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Transarctic - The Quest for the Two North Poles

Be among the first people in the world to undertake a transarctic crossing and set off in search of the Geographic and Magnetic North Poles, following in the wake of the pioneers of polar exploration.

Cruise Only
20 nights from £34490pp

Luxury Holiday
Ponant ship, Le Commandant Charcot breaking the ice
Svalbard
Polar bears
The Geographic North Pole

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In 1926, when Umberto Nobile crossed the Arctic via the North Pole, aboard the Norge airship that he designed himself, he became the first man in the world to undertake this crossing. It was an exploit that many would subsequently attempt to repeat. For, behind the idea of exploring our planet's last latitudes, there lies the prospect of raising our spirit, of matching our thirst for the unknown with our deep desire to gain a greater understanding of the world in which we live.

Le Commandant Charcot, a ship of scientific opportunity, follows in the tradition of Nobile, a pioneer and a tireless architect of polar discovery, in order to discover some of the Arctic's secrets during a dedicated research mission at the highest point of the north. The ship, the latest addition to the company's fleet, shaped for polar exploration, is preparing to sail, a never travelled, transpolar maritime route, that is inaccessible to traditional ships. From the legendary Bering Strait, a link between the East and the West, to the ice-covered land of Svalbard, Le Commandant Charcot will carve out a path through the ice floes, exploring the ice of the Beaufort Sea, and use open water leads to attempt to reach the elusive Magnetic and Geographic North Poles. Like a pioneer, you will cross these ice-covered landscapes of the Arctic by sea. During your exploration, you will discover the research projects that are part of the scientific mission taking place on board. This is a unique opportunity to clarify your knowledge alongside a multi-disciplinary team of around twenty researchers on board, to understand their investigations and closely follow their work. Also accompanied by our expert naturalists, you will discover unique ecosystems while sharpening your perception of the polar world and comprehending the stakes of their transformation. Use this journey to grant yourself an initiatory immersion: the rare occasion to take part in an adventure that is making a contribution to scientific research. Taking an all-new route means pledging to enter an unexplored world with respect, taking the time to observe and understand, as a conscious witness, the unfolding show. With your senses awakened, with the ice floe as your travel companion, you will move through an ever-changing environment, its hypnotic panoramas of raw beauty sculpted by sea winds and plays on light. In the heart of the drifting ice, you will savour the constantly renewed poetry of the elements.

CP956 Operated by Ponant Luxury and Expedition

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Transarctic - The Quest for the Two North Poles Itinerary

Day 1 - Nome, Alaska

Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly coloured houses, you will discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sledge-racing... People here live from their manual labour. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna.

Days 2 - 9 - Cruising Beaufort Sea

Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal its magnificent icy landscapes to you. With a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some polar bears, since the region is renowned for sheltering the Lord of the Arctic.

Day 10 - Geographic North Pole

Defined by a 90° North latitude, the Geographic North Pole lies on the Earth’s rotational axis, at the intersection of all meridians. Plunged into darkness for six months of the year, then lit by the sun for the following six months, this mythical site, permanently covered in ice and remote from any land, has fascinated generations of explorers. So far, only a very few people have ever reached it: an exploit which is now accessible to you aboard Le Commandant Charcot.

Day 11 - Cruising Beaufort Sea

Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal its magnificent icy landscapes to you. With a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some polar bears, since the region is renowned for sheltering the Lord of the Arctic.

Day 12 - Magnetic North Pole

The convergence point for the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field, the Magnetic North Pole attracts the magnetic needle of the compass. While the Geographic North Pole is the Earth’s northernmost fixed point, marking the intersection of the Globe's rotation axis with the Earth’s surface, the Magnetic North Pole moves over time. In fact, it is linked to the Earth's magnetic field which originates in the Earth's outer core, which is made up of molten metal and is subject to convection movements. Localised for the first time in 1831, in the Canadian Arctic, it has since moved towards Siberia and thus become closer to the Geographic North Pole. Set off in search of the Magnetic North Pole, try to get closer to it and, if luck allows it, attempt to reach it!

Days 13 - 15 - Navigating through the sea ice

Enjoy the absolutely unique experience of sailing to the heart of the ice floe, this vast expanse of virgin, immaculate ice. The landscapes are constantly changing, shifting from a smooth, flat wilderness to a chaos of ice, then to channels of open water. Your ship will sail along these naturally open channels and through the areas where the frozen layer is thinnest, offering you the chance to experience magic maritime moments in the midst of drifting sea ice. It will also often be an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe.

