Between Papua & Indonesia
* Subject to availability
- Take an expedition voyage accompanied by our professional Naturalist-Guides and the Expedition Leader Mick Fogg, Australian award-winning wildlife photographer and adventurer.
- Snorkel in the UNESCO world heritage listed Raja Ampat, the most biodiverse marine ecosystem on earth.
- Regular outings in Zodiacs®.
- Visit significant World War II sites and memorials at Guadalcanal, Rabaul and Sandakan.
- Discover the Indigenous peoples of Melanesia, the most culturally diverse region on earth.
- Encounter the Celebes Crested Black macaque and other endemic wildlife in Sulawesi’s Tangkoko National Park.
- Experience the Orang-Utans of Borneo, A primate with which we share 97% of our DNA.
- Staterooms & Suites
- Port of call & excursions
- Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
- Important information
- Pre/Post & Overlands
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
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
Port VilaEmbarkation 01/03/2017 from 15H00 to 16H00 . Departure 01/03/2017 at 17H00 .
2 March 2017 – At seaArrival 02/03/2017 . Departure 02/03/2017 .
3 March 2017 – Santa AnaArrival 03/03/2017 at 09H00 . Departure 03/03/2017 at 14H00 .
4 March 2017 – Honiara GuadalcanalArrival 04/03/2017 at 06H00 . Departure 04/03/2017 at 11H00 .
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. During your stop, 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. Alternatively, you can discover a traditional village, its culture and way of life.
4 March 2017 – Roderick Bay, Florida IslandsArrival 04/03/2017 at 14H00 . Departure 04/03/2017 at 19H00 .
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.
5 March 2017 – Njari IslandArrival 05/03/2017 at 12H00 . Departure 05/03/2017 at 19H00 .
There are plenty of opportunities for world class snorkelling, diving and underwater photography throughout the Solomon Islands with sites in the Western and Central Provinces considered among the most popular. The underwater realm is home to more than 1000 species of reef fish, along with dolphins, rays, sharks, and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles. Almost 500 species of corals have been identified amongst the 5,750km2 of reefs found in the Solomon Islands. Njari Island is an uninhabited picture postcard island located 15nm from the town of Gizo. Enjoy swimming and snorkelling from its idyllic shores.
6 March 2017 – At seaArrival 06/03/2017 . Departure 06/03/2017 .
7 March 2017 – RabaulArrival 07/03/2017 at 07H30 . Departure 07/03/2017 at 20H30 .
8 March 2017 – At seaArrival 08/03/2017 . Departure 08/03/2017 .
9 March 2017 – Kopar VillageArrival 09/03/2017 at 07H30 . Departure 09/03/2017 at 12H30 .
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.
9 March 2017 – WewakArrival 09/03/2017 at 17H30 . Departure 09/03/2017 at 19H00 .
10 March 2017 – Jayapura, Papua ProvinceArrival 10/03/2017 at 09H15 . Departure 10/03/2017 at 12H30 .
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.
11 March 2017 – At seaArrival 11/03/2017 . Departure 11/03/2017 .
12 March 2017 – Rajah Ampat ArchipelagoArrival 12/03/2017 at 14H30 . Departure 12/03/2017 at 20H00 .
If you are travelling the world in search for the most beautiful diving spots, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Indonesian Raja Ampat islands. Off Sorong, ideally located in the heart of the illustrious “Coral Triangle”, the 1,500 or so islets that make up the archipelago are the ideal place for admiring some outstandingly diverse coral reefs. At the junction of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the Raja Ampat islands, covered with lush jungle, are also extraordinary lands for hiking. Between multi-coloured lagoons, immaculate beaches and green landscapes, the Raja Ampat islands offer you a breath-taking palette of colours...
13 March 2017▸15 March 2017 – At seaArrival 13/03/2017 . Departure 15/03/2017 .
ManilaDisembarkation 16/03/2017 at 06H30 .
On first sight, the Philippinesﾒ capital shows its highly Americanised Asian megalopolis side, with ultramodern skyscrapers set all along the waterfront. But when you stroll through the cobbled streets of the Intramuros district, youﾒll discover a different side of Manila, one thatﾒs full of old-world charm. An enchanted pause in the middle of urban bustle, Rizal Parkﾒs 60 hectares of magnificent green parkland is perfect for recharging your batteries. To see the city from a different angle, take a walk along Roxas boulevard, a popular seaside promenade.
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.immi.gov.au. 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 recommand you consult this website for further details : www.customs.gov.au
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
Vanuatu: No visa required
Indonesia: Visa delivered and charged onboard (35€ subject to change)
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.
Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
Bloomberg Questions for PONANT
How did the Ponant cruise to Borneo come together?
