Polar first

Ponant's pioneering spirit guides Le Commandant Charcot to the geographic North Pole for the first time.

15 September 2021


Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot has reached the geographic North Pole for the first time.

The vessel, Ponant’s first LNG-powered, hybrid-electric luxury polar exploration craft reached the geographic North Pole yesterday evening at 6:38 pm (AEST).

Captain Etienne Garcia was at the helm, with Captain Marchesseau at his side. This is the very first French ship to reach the North Pole (90,00,000°).

Le Commandant Charcot is powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a fossil fuel that’s believed to have slightly reduced emissions compared to petroleum.

A project involving a range of partners, the Polar Class 2 (PC2) ship includes other eco-conscious technologies such as waste-treatment facilities.

Named after the legendary French polar explorer and scientist Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Ponant’s latest addition to the fleet, Le Commandant-Charcot, is the world’s first PC2 luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration ship, designed specifically to minimise impact on the delicate ecosystems of the remote polar regions.


With just 135 staterooms and suites, embodying Ponant’s hallmark French-inspired luxury, Le Commandant-Charcot also features a laboratory on board to accommodate polar scientific missions. Embark on a journey of discovery to some of the most isolated areas on earth, from the Arctic to Antarctica, all in unprecedented luxury onboard this revolutionary vessel.

Le Commandant Charcot is also the very first LNG-propelled ship to reach that destination.

“I am hugely proud to have been at the helm of the very first French ship to reach the geographic North Pole; it is the ultimate achievement of a collective adventure started by Ponant many years ago,” said Captain Etienne Garcia.

He continued, “I am very grateful to the crew and all the staff on board that have contributed to making this possible.”

Created in 1988 by officers of the French Merchant Navy, Ponant has created a new style of cruising, under the French flag, through a unique conception of sea travel blending a pioneering spirit, French-inspired hospitality, and a commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.

Accessing exceptional territories aboard small-capacity luxury expedition ships featuring refined design, on which the art of living and excellent cuisine takes pride of place, such is the promise of a unique and authentic voyage with PONANT, the world leader of luxury expeditions.



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