In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.
PONANT invites you to discover the Russian Far East, and the highlights of the Sea of Okhotsk. Set sail for a 15-day expedition cruise aboard Le Soléal and fall under the spell of this unique unspoiled and little-visited region, home to rich wildlife on land as well as in the sea.
You will board your ship in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, in the south of Kamchatka, a peninsula of spectacular volcanic landscapes, where you may have the chance to observe the Kamchatka brown bear.
You will then sail on the Sea of Okhotsk, covered with ice for a large part of the year. If luck is on your side, it is possible to see ribbon seals, a rare species that is found only here.
Before discovering Iony Island, a refuge for many sea birds, do not miss the visit to Magadan and Okhotsk, two fishing towns at the heart of a region where the sea is teeming with fish.
Off the coast of Sakhalin Island, you will call at Tulenyi, a small strip of land where Steller sea lions enjoy basking.
Le Soléal will finally reach Otaru, in Japan, your port of disembarkation.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. The itinerary, landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO.
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Choose your stateroom
Complete your trip
Included in your cruise
For more peace of mind, PONANT organizes your trip before or after the cruise. This package is included in the price of your cruise.
*Price is per person, double occupancy, is based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of cabin to which this price applies may no longer be available.
For your serenity, PONANT selects a flight and organizes the transfer between the airport and the port. This package is included in your cruise fare.
Embarkation day Seoul/Petropavlovsk
Flight Seoul/Petropavlovsk selected by PONANT.
Approximate flight duration: 4h30
We highly recommend to arrive in Seoul the day before this flight.
We suggest to be at the check-in counter 2 hours before departure.
Meet & greet at the airport by our local English-speaking representative.
Transfer to the pier for embarkation.
- Cruise aboard your cruise ship -
This programme includes:
This programme does not include:
Choose your stateroom category
25% Ponant Bonus
25% Ponant Bonus
Prestige Deck 4
25% Ponant Bonus
Prestige Deck 5
25% Ponant Bonus
Prestige Deck 6
25% Ponant Bonus
25% Ponant Bonus
Prestige Deck 5 Suite
25% Ponant Bonus
Prestige Deck 6 Suite
25% Ponant Bonus
Important trip details
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.
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.
Russia: an individual Russian visa (single-entry tourist visa type) must be obtained prior to your cruise.
A copy of your passport (photo page) must be sent to PONANT at time of booking of your cruise, this in order to prepare the « letter of invitation » necessary to obtain your visa. The costs associated to this invitation letter will be added to your reservation (50 € subject to change).
A copy of your visa must be sent to PONANT at the very latest 70 days prior to your cruise date.
Please note: in case PONANT does not receive a copy of your Russian visa by the deadline, the immigration procedures specific to the areas visited won’t be obtained for your embarkation.
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.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
In order to be allowed to embark on your cruise, you will have to present the negative test results of a PCR test, taken less than 72 h prior to your cruise. At time of booking, you will receive a medical questionnaire that your general practitioner will have to complete. Your doctor will then be able to prescribe you a PCR test or alternatively, you could use the prescription issued by PONANT’s in-house doctor.
Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience in remote areas: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
Do not hesitate to visit the online PONANT store which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations, at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com
Benefits of the PONANT store:
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
INSULATED BASE LAYER:
WATERPROOF OUTER LAYER:
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
4 October 2021 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Embarkation 04/10/2021 from 16h00 to 17h00
Departure 04/10/2021 at 18h00
Petropavlovsk, the oldest town in the Russian Far East, was established in October 1740, when the ships Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, captained by Vitus Jonassen Bering, the Danish explorer working for the Russian Navy, first entered the bay. The Military Glory Museum, found in the town centre, is the most important in all of northern Russia. Keep your camera at the ready, though, as nearby is the picturesque Petrovskaya Hill, which also has some surprises in store for you - don’t forget to admire the sumptuous views across the Bay of Avacha from its summit. The bay’s circular shape creates a natural protection against the impetuous wind, all the while providing ships with easy access into port.
