Sailing the Orinoco

10 days / 9 nights
    Sailing the Orinoco

    Cruise Latin America, Caribbean

    from 19 December 2018 to 28 December 2018
    10 days / 9 nights

    Departure Port : Cayenne
    Arrival Port : Fort-de-France


    • Ref : C191218

    From Cayenne to Fort-de-France, PONANT is inviting you to experience exceptional moments on a 10-day expedition cruise. Aboard Le Champlain, you will travel to 6 different lands and the highlight of the trip will be sailing along the legendary Orinoco River.  

    Your ship will depart from Cayenne and sail to the Salvation Islands. In the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, these three tracts of land resting in the Atlantic Ocean were penal colonies where convicts, political prisoners and known criminals were exiled and held in prisons which you will be able to visit.  

    When your ship calls at the old colonial Dutch city of Paramaribo in Suriname, you will have the opportunity to discover the magnificent Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, built entirely from wood.

    Le Champlain will then take you to the unique setting that is the Orinoco Delta, for unforgettable sailing surrounded by extremely dense vegetation. Immerse yourself in the special atmosphere that reigns here as you enjoy the sounds of jungle birds and moving encounters with the locals.

    The end of your cruise will be marked by stops in the heart of the Caribbean, where you’ll be able to swim in idyllic surrounds. You will be free to enjoy the turquoise waters at the beaches in the Grenadines and Barbados, before disembarking in Martinique.

    Subject to weather and river conditions. The expedition highlights, encounters with the wildlife and itineraries described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

    • Naturalists Naturalists
    See the map


    • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides in the meanders of the Orinoco, in the heart of tropical rainforest.
    • In the Salvation Islands, the possibility of strolling through the former prisons, in an idyllic setting surrounded by exotic vegetation.
    • Discovering the picturesque city of Paramaribo, its traditional market and its old churches.
    • Special encounters with the Warao tribes, whose name translates as “the boat people”.
    • Possibility of observing an incredible variety of endemic wildlife including spider monkeys, macaws, toucans, scarlet ibises, caimans, iguanas and river dolphins.

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    Staterooms & Suites


      There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.




      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 second ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Champlain 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.

      Port of call & excursions

      19 December 2018 – Cayenne


      Embarkation 19/12/2018 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 19/12/2018 at 00H00 .

      Capital of French Guyana located more than 7,000 km from the French mainland, Cayenne offers a harmonious ensemble of monuments, beaches and old creole houses on the eastern side of the South American continent. Between history and modernity, the city is marked by the presence of the former prisons, the vestiges of which can be seen on the Salvation Islands. This port of call will give you the opportunity to visit two museums, the Musée local de la Guyana and the Musée des cultures guyanaises, and learn more about the historic and cultural interests of the region. The Place des Palmistes, with its three soaring Guisanbourg palm trees, is the main square in Cayenne It provides the setting for a variety of events throughout the year.

      20 December 2018 – Cayenne

      20 December 2018 – Cayenne

      Arrival 20/12/2018. Departure 20/12/2018 at night.

      Capital of French Guyana located more than 7,000 km from the French mainland, Cayenne offers a harmonious ensemble of monuments, beaches and old creole houses on the eastern side of the South American continent. Between history and modernity, the city is marked by the presence of the former prisons, the vestiges of which can be seen on the Salvation Islands. This port of call will give you the opportunity to visit two museums, the Musée local de la Guyana and the Musée des cultures guyanaises, and learn more about the historic and cultural interests of the region. The Place des Palmistes, with its three soaring Guisanbourg palm trees, is the main square in Cayenne It provides the setting for a variety of events throughout the year.

      20 December 2018 – Salvation Islands

      20 December 2018 – Salvation Islands

      Arrival 20/12/2018 early morning. Departure 20/12/2018 late afternoon.

