Get ready to set sail on a coastal journey of art, history, wildlife and culture and go where few have gone before as we unearth Qatar’s hidden treasures.
Each day of this 10 night tour presents a new discovery, whether you are sailing alongside Whale Sharks, learning about the region’s most significant historical trading hub or venturing up the mouth of the inland sea.
During your cruise you will stay onboard the luxurious Le Champlain, one of the finest expedition vessels in the world. With a maximum of 170 guests on board, you will get to know our professional and highly-skilled expedition team who will offer keen insight, unique perspectives, and hands-on attention not found in a guidebook.
Be the first to experience what is one of the most exclusive experiences in the world when you journey aboard Le Champlain on the first publicly available trip to see the Whale Sharks of Qatar by Sea.
Register your interest now for 2022
Enjoy this short video and get a brief insight into the world of the Whale Sharks of Qatar.
Sail away from the crowds
Le Champlain has been hand selected to undertake the first Whale Sharks of Qatar Expedition Cruise, and perfectly combines an authentically genuine voyage experience together with discreet luxury. With a maximum of only 170 guests, this intimate journey will allow you to have a personalized service and feel like you are on your very own private expedition while onboard. Le Champlain is ideally suited to find its way to areas that are usually inaccessible to most ships which means you will have access to shallow shorelines and remote coastal areas while enjoying unparalleled luxury. The nature of the cruise also allows for flexible itineraries to make sure you make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.
Your avenue to adventure
La Champlain carries a fleet of Zodiacs, which are inflatable vessels that will provide you with the opportunity to explore and get you close to where the action happens. Whether it’s zipping along dazzling turquoise waters in search for Whale Sharks, jetting around secluded paradise islands, getting close to the sand dunes of the inland sea or navigating your way through mangrove forests, every day will be an epic adventure.
During the cruise you will enjoy experiences that are completely unique to Qatar. These are experiences that you’ll recount to your friends and live long in the memory books. Just some of the signature experiences you will enjoy on this trip are:
Sailing alongside whale sharks – This is a truly once in a lifetime experience and with Qatar being home to one of the largest population of whale shark in the world, this is guaranteed to be a life changing experience. Onboard Le Champlain is the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater lounge. The lounge features two portholes shaped like the eye of a whale and will provide unparalleled underwater views of these magnificent creatures. Three underwater cameras will also project underwater life onto digital screens to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Explore Mangrove Forests – An exhilarating Zodiac excursion brings you somewhere you would never expect to find in Qatar. The extensive mangrove forests of Qatar are a sight to behold and full of life both below and above water. From migratory birds including herons to a whole host of fish and crustaceans that are attracted to this area year round.
Unique geological wonders – Zekreet in Qatar is renowned for its lunar like landscape and mushroom-like limestone formations. This unusual geology is the result of strong winds blowing away softer sedimentary rock, leaving behind just the harder limestone skeleton exposed.
Expect the unexpected
With nature playing a large part in our expedition cruises, no two days are the same. This means that while we know you will have the experience of a lifetime, there is no regimented itinerary as we prefer to tailor each day to maximise your experience. Take the opportunity to make the most of the open bridge policy and chat to the captain about what the nautical plans look like. With the Expedition leader, we may decide to go somewhere a little earlier if we know it will increase your chances of seeing the rarest wildlife or take a different route on our Zodiacs if the tides are changing. Our team of experts onboard the ship will be using their eyes and ears from around the region to get the latest information on everything from animal sightings to weather reports so you can sit back relax, and allow us to do all the work to make sure you see the best Qatar has to offer.
From the moment you step onboard to the moment we wave farewell, everything you need and more is included in the price you pay when booking. This means you are completely free to make the most of every moment without needing to worry about what it is all going to cost. We have purposely designed your trip this way as we want it to be hassle and worry free.
Inclusions in your journey:
– 3 nights accommodation at Alwadi Hotel by MGallery with breakfast.