5 October 2021 Vestnik Bay
Vestnik Bay is the perfect stopover to witness local wildlife. From tufted puffins to guillemots, arctic foxes and Kamchatka brown bears, there is a wealth of wildlife in the forested areas that surround the bay and the rivers are brimming with salmon. Part of the protected South Kamchatka Nature Park, one of the six protected areas that make up the Volcanoes of Kamchatka nature park listed as UNESCO World Heritage. This nature park also serves to protect the traditional way of life of the Evenks, the local indigenous population. Head to shore aboard a Zodiac inflatable and, from land, enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Kamchatka landscapes and the Bering Sea.
6 October 2021 Kambalnaya Bay
Kambalnaya Bay possesses luscious green landscapes alongside fresh water making it an ideal spot for Kamchatka brown bears. You may be lucky enough to catch adult bears and their cubs during your expedition cruise to the Sea of Okhotsk.
7 October 2021 Ostrova Ptich'i, Sakhalin Oblast
8 October 2021 Antsiferov Island
Antsiferov Island is a remote, uninhabited island in the northern Kuril Islands chain.
The volcanic island is home to a wealth of rich wildlife including Steller sea lions, northern fulmars and tufted puffins.
8 October 2021 Atlasovo
Head south to the Kuril islands, a vast chain of volcanic islands separating the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. These islands offer a fascinating primitive ad authentic beauty. Atlasovo Island is named after the Russian explorer Vladimir Atlasov, and it was the first of the Kuril Islands to be discovered. It offers many black sand beaches, rocky and lush coastlines, and a volcano that has inspired many legends.
9 October 2021 Sailing along Krutogorova River
During your expedition, sail along the peaceful Krutogorova River. The Krutogorova River displays an extremely complex interconnection with a floodplain throughout boasting a freshwater way or a whole host of marine wildlife.
10 October 2021 At sea
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.
11 October 2021 Zavyalov Island
Zavyalov Island is a relatively large mountainous island located in northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, close to Magadan. Visiting this uninhabited island might give you the chance to get up close with some of the area's wildlife, including seabirds and sea lions.
11 October 2021 Magadan
The coastal town of Magadan is surrounded by wild landscapes with endless pine trees and vast rushing rivers. During Stalin’s reign, a lot of people were sent to the area of Kolyma to work in labor camps under extreme conditions. The monument of the “Mask of Sorrow” symbolizes eternal grief for the losses during the Soviet era. Magadan has now become one of the major ports of Eastern Siberia and is sometimes called “the Saint Petersburg of the Far East” due to its architectural unity and its sumptuous orthodox cathedral with golden domes.
12 October 2021 Okhotsk
Okhotsk is a little bustling town located where the Okhota River meets the Sea of Okhotsk. This town is the centre of commercial fishing in the region. During your cruise, while at sea or your ports of call, don’t miss the chance to discover the richness of its fauna: ribbon seals, numerous bird species, grey whales, Steller’s sea eagles, brown bears, sea lions, seals have wonderful surprises in store for you in this remote and unspoiled part of the Russian Far East.
13 October 2021 Iony Island
Another spot of this biologically rich area is Iony Island, which lies in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk. Although very small in size, it’s a paradise for wildlife. Bird species such as guillemot, kittiwakes, or aukllets, and a huge amount of Steller’s Sea Lions occupy the few rocky beaches.
14 October 2021 Piltun Bay
Piltun Bay, in the north-east of Sakhalin, is an important site for the highly endangered Western Grey Whale. It also attracts a wide variety of seabirds. While ashore, try to spot some Aleutian terns and Steller’s sea eagles, which spend the summer on Sakhalin Island after having wintered in Japan in the Shiretoko Peninsula.
