Top 5 Expedition Cruises Unique to Le Commandant Charcot

11 May 2023
No Comments
Antarctica, Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Ponant, Svalbard

Le Commandant Charcot is the first-ever hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) making it possible to travel to the farthest reaches of the southern and northern hemispheres in a level of luxury never offered before. It’s also the world’s first passenger ship to be fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) hull, giving it the ability to sail between the sheets of drifting ice and reach the most remote and isolated areas. This gives the icebreaker a truly unique offering in the polar regions, which means the opportunities for exploration are almost endless but certainly unique. Here are our top 5 expeditions that can only be undertaken on PONANT’s newest vessel…

The Emperor Penguins of the Weddell Sea

In November 2023, Le Commandant Charcot is heading to the Weddell Sea area of the Antarctic Peninsula and seeing the Emperor Penguins will be firmly on the agenda. In last season’s voyages, it was possible for Le Commandant Charcot to navigate close enough to the colonies that passengers could be guided across the ice to the colonies in around a 90-minute walk. Prior to this, the only other way to see this incredible spectacle was with a helicopter taking off from the stern of a few expedition ships each season. But what could be more rewarding than doing it this way, following in the footsteps of some of the great explorers from time gone by? Of course, Le Commandant Charcot’s ice-breaking capabilities will mean the rest of your time in this area will not go to waste either and should trekking across the ice to the Emperors not be possible, you will still have an excellent chance of seeing Emperors out on the ice floes.

The Emperor Penguins of the Weddell Sea by PONANT

Emperor penguins

Early Season Eastern Greenland

The eastern fjords of Greenland offer one of the most visually impressive landscape spectacles at any time of the year. However, Le Commandant Charcot visits this area far earlier than any other expedition ship, in May and early June. At this time of year, the fjords are clogged with ice and most other ships wouldn’t be able to access them, but of course, this is not a problem for Le Commandant Charcot with its ice-breaking capabilities! In previous cruises to this area, there have been as many as 18 polar bear sightings as they use the ice to hunt before the summer comes. For the last parts of the fjords that defeat even Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT instils the help of husky dogs and sledges to transport their guests for a visit to the local communities which we think must be absolutely magical!

Inuit Spring of Ammassalik by PONANT

One of the best ways to get around in the early Arctic season

Semi-Circumnavigation of Antarctica from New Zealand to Ushuaia

There are only a small number of ships that attempt to semi-circumnavigate the Southern side of Antarctica and the voyage is both epic and long due to the distances that need to be covered. However, for those intrepid enough you could get to visit places like Macquarie Island, the Ross Sea, Shackletons and/or Scotts Hut and see some of the classic landing spots on the Western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The advantage of Le Commandant Charcot here is the saving of over 400 nautical miles as it can go through a stretch of sea that is normally impassable to most because of heavy sea ice. This creates extra time to offer more landing possibilities along the way!

From Dumont d’Urville to Mawson: retracing Heroic Age Expeditions by PONANT

A penguin in the Ross Sea region

North Pole with East Greenland

Le Commandant Charcot is currently the only passenger ship that is able to offer cruises that give you the chance to literally stand on top of the world at the Geographical North Pole. The days navigating through the ice offer some incredible scenery and good chances to spot polar bears. On previous voyages, the ship has stopped completely as polar bears and their cubs have come right up and touched the hull of the ship in the ice. There is one North Pole departure with PONANT that also visits East Greenland on the way back to Reykjavik, Iceland offering an amazing opportunity to see two of the Arctics’ most iconic spots in one voyage!

The Geographic North Pole & Scoresby Sound by PONANT

Polar bear relaxing on the ice in Greenland

Northwest Passage

It is fair to say that Le Commandant Charcot is not the only ship to navigate the Northwest Passage each year, and many other ships have their own strong USPs. But Le Commandant Charcot is certainly the most capable ship to navigate these icy waters, and this means they can afford to be a lot more creative with where they go. In previous years heavy sea ice has caused all sorts of problems for ships intending to navigate a full transit and as we know, Le Commandant Charcot often excels in these kinds of conditions!

The Northwest Passage: Reykjavik – Nome by PONANT

Le Commandant Charcot’s navigation through ice is more than impressive

Discover expedition cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot.

Ready to start planning your incredible expedition cruise? Simply complete our enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Polar Specialists on 020 3666 1033.

Share It:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.