Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s first limited-capacity cruise ship to be propelled by LNG.
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 LNG and electric engines, Le Commandant Charcot was 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.
Ponant has been committed to responsible tourism for more than 30 years, and Le Commandant Charcot is among the most environmentally friendly ships in the sea, powered exclusively by battery and LNG (liquefied natural gas) – the cleanest fuel on the market.
Nearly a century after the heroic age of exploration, Antarctica remains largely undiscovered today. For the first time, Ponant’s guests will be able to discover its remote parts like The Ross Sea – which has one of the continent’s most extreme weather patterns – and the Bellingshausen Sea, home to colonies of emperor penguins.
Expeditions aboard Le Commandant Charcot will feature a range of new activities, in addition to the many hikes and Zodiac excursions already offered by Ponant. Outings in hovercraft or kayaks will make it possible to admire the boundless crystalline panoramas of the Antarctic from all angles. Adventure seekers can also go diving in polar waters. Under the supervision of the team of naturalist guides and the on-board scientists, guests will be able to participate in research and experiments during sailings, including deploying an Argos transmitter, a satellite-based system which collects and shares environmental data.
The Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea
This expedition – 19 days/18 nights, departing on November 1, 2021 – 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. The highlight is the gigantic colonies of rarely observed emperor penguins, which are endemic to the region.
Expedition to Charcot and Peter I Islands
Sail to Peter I Island, a small volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea, where fewer people have visited than have set foot on the moon. From there, guests will sail to Charcot Island passing through The Gullet, a narrow channel with immaculate white walls. Passengers will follow the journey first explored by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909. 15 days/14 nights, departures available November 19 and December 14, 2021 and February 2, 2022
The Weddell Sea & Larsen Ice Shelf
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. In the northwest of the Weddell Sea stands the imposing ice barrier called the Larsen Ice Shelf with 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, departures available December 3 and 28, 2021 and March 14 and 25, 2022
The Ross Sea
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 and the ice more impressive. Partially occupied by the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, this bay is located approximately 400 miles from the South Pole and is one of the last intact marine ecosystems on the planet. Guests will encounter prodigious wildlife here including Antarctic petrels (seabirds), Minke whales and orcas. 25 days/24 nights, departing on February 16, 2022
The Weddell Sea & The South Sandwich Islands
The itinerary will bring guests into the heart of the Scotia Arc, a volcanic archipelago that was once a land bridge between South America and Antarctica. The 18-day cruise will explore four different ecosystems, from the wooded heights of the Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the tabletop icebergs of the Weddell Sea, to the glacier-covered mountains of the South Sandwich Islands and the snow-capped summits of South Georgia. 18 days/17 nights, departing on April 5, 2022