      Lying off the coast of Kourou, an essential element of any trip to Guiana, the Islands of Salvation were known as the "Islands of the Devil" because of the strong sea currents that made access to them perilous. Once infamous for being the site of a jail with very harsh conditions of detention, where Alfred Dreyfus was exiled, today they are a peaceful place where coconut palms cast shade over the crystal-clear waters. During your cruise, we invite you to make a timeless journey to visit the many remains of the prison that are still visible, including cells and the abandoned hospital.

      21 December 2018 – Paramaribo

      21 December 2018 – Paramaribo

      Arrival 21/12/2018 midday. Departure 21/12/2018 early evening.

      The many facets of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, a small South-American country nestling between French Guiana and Guyana, will undoubtedly surprise you and fill you with wonder. This former colonial town was established by the Dutch in the 17th century. The historic city is home to many buildings made of wood and red bricks: a simple architecture that has been enriched over the centuries under the influence of the growing ethnic diversity of the population. Be sure to visit the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral and the presidential palace in the historic inner city, now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

      22 December 2018 – At sea

      22 December 2018 – At sea

      Arrival 22/12/2018. Departure 22/12/2018.

      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.

      23 December 2018 – El Toro, Orinoco

      23 December 2018 – El Toro, Orinoco

      Arrival 23/12/2018. Departure 23/12/2018.

      Along the Orinoco River, discover the small Warao village of El Toro: a unique opportunity to discover the traditions of this once-nomadic people that has now become sedentary. Protected from external influences due to the difficulty in accessing their territory, over the centuries the Warao have successfully preserved their values and know-how, which are marked by a deep respect for nature. Here, the only mode of transportation is the dugout canoe and the Warao handle it with the greatest of ease, gliding along the water in spellbinding silence. The calm and serene atmosphere is conducive to fully experiencing this exceptional encounter with a tribe whose way of life is so much different from the one we know. 

      24 December 2018 – El Arroyo, Orinoco

      24 December 2018 – El Arroyo, Orinoco

      Arrival 24/12/2018. Departure 24/12/2018.

      At the mouth of the Orinoco River, the village of El Arroyo is located in the Delta del Orinoco National Park. This gigantic aquatic labyrinth is home to an exceptionnally rich fauna and flora which offers frequent encounters with various animal species, many of which are endemic. Among these species, caimans and iguana or capibaras, the world’s largest rodents, will appear at the surface of the water. The boto, or freshwater dolphin is easily identifiable thanks to its magnificent and surprising pink colour. Curious and playful, it may well seek you out, unless its spotlight is stolen by the mischievous capuchins, squirrel monkeys or their cousins.

      25 December 2018 – Tobago Cays

      25 December 2018 – Tobago Cays

      Arrival 25/12/2018 early afternoon. Departure 25/12/2018 evening.

      Scattered between St Vincent and Grenada, the Tobago Cays comprises five little islands: Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac and Jamesby. This rosary of uninhabited cays in the southern West Indies is a marine park whose turquoise lagoons provide a home and safe haven for some outstanding marine fauna, including peaceful green turtles. Girded and united by a coral reef, these secluded islands are a peaceful paradise for divers, swimmers and snorkellers.

      26 December 2018 – Bequia Island

      26 December 2018 – Bequia Island

      Arrival 26/12/2018 early morning. Departure 26/12/2018 evening.

      In the heart of the Caribbean, Bequia is the second-largest of 32 islands that make up the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This secluded island, strongly attached to its tradition of whale hunting, is popular with visiting yachties and divers. Port Elizabeth, the islandメs main town, has a lively atmosphere and further afield tropical rainforest and white-sand beaches provide a natural setting for peaceful walks.

      27 December 2018 – Bridgetown

      27 December 2018 – Bridgetown

      Arrival 27/12/2018 early morning. Departure 27/12/2018 late afternoon.

      Bridgetown, the bustling capital of Barbados, is located on the island's south-west coast. Its historic quarters are UNESCO World Heritage sites and contain prime examples of British colonial architecture, which you will see between the postcard-perfect fishing harbour and St Ann's Fort. Streets shaded by palms and flamboyant trees lead you to the Anglican cathedral church of St Michael, built from coral stone, the Barbados Museum and George Washington House, a Georgian-style mansion. There'll be plenty of time to relax on the Caribbean beaches of Carlisle Bay, a few paces from the old town centre.