15 October 2021 Nabilskiy Bay
Nabilskiy Bay is located on the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island. In this area, fishing is one of the most typical activities, although the exuberant nature offers you some very nice hikes and you can also visit some archaeological sites.
16 October 2021 Tulenyi
Tulenyi (sea lion in Russian) is a small uninhabited island that is barely two kilometres long, 19 metres large, and full of wildlife, particularly auklets, northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. This island serves as a rookery to one of Russia’s largest sea lion colonies. Approaching the island by Zodiac® can be a spectacular sight, as the highly sociable animals rush to the water to welcome visitors.
17 October 2021 Korsakov
Korsakov is a fishing port town located in the southern part of Sakhalin Island. Sakhalin is the largest island in Russia, just north of Japan, covered with dense forests, mostly coniferous. Wildlife on the island consists of Kamchatka brown bears, arctic foxes, sea otters, and sables as well as reindeer in the north and several species of whales. This city offers a mix of Russian and Japanese structures. During your visit, you can go up the hill for a great view over the harbour or take a trip to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to learn about the local history and folklore as well as discover some of the island’s diverse flora and fauna. The visit to this lively town is a sign that this region is currently booming.
18 October 2021 Otaru, Hokkaido
Arrival 18/10/2021 early morning
Disembarkation 18/10/2021 at 07h00
Realise your dream of adventure in the polar regions! From your ship’s deck, aboard a Zodiac® dinghy or from land, discover the icy vastness and the fauna of Antarctica (humpback whales, seals, penguins and more) or the North Pole’s fjords, glaciers and icebergs in shifting colours, not to mention the polar bears, the variety of wildlife and the special moments shared with the locals. Our team of naturalist guides share their knowledge with you during varied lectures about the fauna, the flora, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology. Thanks to its conscientiousness and to the responsible approach that is its hallmark, PONANT has been a leader and expert in cruises to these destinations for more than 20 years.
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.
* The programme’s escort is subject to a minimum of 20 participants.
Enhance your cruise and extend your trip with a carefully designed programme.
Take advantage of three unforgettable days from Hokkaido to Tokyo. Immerse yourself in both traditional and modern Japan, between skylines, shopping streets, temples and gardens. This programme rich in visits, will be a beautiful conclusion to your cruise.
Day 1 – From the port of Otaru to Tokyo
After disembarkation procedures are completed, you will meet at the pier our local representative.
You will depart the port by coach for a photo stop at the Otaru Canal, symbol of Otaru City. The Otaru Canal is a historic 1.5-km canal that provides a nostalgic look on Otaru. It was created by a sea reclamation project beginning in 1914 and is lined with stone warehouses from that time. Once the capital of Hokkaido during Japan's Meiji Period, Otaru was known as the "Sakhalin of Japan" for its busy maritime trade with Russia. The shipping warehouses have been preserved and the canal is always photogenic whatever the season.
You will then visit the historic village of Hokkaido during a walking tour. This village is an open-air museum in the suburbs of Sapporo. It showcases the trades, lifestyles and culture of the past through authentic recreations of a city and several villages dating from the Meiji and Taisho Periods (1868 to 1926) when the development of Hokkaido took place on a large scale. There are four different sections: a town, a fishing village, a farm village and a mountain village.
You will be transferred to the airport in time in time for check-in of the domestic flight to Tokyo. A Bento box lunch will be distributed on your way to the airport
Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will be greeted by our local representative.
Unique blend of the tranquil past and the bustling present, Tokyo has in the past 30 years become steadily bigger, busier and more crowded, completely changing the skyline as well as the appearance of the streets.
You will pass by the rainbow bridge on your way to your hotel, the Okura Tokyo. Check-in.
A western style dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day 2 – Tokyo
Enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Tokyo, centre of the national administration, education, culture and economy as well as a thriving industrial city.
You will first visit the superb National Museum of Tokyo which houses the world’s largest collection of Japanese art, as well as ancient pottery, religious sculptures, Samurai swords, kimonos and many other objects.