– Dinner at Argan restaurant on Day 2
– 7 nights cruise accommodation onboard our luxury expedition ship on full-board basis
– Return airport transfers
– Transfer from hotel to Doha Port
– Half Day Doha City Tour
– All sight-seeing discoveries
– Fleet of Zodiac vessels for exploration
– A team of 10 Expedition team members to enrich your journey
– Breakfast, lunch & dinner on every full day you are onboard with us
– Selected alcoholic and non-alcohol beverages with lunch and dinner
– WiFi while onboard the ship
– Local guides
Day 1 – Arrive in Doha
Upon your arrival at the Hamad International Airport be transferred and check in at your hotel, Alwadi Hotel by MGallery.
Day 2 – Explore Doha
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before venturing out to explore the thriving city of Doha. A Discover Qatar representative will meet you at the hotel at 9 am and will escort you to the bus for a 3-hour City Tour of Doha. During your city tour you will enjoy an intriguing mix of modern wonders and ancient traditions. You will learn more about Doha’s massive transformation into a sprawling futuristic metropolis while also seeing how it has kept in touch with its old-world charm. You will then enjoy the afternoon at your leisure before we take you to Doha’s famous bustling Souq Waqif Market for dinner at Argan restaurant, located in Al Jasra Boutique Hotel. It offers authentic Moroccan cuisine with modern charm in a stylish setting.
Day 3 – Day at leisure
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. The day is free at your leisure, however you can opt to pre-book one of our recommended tours and excursions such as a Museum or Mosque Tour, or a visit to a world-class equestrian facility where you can learn more about Qatar’s Arabian horses. Tonight you will have a briefing of what to expect on your cruise and how to prepare for the following day’s activities.
Day 4 – Board the cruise and depart Doha on sunset
This morning enjoy breakfast at your 5 star hotel and enjoy the morning at leisure to explore Doha or get ready for your cruise. This afternoon at 3 pm, be met in the lobby by a representative of Discover Qatar who will arrange your transfers to the port. When you arrive you will embark your luxury ship, Le Champlain, your home for the next 7 days. You will join a welcome briefing where you will get to know your Expedition Team and Ship Captain and get a taste of the adventure that awaits you. You will then sit down to a special chef-prepared three-course welcome dinner.
Day 5 – Khor Al Adaid – Inland Sea
Wake to your first morning on board, where the sun rises across the Arabian Gulf and you can settle in to a fantastic breakfast before setting off on your first day out on the Zodiacs with your dedicated expedition team member. Khor Al Adaid is one of only 3 places in the world where the sea meets the sand dunes with an unparalleled lagoon system. The big tidal embayment is connected to the Arabian Gulf by a 10 kilometre long channel bordering Saudi Arabia through which you will cruise while looking for dolphins and turtles. Here the sea meadows are a significant breeding ground for the marine life of the region including dolphins and other sea life. Step foot on dry-land and see where the desert meets the sea and embark on an epic 4X4 experience where you will enjoy an adrenaline filled adventure over the rolling sand dunes of Qatar. Later, back aboard you can relax and refresh yourself after a day of adventure and watch the wonderful Qatari sunset before dinner in the evening.
Day 4 – Halul Island
This morning we wake up at Halul Island. Led by our Expedition Team, we’ll board a Zodiac and skim across the turquoise waters to our island destination and one of Qatar’s best kept secrets. The island is surrounded by a reef which is bursting with coral and marine life which we may have the chance to swim around. Later in the afternoon we’ll set sail for Al Shaheen, the home of Qatar’s Whale Sharks. En route, we’ll receive an engaging briefing from one of our Marine Biology experts.
Day 7 – Al Shaheen
Excitement builds this morning as you get ready to explore Al Shaheen, one of the most exclusive areas on the planet as it is still closed to the public. Once there we will go in search of the Whale Sharks but they shouldn’t be hard to find, as they are the biggest fish in the ocean and Qatar is home to one of the largest population of Whale Shark in the world. As the population of these creatures is so large, you will be able to see them in action from the ship. After a truly stellar day with the Whale Sharks, you will have a chance to relax and look back at some truly epic footage before enjoying a well-earned dinner.
