Cruise Ponant Le Commandant Charcot all new half-circumnavigation of Antarctica 2023
Curiosity, surpassing oneself, being open to the world. 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 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 journey marked by the nuances of the ice. 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.
The first penguins will appear on the horizon as you approach the shores of Macquarie Island. This island’s biodiversity is so abundant that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: four species of penguin (king, royal, Gentoo and southern rockhopper) breed 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 240 km/h (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 certainly kept it well away from human conquests. Bordered by the Ross Sea to the west and the Amundsen Sea to the east, it will plunge you into a world where wild nature has raised its own cathedrals of ice.
Your 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.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the coastal ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing schedule and any landings, activities and wildlife encounters are subject to weather and ice conditions. These experiences are unique and vary with each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the IAATO.
- The all-new half-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, an unforgettable trip into the heart of the ice and a continent full of extremes.
- A stopover on Macquarie Island, an Australian sub-Antarctic island classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its incredible biodiversity.
- A dive into the history of the French and Australian conquest of the South Pole, with the approach to Adelie Land and the Dumont d’Urville scientific station and the discovery of Victoria Land.
- The crossing of five southern seas: Dumont d’Urville, Somov, Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen.
- The exploratory approach to some of the most little-known islands in the world: Charcot Island, Peter I Island and the Marie Byrd Land Islands.
- Outings and shore visits in a zodiac dinghy or hovercraft with an reinforced team of naturalist-guides.
- The landscapes: ice shelves, surrealist glaciers, monumental icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floe.
- The wildlife: crabeater seals, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, orcas, royal penguin, king penguins and Adelie penguins.
- Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit, participative science. Discover all the activities in the “Ponant Activities” tab.
- Subject to the terms & conditions of Ponant cruises website