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Mediterranean Island Voyage: Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba - with Smithsonian Journeys on Le Bougainville

Cruise, Ocean cruise
Lifestyle - Couple Aboard Le Boreal at Railing
  • Lifestyle - Couple Aboard Le Boreal at Railing
  • Bougainville
  • Le Bougainville Railing
  • Le Bougainville Longe
  • Le Bougainville Restaurant

Shore excursion in each port of call + transfers included

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.

This voyage in the heart of the Mediterranean explores four islands that, despite their differences, share a history of successive waves of civilizations that have washed over them from prehistoric times to the present. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, French, and Italians—all have left their mark on the language, art, architecture, and cuisine of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Elba.

From Valletta, Malta, your discovery of these very special islands begins with three days on the largest of them, Sicily, as you visit the cities of Syracuse, Taormina, and Palermo. In Syracuse, which rivalled Athens as one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world, you may choose to explore the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus and the 15,000 seat Greek theater, or join a walking tour of Ortygia, Syracuse's old town. Or you may choose to travel to nearby Noto, a Baroque World Heritage site, now rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in 1990.

The beautiful resort town of Taormina, perched high on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, is home to a stunning Greek theater, an Odeon from Roman times, buildings blending Arab and Norman cultures, and villas built by European aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is also a gateway to Mt. Etna and the vineyards that thrive in the rich volcanic soils of its slopes.

Palermo, Sicily's capital and your final port of call on the island, was founded by the Phoenicians in 827 BC and became one of Europe’s greatest cities in the 12th century, when the Normans took control. Here you may combine Roger II's Cappella Palatina, featuring dazzling mosaics and magnificent inlaid marble floors and walls, with a drive to nearby Monreale to explore its famed Norman cathedral. Or you may choose to focus on Palermo's famous markets and street food, or decide to travel along the coast to the resort town of Cefalù.

Cagliari, Sardinia's capital, is your gateway to the archaeological site of Nora. Founded by Phoenicians in the 8th century BC, it was subsequently taken over by Carthaginians, then by Romans. Explore the  remains of Carthaginian warehouses, buildings from the time of the Roman Republic, a Carthaginian-Roman temple, large baths with splendid mosaics,  and a theater, almost intact, dating to the time of the Empire.

You will want to be on deck as your ship navigates the narrow waterway that leads to Bonifacio, perched high on cliffs on Corsica's southern coast. Board a mini-train to transport you to the oldest part of the city, where you can stroll through winding medieval lanes of brightly colored houses and admire their fine Gothic architecture. Or you may prefer to explore the small archipelago of the Lavezzi Islands, a nature reserve famous for the Grotte du Sdragonatu (Dragon's Cave) accessible only by sea.

Portoferraio is the main harbor of the island of Elba, the last of the four islands on your journey. Most famous as the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile in 1814-15, Portoferraio was founded by the Medicis in the 16th century. A walking tour of the town includes a visit to Villa dei Mulini, Napoleon’s home during exile, and is followed by a wine tasting and sampling of Tuscan mezze at a local vineyard.

Your voyage ends in Nice, France.

  • Luxury
  • Smithsonian Journeys
About Le Bougainville
About Ponant
Ponant logo

PONANT is the World Leader in Luxury Expeditions with ultra-modern, intimate ships, offering attentive service and well-designed itineraries that touch all corners of the globe. Every cruise is a blend of adventure, exploration, and discovery—all experienced in luxurious comfort, even in the heart of extreme landscapes.

Why cruise with PONANT?

• 12 luxury small ships, able to easily navigate small waterways and visit remote destinations not accessible by large cruise ships.

Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration yacht, sails further into the polar regions (including the Geographic North Pole).

• The youngest expedition fleet afloat.

• The leader in luxury polar expeditions for over 20 years and cultural cruising for over 30 years.

• Over 400 awe-inspiring cruises, calling at over 450 ports on all seven continents.

• Experts on board our voyages of discovery and learning to enrich guests’ understanding of the destinations.

• An exclusive partnership with Smithsonian Journeys, the the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution.

• Understated elegance on board with French-inspired cuisine, fine wines, and chic design.

• Proud to partner with Sothys, Veuve Clicquot, and Ducasse Conseil. Ships feature fabrics by Pierre Frey, beauty products from Hermès, macarons by Ladurée, and tea from Palais des Thés.

• 100% of our staterooms have a sea view and 95% have a balcony (100% on the PONANT EXPLORERS).

• Attentive yet discreet service from an experienced, multilingual onboard staff and crew.

• Open bridge access (requires approval from Captain).

• “Clean Ship” certification for the fleet in recognition of their eco-friendly features.

• All-inclusive pricing with open bar, gratuities, port fees, and taxes (including Zodiac explorations/landings on expeditions).

• The world’s first underwater passenger lounge, the Blue Eye, featured exclusively on the PONANT EXPLORER ships.

May 15, 2024 through
May 22, 2024
May 11, 2024 7:00 PM
7 Nights from
$7,400.00 (USD)
Per Person
+ $390.00 taxes/fees
Deluxe Stateroom Cat.DEL
Signature Collection
Itinerary Image


Day Port Arrive Depart
1 Valletta 6:00 PM
2 Syracuse, Sicily 7:00 AM 10:00 PM
3 Taormina, Sicily 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
4 Palermo, Sicily 7:00 AM 4:00 PM
5 Cagliari, Sardinia 12:00 PM 5:00 PM
6 Bonifacio, Corsica 12:00 PM 7:00 PM
7 Portoferraio, Elba 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
8 Nice 7:00 AM
Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.