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Epicurean Delights of Southern Italy and Sicily

Onboard Ponant’s Le Jacques-Cartier
October 14-21, 2021

Southern Italy and Sicily draw travelers with their ancient sites and medieval villages perched above the Mediterranean. Leading the reasons to visit the region, however, is its cuisine. Handmade pasta, creamy sweet tartufo, and a dazzling variety of red, white, and sparkling wines, made from grapes grown in the region’s rich volcanic soil, are even more delicious when enjoyed in the country that produces them.

This 8-day sailing from Ponant Cruises, which begins in Rome and ends in Malta, celebrates and explores the culinary riches of this part of Italy. You’ll learn about the cultivation and preparation of ingredients and you’ll have unforgettable opportunities to savor them too: from sampling buffalo mozzarella at a dairy farm where it is made to enjoying a multicourse dinner at the Michelin-starred Palazzo Petrucci in Naples. Two experts will accompany you and enrich every outing and meal, bringing to life the importance of food and wine in Italian culture as you explore the fish markets of Catania or participate in a wine tasting at the Villa Matilde.

Contact Us

T: 212.979.7400 | Toll Free: 866.572.7847 | Rebecca Cruz: rcruz@judyperltravel.com


  1. Rome, Italy | Civitavecchia—Embark
  2. Gaeta
  3. Naples
  4. Agropoli | Paestum
  5. Reggio Calabria
  6. Taormina, Sicily | Catania
  7. Syracuse
  8. Valletta, Malta—Disembark

Trip Dates: October 14-21, 2021

Itinerary: 8 days, 7 nights

Activity Level: Easier


  • 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Jacques-Cartier in a stateroom or suite featuring a private balcony.
  • Conversations aboard with your hosts, Danielle Oteri and Christian Galliani.
  • Program of tours and excursions as described.
  • All meals aboard ship including early riser’s coffee & pastry, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and special sweets from Ladurée.
  • French-inspired gourmet cuisine, with menu creation and chef training by Ducasse Conseil.
  • Complimentary open bar aboard ship including select wines served with lunch and dinner.
  • Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions aboard ship.
  • 24-hour room service.
  • Unlimited WiFi.
  • Airport/pier transfers and handling of luggage on embarkation and disembarkation days.
  • Gratuities to shipboard personnel, porters, guides, drivers.
  • Port taxes and charges.
  • Pre-departure materials.

Learn More about the Culinary Highlights on this Trip


Thursday, October 14, 2021


Your culinary adventure will begin in the Eternal City, Rome, when you board the five-star Le Jacques-Cartier, launched in 2020. If you want to visit—or revisit—some of Rome's iconic sites or enjoy a meal at that favorite trattoria you discovered on a previous trip, Judy Perl Worldwide Travel can assist with arrangements for a pre-sailing extension.

Late in the afternoon, you'll head to the port of Civitavecchia to board Le Jacques-Cartier. Gather with your hosts, Danielle Oteri and Christian Galliani, and your fellow travelers for an exclusive welcome reception before dinner. (D)

Friday, October 15, 2021


The first stop as you sail south is Gaeta, which has been famous for its mild climate and beautiful coastline since the days of the ancient Romans—many of the city's elite had seaside villas in the area. After disembarking, you’ll drive south to the Villa Matilde Winery.

The winery's inspiration also looks back to ancient Rome. It was founded in the 1960s by a lawyer determined to recreate the Falernum wine praised in the poetry of Horace, Virgil, and others. Today, Villa Matilde both continues Italy's millennia-old winemaking traditions while incorporating the latest technology and developments to create wines that have won top prizes in competitions around the world. After a tour of the winery, you’ll enjoy a four-course lunch with a wine tasting. (B,L,D)

Saturday, October 16, 2021


You’ll arrive this morning in Italy's third-largest city, Naples, which has been one of the Mediterranean's cultural capitals since the days of ancient Greece and Rome. You can explore some of the medieval and Renaissance highlights of the city on your own, join a food tour of Naples where you can sample some of its signature dishes, or venture to nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum, cities frozen in time when they were destroyed in an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. Ponant also offers an excursion to the unbelievably picturesque town of Sorrento, on the southern side of the Gulf of Naples.

In the evening, you’ll rejoin other guests from the ship when you attend a private dinner at the Michelin-starred Palazzo Petrucci. The restaurant, which overlooks the Gulf of Naples with views of Capri, the Sorrento Peninsula, and Vesuvius, will be open exclusively for your group. As the sun sets, sip Italian sparkling wine and sample a variety of finger foods. The chef and sommeliers will talk about local foods and wines before a five-course tasting menu, including wine pairings. (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 17, 2021


Farther down the coast from Naples is Agropoli, a small town built around a lovely harbor. It is a popular stop not only for its beaches but also as a gateway to the ancient Greek city of Paestum. On your culinary odyssey, today’s agenda includes a visit to a mozzarella dairy that uses only the milk produced by the buffalo raised on its farm to make its cheese. You'll get to meet some of them and then see the artisans craft their traditional buffalo mozzarella (or mozzarella di bufala). You'll enjoy a lunch that will, of course, feature the famed cheese, along with wine pairings. (B,L,D)