After lunch, you will go to Asakusa, a traditional and very popular district in Tokyo to visit the famous Sensoji Buddhist temple. The main hall was first built in 645 to house a tiny golden statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, that had been repeatedly hauled up in fishing nets despite being thrown back into the river. The statue was enshrined in the main hall where it remains today -- a sight too holy to be seen. Entering the area through the monumental Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), you will go down a shopping street lined with shops selling Japanese souvenirs and local snacks. At the end of the street stands a five-story pagoda. It is visible to the left of the temple’s main hall and is the second highest after Toji temple south of Kyoto. The lesser known Shinto Asakusa Shrine to the right of the main hall is the venue for one of the country’s most famous Shinto festivals, the Sanja Matsuri. Another beautiful feature of the Sensoji temple is the Japanese garden, a haven of peace and tranquility behind the pagoda. As the original temple was largely destroyed by bombings during the Second World War, the current buildings are post-war reconstructions.
Next, you will visit Roppongi Hills. Opened in spring 2003 in the centre of Tokyo, Roppongi Hills is the largest city redevelopment area with luxury housing and over 200 boutiques and restaurants. A panoramic view from the observatory on the 52nd floor, which is called Tokyo City View, is superb. Take in the massive 360-degree view of Tokyo, one of the world’s most dynamic and spectacular cities, and totally unlike any other.
Then, transfer back to the hotel.
Dinner is at leisure, so feel free to explore Tokyo on your own.
Day 3 – Tokyo
At the beginning of the day, you will be driven to the Imperial Palace Plaza for a photo stop. The Imperial Palace is built on the site of Edo castle which, at its peak, was the largest in the world, although only the moat and ramparts remain today. The main place building is well tucked up in the small forest and not visible.
You will visit Shinjuku-gyoen Garden. Completed in 1906 as a garden for the Imperial family and then opened to the public as a national garden following World War II, Shinjuku Gyoen spreads across 144 acres in Shinjuku in downtown Tokyo. The garden includes over 20,000 trees, 1,500 of which are cherry trees that burst into bloom each spring. Located in the shadows of Shinjuku's skyscrapers, Shinjuku Gyoen offers a perfect oasis from the hectic city life.
Our next stop is Meijijingu Shrine. It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken, in 1914. The shrine, built in 1920, comprises three areas: the Naien, Inner Precincts, centered on the shrine buildings; the Gaien, or Outer Precincts, which include sports facilities, the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery and the Meiji Memorial Hall. The shrine spreads over 700,000 square meters covered by a forest of 120,000 trees of 365 species donated by people from all over Japan. Sumo wrestlers, upon rising to the rank of Grand Champion, give a demonstration at Meiji Jingu. For many Japanese the shrine is both a spiritual home and an oasis in Tokyo.
Then, if time permits, you will have some time to stroll around Omotesando Street. This avenue, "the front approach" originally served Meiji Shrine. It is one of the most fashionable areas of Tokyo with numerous high-endly qualified brand shops and sophisticated restaurants.
After having a Japanese meal at a local restaurant, you will have an afternoon at leisure.
At the end of the afternoon, you will be transferred to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 4 – Tokyo
Leave your fellow travellers for breakfast. Official check-out time is 11.00 am.
The Okura Tokyo
Ideally located in the Toranomon district, the Tokyo Okura Hotel is less than 15 minutes on foot to the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts and the imposing National Diet Building. The hotel has five restaurants, two lounge bars, a covered pool and a fitness centre.
Upgraded rooms are also available depending on availability and on a supplement basis. Contact your travel professional for further detail.
Your programme includes:
Your programme does not include:
Contact of your hotel:
The Okura Tokyo
2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: +81- (0) 3-3582-0111
Duration of the visits are given as a guide only. The order of the visits may be reversed.
Total : 2.390 €According to availability.