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Polar express

Step aboard the world's first luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration vessel, currently scheduled to be launched in 2022.

02 June 2021

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At 90 degrees north, the geographic pole is a legendary point covered in pack ice all year round. At 700 kilometres from the nearest piece of land, only a hardy few have had the chance to reach this point.

But not any more. Luxury cruise and expedition agency PONANT is currently offering two cruising options aboard the Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury high-polar exploration vessel, exploring the remote territories north of Spitsbergen.

These include Nordaustlandet, the stunning scenery in Kongsfjorden, the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park and the Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve, also known as the White Island.

Currently completing sea trials, Le Commandant Charcot features a more environmentally sustainable framework than other vessels, running on a hybrid propulsion system powered by liquified natural gas.

In addition to its Polar Class 2 (PC2) certification, the vessel’s design also incorporates the latest technologies for grey and blackwater treatment, the complete recycling of all waste made on board and a ban on any single-use plastics.

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With voyages departing from Spitsbergen, Le Commandant Charcot will be sailing amidst spectacular scenery, ideal for anyone wishing to forge into the heart of our world and observe its natural diversity.

Complementing this observation will be 23 scientists, including glaciologists, ornithologists, biologists and archaeologists, offering the opportunity to marvel and understand the region’s harmony between wildlife and the environment and all its idiosyncrasies.

Guests will be provided tools for indulgence, including heated swimming pools, a range of dining venues, spa and sauna, gym, lounge, bar and theatre.

Also included are dedicated expedition boarding and disembarking rooms for seamless shore excursions utilising both Zodiacs and electric hovercrafts.

As each of these modern odysseys draws to a close, the cruise will sail through the Hinlopen Strait, renowned for its basaltic islands and majestic glaciers, during which time Le Commandant Charcot will reach a latitude of 80 degrees north. Those lucky few on board will be given the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being on top of the earth before returning to Spitsbergen.

Fifteen nights aboard Le Commandant Charcot runs from July to August 2022. Prices for three sailings begin from AU$40,310 per person for twin share. Return flights from Paris included.

Eight to ten nights aboard Le Commandant Charcot run between 15 and 23 June 2022, or 28 June to 8 July 2022. Prices for two sailings begin from AU$17,670 per person. Return flights from Paris included.

Find out more here.

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