In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Join us for this voyage along both the French and Italian Rivieras, exploring the rich history and culture of the fabled lands on the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Setting sail from Barcelona, your discovery of southern France begins from Sète in the Occitanie with the hilltop city of Carcassonne and its medieval citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The ancient port of Marseille is your gateway to either Aix-en-Provence, "city of a thousand fountains" and home to Paul Cézanne, or to Van Gogh's Arles and the UNESCO World Heritage "City of Popes," Avignon.
Nice, the last French port on this leg of your voyage, offers a tour of nearby Monte Carlo and a trip to the medieval hilltop village of Eze, with panoramic views of the Côte d'Azur. Or journey to St. Paul de Vence to visit the Maeght Foundation’s collection of modern and contemporary art and sculpture.
The small Italian fishing village of Portofino, now a favored haunt of the rich and famous, welcomes you for a relaxing afternoon and evening of leisurely browsing through its shops and galleries and perhaps a chance to sample the local cuisine.
Porto Venere can serve as your gateway to discovery of the UNESCO World Heritage Cinque Terre, the villages at the heart of the Italian Riviera. Or you may spend the day exploring Romanesque Lucca, birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, and medieval Pisa, with its magnificent Duomo, Baptistry, and Leaning Tower.
From Livorno, a full day excursion to Florence introduces you to the heart of the Italian Renaissance. Or if you prefer, you may explore the Etruscan ruins and museum at nearby Volterra.
The last port of call before your voyage ends in the Roman port of Civitavecchia brings you back to French soil and to the spectacular 'sentinel city' of Bonifacio, perched high on cliffs on Corsica's southern coast, where you can stroll along medieval lanes lined with brightly colored houses, or take a local boat to explore the caves and islets along Bonifacio’s scenic coast.
A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion in each port of call. Engaging discussions...
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Included in your cruise
For more peace of mind, PONANT organizes your trip before or after the cruise. This package is included in the price of your cruise.
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
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Peter Bobrowsky is a professional archaeologist and geologist with 40 years of experience working as a consultant, scholar, teacher, and researcher across the globe. An accomplished author (some 500 publications) and award-winning scientist, Dr. Bobrowsky has visited over 110 countries and worked on all continents during his career. His multidisciplinary field work ranges from Copper Eskimo sites in the Canadian High Arctic, Archaic sites in the upper Mississippi Valley, Mesolithic to Roman age sites around the Mediterranean, and World Heritage sites such as Machu Picchu and Petra.
A popular global public speaker for the past 25 years, he remains a much sought after and well-liked lecturer for the Smithsonian since 2004. His multi-disciplinary background and extensive travel contribute to his unique, informative, and enthusiastic speaking style. A born extrovert with an easy-going manner, Peter strives to understand and explain the crucial links between a diverse and dynamically changing Earth and the evolution of changing societies through history.
Language spoken: English
Photo credit : ARR
Mary O'Neill is an accredited art appraiser who lectures regularly on all aspects of art history in Washington, DC. She has joined several Smithsonian Journeys voyages, acting as our art expert in destinations from Mexico to Europe and the Middle East. Mary has published articles in several national publications, includingSmithsonian Magazine's cover story for September 2001,Virtue and Beauty: The Renaissance Image of the Ideal Woman.
Language spoken: English
Photo credit : ARR
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
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.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
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.
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.
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.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Embarkation 08/10/2023 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 08/10/2023 at 18:00
Located on the seashore between the mountains of Montjuïc and Tibidabo, Barcelona offers its many visitors a perfect blend of tradition and modernism. Truly an open-air museum, the “prodigious town” reveals an astonishing range of artistic treasures and museums, combining Roman ruins, medieval districts and a number of avant-garde elements from the 20th Century. Over the years, it has been marked by some of the greatest artists, such as Picasso, Miró or Gaudí, most of whose work has been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Take the time to stroll along the Ramblas and enjoy the gentle, typically Mediterranean lifestyle of the capital of Catalonia.
Arrival 09/10/2023 early morning
Departure 09/10/2023 early evening
The port of Sète, referred to by locals as the "Venice of Languedoc" because of its many canals, is a resort town known for its beaches and a thriving center of art. It’s also the gateway to nearby treasures of the Occitanie, including Nîmes, home to an exquisitely preserved Roman Amphitheater and the beautiful 18th-century Jardins de la Fontaine. The cities of Narbonne and Carcassonne are also within easy reach and serve as an introduction to the history and culture of this region. In Narbonne, you will want to visit the Palais des Archevêques and its Archaeological Museum, and in Carcassonne, you will be awed by the medieval citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Arrival 10/10/2023 early morning
Departure 10/10/2023 late afternoon
The oldest harbour in France, Marseille is the city where PONANT has chosen to set up its company headquarters. Heart vibrating in its setting of Mediterranean Calanques, it reveals its raw and authentic beauty, made up of a thousand influences and cultures which, over the centuries, have made up its wealth. A stroll through the Old Port will allow you to discover the places corresponding to the city founded by the Greeks as well as Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica, with its astonishing neo-Byzantine architecture, which overlooks it. Close to the quays, the Place de Lenche, which covers the ancient agora, will be perfect for a break in one of its lively cafés before melting into the maze of narrow streets with colourful houses in the Panier district, just a stone's throw away.
