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In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions. Embark with PONANT aboard Le Lapérouse for an 11-day tropical expedition to discover the traditional cultures of Northern Australia and Papua. During this all new voyage you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Indigenous people living in remote communities and learn about their customs, traditions, spirituality and art. From Darwin, the capital of the ‘Top End’ of Australia, you will sail to the Tiwi Islands, home of the Saltwater Tiwi People, renowned for their wooden carvings-particularly of birds which have a special place in Tiwi mythology. Your ship will then continue to sail along the coast of the Northern Territory to reach Elcho Island and Yirrkala. The Yirrkala community is home to several renowned Aboriginal artists recognised for their spectacular traditional bark paintings and whose work can be found in art galleries around the world. It is also the traditional home of the Yidaki (didgeridoo) with some of the world’s finest didgeridoos being made here. Further north into Western New Guinea you will come face-to-face with the legendary Asmat tribes. Here you will learn about their lives and customs in a traditional and authentic village setting.
Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Discover the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.
The Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory, Australia, 80 km to the north of Darwin where the Arafura Sea joins the Timor Sea. They comprise Melville Island, Bathurst Island, and nine smaller uninhabited islands. Indigenous Australians have occupied the Tiwi Islands for centuries, with creation stories suggesting they were present at least 7,000 years ago. You will discover Wurrumiyanga, a village where you can discover the Pukamani (wooden funeral posts with geometric hand carved patterns) and beautiful paintings on canvas. Then you will attend a dance performance relating to the story of the Tiwi people.
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 observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
The indigenous community of Yirrkala is located on the Gove Peninsula on the Northern Territory coastline. Overhung with gum trees, red sand paths run alongside the shoreline and lead to the dwellings inhabited by the indigenous communities. At the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka art centre you can admire a wide selection of local artwork including totems, bark paintings and sculpted effigies. Not only will you get a chance to hear musicians playing the yidaki – a traditional wooden didgeridoo –, you’ll also get the opportunity to attend a demonstration of ritual dancing. You might even be invited to some of the propitiatory ceremonies practiced by Yirrkala’s indigenous community.
Occupying half the Island of New Guinea, Western New Guinea (once known as Irian Jaya) is one of the most remote and mysterious regions of the world. Even today, there are at least 44 tribes that have never had contact with the outside world. Nestled in the South West corner of the island is the Asmat region, long fabled as the realm of head-hunters and cannibals. Where ancient traditions of ancestor worship have resisted the influence of Christian missionaries. Today’s expedition starts with a zodiac transfer to the village of Syuru where you will be met by a multitude of Asmat warrior canoes. Once ashore a traditional ceremony will take place. In the afternoon guests can undertake a guided walking tour of Agats township.
Washed by the Coral Sea, the harbour town of Cairns is located on Australia's north-east coast. The seafront esplanade is a popular place for locals and visitors to walk, swim and picnic under the shade of swaying palm trees. The hills surrounding Cairns form the gateway to the Queensland Rainforests, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site for their fauna and flora from the Gondwana era.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Vessel Type: Luxury Length: 127 metres Passenger Capacity: 92 cabins Built: 2017/2018 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. 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. RESTAURANTS 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 Lapérouse 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. PUBLIC AREAS Like Le Boréal and its sisterships, Le Lapérouse 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.
• A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert specialised in the destination onboard. • A cruise to meet the indigenous people of Australia’s Northern Territory and Papuans of the Asmat region. • Zodiac® shore visits with your expedition team. • Cultural performances and traditional welcomes in several remote Aboriginal communities. • Encounters with the local populations and the possibility of buying Aboriginal works of art directly from the artists. • Discover the Asmat region and its small traditional villages, inhabitants and warrior ceremonies.