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Breaking the Ice!

Friday 1st Jul 2022

Many expedition companies claim to have developed ground-breaking new ships, but Le Commandant Charcot really does deliver. The epitome of responsible and sustainable sailing, with safe and low impact polar navigation, the designers of this luxury expedition ship have taken advantage of the latest innovations and even developed new, market-leading technologies to make Le Commandant Charcot one of the most advanced polar vessels at sea today.

Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s first passenger ship to be fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) hull. This gives it the ability to sail between the sheets of drifting sea ice and reach the most remote and isolated regions, when conditions allow. Protecting the polar ecosystems and the coastal sea ice – a vital habitat for marine wildlife – is the priority. Expertise, innovation, humility before nature, cooperation with local people and ensuring a minimal impact on the environment are the fundamental concepts behind responsible exploration.

Penguins in Antarctica Zodiac Excursions off the Antarctic Peninsula Intrepid explorers Le Commandant Charcot Restaurant Suite aboard Le Commandant Charcot Le Commandant Charcot North Pole Hike

On Board

This attention to detail is continued throughout the whole ship. Le Commandant Charcot is fully in keeping with the Ponant philosophy of providing a relaxing and exceptional ambience for every passenger, with the feeling of sailing on a luxury private yacht. Carrying just 245 guests, she is equipped with 123 suites and staterooms with private balcony or terrace, and four stunning split-level suites equipped with private terraces and jacuzzis. The breath-taking Suite de l’Armateur (Shipowner’s Suite) features wide sliding glass doors offering stunning panoramic views and opening out onto a large private terrace.

Two superb restaurants serving the best French cuisine offer fine dining at sea, with menus and signature dishes created by Michelin-starred chef Ducasse Conseil. At the open-air bar, you can enjoy a varied and refined range of international sweet and savoury dishes throughout the day. The ship’s public areas include a main lounge, expedition centre and theatre, and were designed by two world-renowned French architectural firms: the Studio Jean-Philippe Nuel and Wilmotte & Associés, whose design brief was to create a real connection with the surrounding landscapes. 

The Destinations

Le Commandant Charcot takes you further than ever before, sailing well inside the polar circles and deep into the middle of the ice, where only a PC2 polar class ship (icebreaker) can safely venture. Onboard, on land, on the sea or on the ice, enjoy a range of unique, intense and authentically immersive experiences amidst the quasi-hypnotic power of the polar environment, such as dog sledding, sightseeing excursions in Zodiac® inflatable boats, snowshoeing, polar diving, swimming, kayaking, ice fishing and citizen science sessions. 

A team of 19 to 23 experts in the polar regions, including biologists, naturalists, engineers, glaciologists, and geologists, are on hand to ensure the safety of all your activities and experiences and to share their passion for the poles.

The Cruises

The Geographic North Pole

Push the limits of sailing with this exceptional expedition to the Geographic North Pole on board Le Commandant Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar exploration vessel. Setting sail from Spitsbergen, you will enjoy an unforgettable maritime experience amongst landscapes that are constantly evolving according to changes in the ice and the light. This itinerary, which lends itself perfectly to the observation of the wildlife, particularly rich at this time of the year, will take you as far as the pack ice. Then you will slowly progress to the heart of this silent world, frozen by the extreme cold, in the direction of the Grail of all polar explorers: the North Pole!

This 16-night luxury expedition cruise departs in July and August 2022 and 2023 from £26,170pp

Unexplored Antarctica

Le Commandant Charcot invites you to set off in the footsteps of great Antarctic explorers during an all-new and unrivalled half-circumnavigation that will sail from the far south of the American continent to New Zealand. Like a real explorer, you will cross the legendary southern seas of Bellingshausen and Amundsen, approach Marie Byrd Land, one of the last Terra nullius of our planet, and attempt to reach the Charcot and Peter I Islands, enveloped in their blankets of ice. Very significant in the history of South Pole exploration, Ross Sea is also the world’s largest marine protected area, the kingdom of prodigious wildlife. Keep a watchful eye for the Antarctic petrels, whales, orcas, seals and penguins that are to be found here.

Clues remain to the past presence of Shackleton and Scott, who have forever marked this continent of extremes with their historic exploits. At the foot of Mount Erebus, the highest volcano in Antarctica, their memory becomes tangible: the former base camp has remained intact!

This 29-night luxury expedition cruise departs on 15 January 2023 from £36,800pp

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