Monday, October 18, 2021


As you continue to sail south, you'll reach Reggio Calabria this morning. In the region located at the very tip of the Italian Peninsula—the "toe" of the boot—you can choose from a selection of optional excursions. On a visit to the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia you can see masterpieces from the Greek colonies that once dotted southern Italy. The most famous of them are the renowned Riace Bronzes, two 5th-century BCE statues of warriors. Another museum, the Museo Nazionale del Bergamotto, focuses on one of the region’s most important crops, bergamot, and a cooking class there provides an introduction to it as well as the region’s cuisine broadly. On a visit to the village of Pizzo, you can sample its famed tartufo, an ice-cream dessert, often with a chocolate shell and either fruit or a fruit syrup at its center. If you want something with a little more kick, this excursion also includes a wine tasting. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


After crossing the Strait of Messina, you'll arrive in Taormina, Sicily and from there you'll travel to nearby Catania, famous for its streets lined with stunning Baroque buildings. Adding to the magic of Catania is its setting, with Mount Etna looming over the town (the volcano's eruptions have destroyed it more than once). Start your culinary explorations with a stop at La Pescheria, one of the best and most lively fish markets in Italy. Sample street food like arancini and cannoli before heading to lunch at a restaurant specializing in seafood. After your meal, you’ll have free time to explore the Duomo—one of the Baroque highlights of Catania—and the surrounding historic center. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Sitting on the southeastern coast of Sicily, the ancient city of Syracuse is a UNESCO World Heritage site, largely thanks to its ancient Greek structures. Founded as Ortygia in the 8th century BCE by settlers from Corinth, it was described by Cicero as the "most beautiful of all" Greek cities. After exploring the Temple of Athena and an ancient amphitheater, you can travel through the centuries. The Greeks are only one of many cultures that have left their mark on Syracuse: Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Arabo-Muslims, and many others have occupied the city at various points. Ponant offers a selection of optional excursions, including a visit to the Syracuse Archaeological Park and Museum, a walking tour of Ortygia and its food market, lunch at an agriturismo, and a visit and tasting at a local winery. (B,L,D)

Thursday, October 21, 2021


After breakfast this morning on your ship, you will disembark in Valletta, the capital of Malta, and transfer to the airport for your flight home—unless you choose to extend your stay and explore some of this magical city. Judy Perl Worldwide Travel can assist with hotel and other arrangements if you decide to tack on a post-cruise extension.

Valletta is physically small (at under a quarter square mile) and its population is under 7,000, but it is packed with history. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valletta was long the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller who left behind a number of opulent Baroque buildings. Whether you fly home after disembarking or spend some time in Valletta, you’ll likely end your culinary adventure with bottles of wine and olive oil, bags of bergamot and dried herbs, memories of al fresco meals, and a new knowledge of the unique cuisine of southern Italy. (B)


Danielle Oteri

Danielle Oteri is an art historian who was a Lecturer at the Met Cloisters for fifteen years. She taught art history at Seton Hall University and is an expert on the Renaissance in Naples. She has written about food, travel and history for BBC Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Dream of Italy, Gothamist, Metropolitan Museum of Art's blog, NPR and Roads & Kingdoms.

Christian Galliani

Christian Galliani is a Southern Italian wine expert who was on the wine team at Michelin-star restaurant Del Posto, lead sommelier at Tarry Lodge where he won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and Senior Beverage Director at Eataly's Osteria della Pace.

Danielle & Christian's food and wine tours have been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, AP, the Sunday Times London, O Globo and Haaretz.

In keeping with the philosophy of PONANT and the PONANT EXPLORERS, Le Jacques-Cartier combines the desire for adventure with five-star travel. A modern ship with slender, tapered lines, it is environmentally friendly and equipped with innovative technology. Tastefully decorated, Le Jacques-Cartier reflects the universe so dear to PONANT, with its light tones and open-to-the-sea design providing soft light and luminosity at every instant of the day. Its ethnic chic ambiance pays homage to the destinations we visit.

Located below the waterline, the Blue Eye, the first ever multisensorial lounge, offers a unique experience: the opportunity to enjoy undersea views and the sounds of the marine world whilst sharing a glass together.


Cabin Category Deck Double Rate* Single Rate
Privilege Suite 5 $11,870 $14,380
Prestige Suite - Deck 6 6 $11,550 $14,060
Prestige Suite - Deck 5 5 $11,230 $13,745
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6 6 $7,030 $8,780
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5 5 $6,905 $8,620
Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4 4 $6,795 $8,470
Deluxe Stateroom 3 $6,580 $8,195

*Per person rate based on double occupancy


$1,000 per person Upon booking
Final Payment Due July 16, 2021


Within 15 days of booking: No penalty
After 15 days from booking – March 11, 2021: $250 per person
March 12 – July 15, 2021: 50% of deposit
On or after July 16, 2021: 100% of Trip Fare

Contact Us

T: 212.979.7400 | Toll Free: 866.572.7847 | Rebecca Cruz: rcruz@judyperltravel.com