Unexplored Antarctica between Two Continents - 31 Days

Onboard  Le Commandant Charcot – 199 passengers

Thanks to its unique capacity to sail into the very heart of the ice, Le Commandant Charcot invites you, with respect and humility, to set off in the footsteps of the great Antarctic figures during an all-new and unrivalled half-circumnavigation that will sail from the far south of the American continent to Australia. This journey to the boundaries of the known world will take you on a long adventure, where time stands still, where the horizon stretches into infinity to reveal dreamlike landscapes and abundant wildlife.

Highlights: 

  • The exceptional onboard presence of Jonathan Shackleton, descendant of Sir Ernest Shackleton and family historian.
  • The half-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, an unforgettable trip into the heart of the ice and a continent full of extremes.
  • The exploratory approach to some of the most little-known islands in the world: Charcot Island and the Islands of Marie Byrd Land.
  • A dive into the history of the conquest of the South Pole, from the Bay of Whales, a natural harbour that served as a base for Roald Amundsen’s victorious expedition in 1911.
  • The crossing of three southern seas: Bellingshausen, Amundsen and Ross.
  • The landscapes: ice shelves, including that of Ross, surrealist glaciers, monumental icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floe.
  • The wildlife: crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals; Adelie penguins; humpback whales and orcas, Royal penguins.
  • Macquarie Island: wild sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tour Dates

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive into Santiago, Chile
Upon arrival into Santiago transfer to the included group hotel. The rest of the day is free. 

Day 2: Fly from Santiago to Ushuaia, Argentina for Embarkation 
A light morning breakfast will be served before transferring to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia. Capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible. Upon arrival transfer to the pier for embarkation. 

Day 3-4: Crossing the Drake Passage
Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the zodiac outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. You will experience exceptional sailing moments on board and join the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

Day 5: Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Weather permitting, we’ll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.

Days 6: Expedition to Charcot Island
When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 40 miles away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.

Day 7-9: Bellingshausen Sea
Stretching from the west of the Antarctic Peninsula to the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea was named after the Russian admiral and explorer who has been attributed the first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica, in 1820. Among others, its waters surround two of the Antarctic’s largest islands: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You will explore this sea amid ice floe, blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are also renowned as the home of colonies of emperor penguins. Depending on the month of the southern summer, you will perhaps be lucky enough to observe isolated adults, adolescents seeking emancipation or recently independent new adults.

Day 10: Amundsen Sea
The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen – famous as one of the first five men to reach the geographic South Pole – gave his name to this southern sea in 1929, following an expedition in its waters. Almost entirely frozen by a thick ice floe, Amundsen Sea stretches along Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica, between Bellingshausen Sea to the west and the Ross Sea to the east. The monumental icebergs are all that break the monotony of the infinite ice floe here: let yourself be immersed in a feeling of tranquillity before this vastness. These privileged moments sailing in the Amundsen Sea are opportunities to make the most of the original equipment and spaces on Le Commandant Charcot. Find yourself in this refined cocoon. Nourish yourself with the knowledge of the scientists and expert naturalists, who provide unique support during your polar cruise. Or simply contemplate the fascinating and captivating decor from the ship’s exterior decks.

Day 11-17: Marie Byrd Land Exploration
Marie Byrd Land is one of the most remote territories of our planet’s most inaccessible continent. It is a real privilege to just be able to contemplate its shores! Between the Ross Sea and its large shelf to the east and Bellingshausen Sea to the west, the frozen coastlines of these lands are bordered by the Amundsen Sea, partially covered by a thick ice floe. Stretching over more than a million km2 (over 620,000 square miles) in Western Antarctica, its ground is also isolated from the rest of the continent by the Transantarctic Mountains. It is certainly this geographic remoteness and its harsh climate that have made it one of our planet’s rare Terra nullius, a territory claimed by no State. In 1929, Marie Byrd Land got its name from Admiral Richard E. Byrd, in honour of his wife, following his expedition to the region. The exploration of its ice-sculpted landscapes will plunge you into the infinite Antarctic desert, where penguins, seals, whales and orcas are the only living souls. Depending on the time and weather conditions, your exploration of the region will take you towards a string of islands which, although little-known, remain fascinating: Siple Island and its eponymous mount, resulting from an old volcano and Clark Island.

Day 18: Crossing the International Date Line
Your itinerary enables you to cross the International Date Line. This imaginary line across the Earth’s surface approximately follows the 180th meridian in the Pacific Ocean. Because of the roundness of the Earth and the necessity of having reference time meridians, we have to change dates when we cross this line. So if your ship is travelling west, you will need to add a day to the expected date; conversely, if travelling east, you will take away a day. This paradox, already noted by Magellan’s crews during his circumnavigation, serves as dramatic motivation in several novels, including Jules Verne’s famous Around the World in Eighty Days.