Day 16 - Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve

The Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve has been protecting the northernmost and coldest part of the archipelago, Nordaustlandet (North East Land), since 1973. This vast polar desert covered by two ice caps is the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Protected by the Gulf Stream, the fjords and cliffs in the west and north are home to large colonies of birds and walruses. The landscapes in the colder east and south are dominated by imposing glaciers that calve majestic icebergs in the vast Hinlopen Strait. Large colonies of thick-billed murres have taken up residence on the sheer cliffs*. You may even get the chance to see a bear or an Arctic fox roaming in the vicinity. *depending on nesting and migration period

Day 17 - Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait

Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait, in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, between the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet promises an unforgettable experience. This territory of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve offers breathtaking panoramas, with magnificent basalt formations and the ice cap stretching as far as the eye can see, diving into the sea. The shore line cut by the fjords moving inland composes a magical landscape in which icebergs float here and there, the result of the calving of the surrounding glaciers. This place, today a popular spot to observe the seabirds nesting in the enormous cliffs, polar bears and walruses, was once intrinsically linked to the history of the whalers who frequented the region from the 17th century. Indeed, it was one of them, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, then director of a Dutch whaling company, who gave the strait its name. Later on, Russian trappers, European explorers, scientists and even mountaineers roamed this region, as hostile as it is sublime.

Day 18 - Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve

The Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve is the second largest protected area in Norway. Established in 1973, this nature conservation area stretching over more than 21,000 km2 will offer you stunning panoramas including coastal landscapes, rocky islets, mountain plateaux, vast tundra plains, and ice floes. With a little luck, you will be able to observe a wide variety of seabirds, given the site is listed as an Important Bird Area, as well as cetaceans, Svalbard reindeer, or even Arctic foxes. Among other things, Edgeoya Island is renowned for providing shelter to a number of polar bears during the breeding season.

Day 19 - Hornsund

Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.

Day 20 - Isfjorden

The vast Isfjorden is one of the main fjords in Svalbard. These different branches reach the heart of the island of Spitsbergen. Located deep inside the Billejforden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier with its front of ice, nearly 5 km wide, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. You will perhaps have the opportunity to discover the ghost town of Pyramiden. Constructed at the foot of a mountain in the form of a pyramid, this former mining town, founded by Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century before being sold a few years later to the Soviet Union, and abandoned in 1998, has conserved all the buildings from its glory days, when it lived off coal mining.

Day 21 - Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation, mainly in the fjords, will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the fast ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing programme, outings, activities and observation of fauna cannot be guaranteed and are subject to weather and ice conditions. The experiences are unique and vary from day to day and for each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the AECO.

Price Includes

  • 20-night full board cruise
  • Flights from Seattle to Nome to embark your ship. Flights from Longyearbyen to Paris after you disembark. (We can arrange flights from the UK to Seattle, and from Paris to the UK)
  • Overseas transfers
  • 24-hour room service
  • French gourmet cuisine and wine with meals
  • Open bar on board ship
  • Engage with over 20 research scientists and naturalists on board
  • Explorations onshore where possible
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2024 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • September
    • Sep 6th - Nome, Alaska to Longyearbyen - Sailing on: Le Commandant Charcot From: £34490
      Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6 Deluxe Suite - Deck 6 Grand Prestige Suite - Deck 6 Prestige Stateroom - Deck 7 Deluxe Suite - Deck 7 Prestige Suite - Deck 7 Prestige Stateroom - Deck 8 Deluxe Suite - Deck 8 Prestige Suite - Deck 8 Privilege Suite - Deck 8 Duplex Suite
      Blue Water Price from: £34490 Blue Water Price from: £36810 Blue Water Price from: £54390 Blue Water Price from: £35150 Blue Water Price from: £38460 Blue Water Price from: £51070 Blue Water Price from: £35810 Blue Water Price from: £39790 Blue Water Price from: £52730 Blue Water Price from: £57710 Blue Water Price from: £79270

2025 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • September
    • Sep 5th - Sailing on: Le Commandant Charcot From: £37773
      Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6 Deluxe Suite - Deck 6 Grand Prestige Suite - Deck 6 Prestige Stateroom - Deck 7 Deluxe Suite - Deck 7 Prestige Suite - Deck 7 Prestige Stateroom - Deck 8 Deluxe Suite - Deck 8 Prestige Suite - Deck 8 Privilege Suite - Deck 8 Duplex Suite
      Blue Water Price from: £37773 Blue Water Price from: £40233 Blue Water Price from: £58873 Blue Water Price from: £38473 Blue Water Price from: £41993 Blue Water Price from: £55353 Blue Water Price from: £39173 Blue Water Price from: £43393 Blue Water Price from: £57113 Blue Water Price from: £62393 Blue Water Price from: £85243

Price Information

  • Please note prices are updated regularly from a third party price feed and may fluctuate from those shown. Please contact us for latest prices
  • Prices shown usually include all available discounts
Map for Transarctic - The Quest for the Two North Poles