Deluxe Stateroom Deck 3
In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Discover Panama and Costa Rica with PONANT on this splendid 8-day cruise aboard Le Dumont-d’Urville, which explores the region’s abundant natural splendours, local indigenous communities, and the modern marvel of the Panama Canal.
Your journey in Central America will start along the white sands and translucent waters of Holandes Cayes, one of the coral islets of Panama’s San Blas Islands. Spend a day in this tropical paradise and enjoy the opportunity to swim and snorkel. Members of the Guna community call these islands home, and you may encounter them along the beach.
After a daytime sailing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through the world-famous Panama Canal, your ship calls next in the remote and magnificent Darién National Park. This little corner of paradise is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a remarkably diverse range of plants and wildlife. Rocky coastlines, mangroves, swamps, and tropical rainforests abound and offer a feast for photographers. Here, meet members of the local Emberá community.
Le Dumont-d’Urville then continues to Fuerte Amador for an exploration of Panama City’s Old Quarter and of the region’s fantastic biodiversity at the superb Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo.
Here, you will also visit the Punta Culebra Nature Center at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), a fascinating, open-air museum dedicated to marine science and conservation. On a specially arranged tour guided by Smithsonian staff, hear about the latest studies, observe marine species up close, and explore the unique flora and fauna of the tropical dry forest.
Your final call will be in Quepos, Costa Rica, gateway to the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park, where you will encounter myriad tropical flora and fantastic fauna, including sloths, the noisy howler monkey, the white-faced capuchin, and the tiny squirrel monkey. The combination of forest and ocean also provides a special opportunity to observe both terrestrial and sea birds—toucans, pelicans, hummingbirds, terns, and more.
The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion or activity in each port of call. Engaging...
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For more peace of mind, PONANT organizes your trip before or after the cruise. This package is included in the price of your cruise.
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
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Ralph Nurnberger is an acclaimed speaker who brings humor, historical background, and current political insights to his presentations. He has spoken on a number of Smithsonian Journeys as well as at The Smithsonian Institute’s Associates Program in Washington, DC, where his presentations frequently sell out. He has appeared on radio and television programs as an analyst on political and international issues. Ralph earned his PhD in History from Georgetown University and subsequently taught as an adjunct at Georgetown for 38 years. He was named Professor of the Year by the Graduate School of Liberal Studies in 2003. He currently lectures on a wide range of historical and political subjects at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Programs. Ralph has spoken at a number of universities and other venues in Europe, including in the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Austria, France, Denmark, and especially in Germany, where he has given presentations in East and West Berlin, Hamburg, and Chemnitz. In addition to his public speaking and academic careers, Ralph has had positions in and related to the U.S. government (staff on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; US Department of Commerce; and Director of “Builders for Peace”, which was established to assist the Arab-Israeli peace process), as a fellow at a prominent think tank (Center for Strategic and International Studies – CSIS), and as senior partner in a government relations firm for over 25 years.
Language spoken: English
Steven Paton is an expert in monitoringthe climate and oceans of the tropicsand is also a wildlife photographer and science communicator. He has spent over 30 years in the Republic of Panama working with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).Steven arrived in Panama after graduating with a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. With only a brief two-yearinterruption spent at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands, he has workedat STRIthroughout his career. His work includesmanagingSTRI’s long-term climate and physical oceanographic monitoring programs, documenting Panama’s amazing biodiversity, and studying the impacts of severe drought on mangroves. The results of his effortshave been used by thousands of researchers from all over the worldand appeared in hundreds of publications.Steven is also a widely respectednature photographer. His photographs, which he makes freely available to everyone,arehelping todocument and promotePanama’s amazing biodiversity.Over the last decade, he has become one of STRI’s most popular science communicators. His talks on global climate change, tropical weather, and the El Niño/La Niña cycle have reached thousands of people.His roleas one of STRI’s most popular scientific communicators has seen him give dozens of talks to both local Panamanian and international audiences,in both English and Spanish. His ability tobridgethe gap between highly technical scientific topicsand the general publicis greatly appreciated by his audiences.
Language spoken: English
Photo credit: ARR
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
To guarantee your entry into one or several countries, you must ensure that you comply with the formalities and health requirements specific to each destination. In just a few clicks on our online search engine, find all the formalities you must complete prior to your departure (visas, entry authorisations for each country, vaccinations, etc.).
The international situation can change rapidly, so be sure to check this information regularly prior to your departure. However, please note that we always recommend our guests contact the relevant national immigration and customs and border control authorities directly to find out what rules apply to their specific situation. PONANT is not responsible for any decisions made by guests based on the information provided by the online search engine.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Costa Rica: When leaving Costa Rica from the International airport, an exit tax of 27 US$ p/p must be paid (either by credit card, US$ or Colones).
Costa Rica: entry by sea - proof of yellow fever certification is not required.
Panama: the yellow fever vaccination is recommended for the eastern areas of the Panama Canal (Darien and Kuna communities).
List of items prohibited on board
To guarantee the safety and well-being of our guests, certain items are strictly prohibited on board. Should you have one of these products or objects in your possession, they will be confiscated immediately and will not be transported on the ship. When an item transported aboard is considered illegal, the relevant authorities will be notified systematically.