      28 December 2018▸27 December 2018 – Fort-de-France


      Disembarkation 28/12/2018 at 07H00 .

      Located on the western coast of Martinique, Fort-de-France will amaze you by the splendour of its bay, a magnificent cut-out in the coastline, considered as one of the most beautiful in the world. At the harbour mouth, on its strip of land, fort Saint-Louis overlooks the capital city of Martinique. If you climb up to it, you can see some breath-taking views. Saint Louis Cathedral and the Schoelcher library bear witness to a secular history, intimately linked to the island’s story. Why not try some fresh coconut at the colourful Grand Marché. Two really pleasant places you can take a breather in, right in the heart of the city, are the garden of Balata and the Aimé Césaire park.


      • 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.

      • Yellow fever inoculation is compulsory. You will need to bring with you your original proof of international yellow fever vaccination. Should you fail to bring your valid certificate, you will be denied boarding.

        Anti-malarial treatment is highly recommended (check with your doctor) 

      • Suriname: A transit visa will be issued and charged onboard (15€ subject to change).


      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…

      Guest(s) Lecturer(s)

      Yves Coppens

      Yves Coppens

      An internationally renowned French palaeontologist, Yves Coppens has spent his entire career in Paris in a succession of posts at the Sorbonne (Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory, Human Palaeontology), at the National Natural History Museum (Institute of Palaeontology), Musée de l’Homme and Collège de France.

      He held the Research Chair at the Anthropology Museum and Musée de l'Homme, and the Palaeoanthropology and Prehistory Chair at the Collège de France. He is a member of the Institute of France’s Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Medicine and many foreign academies. He has been awarded numerous titles and awards, both in France and abroad, including Honorary Doctorates by the universities of Chicago, Bologna, Liège and Mons, and made an Honorary Citizen of more than 30 French and foreign towns.

      Since 1960, Yves Coppens has led ground-breaking expeditions, alone or part of an international collaboration, first in Africa then in Asia. He brought back numerous fossils (including hundreds of Hominids remains, among them six new species) from which he formulated some original ideas. The most important of these, now widely recognised everywhere, was the discovery that the emergence of the human race was due to an adaptation to climate change! Yves Coppens has shared his research and hypotheses in at least a thousand articles and books.

      Languages spoken: French, English


      Photo credit: Quentin COPPENS

      Possibility of withdrawal in case of force majeure.

      Important information

      Expeditions programs include activities such as Zodiac® outings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Certain zodiac® outings will not allow for landings just cruising. Landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.

      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 from 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.

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

      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.

      Feel free to visit the PONANT online shop which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations at the following address:


      Benefits of the PONANT shop:

      • expert advice to gear up
      • a selection of technical equipment and accessories approved by our naturalists
      • Duty Free prices
      • delivery directly on board

      Pre/Post & Overlands

      1. After your cruise

        28/12/2018 – Flavours of Martinique

        145.00 € **

        More information

      2. Before your cruise

        18/12/2018 – Forest Adventure at Wapa Lodge (1 night)

        540.00 € **

        More information

        19/12/2018 – En route to the port of Cayenne

        30.00 € **

        More information

        18/12/2018 – Kaw marshes by dug-out canoe (1 night)

        For your comfort and serenity, this programme benefits from a PONANT accompaniment***.
        The escort, mandated by the company, accompanies you and remains at your disposal during your stay.
        His mission: offering you assistance and facilitating the organisation to ensure the full success of your stay.
        390.00 € **

        More information

      3. Your packages

        19/12/2018 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Transfert to the pier of Cayenne (Pre) + Flavours of Martinique (Post)

        1765.00 € **

        18/12/2018 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Forest adventure at Wapa Lodge 1N (Pre) + Flavours of Martinique (Post)

        2275.00 € **

        18/12/2018 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Kaw marshes by dug-out canoe 1N (Pre) + Flavours of Martinique (Post)

        2125.00 € **
      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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