Day 8 – Mangroves and Al Ruwais
Today we will sail to the northern peninsula of Qatar. Here you will take to your Zodiac once again and head across to Qatar’s mangroves. It is true that Qatar is known for its desert landscapes, but when you arrive at today’s destination you won’t believe the sight that awaits you. Qatar’s mangrove forests are truly beautiful and as you weave nimbly through them in your Zodiac, you will find an abundance of life both above and below water. This unique ecosystem attracts migratory birds including herons, and it is also home to numerous species of fish and crustaceans that are visible throughout the year. You will then be transported to Al Ruwais, a major port and place of trade. Here you will explore ruins of old fishing towns which are a tribute to Qatar’s seafaring past. Your Expedition Team will give you in depth information on the area and let you in on some of Qatar’s best kept fishing secrets and methods.
Day 9 – Zekreet and East-West/West-East by Richard Serra
Today you will spend most of your time on dry land, adventuring to the area of Zekreet which shows off yet another side to Qatar’s unique landscape. Most significant here are the extraordinary rock formations. These incredible looking mushroom-like limestone formations are the result of strong winds blowing away softer sedimentary rock, leaving behind just the harder limestone skeleton exposed. The region is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with a special interest in oryx and gazelles. Upon returning to the ship why not pay a visit to the bridge and talk to the captain about your journey and find out more about the area you have been sailing through. The ship has an open bridge policy, so you may do this at any point during your journey.
Day 10 – Al Zubarah
You will join your Expedition Team on a day of discovery. You will visit Al Zubarah, Qatar’s only UNESCO world heritage site. Al Zubarah has a lot of historical significance within Qatar and the entire region as it was one of the key cornerstones of trade in the 1800s and 1900s. Many old and ancient artifacts have been excavated here and it is one of the best-preserved examples of an 18th and 19th century Gulf merchant town. You will take a trip back in time and learn more about its exciting past including the rise and fall of this unique area.
Day 11 – Disembark Doha
After breakfast we will arrive back in Doha, which means it’s time to say goodbye to your ship and to be transferred to the airport.
Grand Deluxe Suite
Le Champlain Overview
With the perfect blend of luxury, exploration, comfort, adventure and refinement, your time onboard Le Champlain will be truly unforgettable. The 92 staterooms and suites onboard offer a unique mix of finesse and cosy intimacy that will make you feel like you are on your very own private yacht.
Le Champlain not only gives you the chance to travel on board a luxury ship, but also to enjoy top quality services and go on a voyage of discovery to explore some of the most unchartered parts of the earth, accompanied by a team of expedition experts.
After a day of exploration, you will be able to kick back and relax in a world of comfort. Whether that is experiencing some French cuisine, chilling by the pool or enjoying a drink in The Blue Eye underwater lounge.
Equipped with private balconies, top of the range technology, large windows, and a surprisingly spacious lounge area, the 92 elegantly designed staterooms and suites onboard are the perfect place to return to after a trip out in a Zodiac® inflatable or a refined restaurant dinner.
All cabins have the following facilities:
• Individually-controlled air-conditioning
• Stateroom layout: king-size bed, or twin beds, communicating staterooms available (Children welcome)
• Flat screen satellite TV
• Video on demand
• Bose™ Bluetooth speaker
• Desk with stationery
• Hermès® bath products
• Dressing table, bath robes, Hairdryer
• Direct line telephone
• 110V American (two flat pins) /220V European (round sockets with two round pins)
• 24 hour room service
• Inclusive Internet access WiFi
The restaurants onboard Le Champlain offer the finest in luxury French cuisine.
Breakfast – Get your day off to the perfect start everyday on board with a freshly prepared breakfast. Breakfast will be served from 6.30 to 10.30 am so whether you rise early to seize the day or prefer an extra hour or two in bed, you will be able to enjoy Lenôtre pastries cooked on board, bread made daily by our French baker, home-made cakes and muffins, pancakes, waffles, eggs, cheeses and cold cuts, detox juices, and more. You can also choose to have your breakfast served in your cabin or in the restaurants.
