Ponant and Smithsonian Build on Co-Branded Cruises

Le Bellot

Partnering with the Smithsonian, Ponant has 21 co-branded sailings this year that are led by experts ranging from art historians to a solar astrophysicist. The voyages combine the Ponant product with some adjustments for English-speaking guests, plus transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard, and a shore excursion activity in each port.

“It’s an important alliance for us to share with the market,” said Navin Sawhney, CEO of the Americas for Ponant.

“People want those kinds of experiences, not just aboard, but when they go ashore.”

The branding partnership pushes the product past luxury and offers guests cultural immersion and a high-level educational element. Guests that wait to book will miss out, as popular options were sold out heading into 2023, including a seven-night voyage on Le Dumont-D’Urville, sailing

from Morocco to Portugal, as well as a seven-night roundtrip voyage from Valletta sailing on Le Bougainville, circumnavigating Sicily.

One new option this season is an August 10 departure in the Baltic, featuring an onboard presentation and discussion with the former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize–laureate Lech Wałęsa, as well as Baltic historian Glenn Kranking and foreign affairs journalist Robin Wright. The cruise, starting at $8,510 per person, sails on the 180-guest Le Champlain, calling in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark.

At the same time, Le Bellot is sailing in Iceland on an eight-day cruise, led by geologist and oceanographer Katryn Wiese and Scandinavian language and literature expert Elisabeth Ward.

Other deployments sprinkled in include departures in the Great Lakes, the Ionian Sea, the Western Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Canada/ New England.

The highest-priced Smithsonian Journeys sailing takes place in early 2024 and heads to Antarctica. The 12-day trip features 10 nights aboard Le Boreal and starts at $13,430 per guest.

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