Click here for the full list of items prohibited on board.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
For all cruises longer than 8 nights, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
In your hand luggage, remember to bring any medicines that you need, and possibly a small spare bag of toiletries (in case of delay in the delivery of your baggage by the airline). Remember to always have your travel documents with you in case you need them: hotel vouchers, cruise vouchers, return flight tickets... Never leave them in your hold luggage.
All our cabins have a safe. We recommend not to go ashore with valuable jewellery.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Embarkation 10/2/2024 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Departure 10/2/2024 at 8:00 pm
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.
Arrival 11/2/2024 early morning
Departure 11/2/2024 late afternoon
Located on the north-east coast of Panama, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. More than 300 islands and cays cover an area of 300 square kilometres offering travellers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of enchanting anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bound by crystal-clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy incredible marine fauna before engaging with the Kunas Indian community. Still subsisting on hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.
Aboard your ship, experience something unique, that has inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Atlantic to the Pacific. Including three levels of locks and by raising ships to the level of Lake Gatun, almost as if the water was a lift, it allows them to avoid having to round Cape Horn.
Arrival 13/2/2024 early morning
Departure 13/2/2024 late afternoon
The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoilt land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You will visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.
Arrival 14/2/2024 early morning
Departure 14/2/2024 early evening
An artificial peninsula situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is the gateway to several noteworthy sites. Right near there, the impressive Miraflores Locks are a shining example of the engineering feats deployed during the construction of the Panama Canal. Further north, in villages nestling amid dense vegetation, lives the Embera tribe, guardian of the forest and of the Chagres River. This proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life, which predate the colonisation of the region by the Spanish.
During your journey 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 journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or 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.
Arrival 16/2/2024 early morning
Departure 16/2/2024 late afternoon
Quepos makes for a charming stop-off on the Pacific coast, just next-door to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, an untouched tropical natural reserve lined with white sandy beaches. The town's seafront is an opportunity to stroll through market stalls touting pineapples and bananas in the shade of the manchineel trees. In this coastal town criss-crossed with tree-lined streets in bloom, admire the houses and their incredible sculpted balconies. Enjoy a spot of shopping in the many traditional boutiques: pick up some handmade cotton clothing, ceramics embellished with Costa Rican designs and home décor pieces in hand-painted wood.
Arrival 17/2/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 17/2/2024 at 8:00 am
The capital of the eponymous province, Puntarenas is sometimes called “the pearl of the Pacific”, for its unique charm. It sits on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, along the Gulf of Nicoya, lined with long expanses of wild natural environments. Further inland, among the countless natural wonders to be found in the generous rainforest of the Costa Rica’s national parks, Poas and Arena volcanoes towers up in all their majestic glory. In this luxuriant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversity: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons, and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.
PONANT has organized the following included program for you, which starts the day of embarkation.
Aboard your ship, an English-speaking lecturer will enlighten you about the culture and history of your destination to deepen your knowledge of the origins of local traditions, the history of emblematic sites, and stories involving famous personalities and those of major historical significance. During on-board lectures or on your shore visits, this expert will be there to share their precious knowledge with you throughout your PONANT cruise.
Extend your experience of Central America from the coastline to the mountains on this specially designed program.
Day 1 – Puntarenas, Costa Rica | Monteverde Cloud Forest
Disembark your ship and meet your guide for a scenic drive to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, part of the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest.
You may choose between two ways of experiencing this unique ecosystem: a 2-hour traditional hike along trails through the forest, or a mile and a half 'Sky Walk' through the treetops on a trail including six hanging bridges. In either case, you will enjoy the refreshingly cool air at this altitude while looking out for the fascinating animals that roam here: howler and white-faced monkeys, the three-wattled bellbird, keel-billed toucan, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the gorgeous quetzal.
After your adventure among the clouds, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to the El Establo Hotel, where you stay the night. Dinner at the hotel is included.
Day 2 – Monteverde Cloud Forest | Arenal Volcano Area
After breakfast at the hotel, continue your exploration of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on a 2-hour guided walk through one of the most biodiverse regions of Costa Rica, habitat for over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, and 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles.
Lunch at a local restaurant is followed by a scenic drive down the mountains to the Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa in La Fortuna, site of Arenal Volcano National Park, and your home for the next two nights.
Day 3 - Arenal Volcano Area
Depart after breakfast on an hour and a half drive through the Northern plains to Los Chiles, very near the Nicaraguan border, where you will board a boat for a floating safari along the Rio Frio through the rain forest of Caño Negro—a birder's paradise, home to the anhinga, the roseate spoonbill, wood storks, and the jabiru, the largest bird in Central America. Along the shore, you may catch sight of howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and white-faced monkeys, as well as the three-toed sloth and reptiles like caimans, Jesus Christ lizards, and turtles.
Return to your hotel for some time at leisure before dinner.
Day 4 - Arenal Volcano Area | Homeward
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José for flights homeward.
The Hotel El Establo is set on a private 150-acre farm adjacent to the Monteverde and Santa Elena reserves. It houses 155 rooms, two restaurants, a swimming pool, spa, and hiking trails.
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa is a hotel dedicated to sustainable practices set on 900 acres of lush tropical reserve near Arenal Volcano National Park. The hotel features 42 rooms; natural thermal mineral river, waterfalls, and pools; a full spa; two restaurants; and four bars.
Your program includes:
Your program does not include:
Hotel contact information:
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Bº Cerro Plano, Monteverde
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
La Fortuna de San Carlos
Total : €1,330