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Explore the wonder of coral reefs

New Guinea Odyssey

Cairns - Darwin - Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Le Jacques Cartier
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Embark on a 17-day cruise aboard Le Jacques-Cartier, exploring the wonders and ancestral tribes of Papua New Guinea. Departing from Cairns, the cruise takes you to Alotau, with a rich history, scenic fjords of Tufi, and a culturally diverse Madang. Experience traditional village life in Kopar, swim with whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, and explore the rainforested karst islands of Triton Bay. Conclude your journey at the Kei Islands' stunning white-sand beaches before reaching Darwin.
Tribe in JayapuraTriton BayTufiTribe in JayapuraExplore the wonder of coral reefs
Highlights
  • Explore the harbor town of Cairns on Australia's northeast coast
  • Discover the history of the Battle of Milne Bay in Alotau
  • Experience the spectacular Tufi "fiords" and traditional performances
  • Witness the beautiful Tami Islands and their renowned artisans
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Cairns | Embark

The harbor town of Cairns is situated on Australia's northeast coast and is washed by the Coral Sea. It's a popular spot for locals and visitors to stroll, swim, and picnic along the seafront esplanade, shaded by palm trees. The hills around Cairns serve as the entryway to the Queensland Rainforests, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to their rich wildlife and plant life from the Gondwana era.

Day 2: At Sea

During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to relaxation in the spa or stay in shape at 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 will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, shop in the boutique, or 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. It is an enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 3: Alotau

Alotau became the provincial capital of Milne Bay in 1969 and today has a population of approximately 16,000. It serves as your port of entry into Papua New Guinea. Missionaries, miners, pearlers, and Japanese and American warships contributed to the History of Milne Bay. Perhaps the most significant history surrounds the Battle of Milne Bay. Here, the invading Japanese army suffered their first land defeat in the Pacific War in 1942. A memorial park at the battle site commemorates the event. The warm and welcoming local people resulted in one of the most relaxed, secure, and easy-going towns in Papua New Guinea. Join your expedition team to tour the town markets and WWII memorials.

Day 4: Tufi

They are often described as the "Scandinavia of the tropics." The spectacular Tufi "fiords" plunge over 90 meters deep and rise over 150 meters vertically above the water, making for a spectacular backdrop. The traditional way of life plays an important role amongst the villagers, who live in isolated areas along Cape Nelson's coast and on Mount Trafalgar's slopes. The area is known for producing tapa cloth, which is made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree and skilfully decorated. Guests will travel into the ancient mangrove forests of the Fiords to witness one of the most colorful traditional performances in all of Papua New Guinea. There is also the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Kamoa Beach.

Day 5: Tami Islands

The Tami Islands (Kalal, Wanam & Idjan) are a small group of uplifted coral atolls, with two main villages on the two larger islands and many smaller reefs and cays. In the center is a beautiful, crystal-clear blue lagoon with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The islands in Morobe Province, not far from Finschaffen, are seldom visited. Tami Islanders are renowned artisans who are most famous for their intricately decorated bowls.

Day 6: Madang

Madang Township was once known as the "prettiest town in the South Pacific." Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees, and sparkling tropical islands. The diverse geographical nature of Madang province is reflected in the 170 different languages that are spoken. This diversity is showcased in the Madang festival with its colorful displays of "sing-sings" performed by numerous cultural groups from across the Madang Province. Today, you can also be treated to cultural performances showcasing the coastal, midland, and highland communities' local customs, costumes, and dances.

Day 7: Kopar

The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in trade and cultural interaction systems. Kopar village's location at the mouth of the Sepik River makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages. Here, the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. As is customary in all Sepik societies, the men's house is where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men, and ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. Guests will be welcomed ashore with a ceremony and cultural performance, including the famous "dragon dance." There will be an opportunity to walk around the village of Kopar and experience traditional life in Lower Sepik.

