Chairman's Cruise - New Guinea Odyssey



Join Sarina Bratton AM, Asia Pacific Chairman, for an extraordinary adventure along the north coast of the island of New Guinea. A brand-new 17-day expedition cruise brimming with cultural encounters and spectacular landscapes from Darwin to Cairns aboard Le Bellot.

After embarking in Darwin, you will experience the ‘Spice Islands’ – the Moluccas, visiting the charming Banda Neira, offering rich colonial history.

Then, spend time in the Bird’s Head Seascape at the heart of the famous Coral Triangle.

As you voyage across Western New Guinea you will experience the spectacular Cenderawasih Bay, with an unforgettable opportunity to swim with whale sharks.

Setting sail for Papua New Guinea, the world’s second largest island home to no fewer than 1,200 ethnic groups.

In the village of Kopar, situated at the mouth of the Sepik River, you will be welcomed with cultural performances and will witness life in a traditional village.

Your call at Tufi will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your voyage. Dubbed the “Scandinavia of the Tropics”, you will be charmed by the picturesque vista of Fjords and lush mangrove forests where you will be welcomed by Papuan tribes keen to share their culture and art with you.


Your Ship


Like the other ships in the PONANT EXPLORERS series, Le Bellot has been designed to provide absolute comfort for its passengers, even at the heart of the world's most remote and isolated regions.
Racy lines, state-of-the-art equipment, a refined design, a softly muted and at the same time convivial ambiance together with a deliberately restricted number of cabins all contribute to the modernity of Le Bellot
, a unique ship in the world of cruising.

Package Inclusions

Your cruise price includes:

  • 17 day luxury expedition cruise aboard Ponant’s Le Bellot
  • All meals on board
  • Open bar: from the moment your step onboard and throughout your cruise, a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck champagne, spirits, coffee and tea) are served on request and at any time of the day. Certain top-shelf premium alcoholic beverages are not included in the open bar.
  • Zodiac outings and shore visits with your expedition team
  • Free Wi-Fi internet access 24 hours a day

PLUS!  Ultimate Cruising guests also receive:

  • Chauffeur driven luxury car transfers to/from your nearest airport (within 35km)
  • 1 night accommodation in Darwin pre-cruise

Ask us about PONANT’s “BOOKING WITH SERENITY” offer!

Cruise Highlights

Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Come discover the town’s still recent history through its emblematic buildings such as the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture or Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids.


From age-old traditional cultures and ancient vestiges, to coral reefs and lush green jungle… The attractions of the remote Banda archipelago seem endless. Better known as the legendary “Spice Islands” of the Ancient World, these small volcanic landmasses were the fabled prize of colonial powers for more than four centuries. Every colonial power of significance fought for control of these ten small islands that today have become largely forgotten. Walking the streets of Banda Neira is a surreal experience as your eyes are drawn to the eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, the remnants of a rich and tumultuous history. It is without doubt the most historically significant and interesting of all the “Spice Islands”.


Situated off the northwest tip of the Bird's Head Peninsula on New Guinea Island, The Bird’s Head seascape, comprises over 2,500 small islands, cays, and reefs. These islets are a picture postcard setting with their white sand beaches and rainforest-topped Karst islands sprouting like mushrooms from a turquoise sea. They are also famous for their exceptional sea fauna. According to Conservation International, the diversity of marine life is greater than any other area sampled in The Coral Triangle, making the region home to the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world. Your ship will spend some time in the region to take advantage of the multitude of experiences that await.


Cenderawasih Bay is located at the western end of New Guinea Island, south-east of the Bird's Head Peninsula. Covering more than 1.4 million hectares the bay is home to an abundant array of uninhabited islands, pristine coral reefs and the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark. Over the years the whale sharks have learnt the habits of local fishermen who catch baitfish at night in nets lowered from fishing vessels known as "Bagans”. The Whale Sharks are now regular visitors feeding on the baitfish that spill from the nets at the surface. Cenderawasih Bay is part of the Bird’s Head seascape, the centre of marine biodiversity at the heart of the coral triangle. Do not miss the chance to discover these multicoloured reefs and extraordinary marine fauna. Depending on the conditions, you may also have the opportunity to snorkel and swim with Whale Sharks.


Jayapura City is the provincial capital of Papua province, Indonesia. It is a modern industrial city contrasting markedly with the surrounding hinterland where Papuan tribes live a subsistence lifestyle. The vast majority of Jayapurans are transmigrants from western Indonesia who control most of the industry and economics of the region. Leaving the city behind, guest will travel to the traditional village of Asai on Lake Sentani. Here you can enjoy a cultural performance and witness life in a traditional Papuan village. Asai is famous for its production of Tapa cloth.