Arrival 11/10/2023 early morning
Departure 11/10/2023 evening
Capital of the Cote d’Azur, Nice is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills and mountains that protects it from the wind. You will probably want to explore the Promenade des Anglais, where you can sit on one of the famous blue chairs laid out opposite the baie des Anges. The Château hill is also a very pleasent place to walk. This is the entrance to the old city, with its bustling markets and regional products along the main street, the Cours Saleya.
Arrival 12/10/2023 midday
Departure 12/10/2023 late evening
Close to the Cinque Terre, Portofino is the jewel of the Ligurian Riviera. This "small village that stretches like a half moon around a silent basin", described by Guy de Maupassant, is today a pretty, lively little port that has managed to preserve the authenticity of its maritime traditions, which have been recognised since Ancient times. Built in the hollow of a small natural cove sheltered by the pine forest, the village is at the heart of a protected maritime reserve. The shimmering colours of its house fronts and the exceptional location of this village have inspired many authors and artists. You will also see the Portofino lighthouse, immaculate in its green setting. Perched on the Punta del Capo, it watches over the peninsula and its postcard setting.
The Ligurian coast will reveal the splendour of its contours as you sail along its abrupt landscapes facing the Mediterranean Sea. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national park since 1999, the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza et Monterosso distil their charm and their uniqueness.
Arrival 13/10/2023 early morning
Departure 13/10/2023 early evening
Located on the magnificent chiselled coast of Liguria, to the north-west of the Italian peninsula, Portovenere is an unusual little fishing village. Clinging to the southernmost tip of the Cinque Terre National park, this charming town benefits from an exceptional location, at the mouth of the gulf of La Spezia. As soon as you set foot on land, you will be mesmerised by the pastel shades of the buildings. Via Capellini is its lively and welcoming main street, brimming with shops and restaurants. At the end of a long promenade, a steep road leads to Doria castle. Below, on its rocky spur, the Church of Saint Peter offers a splendid view of Palmaria island.
Arrival 14/10/2023 early morning
Departure 14/10/2023 late afternoon
On the ligurian coast, Livorno invites us to Tuscany, a charming region offering archaeological vestiges, Renaissance treasures, undulating landscapes and a pleasant way of life. When the Medicis arrived in the 16th century they developed the city, which became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. Cosmopolitan and multireligious, Livorno has welcomed many immigrants and is a wonderful example of cultural diversity. Built during that period, Fortezza Vecchia and Fortezza Nuova attest to the city’s power. At the foot of the new fort, Nuova Venezia is an enchanting district with small canals and streets to stroll along to discover a few architectural treasures, such as the magnificent Santa Caterina da Siena church in the Tuscan baroque style.
Arrival 15/10/2023 early morning
Departure 15/10/2023 late afternoon
The spectacular town of Bonifacio located on the very tip of southern Corsica, clings to a narrow promontory of white rock overhanging the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. You can admire its limestone cliffs hewn out by the wind, before setting off on a cultural tour of its cultural treasures. From the little paved streets in the ancient Haute Ville, to the promenade on the open-air medieval chemin de ronde, this stunning town will take you on a journey back in time. Frequented or secluded, there are numerous beaches to choose from, all in keeping with the high standards of the “Île de Beauté”.
Arrival 16/10/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 16/10/2023 at 07:00
Built on an Etruscan site, between the Tyrrhenian sea and the Monti della Tolfa, Civitavecchia respires the dolce vita. This very modern and easy going town combines art and history with panache. You can also visit superb historical sites like Fort Michelangelo or the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just 80 kilometres from Rome, the town is a beautiful first step to the Italian capital.
PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys have organised the following included programme for you, which starts the day of embarkation.
Aboard your ship, an English-speaking lecturer will enlighten you about the culture and history of your destination to deepen your knowledge of the origins of local traditions, the history of emblematic sites, and stories involving famous personalities and those of major historical significance. During on-board lectures or on your shore visits, this expert will be there to share their precious knowledge with you throughout your PONANT cruise.
Catalonia enjoys one of the richest cultural heritages in Spain. This specially designed programme introduces you to two very different elements of that heritage: the 12th-century Benedictine monastery on Montserrat and the modernist city of Barcelona.
