7 nights onboard Le Soléal

Japanese Subtropical Islands

PONANT is the first cruise company to take you to the heart of the sublime landscapes of the tropical islands in southern Japan during an expedition cruise. On this 8-day itinerary aboard Le Soléal, from Fukuoka to Taïwan, you will discover the rich natural heritage, traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands, in the Ryukyu archipelago.

Departing from Fukuoka, you will set a southward course to reach the captivating, mountainous island of Yakushima, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Providing an unspoiled natural setting for endemic species such as the Yakushima monkey and deer, the island is home to an exceptional natural environment featuring forests of ancient cedars, bewitching waterfalls, and majestic peaks.

Le Soléal will make its way to the island of Amami Oshima, between Kyushu and Okinawa. You will fall in love with this island surrounded by stunning coral reefs, punctuated with verdant peaks, covered in primary forest and monumental mangroves, and boasting strong Okinawan influences.

Your next port of call will be Zamami, in the Kerama Islands. You will enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this pristine island, known the world over for the distinctive blue of the surrounding sea, called “Kerama blue”. The sea life in the area is also exceptionally rich and sea turtles can often be spotted swimming among the coral.

Following a port of call in the picturesque village of Taketomijima, with its traditional Okinawan dwellings and its idyllic sandy expanses, Le Soléal will sail south to Ishigaki, Ishigaki, the capital island of the Yaeyama Islands. In the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, you will be able to enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of the eponymous city or discover Kabira Bay, renowned for its idyllic scenery, combining crystal-clear turquoise water and beaches of white sand.

Next, you will set sail south to the island of Iriomotejima. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this little corner of paradise will enchant you with its authentic and preserved character, with its wild beaches lying alongside traditional villages surrounded by luxurious tropical forest: jungle, mangrove, rivers, waterfalls. This unique biodiversity is made up of many endemic species.

The landscapes on the remote island of Yonagunijima, the easternmost of the Ryukyu Islands, offer a striking contrast: cliffs, windswept meadows, wild horses. The beauty of its sea-beds and their mysterious rocky formations will delight the most experienced divers.

You will end your cruise in Keelung, the port of the Taiwanese capital Taipei.

Leaving from: Fukuoka
Cruise ship: Le Soléal
Visiting: Fukuoka Yakushima Amami Ōshima Zamami
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Ponant

When searching for a luxury yacht expedition cruise, there’s one name above all else that you need to know – Ponant Cruises. Founded in 1988 by former French Merchant Navy officers, Ponant combines succulent luxury with authentic adventures on all seven continents.

From classic Mediterranean itineraries and Caribbean sailings, to bucket-list expeditions around Greenland and Antarctica, Ponant cruises proudly counteract the banality of mainstream voyages with a unique take on the concept of small-ship cruising. It’s the absolute trip of a lifetime.

264
Passengers
139
Crew
2013
Launched
10944t
Tonnage
142m
Length
18m
Width
16kts
Speed
6
Decks
EUR
Currency
Cruise Itinerary
Day 1
Fukuoka, Japan
Day 2
Yakushima, Japan
Day 3
Amami Ōshima, Japan
Day 4
Zamami, Japan
Day 5
Taketomi Island, Japan
Day 5
Ishigaki, Japan
Day 6
Iriomote Island, Japan
Day 7
Yonaguni, Japan
Day 8
Keelung (Chilung), Taiwan
Fukuoka, Japan image
Day 1
Fukuoka, Japan
Yakushima, Japan image
Day 2
Yakushima, Japan
Yakushima is a round-shaped subtropical island off the southern coast of Kyushu island and part of Kagoshima prefecture. One fifth of this island is designated a Natural World Heritage Site in 1993, and it is covered by an extensive cedar forest that contains some of Japan’s oldest living trees. The symbol of Yakushima is called Yaku-Sugi, meaning Japanese cedar, which is only used for cedar trees over 1,000 years old. The oldest Yaku-Sugi is considered to be more than 7,000 years old. As a subtropical island with mountains that are nearly 2,000 meters high, Yakushima attracts a lot of rainfall around the year with a local saying that it rains 35 days a month! No matter how the weather is, the walking in the Cedar tree forest is what you cannot miss on this island. You can see many rare plants due to the abundance of water and the changes in temperature at different altitudes. The range of flora is very wide, from coral reef to alpine plants.
Amami Ōshima, Japan image
Day 3
Amami Ōshima, Japan
Zamami, Japan image
Day 4
Zamami, Japan
Taketomi Island, Japan image
Day 5
Taketomi Island, Japan
Ishigaki, Japan image
Day 5
Ishigaki, Japan
Iriomote Island, Japan image
Day 6
Iriomote Island, Japan
Yonaguni, Japan image
Day 7
Yonaguni, Japan
Keelung (Chilung), Taiwan image
Day 8
Keelung (Chilung), Taiwan
With the glittering lights of Taipei - a futuristic metropolis of culture and ideas - sparkling nearby, Keelung is the first calling point for many visitors arriving in Taiwan. While this port city essentially serves as Taipei's ocean gateway, you shouldn’t be too hasty in dashing off to Taipei's neon-lit magic – first it’s well worth spending some time exploring the famous glowing night market, which hums with life each evening and is famous for its local seafood.
Ship Details
Ponant
Le Soléal

Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature.

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