World Affairs Cruise
* Subject to availability.
Our World Affairs programs provide expert insight into contemporary issues that affect our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. These voyages are accompanied by men and women – statesmen, ambassadors and generals – who have shaped the modern world through their words and deeds. As we travel into the past and engage with its legacy, we will also attend to the present, engaging with our guest experts on the current state of international relations and on the prospects for the future.
• A program of lectures by men deeply involved in the contemporary world as commentators and critics and as actors on the main stage.
• Opportunities to share meals and informal conversations with Fareed Zakaria, Daniel Mendelsohn, and John McLaughlin throughout the voyage
• Specially curated optional excursions to iconic ancient sites, including Olympia, Delphi, and Mycenae
- Staterooms & Suites
- LE BOUGAINVILLE
- Port of call & excursions
- Cruise Package
- Guest(s) Lecturer(s)
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 third ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bougainville 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
VallettaEmbarkation 11/10/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 11/10/2019 at 18H00 .
The whole of the Maltese capital Valletta is UNESCO World Heritage listed and occupies a peninsula in the north-east of the island. From the fountain of Tritons to Saint-Elme fort, there are as many majestic streets as there are narrow staircase vennels to explore. The painted loggia and carved corbels on the tall houses will accompany you in your explorations, and you’ll rarely be bothered by traffic. You can visit the Grandmasters palace decorated with coats of arms and frescoes. Saint-John’s cathedral and the ramparts which have guarded the city since the 16th century are also among the most emblematic sites of the city. Arranged in terraces, the Barrakka Gardens will punctuate your promenade with a green and floral experience.
12 October 2019 – Catania, SicilyArrival 12/10/2019 midday. Departure 12/10/2019 early evening.
Sicily’s second city Catania is dominated by the majestic silhouette of Mount Etna. Nourishing and devastating at the same time, this giant crowned with smoke rings brought about the destruction of the city at the end of the 17th century. Catania was then rebuilt in the late Baroque style, and the many monuments of this epoch have earned its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The baroque churches of the harmonious Via dei Crociferi perfectly illustrate the riches of this architectural heritage. During your stop, be sure to visit Saint Agatha Cathedral with its apses made of lava stones, and its square decorated with a fountain of the Elephant, the animal which allegedly has the power to calm the fury of Mount Etna …
13 October 2019 – Taormina, SicilyArrival 13/10/2019 early morning. Departure 13/10/2019 midday.
Located on Sicily’s eastern coast, in the province of Messina, the seaside town of Taormina is Sicily’s Saint-Tropez, boasting heritage sites, secluded beaches and luxury shopping. You can visit its medieval centre, suspended 300 metres above sea level, where terraces offer a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. Another vestige from its past are the ruins of the Greco-Roman theatre. This extremely well-preserved site attracts visitors who are fascinated by the natural beauty of the area which overlooks a turquoise bay.
14 October 2019 – KatakolonArrival 14/10/2019 early afternoon. Departure 14/10/2019 early evening.
This picturesque village stretches along the Ionian sea in the west of the Peloponnese. Its main harbour offers a vast panorama of the coastline’s wooded hillsides. Dazzling white, the church of Saint-Nicolas houses a selection of sumptuous icons. You can also pay a visit the archaeological site of Olympus on the slopes of Mount Kronos.
15 October 2019 – IteaArrival 15/10/2019 early morning. Departure 15/10/2019 midday.
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, north-west of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometres from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains, and their Archaeological Museum is chock-full of cultural delights.
15 October 2019 – Crossing the Corinth CanalArrival 15/10/2019. Departure 15/10/2019.
The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometres long and enables merchant vessels and passenger to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty metres. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!
16 October 2019 – NafplionArrival 16/10/2019 early morning. Departure 16/10/2019 late evening.
The engaging town of Nafplion is staggered up green hillsides of the Argolic Gulf, to the east of the Peloponnese. Don’t be surprised by its extremely varied cultural heritage. Some of the must-see visits are the ancient agora on the plateau of Akronafplia, Italianate arcades in Syntagma square as well as the baroque fortress of Palamidi on a hillside of the same name. At the top of the hill, views of the gulf and the surrounding mountains are simply awesome. If you want to chill out by the water’s edge, walk along the Arvanitia promenade to a beautiful creek in the shade of cedars and cypresses.
