In 2020, PONANT will host a series of in-depth itineraries that will immerse guests in the various destinations, focusing on everything from flora and fauna and music, to epicurean delights and world affairs.
Part of the cruise line’s Quintessential Collection, which was just launched this year and already proving popular, here are the itineraries that have been announced thus far:
AN EXPLORATION IN NATURE IN COSTA RICA & THE PANAMA CANAL
Aboard the deluxe expedition ship Le Dumont-d’Urville
January 6-16, 2020
This voyage is about nature—its abundance and variety—and the challenges facing species as they cope with a rapidly changing environment. In Costa Rica, which has done more than any other Central American country to preserve its natural treasures, we explore the luxuriant vegetation and fascinating fauna of three national parks, including Corcovado National Park, described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.” A highlight on the Pacific coast of Panama will undoubtedly be the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Darien Jungle. After transiting the Panama Canal, we visit with the indigenous Kuna people of the San Blas Islands, learning their culture and craftsmanship, before concluding our voyage in Colon.
Featured Speaker: Paul Donahue, who has been working with birds and mammals in nature reserves in Central America since 1972, dividing his time between research and ecotourism. In Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil he has been surveying, guiding, teaching other guides and lecturing at eco-lodges. With his wife Teresa Wood, he has constructed rain forest canopy walkways in Peru and Costa Rica. From 1991-94 they co-directed the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in northeastern Peru. Paul has led birding and natural history tours all over Central and South America and has explored virtually all of the sites on our itinerary.
Rates start from US$5,570
AN IMMERSION IN JAPANESE CULTURE
Aboard the deluxe ship Le Soléal
May 30 – June 7, 2020
Japan is a country pulled in two radically different directions. It deeply honours its past, but rushes headlong into the future. Hyper-modernity exists side by side with the quiet serenity of ancient shrines and gardens. On this voyage we discover both of these aspects. The traditional aesthetic is evident everywhere in the architecture and adornments of the Buddhist and Shinto shrines we visit throughout our journey, in a traditional tea ceremony, and in our private audience with the Abbot of Kofukuji Temple in Nagasaki. The modernist impulse is evident in the architecture of the cities through which we travel and also represented in the arts on display in the Adachi Museum in Sakaiminato, in the Busan Museum of Art, and in the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki. Sampling Japanese food and drink; experiencing traditions of music and dance; witnessing the practice of religion; viewing art both ancient and modern; walking through modern cities and admiring ancient shrines—these are the elements of our immersion in the culture of Japan.
- Timon Screech – Professor of the History of Art, School of Oriental & African Studies, and Author
- Holly H. Shimizu – Former Executive Director, US Botanic Garden, former Host of Victory Garden on PBS
- Osama Shimizu – Expert in Contemporary Japanese Gardens
Rates start from US$5,920
CELEBRATE AMERICAN COMPOSERS WITH THE BOSTON POPS
Aboard the deluxe ship Le Champlain
October 19-27, 2020
The waterways of eastern Canada and northern New England are among the loveliest and most dramatic in the world. Our voyage will allow us to sample all of the natural and historical delights of this region, while adding a truly unique musical program curated and performed by legendary Boston Pops Conductor, Keith Lockhart. Joined by six extraordinary performers, maestro Lockhart serves as our guide to a musical marriage of Old-World French elegance and New-World American energy. During four exclusive concerts (including one in an historic venue ashore in Quebec), we’ll hear chamber music, piano works, and songs by Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Saint Saens, Gershwin, Milhaud, George Antheil, Copland, Ellington, Barber, Ives and Antonin Dvorak.
Host & Featured Musicians:
- Keith Lockhart – Host, Conductor of the Boston Pops
- Allison Pohl – Soprano
- Alistair MacRae – Cello
- Benjamin Sung – Violin
- Jihye Chang – Piano
- Scott Rawls – Viola
- Wendy Rawls – Violin
Rates start from US$5,060
EPICUREAN DELIGHTS OF SOUTHERN ITALY & SICILY
Aboard the deluxe ship Le Jacques-Cartier
October 18-25, 2020
Join food and wine experts Eric Asimov and Arthur Schwartz on this very special exploration of the foods and wines of Southern Italy and Sicily. Food— its cultivation, preparation, and consumption—has always been central to the Italian way of life. This one-of-a-kind program is an extraordinary opportunity both to explore and to experience the various roles food and wine play in our lives and its relation to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Immerse yourself in the bounty of Sicily and Southern Italy’s regional cuisines as we sample the melanzane of Syracuse and the wines of Mt. Etna, the artisanal meats and cheese of Calabria, mozzarella from Agropoli and pizza from Naples. Thanks to rich volcanic soils and a variety of splendid grapes, wonderful reds, whites and sparkling wines abound. We will taste them all.
- Eric Asimov – Chief Wine Critic, New York Times, and Author
- Arthur Schwartz – Award-winning Cook Book Author, Food Editor, and Restaurant Critic
Rates start from US$5,600
CELEBRATE BEETHOVEN’S 250TH BIRTHDAY!
A Musical Odyssey in Northern Europe
Aboard the deluxe ship Le Dumont-d’Urville
September 8-17, 2020
In 2020, the entire world will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. We invite you to join us on this musical odyssey from Stockholm to Honfleur, as we explore the rich cultural heritage of northern Europe accompanied by world-class chamber musicians performing an all-Beethoven repertoire. We will have access to some of the best museums in the world, while our days at sea will be filled with music ranging widely across the great composer’s body of work. After our first recital during a day at sea, we arrive in Copenhagen where the marvelous collection of modern art at Louisiana Museum awaits us. Our second onboard concert occurs as we transit the Kiel Canal. The next five days are spent exploring the great museums of Holland and Belgium, and will also include two more private concerts of Beethoven’s oeuvre curated exclusively for our group—one of them to be performed at the historic 17th-century Westerkerk in Amsterdam.
Host & Featured Musicians:
- Michael Parloff – Host, Former Principal Flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
- Rieko Aizawa – Piano
- Jesse Mills – Violin
- Matthew Lipman – Viola
- Raman Ramakrishnan – Cello
Rates start from US$5,020
A WORLD AFFAIRS CRUISE IN THE BALTIC
Aboard the deluxe ship Le Dumont-d’Urville
August 5-13, 2020
Featuring lectures and discussions with the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, the former Ambassador to Russia and current President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a prominent journalist and author, this voyage offers an extraordinary opportunity to talk with leading thinkers about the current state of U.S. relations with the wider world. The Baltic Sea has been a thoroughfare of trade since the days of the Vikings. We will visit the great cities that ring its shores and experience a comingling of cosmopolitan life with centuries of rich history. Two full days are spent in St. Petersburg—arguably the most magnificent city on the Baltic where virtually the entire city is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. On Gotland, an included walking tour of the medieval town of Visby is followed by a specially-arranged private choral performance at the St. Clemens Church Ruin and a reception with canapes and sparkling wines.
- Admiral James Stavridis – Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News
- Bill Burns – Former Ambassador to Moscow, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Robin Wright – Contributing writer, New Yorker magazine, Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Rates start from US$5,630
For more information on PONANT's Quintessential Collection, click here.