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A Circumnavigation of Sicily - with Smithsonian Journeys

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Balcony
$10,067
Suite
$17,103
* Port charges, taxes and fees included
 Cruise Length
9 Days
 Cruise Starts
Valletta
 Cruise Finishes
Valletta
9 Day A Circumnavigation of Sicily - with Smithsonian Journeys Itinerary (Ponant)
Countries Explored: Malta, Sicily, Tunisia
Cruise Line
Ponant
Ship
Ship Class
Ponant Explorers
Departures
Passengers
184
Crew
118
Launched
2019
Cruise Code
LVALVA8.2

Overview

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.

We invite you to join us on a circumnavigation...read more of Sicily, a crossroads of the many historical civilizations-Greek, Roman, Arab, Byzantine, Norman-that have flourished along the shores of the Mediterranean. Setting sail from Malta, your first stop in Sicily is Porto Empedocle, gateway to the fabled Greek temples of Agrigento, among the most captivating ruins in the entire Mediterranean. Next cross the sea to Tunisia. From Tunis, travel to storied Carthage, a Phoenician stronghold from the 9th century BC until it was conquered by the Romans in 146 BC.

The site includes several important Phoenician remains, including Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal, as well as many monuments from the Roman period. Also explore the Bardo Museum, world-renowned for its spectacular collection of Roman mosaics. Back in Sicily, after rounding the western tip of the island, you arrive in Trapani for an excursion into the countryside and the ancient Doric temple of Segesta or to medieval Erice, perched on a high triangular plateau sloping down to the sea.

Your fifth day aboard Le Bougainville brings you to Palermo, founded by the Phoenicians in 827 BC and becoming one of Europe's greatest cities in the 12th century, when the Normans took control. Here you will visit Cappella Palatina, a Byzantine-Arab-Norman structure featuring dazzling mosaics and magnificent inlaid marble floors and walls. Or drive to nearby Monreale to explore its famed Norman cathedral.

In Lipari, discover the 16th-century Norman castle-turned-archaeological museum on the site of an ancient acropolis before sailing in the evening to Stromboli, whose active volcano provides the backdrop as you cruise around the island. From Stromboli, your ship sails through the Strait of Messina to arrive at Taormina on Sicily's east coast. Visit a winery on the slopes of Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, or tour Taormina town with its emblematic Greek theater offering dramatic views of the coastline.

The final port of call before your voyage comes to an end in Valletta is Syracuse, colonized by Greeks in the 8th century BC only to grow to rival Athens as one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world. You will visit the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus and the 15,000 seat Greek theater or Ortygia, the old town and its Baroque cathedral. Your voyage ends back in Valletta.

Cruise Itinerary

Departs: 18:00

The entire city of Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cited as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world, it’s a cultural hub for Baroque art, museums, and historic sites. Ships will dock at the cruise port.

Top Things to Do in Valletta:

  • tour the ornate St. John’s Co-Cathedral
  • explore the island of Gozo
  • take in the view at Dingli Cliffs
  • visit the Grand Master's Palace
  • explore Malta’s ancient capital, Mdina
  • stroll along the Valletta waterfront

Arrives: 08:30 Departs: 14:00

Located on the southern coast of Sicily, Porto Empedocle has long served as the port for Agrigento. The hilltop city of Agrigento is known for the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas in the Valley of the Temples, a vast archaeological site with well-preserved Greek temples. Ships will dock at the Port of Porto Empedocle.

Top Things to Do in Porto Empedocle:

  • explore the Valley of the Temples
  • visit the Archeological Museum
  • play a round at Verdura Resort Golf Club
  • relax on the beach at Porto Empedocle
  • visit the San Gerlando Cathedral

Arrives: 06:00 Departs: 18:30

Discover Tunis, a city rich with cultural and historical experiences. Wander the UNESCO-listed Medina, a maze of alleyways, souks, mausoleums, and palaces, showcasing the city's storied past. Don't miss the Bardo Museum, home to one of the world's greatest collections of Roman mosaics, for a glimpse into ancient artistry.

For a change of pace, explore Sidi Bou Said, a picturesque village with cobbled streets, vibrant courtyards, and iconic blue-and-white architecture, offering serene views over the Mediterranean.

Transport options from La Goulette port to Tunis are plentiful, with services providing efficient and affordable means to explore the capital's treasures. The connection from the port to the city is approximately 20 minutes (14.5km/9 miles).

Arrives: 08:00 Departs: 20:00

Perched on a low-lying, palazzi-dotted promontory on Sicily's west coast, Trapani reveals a hint of its medieval past in its historic core's maze of narrow streets. Surrounded by glowing turquoise waters and rugged coastline, it is the gateway to western Sicily's ruins. Ships will dock at Porto di Trapani.