17 October 2019 – HydraArrival 17/10/2019 late morning. Departure 17/10/2019 late afternoon.
This unusual gem belonging to the Saronic islands is located to the east of the Peloponnese. There are no cars here. Named after the island, the harbour town is layered up the slopes of a mountainous bay. You may be surprised to see beautiful stone mansions. These are traditional here, as are the multi-coloured caïques along the quays. Further along the shore, you will discover the Historical Archives Museum. Collections from Athens National History Museum are exhibited in the elegant villa Koundouriotis.
AthensDisembarkation 18/10/2019 at 07H00 .
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
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.
Quintessential Collection included cruise package
Your Quintessential World Affairs Theme
Thursday, October 10
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Grand Hotel Excelsior a premier destination among 5-star Valletta hotels, ideally located on the doorstep of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the City of Valletta, with all its major attractions, culture, art treasures, and historical architectural gems.
The afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the amenities of the hotel or to explore Valletta on your own. In the evening, gather with fellow travelers for a Welcome Cocktail Reception at the hotel, where our guest experts and our Tour Manager will introduce you to the program ahead.
Friday, October 11
The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, later the Knights of Malta, established a base at Valletta in the 16th century under the auspices of Charles V, and the city owes much of its charm and character to this religious order. After breakfast at the hotel, we explore the National Museum of Archaeology. A short drive takes us to the remarkable Tarxien Temples, which date back to 2800 BCE, and then on to Hagar Qim, an even older temple that stands atop a hill on the southern edge of the island overlooking the sea. Return to Valletta for time at leisure and an independent lunch. In late afternoon, we transfer to the pier to embark Le Bougainville and set sail for Sicily.
Friday, October 18
After breakfast aboard, disembark Le Bougainville and transfer to the airport in Athens.
Grand Hotel Excelsior is a premier destination among 5-star Valletta hotels, ideally located on the doorstep of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the City of Valletta, with all its major attractions, culture, art treasures, and historical architectural gems.
• All accommodations, meals, and excursion described above
• Transfers and luggage handling from the Malta airport to the hotel and from hotel to the ship on the program dates
• Gratuities to guides and drivers on included excursions
• Comprehensive 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Bougainville, with all the amenities for which Ponant ships are famous
• Transfer from Piraeus to the Athens airport at the end of the cruise on the morning of disembarkation
• Meals and beverages other than those specified above
• Optional excursions
• Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, Internet, etc.)
Notes: program is subject to change without notice
Host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, contributing editor at The Atlantic, and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria is widely respected for his thoughtful analysis and ability to spot economic and political trends. Esquire magazine described him as "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” Zakaria’s international bestseller The Post-American World is about the “rise of the rest,” analyzing the growth of China, India, Brazil, among others, and what it means for the future. The New York Times called it “a relentlessly intelligent book,” while the Boston Sunday Globe wrote, "Zakaria… may have more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West.” His latest book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, debuted at #6 on The New York Times best sellers list in April 2015.
Language spoken: English
Photo credit: ARR
Daniel Mendelsohn is an internationally best-selling memoirist and award-winning critic and essayist. Hailed by the New York Times as “our most irresistible literary critic,” he is America’s best-known interpreter of Classical antiquity for mainstream audiences; his reviews and essays on books, movies, theater, and television appear frequently the New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. A professor of Humanities at Bard College, he is the author of seven books, including the international award-winner The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. His latest book, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, recounts his travels around the Mediterranean with his late father, a scientist, while reading Homer’s Odyssey
Language spoken: English
Photo credit: ARR
John McLaughlin is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where he teaches courses on the American Intelligence system and foreign policy. Before joining Johns Hopkins he served for more than three decades at the CIA, including service as Deputy Director and Acting Director. He continues to testify before congressional committees and to participate in public policy debates through articles in major newspapers and journals and commentary on television and radio. He is an NBC Global Affairs Analyst.
Language spoken: English
Photo credit: ARR