Discover fascinating close-to-home destinations aboard PONANT luxury small ship expeditions and cruises

Dreaming of a stimulating holiday in a unique location, ideally not too far from home? May we suggest an intimate small ship cruise that can take you right into the heart of places, far from crowded maritime routes.

PONANT is renowned for small luxury expeditions and cruises to exciting destinations in Asia, Oceania, Polynesia, the Kimberley, New Zealand and the Sub Antarctic Islands – destinations that are all reachable by a short flight.

Discover below these incredible destinations, and get a taste of what you may see and experience on PONANT luxury expedition ships.

Asia and Oceania Luxury Small Ship Expeditions

Ponant Polynesia

 The Asmat, West Papua. Photo © PONANT Mick Fogg.

Discover Asia and Oceania, home to tribes with ancient customs and exuberant flora and fauna. Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea…

PONANT's small ships will take you to the heart of idyllic lagoons, to explore remote river systems and active volcanoes, archipelagos with wild natural environments and cities that blend tradition and modernity.

You will also get the chance to meet Indigenous populations proudly continuing the traditions of their forefathers. These villagers will welcome you with traditional dancing, singing and laughter. Their culture, rituals and traditions will fascinate you, but, above all, it is their friendliness and openness that will remain with you forever.

Click here to see PONANT’s vast and intriguing luxury expeditions in Asia and Oceania.

Kimberley Luxury Small Ship Expeditions

Ponant Hunter River Kimberley

Hunter River Kimberley.  Photo © PONANT Morgane Monneret.

The Kimberley’s wilderness is best experienced on a luxury small expedition ship where you can get right into the heart of the destination. With PONANT, explore one of the oldest of regions aboard the newest of ships, Le Lapérouse, the most environmentally sustainable vessel in the Kimberley.

In a Zodiac, accompanied by an experienced expedition team, explore dense mangroves that are home to saltwater crocodiles, venture beneath towering waterfalls, marvel at extraordinary tidal movements and see ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries. You may even witness migrating humpback whales on your journey.

Optional excursions include a helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls, a scenic flight in a vintage Paspaley Grumman Mallard over the picturesque North Kimberley Coast and a fast boat ride through the Horizontal Falls!

Click here to discover more about this incredible region and to see which PONANT itinerary will best suit you.

Discover Japan by Small Ship

Ponant Miyajima

Miyajima. Photo © PONANT Laure Patricot.

Japan, “the Land of the Rising Sun”, oscillates between modernism and highly respected secular traditions. Here, avant-garde technological developments are just as important as the precision of the gestures orchestrated during the ritual of a tea ceremony.

On your cruise you will discover the small Japanese city of Tamano, a former feudal domain with a unique cultural heritage and will be able to admire its famous Korakuen Garden, one of the country’s three must-see landscaped gardens. You will call in at Hiroshima, the gateway to Miyajima, home to the majestic Shinto shrine whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion Torii listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then when you visit Sakaiminato where you will discover medieval Japan and the ancient dwellings of the samurai.

Click here to view PONANT’s “Best of Japan” cruise itinerary and departure dates.

New Zealand Cruises and Sub Antarctic Islands Expeditions

Ponant Sub-Antarctic Islands

Sub Antarctic Islands. Photo © PONANT Nathalie Michel.

Discover New Zealand with its multitude of natural treasures. In Tauranga, you will be able to explore volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, rivers, gorges and lakes, while Wellington, ancient site of the Maori people as demonstrated by the Te Papa Tongarewa museum, perfectly combines local traditions and bustling nightlife. On the South Island, witness landscapes shaped by successive glaciers, and discover Dusky, Doubtful and the well-known Milford Sounds − three majestic fiords.

The New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands and Macquarie Island have been honoured with World Heritage status, representing the best of the world’s natural heritage. These are remote, rugged, wild and beautiful places, home to some of the most abundant and unique wildlife on earth. More than half of the world’s albatross and penguin species reside here, along with breeding colonies of sea lions, fur seals and elephant seals.

To discover PONANT’s New Zealand and Sub Antarctic Islands cruises, click here.

Polynesia Small Ship Cruises

Ponant French Polynesia 

French Polynesia. Photo © PONANT.

Lined with magnificent, clear-water lagoons surrounded by coral reefs, the Polynesian islands are among the most beautiful in the world. Between pearl farms and white sandy beaches, French Polynesia is home to an astonishing and rich marine wildlife. 

Discover the unique charms of the Marquesas Islands, with volcanic landscapes, turquoise lagoons and secluded bays. Then there is the intriguing Easter Island with its famous ‘Rongorongo’ tablets and the Moai, or ‘walking statues’, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thanks to their incredible biodiversity, Polynesia’s seabeds are considered the planet’s richest aquarium. So, whether you are an experience diver or just an amateur snorkeller, you will enjoy the colourful exotic fish, sea turtles, black tip sharks, manta rays, anemones, sponges and corals that line the aquamarine lagoons.

To see PONANT’s unforgettable itineraries that visit Polynesia, click here.

To discover more destinations that PONANT cruise to, visit

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M.O.S.S Australia
M.O.S.S Australia