Ponant, a cruise line committed for some 30 years to responsible tourism in the polar regions, reveals all new itineraries aboard its new hybrid electric polar exploration vessel propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is the world’s first limited-capacity cruise ship to be propelled by LNG. For 2021-2022, its inaugural season in Antarctica, Le Commandant Charcot is offering a unique sailing experience to the White Continent. The ship’s eco-friendly design featuring the very latest technology marks a new chapter in the history of responsible tourism.
Designed to be a new kind of cruise ship, Le Commandant Charcot incorporates all the latest innovations in environmental protection. With its hybrid propulsion system combining liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electric engines, Le Commandant Charcot is designed to minimise its environmental impact. It has a scientific research laboratory on board, equipped to study the ecosystems and biodiversity of this ever-changing polar environment.
Cutting-edge polar exploration: up close to the faraway
Nearly a century after the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, the White Continent still remains largely shrouded in mystery today. The Ross Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea, Peter I Island: for the first time, guests aboard Le Commandant Charcot will be able to discover these remote parts, an exceptional feat made possible by this extraordinary exploration vessel.
The trip of a lifetime thanks to one-of-a-kind experiences
In addition to the many hikes and Zodiac excursions already offered by PONANT, cruises aboard Le Commandant Charcot will offer a range of new activities. Outings in hovercraft or kayaks and tethered hot-air balloon rides will make it possible to admire the boundless crystalline panoramas of the Antarctic from the sea, the sky or from land. Guests may also be offered the chance to go diving in polar waters.
As part of a participatory approach to science, under the supervision of the team of naturalist guides and the on-board scientists, guests will, for example, be able to set up a station on the sea ice, deploy an Argos transmitter or collect water samples. This will be an opportunity for them to contribute directly to global scientific efforts.
Voyages available aboard Le Commandant Charcot November 2021 to April 2022.
“The emperor penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea” expedition
This exceptional expedition will take guests beyond Peter I Island and Charcot Island into the heart of the Bellingshausen Sea. Named in honour of the Russian admiral and explorer who discovered Antarctica in 1820, this sea in the Southern Ocean is covered in ice for most of the year, making it difficult to reach and practically unexplored. But the reward is worth the challenge: gigantic colonies of rarely observed emperor penguins live here. A rare and magical sight afforded only to a privileged few.
19 days/18 nights, departing on 1/11/2021, Puerto Montt – Ushuaia with prices from AU$ 35,560* per person, twin share, includes overnight in Santiago + flight Santiago/Puerto Montt + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Santiago.
“The Ross Sea” expedition
Sailing the Ross Sea is a chance to discover one of the most extreme parts of the Antarctic. Here, the cold is more intense, the wind stronger, the ice more impressive, and the scenery more spectacular. Partially occupied by the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, this immense bay located several hundred kilometres from the South Pole is one of the last intact wild regions on the planet. Guests will encounter prodigious wildlife here, as well as surreal landscapes with stunning ice formations in infinite shades of blue.
25 days/24 nights, departing on 16/02/2022, Ushuaia – Ushuaia with prices from AU$ 41,510* per person, twin share, includes overnight in Santiago + flight Santiago/Ushuaia + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Santiago.
“The Weddell Sea & Larsen Ice Shelf” expedition
Impassable, extreme and captivating: this is the best way to describe the Weddell Sea, much of which is covered by a layer of thick, densely packed ice. It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon this sea, which holds the promise of exceptional landscapes and novel encounters. In the north-west of the Weddell Sea stands the imposing ice barrier called the Larsen Ice Shelf. Extending out to the open sea, this white giant is as disquieting as it is fascinating, if only because of its colossal dimensions and the impressive icebergs it generates. This cruise will be an opportunity to get as close as possible to the fauna of the Weddell Sea, a veritable wildlife sanctuary.
12 days/11 nights, 5 departures available: 03/12/21, 28/12/2021, 22/01/2022, 14/03/2020 & 25/03/2020, prices from AU$ 19,520* per person, twin share, includes overnight in Santiago + flight Santiago/Ushuaia + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Santiago.