Embark on a brand-new expedition cruise to the “Vanilla Islands”, from Madagascar to the Seychelles via the Comoros and Mayotte.
This 10-day itinerary aboard will be an opportunity to discover little-known places of breathtaking natural beauty, an original fauna and flora, as well as meet the locals.
Thanks to the on-board presence of a diving instructor, you will be able to unforgettable dives in an exceptional underwater environment.
You’ll set sail from Madagascar, the island continent, having boarded your ship in Nosy Be, known for its beautiful old-growth forests where rosewood, camphor and ylang-ylang trees thrive. After calling at Mohéli in the Comoros, you’ll discover Mayotte. This small French archipelago protected by a double barrier reef is the refuge of an incredibly rich fauna: dolphins, rays, giant turtles, and the region’s last dugongs can be observed here. You will then reach the Glorioso Islands, part of the Scattered Islands.This beautiful archipelago with very few inhabitants is home to exceptional fauna and flora including, in particular, marine turtles. You will then reach Aldabra Atoll, a largely untouched natural sanctuary listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, before visiting the small islands of Poivre and Alphonse, where you’ll have the opportunity to come face to face with abundant marine life. Before disembarking in Victoria on the island of Mahé, you will call at La Digue, a veritable picture-postcard of the Seychelles.
Itinerary at a glance:
Day 1. Embarkation from Nosy Be
Departure from Nosy Be at 18:00.
Day 2. Moheli
Moheli is the smallest island in the Comoros archipelago; it is also the wildest. Covered in luxuriant vegetation, it is home to the first protected natural environment in the Comoros: Moheli National Park. A huge sanctuary with rare and endemic fauna, this marine and terrestrial reserve provides the opportunity to discover the island’s incredible biodiversity. Among other animals, the rare visitors to the park may spot the Comoro falcon, the maki (a lemur living exclusively in this region) and Livingstone’s fruit bats, the largest flying foxes in the world with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres. The site is also an important egg-laying spot for green sea turtles.
Day 3. Glorieuses, Scattered Islands
The Scattered Islands are like minuscule confetti sprinkled around Madagascar and form an archipelago of unrivalled beauty. Their geographical isolation, and their very limited human settlement make them a true geological sanctuary, classed as a nature reserve since 1975. Regularly used as the “zero point” in scientific studies, they offer their rare visitors almost pristine vegetation composed mainly of mangrove, as well as long beaches of shimmering sand stretching out behind turquoise lagoons, and coral reefs that are home to the world’s highest concentration of sea turtles.
Day 4. Aldabra Atoll
Located in the very heart of this faraway archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by 4 small coral reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. As your ship slowly nears the clear, reflective waters along its shoreline, do not miss your chance to discover this natural wonder, which is considered to be the largest atoll in the world and once fired the imagination of many an explorer.
Day 5. At Sea
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 6. Alphonse Island
Alphonse Island is located off the Seychelles archipelago. Discovered in 1730 by the Knight Alphonse de Pontevez, this island, specialised in coconut processing in the past, is now a veritable natural reserve, home to different species of marine mammals, sea turtles and many birds. Alphonse Island is also renowned for its rich underwater life and coral, among the best preserved in the Indian Ocean. A marvellous spectacle that can be admired with just a mask!
Day 7. Poivre Island
At some 200 km south-west of Mahé, discover Poivre Atoll, a small paradise that is part of the Amirantes archipelago, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Consisting of two coral islands, Poivre Island and Ile du Sud, separated by a small lagoon, it owes its name to Pierre Poivre, the Mauritius intendant who introduced spices to the Seychelles in the late 18th century. Once used for coconut plantations, Poivre Island is now focused on tourism. Visitors come here for scuba diving or big-game fishing in waters that are particularly rich and clean, where the marine life includes sea turtles.
Day 8. La Digue Island
La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard… Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.
Day 9. Victoria, Mahe
Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.
Day 10. Disembarkation from Mahe
Disembarkation from Mahe at 00H00.