Lunch – On board, enjoy our varied buffet. Among the wide choice of salads, vegetables, meat and fish, desserts and pastries, choose a starter, a main dish and a dessert that have been specially cooked for you based on the theme of the day (Corsica, Mediterranean, Asian, barbecue, Italian, etc.)
Afternoon snack – At around 4 pm, depending on your daily schedule, you will enjoy a selection of sweet treats with a cold or hot drink accompanied by music in the Grand salon.
A gourmet dinner – Enjoy an exquisite dinner in front of a beautiful sunset to the sound of beautiful melodies played on the piano. Every day, you will discover a new menu that has been cooked by our chefs in keeping with the tradition of grand French fine dining.
The Spa – With its hair salon, two massage rooms, hammam, relaxation room and herbal tea bar, the SOTHYS™ Spa is the perfect place to relax and recharge after a day out exploring in the Zodiacs.
The Lobby – The Lobby offers a constantly-staffed concierge lounge, including a reception/concierge desk, an excursions desk, administrative services, the Guest Relations sales office and a large boutique featuring clothing, jewelry, beauty products, postcards and various accessories.
Pool Deck – For those of you who love sunsets, the pool deck is the place to be. Relax on one of the decks comfortable armchairs or sofa’s and enjoy panoramic views of the most beautiful ocean sunset. You can also take a dip in the pool and maintain fitness with the infinity pool’s counter-current swimming system.
Fitness center – The Fitness Center on Deck 7 features sweeping views from state-of-the-art exercise machines, including ellipticals, stationary bikes, treadmills and a Kinesis wall.
The Main Lounge – Located on deck three, the main lounge is able to accommodate all our passengers at once for moments of shared conviviality, and as a venue for both daytime and evening shows and entertainment.
The Theatre – Located on deck 3, the 188-seater theatre features the latest sound and lighting technology, including an LED wall as the stage backdrop for the projection of high-resolution images and videos. It is also the perfect place to spend the evening if you want to enjoy live jazz, piano melodies, karaoke and dance performances.
The Blue Eye underwater lounge – The Blue Eye underwater lounge, located within the ship’s hull, encourages guests to immerse in the marine environment. Two large portholes shaped like the eye of a cetacean look out upon the subaquatic world. Non-intrusive underwater projectors designed expressly for Le Champlain and her sister ships, reveal marine life captured from various points on the ship. Onboard hydrophones create an aural experience reflecting a three-mile radius, brought to life by the feel of vibrating acoustic waves within Body Listening sofas. These sounds of the sea can be heard during subaquatic concerts and by the ship’s swimming pool.
The safety, security and good health of our passengers and employees is our highest priority. We are working closely with global and national authorities to understand the latest advice and guidance on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and operate our services accordingly. For information on entry to Qatar in line with the Qatari government’s latest guidance, visit our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update page
The PONANT Cruise fleet has some of the most complete and renowned onboard medical centers and our team will ensure a maximum level of protection well above all standards in the global industry of tourism, hotels and cruises by integrating all necessary technological, human and material measures.
Onboard the cruise, a double precautionary protection principle is applied with filtering and decontamination measures added to the on-board sanitary protocols when boarding. In addition, each area on board is treated to ensure total disinfection.
All of the guests and crew members are checked before boarding and a medical team composed of at least one doctor and one nurse on is available onboard. The ship has a medical evacuation plan ready to be deployed at any time and emergency Isolation areas available (5 free staterooms at all times).
Our Covid measures also extend beyond the ship and includes transfers to and from the airport, hotel, port and ship, including all excursions that form part of the package. All our drivers and guides will wear masks and hand sanitizer will be available for guests. All hotels and restaurants that form part of the holiday package are part of the Qatar Clean Program, a joint initiative launched by Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) & Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). The program has measures and regulations in place that hotels must abide by in order to safeguard their guests, employees, tenants, contractors, and suppliers from COVID-19.
To learn more about the strict principles of PONANT’s protocol, click here