Antarctic explorer

PONANT is the first operator to resume luxury expeditions to the White Continent with its hybrid–electric, LNG-operated luxury polar exploration vessel, Le Commandent Charcot.

Photography by PONANT

25 November 2021


The PONANT luxury polar exploration vessel Le Commandant Charcot set sail on its maiden voyage south from Punta Arenas, Argentina on 1 November 2021.

With Antarctica in great demand, PONANT’s 2021/22 season comprises 14 different itineraries and 33 sailings scheduled from November 2021 to March 2022.

In addition to Le Commandant Charcot, the company’s four sister ships Le LyrialL’AustralLe Boréal and Le Soléal will also be on site sailing south. Winter season 2022/2023 is already open with new itineraries from and to New Zealand.

PONANT is offering 13 different exploration itineraries for Winter 2022/2023 across 34 sailings. As part of the 2022/2023 season, PONANT has unveiled two entirely new itineraries from and to New Zealand providing unforgettable, semi-circumnavigations of the Antarctic between New Zealand and South America.

These voyages offer entirely new itineraries in the wake of the great explorers and opportunities to observe extraordinary, secretive wildlife: humpback whales, Gentoo penguins, king penguins, Adélie penguins, chinstrap penguins, leopard seals, crab eater seals, Weddell seals, seabirds galore and more.


Activities organised for guests include Zodiac® landings, sea kayaking supervised by state qualified guides, talks, hovercraft outings, activities in polar waters and hikes on foot or snowshoes.

Guests will also be able to participate in participative science lectures and workshops intended to raise awareness and inspire them to protect these fragile environments.

Le Commandant Charcot will also be sailing to the Far North for the European summer in 2022 with 11 sailings planned: odysseys in the true sense of the word to discover the planet’s northernmost wildernesses. Travellers have the chance to reach the end of the world, that mythical point on the edge of extreme lands, the geographic North Pole.

PONANT’s 2022/2023 Antarctica season will offer 25 expeditions to Antarctica on board the company’s four sisterships including Le Boréal, as well as L’Austral, Le Lyrial and Le Soléal, with itineraries exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Ross Sea and more.

PONANT’s new to/from New Zealand itineraries and perspectives aboard Le Commandant Charcot include the following.


Unexplored Antarctic between Two Continents

For the very first time, Le Commandant Charcot is inviting guests to follow in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers during a truly exceptional semi-circumnavigation, a voyage of exploration linking the southern end of the South American continent to New Zealand.

This exclusive expedition into the heart of the icefields explores the Bellingshausen, Amundsen and Ross seas, the world’s largest marine sanctuary, where whales, orcas, seals, and penguins can be seen, as well as Marie Byrd Land, the last Terra Nullius (unclaimed land) on our planet.

Ushuaia – Dunedin (30 days, 28 nights)
15 January to 13 February 2023
From AUD$60,545 per person

Find out more about the expedition.


From Dumont d’Urville to Mawson: retracing Heroic Age expeditions”

This first-ever polar odyssey to earth’s boundary retraces the steps of early explorers to the White Continent, sharpening the senses during a voyage where all the nuances of the ice come into their own.

From the shores of New Zealand to those of Ushuaia, a city at the end of the world, with this itinerary PONANT is offering another semi-circumnavigation of the Antarctic.

On the way guests will discover Adélie Land, Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land, as well as Macquarie Island, a sub-Antarctic Australian Island, classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinary biodiversity. A unique voyage of exploration steeped in French and Australian polar history.

Dunedin – Ushuaia (28 days, 26 nights)
13 February to 12 March 2023
From AU$57,261 per person

Find more about the expedition.


About Le Commandant Charcot

With an eco design at the cutting edge of technology, Le Commandant Charcot is undoubtedly the most advanced and innovative vessel in the PONANT fleet.

The ship’s groundbreaking Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) hybrid electric propulsion system is an integral part of the company’s commitment to sustainable tourism. Every attention to detail has been paid in terms of safety, comfort, and respect for the environment to enable this PC2 Polar Class ship to sail and explore the far reaches of extreme lands in the Arctic and Antarctic.

A certified Clean Ship by Bureau Veritas, Le Commandant Charcot is equipped with the latest green technologies, including having the capacity to sort all waste and treat wastewater on board.

With 123 staterooms, the innovative polar ship can accommodate up to 245 guests and is equipped with research facilities available to the scientific community as a platform for observation, research, and analysis of polar ecosystems.



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