SA Cruise News

Cape Town and African cruises featured in National Geographic/Ponant partnership

National Geographic Expeditions and the French luxury cruise line Ponant have announced a new range of co-branded, luxury expedition cruises on small ships and Cape Town will be among the 130 cruise itineraries released for the next four years.

The co-branded cruises have been designed with a common vision for responsible travel and unique experiences and will cover all seven continents, with core destinations being the Arctic and Antarctic, complemented by a range of expeditions in northern Australia, the South Pacific, Alaska, the Seychelles and the Caribbean.


Voyages will be conducted aboard Ponant’s new luxury expedition fleet.

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The 130 cruise itineraries will also include some truly unusual voyage options from some of the world’s most remote locations, to some of the most in-demand cruise ports, such as Ushuaia in Argentina to Cape Town in South Africa.

The ‘From Antarctica to Africa’ itinerary is a 22-night voyage, departing February 25th, 2020 from the tip of Argentina, with port calls in The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Gough Island and the active volcanic island of Nightingale in Tristan da Cunha.

The cruise comes with the rather evocative caveat from National Geographic that “we are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions” and as such, Zodiac landings on remote beaches are not guaranteed.

“This partnership brings together two highly respected global organisations with shared values and a common goal to inspire guests to live curiously, explore our planet and become ambassadors for sustainability,” says Sarina Bratton AM, Ponant’s Chairman Asia Pacific.

Other cruise itineraries Fiji to Guam via Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia. A 10-night ‘Top End’ cruise sails from Darwin to Cairns stopping at several Aboriginal communities, as well as countless others, several of which focus on Africa.

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At least one of the 130 itineraries will include a cruise from Argentina to Cape Town.

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There is a 12-night cruise from Cape Verde to Dakar in Senegal, a 13-night port-intensive exploration of the Seychelles, and a 12-night trans-Atlantic voyage between Recife in Brazil and Dakar that includes port calls in the Fernando de Noronha islands, off the Brazilian coast, a natural paradise that is home to thousands of birds and rich underwater wildlife in its turquoise waters, as well as the Bijagos Islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve only accessible to a few privileged travellers.

The new partnership between National Geographic is specifically targeted at cruise passengers in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific regions, although there’s no reason South African cruise passengers with a taste for adventure cant book as well!

All the expedition cruises will be aboard Ponant’s ‘clean ships’, which are designed to respect the environment and marine life, and carry just 180 to 240 passengers.

The Ponant crew will be supplemented by National Geographic photographers and relevant experts.


Some of the latest ships will also have the line’s new multi-sensory underwater lounge.

“In Ponant, we have a luxury and ethically minded partner with European flair, experience in travelling to ambitious locations, along with an expansive travel agent network. We will be working together to offer premium expedition experiences, creating unique itineraries that speak to the explorer in all of us,” says Tim Jones, Vice President Travel Asia Pacific, National Geographic Partners.

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