The island of Borneo provides endless opportunities for exploration, from the ancient Dayak cultures and rajahs of Sarawak, through the opulence of Brunei, to the rainforests and picture postcard islands of Sabah. However, its sheer size and mountainous terrain can make it a difficult island to travel across. Quality hotels can be hard to find, flight connections are rarely convenient, cancellations are common and the alternate of local bus travel over endless corrugated and potholed roads is a daunting prospect. L’Austral is the ideal platform for exploring this part of the world. It allows guests to experience the many facets of the island before returning to an attentive crew delivering refined luxury with French flair and sophistication. Guests need only unpack once and they are delivered to new and exotic destinations each day. Partnering luxury and adventure in remote seldom visited destinations is the essence of a Ponant luxury Expedition voyage.
What is the experience like?
The diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures mean that no two destinations are the same. Every destination has its own unique charm and intrigue. Guests have the opportunity to experience one of the world’s oldest rainforests, home to the famed Orang-Utan and the ‘Jimmy Durante’ of the primate world – the unique looking proboscis monkey. They can marvel at the opulence and unique architecture of Bandar Seri Begawan in the Sovereign State of Brunei. Or they can journey through the lowland rainforests and mangroves of the Kinabatangan river in Sabah. Described as Malaysia’s gift to the earth, it is one of only two places in the world where nine species of primate can be seen. There’s also seven species of Hornbill, countless other bird species and the world’s rarest elephant, the Bornean Pygmy elephant.
What has it been like to work in that region?
I find working in the region very rewarding. The locals are a very proud people, willing to showcase their culture and beautiful landscapes. Most people visit the island to explore the jungles and see the exotic wildlife. However, it is the genuine friendliness of the people that they remember the most.
Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia are countries that want to expand their cruise markets. This provides a good basis to further develop the region and we continually seek new destinations and experiences for our guests. The island abounds in unique experiences awaiting discovery by even the most seasoned Traveller. The variety and style of destinations are able to cater to all facets of the cruise industry, from the large mass market ships, to small luxury vessels like L’Austral.
Can you elaborate on why itineraries don't normally go there and what spurred Ponant's interest?
Borneo conjures images of a faraway primeval land, a land of head hunters and Orang-Utans beckoning exploration. As the global leader in luxury small ship expeditions we are continually seeking new destinations and itineraries. Our fleet of small luxury ships visit over 400 destinations in more than 80 countries and with four new vessels on the way, we are always searching for new exotic destinations to showcase to our guests. Borneo’s location at the heart of the Malay Archipelago, its incredible diversity and breathtaking beauty make it an ideal destination for exploration by small luxury ships, like L’Austral.
Are there any challenges when sailing to Borneo?
Borneo is an ideal destination for exploration by luxury small ship. The island is blessed with good air access to major international hubs. From Singapore, Hong Kong, Bali or Kota Kinabalu a small luxury ship can explore the many coastal destinations the island has to offer. Guests need only unpack once to experience the rainforests, rajahs and riches scattered across the island. With such a multitude of destinations on offer, each day is a new adventure.
Any personal favorite excursions?
Without doubt my favourite shore excursion would have to be the overnight experience on the Kinabatangan river in the Malaysian state of Sabah. From Sandakan guests travel up the lower reaches of the river to experience the biodiversity contained within the region. The Kinabatangan River meanders 560km from the Crocker Range to the Sulu Sea and sustains one of the world's richest ecosystems. It has been described as Malaysia’s gift to the Earth and the original lowland forests and mangrove swamps near the coast contain some of Borneo's highest concentrations of wildlife. It is considered the best area for viewing wildlife, not just in Sabah but all of Malaysia.
Exploring the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxury comfort and service: that is the unique Expedition Cruise concept brought to you by Ponant, the world’s leading polar cruise specialist.
Ponant Expedition cruises take you off the beaten path, for true adventures that are both authentic and refined. We have designed a large number of itineraries just for you, to give you access to exceptional lands all around the globe. From the Arctic to the Antarctic via Alaska, South America or Oceania, each luxury Expedition is the promise of a different and unique cruise experience.
A luxury expedition voyage
No matter which destination you choose, you will always find the same exceptional standards of comfort, service and elegance that have forged Ponant’s reputation. Our sisterships have earned Class Comfort 1 certification and can sail in the world’s most extreme regions, whilst offering an intimate and refined luxury atmosphere and environment. A certain idea of luxury, a way of experiencing cruising... differently.
Discovering the wonders of the world
The hikes, excursions and Zodiac outings organised during your Expedition cruise provide ample opportunity for you to discover the hidden treasures of these regions. With guidance from our experienced naturalists, lecturers and guides, you will be able to approach a rich and unfamiliar wildlife and flora and meet little-known tribes and ethnic groups. On board and on land, our specialists will provide a cultural, historical or geological dimension, and will take great pleasure in answering all of your questions.
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
- 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
After your cruise