In collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions

PONANT invites you to discover the natural wonders of the Coral Sea in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

From Honiara to Nouméa, you will set sail aboard Le Soléal on a 12-day expedition cruise into the heart of the South Pacific to discover ancestral tribes and paradisiacal landscapes.

Your ship will first reach the Solomon Islands, a real tropical Eden.

Your cruise will continue to Vanuatu, considered by some as the “happiest country in the world” with its 83 islands, it 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.

Le Soléal will also allow you to disembark onto dream beaches. Espiritu Santo, the archipelago’s main island, promises you an unforgettable bathing experience in an idyllic setting.

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

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

Le Soléal will then take you to the sublime island of Lifou with its picture-postcard landscapes of white-sand beaches and tropical vegetation, located in the Loyalty archipelago.

Then your ship will set sail towards Kouaré Island which will reveal you all its beauty and the richness of its seabed.

Your cruise will come to an end in Nouméa, capital of New Caledonia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aboard your Zodiac® dinghy, you will sail along the turquoise waters of New Caledonia’s coral reef, the second largest in the world. When you land on Kouare Island, in the heart of the southern lagoon, you will discover an idyllic environment. On this small tract of uninhabited land, in a marine area listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, the animals rule supreme. From the white-sand beaches where marine turtles and sea snakes like to lay their eggs, take off with your mask and snorkel to discover an abundant underwater world that is home to multicoloured fish, beautiful coral, and marine reptiles. Look up to the sky and admire the incessant ballet of terns and black noddies that appear to be jealously guarding their island.
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.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Superior Stateroom

$11,530 AUD pp
Superior Stateroom
(226 sq.ft.) 8 superior staterooms of 226 sq.ft.located on Deck 3. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line, telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

DeLuxe Stateroom

$12,480 AUD pp
DeLuxe Stateroom
(200 sq.ft. + 43 sq.ft. private balcony), 28 Deluxe Staterooms of 200 sq.ft.with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4

$13,840 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
(18,5 m² + 4 m² private balcony), 92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5

$14,530 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
(18,5 m² + 4 m² private balcony), 92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6

$15,340 AUD pp
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
(18,5 m² + 4 m² private balcony), 92 Prestige Staterooms with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi

Deluxe Suite

$21,310 AUD pp
Deluxe Suite
(290 sq.ft. + 54 sq.ft. private balcony), On Deck 6 you will find 3 Deluxe Suites with private balcony. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Prestige Suite - Deck 5

$28,770 AUD pp
Prestige Suite - Deck 5
(398 sq.ft. + 86 sq.ft. private balcony), 20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Prestige Suite - Deck 6

$30,270 AUD pp
Prestige Suite - Deck 6
(398 sq.ft. + 86 sq.ft. private balcony), 20 Prestige Suites with private balcony will provide you a sea with in total discretion. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Sofa, Armchair & Pedestal table

Owner’s Suite

$34,750 AUD pp
Owner’s Suite
(484 sq.ft + 97 sq.ft. private balcony). The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 6. It has been decorated by Franch interior designers and will provide you a breathtakting panoramic sea view. AMENTIES: Individually-controlled air-conditioning, Cabin layout : king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating cabins available (Children welcome), Bathtub or shower, Minibar, Flat screen satellite TV, Desk with stationery, Ipod™ players, Video on demand, Safe, Hairdryer, Bath robes, Satellite direct line telephone, 110/220 volts outlet, French bath products, 24hr room service, Internet acces wifi, Another Flat screen satellite TV, Large bathtub, Sofa, Table with 4 chairs, Armchair & Pedestal table

Additional charges:

Port Charges. From: 810 AUD pp

Le Soleal

Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship

Length: 142 metres

Passenger Capacity: 264

Built: 2013

Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and suites, with balconies, joined in 2013. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white.

A refined ambience is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat's hull, while the central scuplture of enamelled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea.  In the loungebar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolising a certain idea of cruising, one synonomous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.

Cabin layout for Le Soleal

Up to 30% Off - Ponant Bonus

Up to 30% Off - Ponant Bonus. Prices online do not show the discounted rates. Terms and Conditions apply, special offer is subject to availability, please contact us for more details.

Inclusions


• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• All meals while on board
• Non-alcoholic and Alcoholic beverages included (Excluding Premium Brands)
• Free wifi (Subject to coverage)
• Flight Brisbane/Honiara + transfer

Exclusions


• Flights other than those mentioned in the itinerary
• Travel insurance
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Premium beverages package (Can be purchased on board)
• Optional Excursions where applicable
• Spa treatments on board
• Pre and post cruise accommodation unless otherwise stated
• Transfers unless specified
• Gratuities
Le Soleal
Melanesia Luxury ExpeditionLuxury Expedition
12 Days from
$11,530 AUD pp

Highlights

• A cruise in collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard.

• Zodiac® outings & shore visits with your expedition team.

• Expedition voyage discovering Vanuatu: traditional villages, tropical beaches, coral reefs, active volcanoes.

• Sail into the Caldera of Ureparapara

• From Espiritu Santo, don’t miss the unique performance from the “water music women” on Maewa Island.

• Experience seldom visited islands in the “happiest country on earth”.

• On Tanna Island, walk to the rim of an active volcano and view a fireworks spectacle like no other.

• Discover the arts and traditions of Kanak culture, the tribes of the "Big Nambas" on the island of Malekula and the famous Rom dance of the Ambrym Islanders.

• Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team.

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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