Top Things to Do in Trapani:

  • explore the ancient ruins of Selinunte
  • take a cable car ride to enchanting Erice
  • visit the Archeological Museum in Marsala
  • drive the 'via del sale' (the salt road)
  • explore the Segesta Archaeological Site

Arrives: 06:00 Departs: 23:00

Palermo is a cultural feast, a fascinating combination of East and West, Arab and Norman that is quite unlike any other European city on the Mediterranean. Stacked markets spill out onto souk-like streets, while grand piazzas host elaborate fountains and sculptures, below the watch of baroque church domes.

Top Things to Do in Palermo:

  • take a scenic drive up Mt. Pellegrino
  • visit the Capuchin Catacombs
  • explore the ruins of Segesta
  • wander through the busy Mercato del Capo
  • visit the medieval town of Erice

Arrives: 08:00 Departs: 14:00

Located just to the north of Sicily, and to the west of Italy’s mainland, Lipari Island is one of UNESCO's marvellous World Heritage sites and the largest of the Aeolian's archipelago.

The island's lava stone quarries and obsidian flow of Rocce Rosse are indications of its volcanic nature.

The town, the largest urban area in the whole archipelago, proudly houses its citadel and its castle, both rooted in Antiquity. Its florally-painted buildings line cobbled, plant-pot decorated streets - and glow attractively in the ever-present sunshine.

Arrives: 18:00 Departs: 20:00

Arrives: 08:00 Departs: 22:00

Taormina, perched on a hillside in Sicily, offers breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. Begin your visit with a leisurely walk along Corso Umberto, the main street lined with charming shops, cafes, and historic buildings. The ancient Greek Theatre is a must-see, providing a spectacular backdrop for photos and a glimpse into the town's rich history.

Venture to the beautiful public gardens of Villa Comunale for a relaxing stroll among exotic plants and stunning vistas. For a taste of local culture, visit the Piazza IX Aprile, a lively square perfect for people-watching and enjoying a gelato.

Arrives: 08:00 Departs: 18:00

Honey-coloured Syracuse is a staggering UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an extraordinary Sicilian city of immense ancient history. It is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean, with a wonderful collection of historical sites from both the ancient Greek and Roman time periods.

Top Things to Do in Syracuse:

  • explore the Neapolis Archaeological Park
  • stroll through Ortigia, the historic centre
  • visit the baroque town of Noto
  • explore Catania and Mt. Etna
  • sample some wine at Pupillo Winery

Arrives: 07:00

The entire city of Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cited as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world, it’s a cultural hub for Baroque art, museums, and historic sites. Ships will dock at the cruise port.

Top Things to Do in Valletta:

  • tour the ornate St. John’s Co-Cathedral
  • explore the island of Gozo
  • take in the view at Dingli Cliffs
  • visit the Grand Master's Palace
  • explore Malta’s ancient capital, Mdina
  • stroll along the Valletta waterfront
Note: Ship ports may not be located in the starting & ending cities listed. Port and transfer details will be provided in your travel documentation. The provided itinerary is for informational purposes only. Activities and sightseeing attractions listed may not be available or achievable within the time in port.

Life Onboard Le Bougainville

 Le Bougainville
Le Bougainville

Take an voyage in French sophisticated luxury when you explore the world on Le Bougainville. Read more

Expedition Comfort
Expedition Comfort

Unwind in the chic decor of your ocean facing stateroom or suite complete with luxury amenities. Read more

Infinity Pool Days
Infinity Pool Days

Situated at the stern of the ship you can watch the coean pass by as you swim. Read more

Inside The Blue Eye
Inside The Blue Eye

Hear the sounds and catch a glimpse of the underwater world through the windows of the Blue Eye. Read more

Nightlife and Entertainment
Nightlife and Entertainment

Enjoy socialising and dancing in the main lounge or applaud a live show in the theatre. Read more

Relaxed Dining Settings
Relaxed Dining Settings

Dine al fresco at the grill or enjoy buffet and table service in the main restaurant. Read more

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Le Bougainville Reviews (1) Most Recent 'Le Bougainville' Reviews

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I’m a Ponant fan! 0 , ACT, Australia, Apr 2024
Loved everything about our Ponant cruise. Excursions were well organised and having a Ponant crew member as support was a big plus. Restaurant staff were charming and service was impeccable. Quizzes, dance lessons and shows were a lot of fun. We specifically loved the ambience of a small ship. So great, even my teenage granddaughter had the best ...read more time and never bored. Highly recommended!

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Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Ponant. For cruise itineraries, cabin images are sourced from Ponant. These should be treated as indicative only. Cabin inclusions, upholsteries and room layout may differ to the image(s) shown depending on the ship selected and your sailing dates.

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