Day 8: Jayapura

Jayapura City is the provincial capital of Papua province, Indonesia. It is a modern industrial city that contrasts markedly with the surrounding hinterland, where Papuan tribes live a subsistence lifestyle. Most Jayapurans are transmigrants from western Indonesia who control most of the region's industry and economics. Leaving the city behind, guests will travel to the traditional village of Asai on Lake Sentani. They can enjoy a cultural performance and witness life in a traditional Papuan village here. Asai is famous for its production of Tapa cloth.

Day 9: At Sea

During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to relaxation in the spa or stay in shape at 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 will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, shop in the boutique, or 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. It is an enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 10-11: Cenderawasih Bay

Cenderawasih Bay is located at the western end of New Guinea Island, southeast of the Bird's Head Peninsula. Covering more than 1.4 million hectares, the bay is home to an abundant array of uninhabited islands, pristine coral reefs, and the world's largest fish, the Whale Shark. Over the years, the whale sharks have learned the habits of local fishermen who catch baitfish at night in nets lowered from fishing vessels known as "Bagans." The Whale Sharks are now regular visitors feeding on the baitfish that spill from the nets at the surface. Cenderawasih Bay is part of the Bird's Head seascape, the center of marine biodiversity at the heart of the coral triangle. Take the chance to discover these multicolored reefs and extraordinary marine fauna. Depending on the conditions, you may also have the opportunity to snorkel and swim with Whale Sharks.

Day 12: At Sea

During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to relaxation in the spa or stay in shape at 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 will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, shop in the boutique, or 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. It is an enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 13: Kitikiti Waterfall, Mommon

North of Triton Bay, in the Indonesian province of West Papua, lies the Bomberai Peninsula and Sebakor Bay. A real paradise for divers, this protected, authentic, and wild area boasts exceptional biodiversity. Here, you can admire the superb Kitikiti Waterfall, where you can enjoy a swim or snorkel surrounded by lush nature, both on land and underwater.

Day 14: Triton Bay, West Papua

Triton Bay is one of three regions in Indonesia’s West Papua province that comprise the Bird’s Head Seascape (the other two are Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay), which marine biologists now consider to be the epicenter of the Coral Triangle. It contains more fish and coral species than anywhere else on the planet. Its unparalleled marine biodiversity and endemism, habitat richness, and relatively intact nature of its ecosystems are unique. Join your expedition team for a zodiac voyage through the spectacular rainforest-capped karst islands. Later in the day, enjoy the opportunity to explore the richness of the underwater realm.

Day 15: Kei Islands, Maluku Islands

The Kei Islands have kilometers of stunning yet almost empty, white-sand beaches and a deeply hospitable population. Beneath the mostly Christian facade, Kei culture is fascinatingly distinctive. Local history holds that ancestors of contemporary Kei islanders came from Bali, part of the expanding Hindu Majapahit kingdom from the western archipelago. Enjoy a day of swimming and snorkeling on an idyllic, uninhabited picture postcard tropical island.

Day 16: At Sea

During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to relaxation in the spa or stay in shape at 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 will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, shop in the boutique, or 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. It is an enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest, and entertainment.

Day 17: Darwin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Darwin is in Australia’s Northern Territory, 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 town’s still recent history through its emblematic buildings such as the new Parliament House, opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture or Admiralty House declared a heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that have survived two cyclones and numerous air raids.

Ship/Hotel

Le Jacques Cartier

Swimming pool
Le Jacques Cartier Restaurant
Le Jacques Cartier - Panorama View

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,670 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 4
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 5
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck
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Prestige Deck 6
19 m² area featuring a 4m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 3
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 4
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 5
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite Deck 6
27 m² area featuring, 6m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, 1 sofa, shower
Prestige Deck Suite
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Prestige Deck 5 Suite
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Prestige Deck Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
38 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 6
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Privilege Suite
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Privilege Suite Deck 5
32 m² area featuring an 8m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower
Grand Deluxe Suite
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Grand Deluxe Suite Deck 6
45 m² area featuring, 40m² private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Bathtub
Owner Suite
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Owner's Suite
45 m² area featuring an 30m² Private balcony, individually-controlled air-conditioning, King-size bed or twin beds, Shower

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 are subject to change without notice.
Included
  • 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners
  • 16 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

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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