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Humans have always looked toward what some would call the ‘impossible elsewhere’. With Le Commandant Charcot, which is capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, we can dream even bigger and glimpse new horizons.

This epic 27-day polar odyssey at the boundaries of the world follows the path of the first to discover Antarctica and sharpens our senses to let us see all the riches of a long journey marked by the nuances of the ice. In the incredible comfort of an exceptional ship, you will take the time to observe the world around you, the landscapes, and the fauna whose radiant beauty makes them seem surreal. Set off on an all-new half-circumnavigation of Antarctica from the New Zealand shores to Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world.

Following in the wake of courageous pioneers, explore the southern seas, including Ross Sea, which is the world’s largest marine protected area, a kingdom of prodigious wildlife. As a privileged witness, keep a watchful eye and take the time to observe the Antarctic petrels, whales, orcas, seals and penguins that are to be found here.

The attraction exerted by the White Continent’s infinite territories and their mythical names will soon intensify further. Adelie Land, Victoria Land, Marie Byrd Land. The first will plunge you into the heart of the French polar adventure where Paul-Émile Victor founded the Dumont d’Urville scientific station, in honour of the eponymous explorer. The second, claimed by the Australians, is forever linked to the name of the explorer Mawson, who defied the winds in Commonwealth Bay, which may exceed 150 mph. As for the third, it is one of the planet’s rare Terra nullius – a territory claimed by no State – whose remoteness and climate have kept it well away from human conquests. Bordered by the Ross Sea to the west and the Amundsen Sea to the east, Marie Byrd Land will plunge you into a world where nature has raised its own cathedrals of ice. Wonder and contemplation will mark this extraordinary exploration, a journey synonymous with a return to the essential.

Your great crossing beyond the Antarctic Circle will continue in the Bellingshausen Sea where the Charcot and Peter I Islands roll out their icy masses. Le Commandant Charcot will attempt to approach their shores, deemed impassable, before your arrival in the Tierra del Fuego.


  • The half-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, an unforgettable trip into the heart of the ice and a continent full of extremes.
  • A dive into the history of the French and Australian conquests of the South Pole, with the approach to Adelie Land and the Dumont d’Urville scientific station and the exploration of Victoria Land.
  • Set off in the footsteps of the famous Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, which still guards vestiges of the time they spent there. 
  • The crossing of five southern seas: Dumont d’Urville, Somov, Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen.
  • The exploratory approach to some of the least-known islands in the world: Charcot, Peter I and the Marie Byrd Land.
  • Outings and shore visits in a zodiac dinghy with a reinforced team of naturalist guides.
  • Landscapes: ice shelves, surrealist glaciers, monumental icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floe.
  • Wildlife: crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals; Adelie penguins; humpback whales and orcas.
  • Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing.

PONANT's Photo Ambassadors

Sue Flood   &   Ian Dawson


Secure your space today by calling one of our Travel Specialists on 0203 196 1000 or enquire here


Day 1 - Lyttelton, New Zealand

On the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Lyttelton (or Te Whaka Raupo in the Maori language) served, thanks to its proximity with Ross Island, as the starting point for the British expeditions in the mythical age of the South Pole explorations. It takes its name from George Lyttelton (1709-1773), an aristocrat and colonial governor of South Carolina. In this colourful port town full of history, you’ll be able to discover the Time Ball: constructed in 1876, it rang at 1.00 pm every day for 58 consecutive years to give Greenwich meridian time, enabling ship captains to set their chronometer and very precisely calculate their position.

Days 2 - 5 - At sea aboard Le Commandant Charcot
Days 6 - Adélie Land
Days 7 - Victoria Land
Days 8-11 - The Ross Sea
Day 12 - Crossing the International Date Line
Days 13 - 19 - Marie Byrd Land
Day 20 - Amundsen Sea
Day 21 - Expedition to Peter I Island
Day 22 - Bellingshausen Sea
Day 23 - Expedition to Charcot Island
Day 24 - Marguerite Bay
Days 25 & 26 - Crossing the Drake Passage
Days 27 - Ushuaia

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We'll compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators to find your perfect cruise.

Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!

As supporters of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, booking with us helps support the work of the trust within Antarctica.

All our holidays are ATOL protected (11104), for your complete peace of mind.


Why book with Polar Routes?

  • We can compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators.
  • From former Russian research vessels to larger and luxurious ships - there is an expedition cruise to suit you. 
  • Our Polar Specialists will help you choose the perfect expedition cruise for your requirements.
  • We are the expedition cruise specialists and know all the polar destinations inside out.
  • Our expert team of Polar Specialists have extensive knowledge of all the expedition ships & operators.
  • All of our Polar Specialists have first-hand experience of expedition cruising to the polar regions.
  • Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!
  • All our holidays are ATOL protected (11104), for your complete peace of mind.
  • As supporters of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, booking with us helps support the work of the trust within Antarctica.