Day 19: At Sea
During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Days 20-23: Ross Sea Exploration
“The last ocean” is what scientists from all around the world call this deep bay that runs along the edge of Antarctica between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land. In 2016, Ross Sea, the last intact marine ecosystem, became the world’s largest marine protected area. The starting point for the greatest southern expeditions – particularly to the South Pole – it was explored by James Clark Ross between 1839 and 1843. It was then that he discovered the enormous barrier formed by a gigantic ice shelf extending out to the open sea and from which titanic icebergs are calved.

Weather and ice conditions permitting, you will be able to discover several of the region’s emblematic sites. Among the possible ports of call, Cape Adare, at the far north of the Borchgrevink Coast, is home to one of the world’s largest Adelie penguin colonies. We will also try to get to Terra Nova Bay, home to the stunning Drygalski Ice Tongue. At least 4,000 years old, it stretches 70 km (43 miles) out to sea from the David glacier and measures 24 km (15 miles) at its widest. On Ross Island, at the base of Mount Erebus, you will follow in the footsteps of the famous explorers Shackleton and Scott who chose Cape Royds and Cape Evans, respectively, to set up their base camps in anticipation of their future historic exploits. In the McMurdo Sound, separating the island from the continent, the scenery is surreal: the Taylor Glacier stretches its branch into the valleys devoid of snow above which stand mountains of stratified rock. A little further, in the Bay of Whales, another tale is told, that of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who left from this point to reach, for the first time, the South Pole in 1911.

Day 24: Balleny Islands
The Balleny Islands are an extremely remote series of islands extending for about 160 kilometres in a northwest-southeast direction straddling the Antarctic Circle some 270 kilometres north of the Antarctic mainland. The volcanic islands are heavily glaciated and have received few human visitors since their discovery in 1839. Their isolated location within the rich waters of the Southern Ocean has resulted in a species diversity rivalling the entire Ross Sea region. Humpback, fin and minke whales are regular visitors to the rich feeding grounds along with Crabeater, Weddell, elephant and leopard seals. Several of the islands are home to significant colonies of Adélie and Chinstrap penguins. If time and weather permit, guests will have the opportunity to explore the spectacular coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife from our fleet of zodiac.

Days 25-26: At Sea
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

Day 27: Macquarie Island
Long celebrated as one of the wonder spots of the world, Macquarie Island is an island of great beauty and outstanding natural diversity, a breeding place for more than 3.5 million seabirds, most of which are penguins. There are four species breeding on Macquarie Island: Royals, Kings, Gentoos and Rock Hoppers. There are also three types of fur seals and one seventh of the world’s population of elephant seals breeding on the Island. In 1948 The Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) established its expedition headquarters on Macquarie Island. If time and weather permit, guests will have the opportunity to land ashore and view the prolific wildlife that resides here.

Days 28-30: At Sea
As the voyage comes to an end these last few days at sea will be a good time to edit your photos, write about your polar experience in a journal or relax with a good book. Keep an eye out on deck for sea birds and whales. 

Day 31: Disembarkation in Hobart, Tasmania
Hobart occupies a wonderful location at the mouth of the Derwent River, overseen by majestic Mt Wellington and surrounded by natural bushland. The Tasmanian capital is Australia’s second-oldest city, after Sydney, and the picturesque waterfront is bordered by 19th-century warehouses and colonial mansions. Salamanca Place is packed with shops, galleries and restaurants and the fascinating Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a short ferry ride from the quay. Hobart is within easy reach of some of Tasmania’s best-known destinations, from historic Port Arthur and the rugged Tasman Peninsula to Bruny Island, the Huon and Derwent Valleys and Mount Field National Park.

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 fast 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.

Route Map

Trips and Rates

Please note, rates are Per Person in USD
Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
$52,810
Full
Prestige Stateroom Deck 7
$53,810
 
Prestige Stateroom Deck 8
$54,810
 
Deluxe Suite Deck 6
$56,300
 
Deluxe Suite Deck 7
$58,800
 
Deluxe Suite Deck 8
$60,790
 
Prestige Suite Deck 7
$77,740
 
Prestige Suite Deck 8
$80,230
 
Grand Prestige Suite Deck 6
$82,720
 
Privilege Suite Deck 8
$87,700
 
Duplex Suite Deck 6
$120,110
Full
Owners Suite
$188,640
Full

Availability & prices are subject to change at anytime. Please contact us for the real time availability & prices.

