Revealing the Mysteries of Melanesia

12 days / 11 nights
    Return domestic flight included
    Revealing the Mysteries of Melanesia
    Transfer + Flight Honiara / Brisbane

    Cruise Pacific and Oceania

    from 20 April 2019 to 1 May 2019
    12 days / 11 nights

    Departure Port : Nouméa
    Arrival Port : Honiara, Guadalcanal Island


    • Ref : NH015 - R200419

    PONANT invites you to experience a truly timeless journey exploring the Vanuatu Archipelago.  

    From Nouméa to Honiara, you will set sail aboard Le Lapérouse on a 12-day expedition cruise into the heart of the South Pacific.  

    Considered by some as the “happiest country in the world”, Vanuatu, with its 83 islands, 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.

    In Tanna, home to the John Frum Cargo Cult, do not miss out on exploring the imposing Mt Yasur, considered to be the most accessible active volcano in the world.

    During your cruise, you will have the opportunity to visit several traditional villages, particularly on the islands of Malekula, Ambrym and Ureparapara. Their inhabitants will be happy to share their customs, notable for singing, dancing and art, with you.

    Le Lapérouse will also allow you to disembark onto dream beaches. The famous “blue holes” of Espiritu Santo, the archipelago’s main island, promise you an unforgettable bathing experience in an idyllic setting. 

    The end of your cruise will be marked by the discovery of the Solomon Islands, a real tropical Eden.

    • Naturalists Naturalists
    See the map


    • Expedition voyage discovering Vanuatu: traditional villages, tropical beaches, coral reefs, active volcanoes.
    • Zodiac® outings & shore visits with your expedition team.
    • Visit the last known location of the 1788 “lost voyage” of La Pérouse in Vanikoro.
    • Sail into the Caldera of Ureparapara.
    • Stand on the edge of an active volcano on Tanna Island.
    • Swim in the famous “blue holes” of Espiritu Santo.
    • Discover a wide range of cultures and traditions, like the Rom dances of the inhabitants of Ambrym Island.

    Transfer + Flight Honiara / Brisbane

    Return domestic flight included

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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 first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Lapérouse 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

      20 April 2019 – Lifou


      Embarkation 20/04/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 20/04/2019 at 18H00 .

      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.

      21 April 2019 – Lifou

      21 April 2019 – Lifou

      Arrival 21/04/2019 early morning. Departure 21/04/2019 late afternoon.

      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.

      22 April 2019 – Tanna Island

      22 April 2019 – Tanna Island

      Arrival 22/04/2019 midday. Departure 22/04/2019 evening.

      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.

      23 April 2019 – At sea

      23 April 2019 – At sea

      Arrival 23/04/2019. Departure 23/04/2019.

      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.

      24 April 2019 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo Island

      24 April 2019 – Paradise Lagoon, Espiritu Santo Island

      Arrival 24/04/2019 early morning. Departure 24/04/2019 late afternoon.

      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.

      25 April 2019 – South West Bay, Malekula

      25 April 2019 – South West Bay, Malekula

      Arrival 25/04/2019 early morning. Departure 25/04/2019 late afternoon.

      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.

      26 April 2019 – Ambrym Island

      26 April 2019 – Ambrym Island

      Arrival 26/04/2019 early morning. Departure 26/04/2019 late afternoon.

      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.

      27 April 2019 – Ureparapara Island

      27 April 2019 – Ureparapara Island

      Arrival 27/04/2019 early morning. Departure 27/04/2019 midday.

      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.

      27 April 2019 – Sana Island

      27 April 2019 – Sana Island

      Arrival 27/04/2019 early afternoon. Departure 27/04/2019 late afternoon.

      The Reef Islands, also called Rowa, are a cluster of uninhabited coral cays between Mota Lava and Ureparapara, in northern Vanuatu, and enclosed by a large, horseshoe-shaped reef that protects an expansive lagoon with sandy shallows. The five small islands, including Sana, are mostly sand and coral cays built up over reefs. During your stop, you will be transferred ashore by Zodiac® to a wet landing onto a sand and rubble beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling from the beach.

      28 April 2019 – Vanikoro Island

      28 April 2019 – Vanikoro Island

      Arrival 28/04/2019 early morning. Departure 28/04/2019 early evening.

      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.

      29 April 2019 – At sea

      29 April 2019 – At sea

      Arrival 29/04/2019. Departure 29/04/2019.

      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.

      30 April 2019 – Santa Ana Island

      30 April 2019 – Santa Ana Island

      Arrival 30/04/2019 early morning. Departure 30/04/2019 mid afternoon.

      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.

      1 May 2019▸30 April 2019 – Honiara, Guadalcanal Island

      Honiara, Guadalcanal Island

      Disembarkation 01/05/2019 at 08H00 .

      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. 


      • 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.

      • Solomon Islands: Visa delivred free of charge on arrival. Please send a copy of your passport (photo page) to PONANT at least 30 days prior to cruise date.

      • Vanuatu: No visa required.

      • Australia: an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) must be obtained before your arrival in Australia. For more information, please visit Carriers should be aware that there will not be any physical evidence in your passport. A copy of your ETA must be sent to PONANT at the latest 45 days prior to your cruise date. We also ask you to keep a copy of your ETA and keep it with your passport throughout the duration of your trip.

        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 recommend you consult this website for further details :

        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.


      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…

      Transfer + Flight Honiara / Brisbane

      Disembarking day, Honiara / Brisbane


      In the morning, you will have the possibility to join an optional excursion sold on board.

      For passengers who won’t participate to this excursion, you will no longer have access to your cabin from 9.00 am.

      For all passenger, enjoy an onboard lunch before being transferred to the airport for your flight Honiara/Brisbane selected by PONANT.


      Approximate flight duration: 3h00

      We highly recommend to plan a departure from Brisbane the day after this flight.


      This programme includes:

      • Flight Honiara / Brisbane selected by PONANT depending on your booking class.
      • Last onboard lunch.
      • Transfer pier/airport.


      This programme does not include:

      • Personal expenses.
      • Any other service not mentioned in the programme.
      • The optional excursion on the morning of disembarkation day.



      • Flight is included in the programme depending on your booking class.
      • For passengers in transit in Brisbane, we recommend to stay one night in Brisbane after this flight to ensure your connecting flights.
      • Package is subject to availability.
      • This program is subject to change.

      Guest(s) Lecturer(s)

      Patrick Poivre D'Arvor

      Patrick Poivre D'Arvor

      Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is a French journalist and writer. He anchored the evening news bulletins for the French TV channel TF1 for 30 years. He is also the author of around 70 works and has won multiple awards. Patrick Poivre d'Arvor is a Knight of the Legion of Honour, an Officer of the National Order of Merit and a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

      Language spoken: French

      Photo credit: aprimegroup

      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. Before your cruise

        19/04/2019 – Discovery of Noumea (1 day / 1 night)

        420.00 € **

        More information

      2. After your cruise

        01/05/2019 – Brisbane, winery and koalas (1 night)

        460.00 € **

        More information

      3. Your packages

        18/04/2019 – Flights From/To Paris (Economic Class) + Discover Nouméa 1N (Pre) + Brisbane, Winery and Koalas 1N (Post)

        3560.00 € **

        18/04/2019 – Flights From/To Paris (Business Class) + Discover Nouméa 1N (Pre) + Brisbane, Winery and Koalas 1N (Post)

        10360.00 € **
      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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