Superior Stateroom Deck 3
30% Ponant Bonus
PONANT is the first cruise company to take you to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan during an expedition cruise. On this 8-day itinerary aboard Le Soléal, from Fukuoka to Taïwan, you will discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands, in the Ryukyu archipelago.
Departing from Fukuoka, you will set a southward course to reach the captivating, mountainous island of Yakushima, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Providing an unspoiled natural setting for endemic species such as the Yakushima monkey and deer, the island is home to an exceptional natural environment featuring forests of ancient cedars, bewitching waterfalls, and majestic peaks.
Le Soléal will make its way to the island of Amami Oshima, between Kyushu and Okinawa. You will fall in love with this island surrounded by stunning coral reefs, punctuated with verdant peaks, covered in primary forest and monumental mangroves, and boasting strong Okinawan influences.
Your next port of call will be Zamami, in the Kerama Islands. You will enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this pristine island, known the world over for the distinctive blue of the surrounding sea, called “Kerama blue”. The sea life in the area is also exceptionally rich and sea turtles can often be spotted swimming among the coral.
Following a port of call in the picturesque village of Taketomijima, with its traditional Okinawan dwellings and its idyllic sandy expanses, Le Soléal will sail south to Ishigaki, Ishigaki, the capital island of the Yaeyama Islands. In the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, you will be able to enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of the eponymous city or discover Kabira Bay, renowned for its idyllic scenery, combining crystal-clear turquoise water and beaches of white sand.
Next, you will set sail south to the island of Iriomotejima. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this little corner of paradise will enchant you with its authentic and preserved character, with its wild beaches lying alongside traditional villages surrounded by luxurious tropical forest: jungle, mangrove, rivers, waterfalls. This unique biodiversity is made up of many endemic species.
The landscapes on the remote island of Yonagunijima, the easternmost of the Ryukyu Islands, offer a striking contrast: cliffs, windswept meadows, wild horses. The beauty of its sea-beds and their mysterious rocky formations will delight the most experienced divers.
You will end your cruise in Keelung, the port of the Taiwanese capital Taipei.
A unique expedition cruise to discover the sublime landscapes of the subtropical islands of southern Japan. UNESCO sites: the islands of Yakushima and Iriomote, nature sanctuaries with a biodiversity unlike...
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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.
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.
Expedition programmes include activities such as zodiac outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landings"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. In remote areas, please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
During your visits to some local communities, all guests will be required to dress respectfully. Ladies must have their shoulders and thighs covered. Gentlemen should have their shoulders covered also.
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.
Diving - Expedition Cruise
Supervision of the dives
Your dives will be led by your PONANT instructor. He will take care of your safety and that all goes smoothly. On some diving sites, as in natural reserves or if the local regulations require it, a local guide will escort the diving.
Level required for scuba diving on this cruise
The minimum level required for scuba diving on this cruise is 2 star CMAS or the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent). The certification card, the diving log book and a recent medical certificate (less than 12 months) must be presented at the beginning of the cruise to our main diving instructor.
Process of the dives (certified divers)
The instructor reserves the right to check divers’ ability for maximum safety. As we will dive in remote places, the dives will be done without decompression stop. A safety stop of 3 minutes at 5 metres will be mandatory. The depth that can be reached will depend on the certification of the divers:
Duration of the dives
The diving activity lasts from 2 to 3 hours, which includes the journey to the diving site and the diving. This duration may vary according to the site, the level of divers, weather conditions and the number of participants. For experienced divers, the duration of dives varies between 35 and 60 minutes depending on the site, the diver’s experience and consumption.
Mask and snorkel: for health reasons due to Covid-19, we strongly recommend that you come on board with your own mask and snorkel .As an exception, you will be able to borrow them in accordance with sanitary conditions.
The passenger may participate in scuba diving activities, subject to compliance with certain conditions established in accordance with the health, scientific and medical measures applicable on the day of the dive.
* within the limit of available stock.
Embarkation 10/10/2024 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 10/10/2024 at 18:00
At the northern tip of the subtropical island of Kyūshū, Fukuoka stands proudly at the centre of a veritable natural setting, between lush mountains and the crystal-clear and calm waters of Hakata Bay. A modern city and high-tech hub, which has earned it the nickame of the Japanese “Silicon Valley” in particular, the seventh town in Japan stands out for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Promoted as one of the nerve centres of maritime trade from the 15th century onward, it experienced long decades of prosperity. A period of splendour which, among other things, saw the construction of many spiritual buildings, including the Sumiyoshi-jinja shrine and the Tochoji temple, as well as its emblematic Maizuru Castle, erected in the 17th century.
A splendid sub-tropical, mountainous island listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Yakushima is one of the most beautiful islands in the Japanese archipelago. Its extensive yakusugi forest contains some of Japanﾒs oldest living trees ﾖ cedars that are over 1000 metres tall and up to 7,000 years old. The Senpiro and Toroki waterfalls, each one several dozens of metres high, are equally impressive. A feast for the eyes.