Cabin Descriptions

Owners Suite

The breathtaking owners suite is at the aft of deck 8 and can accommodate up to 6 guests. Features a bedroom with king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a living room with armchairs, two sofa beds, steam fireplace, and second TV, a desk and bookcase, a Samsung tablet connected to Wifi, a dining room with a 6-seater table, two panoramic sliding bay windows, a minibar with RIEDEL crystal glasses, a bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub and a private 2002 sq. ft. (186 m²) terrace with deckchairs, hot tub, two sofas, dining table and a Swarovski Optik ST VISTA telescope. Includes priority boarding, champagne and fruit basket upon arrival, butler service, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and fruit basket every day, a one-hour spa treatments per person (for 2 people) in the well-being space chosen from the facial and body treatments on offer and two pairs of Swarvoski CL Companion 10 x 30 binoculars. 1237 sq. ft. (115 m²)

Duplex Suite

There are four two-level Duplex Suite at the aft of deck 6 & 7 accommodating up to 4 guests. Features a bedroom with king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm) and TV, a bathroom with shower and balneo bathtub, a lounge with armchairs, sofa bed, steam fireplace and TV, a dining room with a 6-seater table, five panoramic windows and a glazed panoramic swing door, a minibar with RIEDEL crystal glasses, a Samsung tablet connected to Wi-Fi, and a private 280 sq. ft. (26 m²) terrace with sofa and armchairs and a jacuzzi. Includes priority boarding, champagne and fruit basket upon arrival, butler service, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and a basket of fruit every day and two pairs of Swarvoski CL Companion 10 x 30 binoculars. 

1001 sq. ft. (93 m²)

Privilege Suite

There are seven Privilege Suites on Deck 8 accommodating up to 4 guests. Features a bedroom with king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm) and TV, a bathroom with shower and balneo bathtub, a lounge with sofa bed, armchair, and a sliding courtesy door, two panoramic sliding doors and rectangular porthole, a Samsung tablet connected to Wi-Fi and a 135 sq. ft.  (12.5 m²) glazed private balcony. Includes priority boarding, champagne and fruit basket upon arrival, butler service, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and a basket of fruit every day and two pairs of Swarvoski CL Companion 10 x 30 binoculars. 

516 sq. ft. (48 m²)

Grand Prestige Suite

There are two Grand Prestige Suites on Deck 6 accommodating up to 2 guests. Features a king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower and balneo bathtub, a lounge area with chaise longue and second TV, a Samsung tablet connected to Wi-Fi, a panoramic sliding bay window and a 54 sq. ft. (5 m²) glazed private balcony. Includes priority boarding, champagne and fruit basket upon arrival, butler service, an assortment of sweet or savoury canapés and a basket of fruit every day and two pairs of Swarvoski CL Companion 10 x 30 binoculars. 

452 sq. ft. (42 m²)

Prestige Suite

Located on decks 7 & 8 and can accomodate up to 4 guests. Features a king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), two bathrooms with shower, a lounge with sofa, armchair, TV and sliding courtesy door, two panoramic sliding bay windows and a 108 sq. ft. (10 m²) glazed private balcony. 

430 sq. ft. (40 m²)

Deluxe Suite

Located on decks 6, 7 & 8 and can accommodate up to 2 guests. Features a king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower, a lounge area with chaise longue and two armchairs, a panoramic sliding bay window and a 54 sq. ft. (5 m²) glazed private balcony. Accommodates up to 2 guests. 

301 sq. ft. (28 m²)

Prestige Stateroom

Located on decks 6, 7 & 8 and can accommodate up to 2 guests. Features a king-size bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower, a panoramic sliding bay window and a 54 sq. ft. (5 m²) glazed private balcony. 

215 sq. ft. (20 m²)

Deck Plan

Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions: 

  • Transfer from Santiago airport to group hotel on Day 1 (flight information must be received at least 60 days prior to arrange this transfer). 
  • Group hotel night in Santiago on Day 1. 
  • Transfer to Santiago airport on Day 2. 
  • One-way flight from Santiago, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina on Day 2 in economy class. 
  • One-way Ushuaia airport transfer. 
  • Accommodation in stateroom.
  • Full meal plan.
  • Open Bar: beginning with boarding, and during the duration of the cruise, a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck champagne, spirits, coffee, tea) is served on request and at any time of the day. Certain premium alcoholic beverages on the menu are not included in the Open Bar.
  • 24 hour room service.
  • Gratuities. 
  • Free Wi-Fi internet access 24 hours a day*.
  • Outings and disembarkations by Zodiac inflatable boat.
  • Polar parka.
  • Use of rental boots. 
  • Port fees & taxes. 

Exclusions: 

  • Flights to Santiago and from Hobart. 
  • Post hotel nights in Hobart. 
  • Personal expenses such as spa treatments, premium beverages and gift shop purchases.
  • Kayaking. 
  • Any other service not mentioned in the program.
  • Trip insurance.
  • Passport & visa expenses.
  • Government arrival & departure taxes.