“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller,” said the famous Berber explorer Ibn Battûta. Almost seven centuries later, while humans have partly tamed the arid landscapes of the immense Arabian Desert, the Oriental charm remains and its history is written in the present tense. Bathed by the Persian Gulf, crossed by a desert dotted with oases whose mere mention is enough to captivate us, the Eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula welcomes you for a 11-day cruise aboard Le Bougainville.
Throughout your journey, you will benefit from an excursion included per person per port of call, chosen with care by PONANT. During this cruise, visit the surprising Ithra Cultural Centre in Dammam, discover the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq Waqif in Doha, or set off on a short hike through the magnificent Wadi Shab canyon in Oman. The diversity of experiences on offer promises you intense and varied moments (to discover the full range of excursions, go to the itinerary tab).
The Sultanate of Oman is as discreet as its Emirati neighbours are bold. The sea maintains a special place in the kingdom of the legendary Sinbad the Sailor. The fishermen here perpetuate millennial traditions while the shipyards are still in operation. Between the sea and the desert, you will sail through the carved fjords of Musandam from Khasab and, leaving from Sour, you will experience the enchantment procured by the shade and cool of a wadi – lush oases planted with palm trees. On the Daymaniyat Islands, you can dive and snorkel in an exceptional natural sanctuary where turtles come to nest. In the capital, Muscat, the fragrances of the Orient and of incense will intoxicate you, the sparkling colours of the markets will captivate you, and the vibrant bustle of the souk will enchant you. The Near East exudes its incredible poetry.
In this region of the world, ancient cities rub shoulders with the futuristic towns designed and shaped by the greatest contemporary architects. Dubai and its skyscrapers that are among the tallest in the world; Abu Dhabi with its Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and its new Louvre Museum; Doha and its bay offering a panorama of its fascinating skyline; each location offers a breath-taking experience. You will discover the capital of Bahrain, Manama, which while less famous is no less exciting. As a crossroads for trade routes since ancient times, today it is also more avant-garde than its Emirate sisters. The colourful souk and the Bahrain National Museum are among its must-see sites.
Finally, you will have the opportunity to explore the Saudi city of Dammam. This modern metropolis is renowned for its pleasant waterfront and white sandy beaches; above all, though, it is the gateway to the Al Hasa oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the endless desert, imagine the largest oasis in the world, its fragrant gardens crossed by canals, springs and palm trees… palm trees as far as the eye can see.
Unlike neighbouring metropolises, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman has chosen to ban towers and skyscrapers and to cultivate the peninsula’s traditional and refined architectural style: low houses, domes, moucharaby windows, and wooden balconies. This authenticity adds to the charm of this small former maritime city protected by mountains and the forts constructed by the Portuguese in the 16th century. There is no doubt that you will fall under the charm of the treasures of Omani craftsmanship: the souk in the old district of Mutrah is a perfect example of this, as is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Built on either side of a lagoon, Sur is a city and seaport in the north-east of the Sultanate of Oman, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. Connected to the sea by a channel, the port was very active for a long time, having regular dealings with Africa and India since the 6th century. Sur is renowned for being the only Omani city to have retained its traditional boatyards, where dhows (wooden sailing ships) are hand-crafted. The city’s charm stems from its immaculate white houses dotting the seafront and from its fort erected on a hill along the road to Muscat.
Set atop the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Daymaniyat Islands have been a nature reserve since the 1980s. Some forty kilometres (25 miles) off the coast from Muscat, the Omani capital, their craggy coastlines form natural pools home to an incredible biodiversity. The different types of coral reefs that dot this ecosystem, the turtles that nest there, and the numerous species of fish make this an ideal destination for scuba diving and snorkelling. This rocky landscape is also the favourite spot of many birds, both endemic and migratory.
Located in the country’s north, on the Musandam Peninsula, Khasab is a city in the Sultanate of Oman. In the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, this small port built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and surrounded by a chain of rocky mountains was established at the mouth of Wadi Khasab. You will love its authentic scenery and particularly its fjords, which cut through the landscapes in a spectacular fashion and have earned it the moniker “Norway of Arabia”. In the city, Khasab Castle and its atypical architecture are well worth a visit to discover the history and culture of Oman.
Vertiginous, excessive, immoderate… Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, stands out for its architectural follies. Home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Kahlifa, with a total height of 828 metres, almost three times that of the Eiffel Tower, the city is also famous for the gigantic scale of the Palm Islands, its artificial islands in the form of a palm tree. You can explore more traditional districts not far away, with visits of the souks of Deira or the Gold Souk. Or perhaps you would prefer to discover Dubai Museum: located in an 18th-century fort, it tells the city’s history from Antiquity to the present day.
