A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Set sail from Malta to voyage all the way around Sicily, encountering captivating towns from Palermo to Taormina, simmering volcanoes, and important Greco-Roman archaeological sites from Agrigento to Syracuse.

Starting at: $5,860 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Greek temple of Segesta  Valletta harbor, Malta  Harbor scene in Valletta, Malta  Temple of Concord, Agrigento, Sicily  View from Erice  Church in Erice  Church interior, Erice  View of Palermo from the water  Palermo Cathedral  The Palatine Chapel, Palermo  The renowned cathedral at Monreale  Stromboli island  View of the bay and Mt. Etna from Taormina  San Giuseppe church on the square Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina  The Greek theater of Taormina with Mt. Etna in the background  The Old Town of Ortygia in Syracuse  The baroque cathedral of Ortygia, Siracusa  Piazza near cathedral on Ortygia  The Greco-Roman Theater at Syracuse

A Circumnavigation of Sicily

Round-trip from Malta on the 184-guest Le Bougainville

8 days from $5,860

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Set sail from Malta to voyage all the way around Sicily, encountering captivating towns from Palermo to Taormina, simmering volcanoes, and important Greco-Roman archaeological sites from Agrigento to Syracuse.

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active

Ocean-going cruise that will involve embarkation and disembarkation at piers for shore excursions as well as boarding tenders and other landing craft for some activities. Days can be full, with activities starting as early as 8:00 am and lasting four or more hours. Many activities, such as walking tours, museum visits, and site visits, necessitate standing and walking for extended periods of time (two or more hours). Participants should be prepared to walk up to two miles per day, sometimes on uneven terrain, such as cobblestones in towns, ancient ruins, and unpaved trails; and to climb or descend stairs with or without handrails, as elevators will not always be available.   

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Pre-Cruise Extension

2023 Valletta Optional Pre-Cruise Extension - 2 Days, 1 Night

Day 1 — Valletta, Malta

Arrive at Malta International Airport. You will be met at the exit of the arrivals hall. Look for the PONANT-SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS sign or a sign with your name on it. Transfer from the airport to The Phoenicia Malta (or similar) and check in. Official check-in time is 3:00 p.m.

A local representative will be present at the hospitality desk in the afternoon to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.

Join your fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail reception this evening. An independent dinner is at your leisure.

The Phoenicia Malta

Day 2 — Valletta / Embarkation

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After check-out, depart on a walking excursion of World Heritage-listed Valletta, Malta’s fortified capital city located on a hilly peninsula between two natural harbors. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens to enjoy panoramic views over the Grand Harbor. Proceed to the 16th-century St. John’s Co-Cathedral and view Carravaggio’s famous masterpiece, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist, during an inside visit. Walk to the Magisterial Palace, today serving as the office of the president of Malta. Here, visit the state rooms and the tapestry chamber.

Board your coach and drive to a local vineyard. At the Meridiana Winery, enjoy a wine tasting of some of the country’s most delicious wines.  Proceed to a historic local restaurant for a lunch of traditional Maltese specialties. The chef will speak to you about Maltese cuisine and introduce the dishes that you will eat. After lunch, reboard your coach and drive to the Hagar Qim Temples, a World Heritage site. The temple complex dates to 3600 B.C. and is in a beautiful location on a cliff overlooking the sea. After a guided visit, transfer to the ship for embarkation.

Optional Extension Accommodation - The Phoenicia Malta

The Phoenicia Malta, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, is Malta’s most iconic hotel with a storied history spanning over 60 years. Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the hotel is situated in an ideal location just outside the walled city of Valletta and its 16th-century bastions. From the hotel’s front door, the historic wonders of Valletta, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral, are all within easy walking distance. The hotel boasts 136 rooms and suites combining old-world elegance and a fresh style. Its modern conveniences ensure a comfortable and luxurious stay.

Your program includes:

  • 1 night at The Phoenicia Malta (or similar), including breakfast
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the airport to the hotel on the scheduled program arrival day
  • Transfer and luggage handling to the pier on embarkation day
  • Welcome cocktail reception on Day 1
  • Breakfast and lunch on Day 2
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel on any day other than the scheduled program arrival day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight arrival details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • Early check-in and/or late check-out are available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please, contact reservations or your travel agent for further details.
  • The official currency is the Euro. Credit cards are largely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • The duration of the visits is given as a guide only, and the order of the visits may change.
  • This pre-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions.
  • Program is offered on a space available basis and is subject to change without notice.

Ship

Le Bougainville

Launched in 2019, Le Bougainville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT, along with sister ship Le Dumont d'Urville. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in a limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Le Bougainville

Launched in 2019, Le Bougainville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT, along with sister ship Le Dumont d'Urville. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in a limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Reading List

Highly Recommended

The Leopard: A Novel
By: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
By: Robb, Peter
On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal
By: Simeti, Mary Taylor
DK Eyewitness Sicily (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness

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