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Zanzibar, Aldabra & the Treasures of the Indian Ocean

Zanzibar - Victoria, Mahé - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Le Champlain
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Join Le Champlain for this special 13-day expedition cruise in the Indian Ocean. From Zanzibar, a city with superb UNESCO-listed buildings blending African, Arab, Indian, and European influences over a millennium. You can reach Pemba Island, with its clove plantations and fantastic scuba diving. After visiting the coral island of Misali, your next port of call is the ruins of the 13th-century Swahili trading town of Kilwa Kisiwani. Then the stunning Assumption Island before setting sail for the Aldabra Atoll, a pristine sanctuary listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further, the island of Astove provides you with an opportunity for snorkeling and diving. Before disembarking in Victoria on the island of Mahé, a veritable picture postcard awaits you in La Digue: palm trees, granite rocks, white sand, and crystal-clear waters.
Mahe - Morne Seychellois National ParkDramatic sunset over La Digue Island in the SeychellesA snorkeler walking along a white sandy beach.Wildlife tour in  AfricaSeychelles Islands beach
Highlights
  • Discover Seychelles, Scattered Islands, Mayotte and some Tanzania islands
  • Ride in Zodiacs with guides and land on idyllic beaches
  • Observe tortoises and many species of birds on Aldabra and Latham Island
  • Dive with an experienced instructor and snorkel with the expedition team
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Zanzibar | Embark

Once a mythical post along the legendary Indian Ocean trade route, today a certain whiff of adventure still pervades in Zanzibar. Located off the coast of Tanzania, this place often referred to as “spice island” is brimming with natural treasures, such as Jozani Forest, the last remains of the huge primeval forest that once covered the island, home to a unique ecosystem. This port of call is also be the moment to discover ”Stone Town”, the historical center of Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A veritable labyrinth of narrow streets lined with houses made from coral stone, it is home to sumptuous buildings in a multitude of architectural styles, the result of the blending of African, European and Indian cultures.

Day 2: Zanzibar

Once a mythical post along the legendary Indian Ocean trade route, today a certain whiff of adventure still pervades in Zanzibar. Located off the coast of Tanzania, this place often referred to as “spice island” is brimming with natural treasures, such as Jozani Forest, the last remains of the huge primeval forest that once covered the island, home to a unique ecosystem. This port of call is also be the moment to discover ”Stone Town”, the historical center of Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A veritable labyrinth of narrow streets lined with houses made from coral stone, it is home to sumptuous buildings in a multitude of architectural styles, the result of the blending of African, European and Indian cultures.

Day 3: Pemba Island

The second-largest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, edged with fine sand and bathed in a sea in infinite shades of turquoise, Pemba Island astounds with the whiteness of its shores and its abundant tropical forest. It is mountainous with hills full of fertile land and has the nickname “the Green Island”. You’ll fall in love with its quiet shores, full of authenticity. Banana trees, coconut trees, clove trees, nutmeg trees… its lush vegetation ensures the local production of spices that has made its reputation (essentially cloves but also nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, etc.).

Day 4: Misali Island

Renowned for its underwater world, Misali became a protected conservation area in 1998. So, it’s possible to admire its sea beds and swim there, but not to fish. If conditions allow, you’ll perhaps have the chance to see varied underwater fauna. To the north-east of the island, a white sandy beach, bathed in stunningly transparent turquoise water, is an ideal place to relax.

Day 5: Kilwa Kisiwani

Near the Tanzanian coast, around 300 km south of Dar es Salaam, the island of Kilwa Kisiwani is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Occupied from the 9th century to the 11th century, it reached its heights in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was described by the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battouta as “one of the most beautiful cities in the world.” A former Swahili trading city, the island prospered from the trade of gold and ivory from the inland regions. The remains of its former port city cover a large part of the island. Those of its superb Great Mosque, the oldest mosque remaining on the coast of East Africa, are well worth a visit.

Day 6: At Sea

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 center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call is 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 are 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.

Day 7: Assumption Island

Assumption Island is part of the Aldabra group (Outer Islands), situated in the south-west of the Seychelles. Discovered in the mid-18th century by the French captain Nicolas Morphey, this bean-shaped island covered in dunes and shrubs is relatively flat. A handful of people live there, in a small village in the island’s west. The island’s beaches are a major egg-laying and breeding site for sea turtles. The surrounding waters are ideal for scuba diving. This is where Jacques-Yves Cousteau filmed some of the scenes for his famous documentary film “The Silent World”, released in 1956.

Day 8-9: Aldabra Atoll

Located in the very heart of this faraway archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by 4 small coral reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. As your ship slowly nears the clear, reflective waters along its shoreline, do not miss your chance to discover this natural wonder, which is considered to be the largest atoll in the world and once fired the imagination of many an explorer.

Day 10: Astove Island

Closer to Madagascar than to Victoria, Astove is the southernmost island in the Seychelles. It is part of the Aldabra group, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Now uninhabited, this coral island covered in coconut trees was once home to the employees that worked on the coconut plantations. Renowned for the richness of its seabeds, Astove Atoll is now a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. It also attracts experienced divers, who visit the atoll to explore the “Astove Wall”, where the sea floor drops to a depth of about 40 meters. The wall is covered in coral and many fish and green sea turtles can be found there.

Day 11: At Sea

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 center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call is 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 are 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.

Day 12: La Digue Island

La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3 km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard… Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.

Day 13: Victoria, Mahé | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 meters high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

After breakfast aboard the ship, disembark at Victoria, Mahé.

Ship/Hotel

Le Champlain

Le Champlain Pool
Ponant Sauna
Swimming pool

Dates & Prices

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Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
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Deluxe Stateroom
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with French window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
Area: 19 m². 4m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Deluxe Suite
Area: 27 m². 6m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 3 passengers per cabin.
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
Area: 38 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower.
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Privilege Suite
Area: 32 m². 8m² private balcony with sliding bay window. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower. Up to 4 passengers per cabin.
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Grand Deluxe Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with sliding bay windows. King-size bed or twin beds, and shower + bathtub.
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Owner's Suite
Area: 45 m². 30m² private balcony with hot tub and sliding bay windows. King-size or twin beds and shower + bathtub.

Notes

Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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