Smithsonian has partnered with Ponant Cruise Line to offer unforgettable cruise experiences.

Smithsonian Journeys, the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, has partnered with France-based Ponant Cruise Line to offer educational themed cruises to destinations spanning the globe from Antarctica, Iceland, and Japan to the Mediterranean, the Great Lakes, and Europe. Journeys begin in 2022 and will take an immersive dive into the culture, history, wildlife, and cuisine of each region it visits.

Lyn Cutter, senior vice president for Smithsonian Travel, told Travel and Leisure, "As travel begins to resume, we believe guests will be more interested than ever in meaningful and enriching experiences that help to better interpret and understand the places they're exploring."

Smithsonian Journeys offers small group journeys, ocean and river cruises, private jet trips, and cultural stays for student travel programs as well as independent travelers. Anthropologists, archaeologists, scientists, and historians will be along for the ride with the Ponant partnership.

Ponant has offered smaller scale (more like a luxury yacht than a massive cruise ship) immersive experiences for more than 30 years. Just a couple of Smithsonian and Ponant’s travel experiences include:

  • Travel along the Svalbard archipelago as you look for polar bears and walruses.
  • Take an eight-day journey from Lake Ontario to Lake Michigan and on to Niagara Falls.
  • Discover Norwegian fjords, dramatic cliffs, UNESCO World Heritage site Bryggen, and charming villages such as Hellesylt and Alesund.
  • Sail through Southern Spain and Lisbon as you visit Gothic castles, travel by train through olive groves, and view architectural masterpieces by Gaudi.
  • Cruise the Windward Islands of the Caribbean as you visit Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bequia, and more.

While sailings aren’t scheduled to begin until 2022, Ponant has implemented a variety of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. All passengers and crew members over age 16 must be vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Passengers also have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 17 hours of embarkation. Luggage will also be disinfected.

Have you ever cruised aboard a Ponant ship or taken a Smithsonian Journeys expedition? Where would you like to go? Let us know in the comments.