The people of the Sepik region speak more than 250 languages and are knitted together in systems of trade and cultural interaction. Kopar village’s location at the mouth of the Sepik river makes it an important trading point for surrounding villages. Here the crocodile is worshiped as the water spirit. As is custom in all Sepik societies, the men's house is the place where important decisions regarding the village are made, where boys are initiated and become men and ceremonies to please the spirits are performed. Guests will be welcomed ashore with a ceremony and cultural performance, including the famous “dragon dance.” There will be an opportunity to walk around the village of Kopar to experience traditional life in the lower Sepik.


Madang Township was once known as the "prettiest town in the South Pacific".  Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. The diverse geographical nature of Madang province is reflected in the 170 different languages that are spoken. This diversity is showcased in the Madang festival with its colourful displays of “sing sings” performed by numerous cultural groups from across the Madang Province. Today, you will also be treated to a number of cultural performances showcasing the local customs, costume and dance of the coastal, midland and highland communities.


The Tami Islands (Kalal, Wanam & Idjan) are a small group of uplifted coral atolls, with two main villages on the two larger islands and many smaller reefs and cays. In the centre is a beautiful, crystal clear blue lagoon with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The islands, located in Morobe Province not far from the town of Finschaffen are seldom-visited. Tami Islanders are renowned artisans and are most famous for their intricately decorated bowls.


Often described as the “Scandinavia of the tropics”. The spectacular Tufi “fiords” plunge over 90 metres deep and rise over 150 metres vertically above the water making for a spectacular backdrop. The traditional way of life plays an important role amongst the villagers with many living in isolated areas along the coast of Cape Nelson and on the slopes of Mount Trafalgar. The area is known for its production of tapa cloth, made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree and skilfully decorated. Guests will travel into the ancient mangrove forests of the Fiords to witness one of the most colourful traditional performances in all of Papua New Guinea.  There is also the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Kamoa Beach.


Alotau became the provincial capital of Milne Bay in 1969 and today has a population of approximately 16,000. It serves as our port of entry into Papua New Guinea. Missionaries, miners, pearlers, Japanese and American warships have all contributed to the History of Milne Bay. Perhaps the most significant history surrounds the Battle of Milne Bay. It was here that the invading Japanese army suffered their first land defeat in the Pacific War in 1942. A memorial park at the battle site commemorates the event. The local people are warm and welcoming resulting in one of the most relaxed, secure and easy-going towns in Papua New Guinea. Join your expedition team for a tour taking in the town markets and WWII memorials.


Washed by the Coral Sea, the harbour town of Cairns is located on Australia's north-east coast. The seafront esplanade is a popular place for locals and visitors to walk, swim and picnic under the shade of swaying palm trees. The hills surrounding Cairns form the gateway to the Queensland Rainforests, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site for their fauna and flora from the Gondwana era.


Pricing and Departure Date

Departs 30 September 2021 from Darwin

Prices are strictly subject to availability.


Deluxe Stateroom Fully Booked
Prestige Deck 4 A$15,700
Prestige Deck 5 A$16,170
Prestige Deck 6 A$16,600
Deluxe Suite Deck 3 Fully Booked
Deluxe Suite Deck 4 Fully Booked
Deluxe Suite Deck 5 Fully Booked
Deluxe Suite Deck 6 Fully Booked
Prestige Deck 5 Suite A$32,370
Prestige Deck 6 Suite Fully Booked
Privilege Suite Deck 5 A$34,330
Privilege Suite Deck 6 A$34,330
 * Special terms and conditions apply.  Valid for new bookings only. Please contact us for full details.



Cruise Category
  • Luxury Expedition
  • 24 Hr Room Service
  • Boutique &/or Salon
  • Drinks All Day
  • On-Board Lecturer
  • Ponant Exclusive Service
  • Pool &/or Spa
  • Shore Excursions
Itinerary Map Image

Trip itinerary

At Sea
Banda Neira, Maluka Islands
Bird's Head Seacape
Bird's Head Seacape
At Sea
Cenderwasih Bay
Cenderwasih Bay
At Sea
Jayapura, Papua

Technical Details

  • Built Date 2020
  • Crew 110
  • Capacity 184
  • Length 131M

Cruise Category

  • Luxury Expeditions

Le Bellot

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.

As the fifth ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant spirit, Le Bellot will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.

Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.

Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.