Ponant Partnered With the Smithsonian to Offer a Series of Educational Cruises

Philip Plisson/Courtesy PONANT

It's the most luxurious learning experience ever.

Ponant has long been a leader in small-ship expeditions taking passengers to remote parts of the world. Now, they're making those journeys even more compelling by partnering with the world's largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution. Together they will curate new sailings to 19 destinations, including Antarctica.

In 2022, the voyages will take travelers to Japan, Iceland, the Mediterranean, British Isles, Great Lakes, the Norwegian fjords, and Antarctica. During the trips, notable experts will be on board to host experiences that dive deep into the location's history and embrace current local cultures. The 360 offerings include learning everything about the destination from its cuisine and language to the environment and wildlife through experts ranging from archaeologists and scientists to anthropologists and historians.

The pool on Ponant, Le Laperouse
Olivier Anrigo/Courtesy PONANT

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As far as itineraries available, you can choose from "Panama and Costa Rica by Sea: The Natural Wonders of Central America," which is an eight-day cruise from Colón, Panama to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, passing through the Panama Canal. It includes stops at the UNESCO World Heritage site Darién National Park. The "Iceland Voyage: Land of Fire and Ice" sails roundtrip from Reykjavik with ports of call that explore the country's dynamic landscapes. Or, keep it based in the U.S. by venturing on "A Voyage Along the Great Lakes," where you'll explore all five Great Lakes.

Of course, all the trips feature high-end accommodations and fine dining in addition to the unique educational experience.

Dining on Ponant, Le Bougainville
Nicolas Matheus/Courtesy PONANT

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"We are thrilled to be teaming with PONANT to bring the Smithsonian experience to guests onboard PONANT's state of the art expedition ships," Lynn Cutter, Senior Vice President, Smithsonian Travel, told Departures in a statement. "As travel begins to resume, we believe guests will be more interested than ever in meaningful and enriching experiences that help to interpret better and understand the places they're exploring."

This marks the Smithsonian first alliance with an expedition line, and the complete list of cruises can be viewed here.