bath robes, hairdryer
  • Direct line telephone
  • 110V American (two flat pins) /220V European (round sockets with two round pins)
  • 24hr room service
  • WIFI internet access

Image ©Studio PONANT/Nathalie Michel

Important notes

  • Please note that this product is not part of our flexible booking policy as the supplier terms and conditions apply. Our team will advise of the exact booking conditions at the time of booking.
  • The scheduled itinerary is subject to delay, modification, or port-of-call cancellation due to weather and other causes beyond the control of the ship captain, the ship manager or Ponant Cruises. If necessary or appropriate, as determined in the discretion of the captain, the ship manager or Ponant Cruises, the ports of call and itineraries may be changed.
  • Pricing is based on a from price for the Superior Stateroom onboard Le Soleal 11 Nov 2022 departure and is subject to change. Please contact our team for an exact quote.

 

Open Bar

From the moment you board and throughout your cruise, unlimited drinks are included*, at any time of the day. A drink with friends at the bar, refreshments on your return from an excursion or in the serenity of your Stateroom’s balcony: enjoy a large selection of beverages (mineral waters, soft drinks, wines, beer, champagne, spirits, coffee, tea). A selection of premium alcoholic drinks are also available à la carte.

*Does not include top shelf premium alcoholic drinks indicated on the Bar Menu. Valid only for individual personal consumption, without limitations.

Please note prices and availability are subject to change, please contact our team for an exact quote.

 

 

Blackout dates may apply during festive season.