Day 1 – Barcelona, Spain
Arrive in Barcelona, where you will be met and transferred to the Hotel Almanac Barcelona. Check-in time is 3:00PM. A local representative will be present at the hospitality desk in the afternoon to welcome you and to offer suggestions for dining and independent exploration. Join fellow travellers this evening for a welcome reception at the hotel. Dinner is on your own.
Day 2 – Barcelona | Montserrat
After breakfast, meet your guide for an excursion to the astonishing Monastery of Montserrat. A scenic drive through the countryside north of Barcelona brings you to a chain of serrated limestone mountains, where you board a cog railway for the steep climb up the mountain to the Benedictine monastery on a terrace near the summit. Your guided tour includes the ornate basilica, whose highlight is a wooden statue of the Virgin that has attracted pilgrims since the 12th century. You will also visit the museum, displaying pieces of art collected in the last century and containing important works of Monet, Rusiñol, Casas, and Picasso. Lunch will be served in the restaurant located in what were once the monastery's stables before you return to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure with time for independent exploration. Dinner is on your own.
Day 3 – Barcelona, Spain | Embark
After breakfast at the hotel, join an excursion to the monuments and neighborhoods that define the extraordinary personality and vitality of Barcelona. Begin in the heart of the city with a visit to Antoni Gaudí's iconic Sagrada Familia. Begun in 1884 and still unfinished, this monument of spirituality awes and inspires visitors from around the world. Your guided tour will introduce you to Gaudí's vision and to the ongoing effort to achieve it. A short drive brings you to the Block of Discord to view Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller, icons of modernist Barcelona. After enjoying lunch, a leisurely stroll along elegant Passeig de Gràcia brings you to Barrio Gótico, the oldest part of the city. Explore this enchanting neighbourhood of narrow streets, home to Barcelona's great 14th-century Cathedral and Plaça Sant Jaume. End at the pier to embark your ship in the late afternoon.
Hotel Almanac Barcelona, located on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, is a new (opened in 2018) boutique hotel in Barcelona’s city centre, featuring 91 rooms and suites. It is only a few steps from Passeig de Gràcia, where you can find stylish shopping, restaurants, bars, and museums. The hotel itself houses a restaurant and a rooftop bar, a wellness and fitness centre, and a rooftop pool.
Your programme includes:
Your programme does not include:
Hotel contact information:
Hotel Almanac Barcelona
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 619-621
Telephone: +34 93 018 7000
Total : 970 €
This program is specially designed to orient you to the treasures of Rome and to introduce you to some of its most important monuments.
Day 1 – Disembark |Civitavecchia | Rome
After breakfast aboard, join your guide for the 90-minute drive into Rome, where your exploration of the Eternal City begins with a panoramic tour of its major monuments—the Caracalla Baths, Tiberina Island, Circus Maximus, St. Angelo Castle, and Villa Borghese Park. Then, leaving the coach behind, follow your guide on a walking tour of some of the most famous piazzas and fountains in Rome, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Navona Square.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue your tour of Rome's ancient ruins, as your guide explains their relation to twelve centuries of cultural, political, and religious history. Your final stop will be at the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, where you will enjoy VIP access to the floor of the arena where gladiators, Christians, and wild beasts once battled to the death before an audience of more than 50,000 spectators.
Rejoin your coach for the short ride to the historic Sina Bernini Bristol, your home for the next two nights. Dinner is independent and at your leisure.
Day 2 – Rome
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a specially crafted tour of the Vatican. Begin your discovery of this center of Catholic Christianity in the Vatican City Gardens, open only to VIP visitors. The gardens contain a variety of fortifications and monuments, dating from as early as the 9th century and set among vibrant flower beds, topiary, green lawns, and forest. See the Vatican Radio Station and the Academy of Science, and enjoy a singular view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel from the rear.
Briefly visit the Vatican Museums before entering the world-famous Sistine Chapel, where you will see Michelangelo's fresco of The Creation of Adam. Continue to the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, where Michelangelo's Pieta and the beautifully carved Bernini Pulpit are among the many works of art on display.
The rest of day is yours to explore the city on your own or to enjoy the amenities of the hotel. Lunch and dinner are independent and at your leisure.
Day 3 – Rome | Home
After breakfast at the hotel and check out, transfer to the airport for flights homeward.
Located in heart of Rome, the historic Sina Bernini Bristol is one of the most renowned 5-star hotels in the Eternal City. Once the hotel of choice for Russian Tsars, Princes of Wales, the Rockefellers, and the Vanderbilts, the Bernini Bristol enjoys a privileged location between Piazza Barberini and Via Veneto, just a few minutes’ walk from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The bedrooms are well appointed in classic and contemporary style. Each room features an Italian marbled tile bathroom, satellite TV, a safe, minibar, and hairdryer. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views, as well as a spa and fitness center.
Your program includes:
Your program does not include:
Hotel contact information:
Sina Bernini Bristol
Piazza Barberini 23,
Telephone: +39 855-516-1090
Total : 950 €