Situated in the East China Sea in the Nansei archipelago, a group of islands also known as the Ryuku Islands and lying to the south-west of Japan between Kyūshū and Taiwan, Amami Oshima (literally “Amami Big Island”) is the largest of the Amami Islands. It is influenced by the culture of the great Okinawa archipelago. Amami Oshima is a world apart, with wild and pristine nature in which you will experience the tranquillity of the place. The old-growth forest covers 95% of the island’s surface and can be discovered along hiking trails. Its 700,000 m2 of mangrove, the second largest in Japan, are breathtaking.
Zamami is an island in the Kerama archipelago, 40 km (25 miles) west of Okinawa Island in the China Sea. Visitors to this 16 km2 (6 mi2) quasi-uninhabited isle are enchanted by the many untouched natural treasures they find here. You will discover a tranquil island with lush vegetation, lined with stunning white-sand bays bathing in the glimmering ‘Kerama blue’ waters around the archipelago. Zamami is also renowned for the beauty of its coral reefs, where multicoloured fish engage in an endless mesmerising ballet. The observation deck on Mount Takatsuki reveals stunning views of the Kerama Islands, granted national park status in 2014. With subtle shifting shades of azure above and all around, this island truly is paradise.
Off the coast of the Okinawa Prefecture, Taketomi Island (Taketomijima) is fascinating for its traditional character, preserved in a beautiful, lush setting. Like its big sisters, Ishigaki and Kuroshima, this island in the Yaeyama archipelago is the ideal destination for an immersion in typical landscapes and the insular way of life of the former Ryukyu Kingdom. Here, time seems to have stood still. There are very few cars about; bicycles and carriages drawn by imposing oxen remain the only means of transport. This is an ideal opportunity to wander through the picturesque streets lined with traditional dwellings with red-tiled roofs and lion-shaped shisa statues placed in front of the vast majority of houses to keep evil spirits at bay.
Located to the south of the main island of the Yaeyama archipelago, Ishigaki boasts all the aspects of an authentic piece of paradise. You have guessed it, you do not come here for its skyscrapers but for its pure emerald waters and idyllic beaches. The waters off Shiraho, on the island's south-west coast, have one of the largest areas of blue coral in the world.
Nestled in the very heart of the Yaeyama archipelago, Iriomote Island conjures visions of a hidden paradise. With 90% of the island covered by thick jungle, crossed by rivers and impressive mangrove forests, Iriomote is an ideal destination for fans of large preserved spaces. With exceptional fauna and flora, this lush jewel is home to many endemic species: you may be lucky enough to get to glimpse an Iriomote cat or a crested serpent eagle. During this port of call, you will also have the possibility of admiring the captivating underwater world during a free diving session or contemplating this lush jungle close up on a cruise along the calm waters of the island’s rivers.
The geographic situation of the island of Yonagunijima, the most remote and western in the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa, makes it a wild and preserved territory. Between cliffs plunging into the sea and white sandy beaches, lush meadows and palettes of blue, we can admire the last sunset every day here in the Land of the Rising Sun. The island is also renowned for the Yonaguni horses, a small breed standing only a metre high, which graze freely here. If you dive, Yonagunijima will delight you with its sea beds which are as exceptional as they are mysterious.
Arrival 17/10/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 17/10/2024 at 08:00
On the north-east tip of Taiwan, the harbour city of Keelung stands on one of the most beautiful coasts on the island. Nearby is the spectacular natural park of Yehliu, famed for its striking rock formations. It's easy to tour the city's historical sites on trails that cross the lush green hills surrounding the harbour from Chung Cheng Park to Fort Ershawan, you can enjoy superb views of Keelung and the coastline. But the main attraction is the Miaokou night market, where you can taste some typically Taiwanese culinary delights.
Explore the planet’s most remote tropical regions during a PONANT expedition cruise. In the heart of Oceania’s archipelagos or the Indian Ocean atolls, along the wild coastlines of Central America or Australia, our luxury amenities and services will make your expedition cruise an unforgettable experience. Our expedition leaders and their teams of naturalist guides devise exceptional itineraries and organise daily outings, shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies, or snorkelling when the cruises are conducive to it, to take you as close as possible to nature. Aboard the ship, they share their knowledge during lectures on a variety of topics such as the fauna and flora, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology. On land, using the local transport options or during hikes, discover the must-see natural sites and, for a few hours, partake in the life and ancestral customs of the local populations.
No single supplement
FREE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT *
*The supplement for single usage of a double cabin is waived, according to availability and staterooms categories.
During an introduction to scuba diving or a more advanced dive for holders of the necessary certifications (level 1 on yachting cruises and 2 on expedition cruises), explore the planet’s most beautiful underwater environments in the company of a PONANT diving instructor, as well as a local instructor when required by local legislation. They will ensure that your dives are conducted smoothly and safely: supervision of four certified divers at a time, evaluation of diving skills and experience, adherence to safety stops, zones and the maximum depth authorised.
A recent medical certificate (less than 12 months) must be presented at the beginning of the cruise to the main diving instructor.