The political capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi stands out thanks to its exceptional cultural offering. In the Saadiyat Island district, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel as a museum town inspired by traditional Arab architecture, creates a dialogue between objects and works from civilisations from all over the world around the great universal questions. A little further, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque boasts a sumptuous decor of marble, gold and glass. Abu Dhabi is also the gateway to the Al Ain oasis and its 150,000 date palms, a remarkable testimony to the settling of nomads in the region since Neolithic times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
On the Saudi shores of the Persian Gulf, Dammam reveals its winding coastline, home to fine-sand beaches and pleasant seafront. The capital of the Eastern Province of Ash-Sharqiyah boasts a prime position along the calm waters of the Arabian Gulf. Edged with rows of palm trees facing the sea, this modern city is also the gateway to the beautiful Al-Ahsa Oasis. Take an optional excursion into the world’s largest oasis to see verdant gardens planted with countless palm trees, a sophisticated irrigation system, and archaeological sites attesting to human presence since the Neolithic period. The extraordinary landscape is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
At the crossroads of trade routes since ancient times, Manama, the capital of Bahrain, still bears traces of what were, for centuries, the pillars of the economy in the Persian Gulf: pearl harvesting, and the construction of traditional sailing vessels called dhows. But the major draw of this small island in Bahrain is undeniably the vestiges of human presence dating back nearly 5,000 years. The ancient harbour and capital of Dilmun, Qal'at al-Bahrain, is, along with the Dilmun Burial Mounds scattered across the island, an essential relic of this Mesopotamian civilisation. Both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage. Ancient colonisations would come later, by the Assyrians, the Achaemenids, the Macedonians, then the Arabs in the Middle Ages, before the more contemporary invasions by the Portuguese, the Persians and the Ottomans. This tumultuous history now gives this small territory rich influences.
On the banks of the Persian Gulf, discover Doha, the capital of Qatar. Rising out of the desert, the city has managed to maintain its traditions in spite of a frantic race for modernity. The cliff bordering Doha Bay has magnificent views over the city centre’s enormous constructions. The silhouette of the Museum of Islamic Art rises up near the quays, where the region’s typical sailboats, known as dhows, are docked. This “fortress”, designed by Ming Pei, the architect of the Louvre pyramid, is home to the finest collections of Islamic art in the world. Not far, the lively district of Souq Waqif and its colourful stalls are also an unmissable visit.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Port Taxes & Fees. From: 520 AUD pp
Vessel Type: Luxury
Passenger Capacity: 92 cabins
Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed cabins, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 cabins 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 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.
As it is an essential part of French culture, gastronomy will naturally have pride of place aboard this new ship. Through its two restaurants, Le Bougainville will invite you on a journey to elegance and epicureanism.
In a relaxed atmosphere, a first dining area located on Deck 3 and able to seat 70 will serve grilled meats daily, along with a variety of salads and desserts.
To the back of Deck 4, you will find a 260 m² panoramic restaurant which can accommodate all of our passengers in a single sitting. Designed differently to that on our other ships, this dining area, which opens onto the outside, will have a buffet of salads, desserts and cheeses at your disposal. Our discreet and attentive crew will provide table service for hot meals.
Like Le Boréal and its sisterships, Le Bougainville has many common areas that are designed and equipped to meet all of your needs while preserving the intimacy of each passenger.
A 140 m² reception area includes:
A reception/concierge desk, An excursions desk, The ship’s administrative services, The sales office, manned by our Guest Relations Officer, Our 50 m² boutique which sells clothing, jewellery, beauty products, postcards and various accessories, Toilets accessible to passengers with reduced mobility.
A new hydraulic platform with adjustable height provides: Easier boarding than on any other cruise ship, Easier Zodiac embarkation and disembarkation for expeditions, Easier access to the sea for swimming and practising various water sports such as kayaking or paddle-boarding.
A pool deck offering: A pool with a panoramic view, equipped with a counter-current swimming system, A pleasant solarium, An outdoor bar and lounge with armchairs and sofas.
A 200 m² main lounge which can accommodate all of our passengers to share convivial moments and to host activities organised during the day or evening.
Lastly, a theatre that seats 188, equipped with: The latest sound and lighting technology, A LED wall as the stage backdrop, for the projection of high-resolution images and videos.
Up to 30% OFF! Prices online do not show the discounted rates. Terms and Conditions apply, special offer is subject to availability, please contact us for more details.