Ponant Schedules New Costa Rica & Panama Canal Expedition Cruise

By    James Shillinglaw,  Feb 20, 2019

Ponant, a leader in luxury polar cruise expeditions and unique itineraries to destinations only small ships can reach, is planning “An Exploration in Nature in Costa Rica & the Panama Canal, a 10-night/11-day sailing on the new luxury Explorer ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, scheduled for Jan. 6-16, 2020. Rates start at $5,570 per person double.

The new itinerary is part of Ponant’s Quintessential Collection, a series of themed immersion cruises designed to inspire travelers to dig deeper into destinations. The expedition highlights Costa Rica’s outstanding efforts to preserve its natural treasures, more than any other Central American country. It will explore the luxuriant vegetation and fascinating fauna of three national parks, including Corcovado National Park, described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.”

Guests will board the ship at Puerto Caldera in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, followed by a visit to Curù National Park, which features 10,000 species of plants, 300 species of birds and 200 species of butterflies, and where the less dense undergrowth makes spotting wildlife easier than in the deeper forest. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, two- and three-finger hooded vultures, brown pelicans, Scarlet Macaw and toucans call this area their home.

The itinerary continues with visits to Manuel Antonio National Park, before the ship moves on to Osa Peninsula; Cebaco, Panama; and Punta Alegre/Darien Jungle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On day eight, the ship will transit the Panama Canal for a visit to the San Blas Islands to learn about the culture and craftsmanship of the indigenous Kuna people. A visit to Holandes Cayes follows before disembarkation in Colon on Day 11.

The program will feature speaker Paul Donahue, who has worked with birds and mammals in nature reserves throughout Central America since 1972 and has explored virtually all of the sites on the itinerary. He has divided his time between research and ecotourism, and with his wife Teresa Wood, has constructed rain forest canopy walkways in Peru and Costa Rica. From 1991 to 1994 they co-directed the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in northeastern Peru.

The five-star Le Dumont-d’Urville is one in a series of six new luxury Ponant Explorer ships, launching 2018–2020. The state-of-the-art vessels combine Ponant’s understated luxury with a spirit of adventure and feature Blue Eye, the world’s first underwater passenger lounge. Le Dumont-d’Urville is a small-capacity ship with just 92 balcony staterooms (for a guest complement of 184) and a crew of 110. Guests enjoy top service, gourmet French-inspired cuisine with menus created with Ducasse Conseil, and a relaxed ambiance. The Ponant Explorer ships are certified Clean Ships and meet the highest environmental standards for energy conservation and resource management. For more information or reservations, call 844-747-2873 or click on Ponant.