From drifting icebergs and humpback whales to indigenous tribes and far-flung islands, embark on an unforgettable cruise with some of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry
From Antarctica’s imposing glaciers to the tropical beaches of an uninhabited Pacific island, when it comes to getting under the skin of a remote destination, a chapter in a guidebook can only tell you so much. The information gleaned from its pages will likely fall short of pointing out how to recognise an indigenous bird call or decipher a prehistoric cave painting, for instance. To do that, you’d benefit from the expertise of a seasoned traveller – someone who can provide a level of insight that is only gained from being immersed in a particular landscape.
For more than 130 years, National Geographic has packed adventurous pilgrims off across the globe, from the depths of the oceans to the highest mountain peaks, in a bid to learn more about the planet and its inhabitants. And now its wanderers are stepping aboard Ponant’s fleet of cruise ships.
The luxury cruise provider has created more than 100 unique itineraries in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions, all of which embody the spirit of adventure, conservation and education. Each voyage is accompanied by National Geographic experts who will enable globetrotters to encounter the wonders of the world up close and in depth by teaching them about the culture, history and wildlife of the spectacular ports of call.
The transformative experiences on offer give the curious and the intrepid the opportunity to learn more about themselves and the world around them as they set off in search of enlightenment and some of the most unspoilt destinations.
Whether you want to venture into the frozen realm of the Antarctic Peninsula, discover the Inuit culture of Greenland or peer into the colourful rainforest canopy in Costa Rica, there will be a National Geographic specialist – either a writer, adventurer, anthropologist or field researcher – and photographer with intimate knowledge of the region on hand to make the journey as fulfilling and enriching as possible. What’s more, a portion of all proceeds goes back into funding projects to protect the planet and its people, so the expedition cruises can continue to support the work of explorers and researchers.
For something truly out of the ordinary, embark on the 10-night Emblematic Antarctica expedition cruise, which charts a passage through a magical landscape of drifting icebergs, accompanied by an escort of albatrosses, humpback whales and leopard seals.
You will be able to fully immerse yourself in their surroundings alongside Robert Kunzig, senior environment editor at National Geographic magazine, who will host information sessions alongside award- winning environmental photographer Jason Edwards and Ponant’s naturalist guides, covering everything from wildlife and history to geopolitics and the great explorers.
If you’re looking to connect to the landscape in a more visceral sense, lectures will be accompanied by regular Zodiac outings to the shore and other activities such as sea kayaking – an incomparable way to get a sense of the sheer scale of the majestic glaciers looming above as you glide silently between icebergs.
Away from the polar regions, there’s plenty to pique curiosity in more temperate surroundings. Scratch beneath the surface of the Edenic Solomon Islands on a 16-day cruise from Fiji to Micronesia; have the privilege of meeting the indigenous Emberás tribe during a fortnight-long Natural Parks and Wildlife of Central America cruise; or explore some of the 300 islands and cays that make up the San Blas archipelago on a 10-day Island Gems and Underwater Treasures of the Caribbean cruise.
As always, a National Geographic expert and photographer will be by your side to ensure your journey of discovery is steering the right course. Travel doesn’t get much more fulfilling than that.