PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys Announce Small Ship Explorations

PONANT has partnered with Smithsonian Journeys to offer 30 sailings in 2025 on small exploration ships. The itineraries will feature experts and immersive experiences, focusing on local cultures, history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife of destinations. The partnership aims to inspire guests to become global citizens through travel. This marks the fourth year of co-branded sailings between PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys.


New itineraries for 2025 include a two-week voyage from Lisbon to the Canary Islands (October 26-November 8), a Mediterranean sailing covering Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca (October 3-10), and a revised itinerary with a Sicily circumnavigation adding a stop in Tunisia for the Carthage archaeological site (June 2-10; August 29-September 6). 

PONANT and Smithsonian Journeys will reintroduce popular voyages from 2024, including a seven-night trip from Panama to Costa Rica with a special visit to the Punta Culebra Nature Center of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (January 6-13); an eight-day exploration of the Greek Islands in the Southern Aegean, with stops at different islands (July 6-13; October 12-19); and a Mediterranean Island Voyage encompassing Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba (May 26-June 2).

Itinerary highlights (NEW AND ENHANCED)

New: Lisbon to the Canary Islands Cruise: Spain, Morocco, and Atlantic Isles, Le Bellot

Sail from Lisbon to the Canary Islands on Le Bellot, exploring the cultures, histories, and landscapes along the southern Iberian shores to the eastern Atlantic Isles. Experience diverse sights from Portugal’s Algarve Coast to Madeira and the Canary Islands, with visits to La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and La Gomera. Explore World Heritage sites in Seville, Spain, Rabat, Morocco, medina, and Madeira’s Botanical Gardens. Gain insights from onboard expert Allen Fromherz, a professor of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history.

Departure: October 26-November 8, 2025

Duration: 14 days

Prices start from $9,020 per person.

Newly Enhanced: A Circumnavigation of Sicily, Le Bougainville

Le Bougainville departs from Valletta, Malta, and docks on Sicily’s southern coast at Agrigento. Day three includes visiting Tunis, Tunisia, to see Carthage ruins and Sidi Bou Said. The ship then heads to Trapani, Palermo, Taormina, Syracuse, Lipari, and Stromboli.

Departure: On June 2-10 and August 29-September 6, 2025

Duration: 9 days

Prices start from $7,420 per person.

New: Cruising the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca, L’Austral

Embark on an eight-day Mediterranean cruise aboard L’Austral, starting in Valletta, Malta, and ending in Tarragona. Explore Sicily, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca. Highlights include visiting Palermo’s markets and historic architecture, discovering the cultural attractions of Cagliari, and exploring Bronze Age ruins in Menorca.

Departures are available on October 3-10, 2025.

Duration: 8 days

Prices start from $5,340 per person.

Panama and Costa Rica by Sea, Le Bellot

Explore the ecosystems of Panama and Costa Rica on an eight-day journey aboard Le Bellot. Discover mangrove forests, white-sand beaches, and national parks while learning about nature conservation. Visit local Indigenous communities and enjoy expert insights from Hugh Neighbour, a former diplomat and U.S. Navy Officer.

Departure: January 6-13, 2025

Duration: 8 days 

Prices start from $6,054 per person

Cruising the Greek Islands of the Southern Aegean, Le Dumont-d’Urville

Discover the Greek Islands of the Southern Aegean on an 8-day cruise with Le Dumont-d’Urville. Visit islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades archipelagos, as well as the Peloponnese peninsula. Enjoy tours of World Heritage Sites and cultural experiences. Expert Sanjaya Thakur will provide insights into the islands’ history and culture.

Departure: July 6-13 and October 12-19, 2025 

Duration: 8 days

Starting from $5,940 per person 

Click here for more information.

Will you be exploring these small ship explorations? Let us know in the comments!

Julie Bouchner is the Digital Editorial Manager for Porthole Cruise and Travel. She has a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Syracuse University. When she is not writing, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, baking, and playing with her Siberian Husky named Ellie.