Ponant, Smithsonian Journeys Announce 2024 Small Ship Expeditions

Ponant has announced its 2024 sailings in collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution. Drawing on Smithsonian's history as the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, the 24 departures will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife.  This is the third year when Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys will offer co-branded sailings.   

Several new itineraries exploring Alaska, New Zealand’s Fiordland, and the wonders of the Mediterranean, will provide opportunities to engage with a variety of Smithsonian Journeys experts, ranging from archeologists and scientists to anthropologists and historians. For the 2024 season, guests will have even more choices among half-day and full-day included shore excursions and specially arranged onshore activities, ranging from a visit to the new Grand Egyptian Museum followed by an exclusive talk with a Egyptologist, to pizza making in Sorrento and wine tasting on the slopes of Mt. Etna.   

Ponant and Smithsonian Journeys will also bring back voyage-favorites from 2023 including a seven-night itinerary from Panama to Costa Rica, with an exclusive visit to the open-air Punta Culebra Nature Center of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (February 10-17, 2024); a seven-night voyage to the Scottish Isles and Norwegian Fjords, including a train journey aboard the Flåm Railway into the mountains of western Norway (June 8-15 and June 15-22, 2024); and a week-long exploration of the Greek Islands in the Southern Aegean, with ports of call at a different island each day (October 3-10, 2024).  

Highlights of the 2024 voyages include:  

New Zealand’s South Island by Sea: A Voyage to the Fiordland (Le Lapérouse

The diversity of New Zealand will be on full display on this seven-night expedition along South Island’s eastern seaboard and the Fiordland National Park. The park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its craggy mountains and pristine fjords that were formed over 100,000 years of glacial activity. There, guests will discover landscapes described by British navigator James Cook, enjoy sightings of rare Fiordland crested penguins, and discover the cascading waterfalls and dramatic cliffs of Milford Sound

Departure on February 15, 2024/ 7 nights, 8 days 

Ancient Civilizations by Sea: Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, & Turkey (Le Champlain

During this 12-night sailing, guests will discover seven countries—Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, and Malta—and the cultural treasures therein, from the sacred sites of Jerusalem and the Pyramids of Giza to the newly opened Grand Egyptian Museum. As Le Champlain sails through the waters of the Red Sea and crosses the Suez Canal, guests will stay entertained through engaging onboard discussions with a renowned archeologist and a foreign correspondent. 

Departure on April 2, 2024 / 12 nights, 13 days 

Mediterranean Island Voyage: Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba (Le Bougainville

Beginning in Malta and ending in the South of France, this seven-night journey offers the very best of the Mediterranean, with stops on the windswept isles of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba

Highlights include visiting the well-preserved Greek and Roman ruins in Syracuse, Sicily; viewing the stunning Byzantine-Arab mosaics in the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, Sicily; touring the medieval clifftop town of Bonifacio, on Corsica; and strolling the clifftop estate on Elba, Italy, where Napoleon was exiled. 

Departure on May 15, 2024 / 7 nights, 8 days 

Cultural and Natural Treasures of Japan by Sea (Le Soléal

Feudal castles, Buddhist temples, and traditional teahouses are among the delights of this seven-night sailing along Japan’s northern coast, starting in the charming town of Maizuru. The cultural emphasis is evident from the first port of call, Sakaiminato, where options include touring a 17th-century castle built entirely of pine, learning the ancient craft of making paper, visiting a landscape garden renowned for its fragrant peonies, and marveling at modern Japanese paintings at the Adachi Museum. The islands of Sado and Honshu will bring Japan’s stunning natural landscapes into focus, from the rugged cliffs of the Senkakuwan Ageshima Yuen Park to the sacred mountains known as the Dewa Sanzan

Departure on May 21, 2024 / 7 nights, 8 days 

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage (Le Soléal

Departing from Vancouver, this eight-night journey will bring guests into the heart of Alaska’s staggering landscapes, from its dramatic fjords and mighty glaciers to its thundering waterfalls and primal forests. A geologist and natural history filmmaker (July 5 departure) will serve as your experts as Le Soléal makes its way through the Johnstone Strait and along the Inside Passage, with plenty of wildlife sightings along the way: orcas, humpback whales, brown bears, sea otters, bald eagles, and much more. 

Departures on July 5 and July 20, 2024 / 8 nights, 9 days 

Ancient Wonders and Culinary Delights: Cruising Southern Italy and Sicily (Le Bougainville

The Mediterranean diet—with its fresh seafood, herbaceous olive oils, and abundant wine—is one of the focal points of this cruise from Malta to Sicily and up along the west coast of Southern Italy. The seven-night journey will include wine tastings at Sicilian wineries; sampling bergamot, the typical citrus fruit from Calabria; and eating your way through the street foods of Naples and Rome. The historical element is just as much of a focus, with stops to discover ancient Roman and Greek monuments in Syracuse, Taormina, Paestum, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome.

Departure on September 8, 2024 / 7 nights, 8 days 

For more information, click here.  

Related Stories

Riviera River Cruises Updates Group Booking Policy

Atlas’ New Yacht World Traveller to Visit the Arctic and Iceland

Aurora Expeditions to Expand its Boundaries in Greenland

Variety Cruises Offers LGBTQ+ Cruise in the Seychelles