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Luxury cruises with Ponant in the Antarctic

Breaking the ice with Ponant

Explore like never before with Ponant and the world's only luxury icebreaker.

The urge to see the farthest-flung reaches of the world is a profoundly relatable desire. To stand before rarely-seen landscapes, to breathe the cleansing air of the remotest regions is a call familiar to many of us. Equally relatable is the desire to engage in such adventure in the kind of comfort we're familiar with on trips to closer, more familiar destinations.

It’s now possible to visit extreme polar regions without compromising the signature luxury of PONANT, thanks to their extraordinary new vessel, Le Commandant Charcot.

Experience PONANT


The world’s first and only luxury icebreaker, capable of navigating the most challenging of polar environments, Le Commandant Charcot is a ship like no other. Able to carry up to 245 guests and 215 crew for an unparalleled, small ship experience, she was named for French polar scientist Jean-Baptiste Charcot and undertook her maiden exploration in December 2021, cruising from Argentina to the isolated Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula.

There, passengers were able to experience a total solar eclipse from the Weddell Sea pack ice - just one instance of the kind of unique and fascinating destinations made possible with PONANT, thanks to this revolutionary new ship. The highest latitudes, the Arctic and Antarctic, are now open for the truly discerning traveller to explore, allowing access to some of the most challenging regions to sail in the world: the northeast coast of Greenland, for instance, or the volcanic isle of Peter I, 450km from Antarctic shores, which has had fewer visitors than the Moon. 

Shore excursions like dog-sledding are part of the PONANT experience.

Shore excursions like dog-sledding are part of the PONANT experience.

French fine-dining is part of the PONANT experience.

French fine-dining is part of the PONANT experience.



Now imagine travelling en route to these destinations in unparalleled comfort, enjoying 5-star gastronomic dining and luxurious staterooms offering the kind of exceptional ambiance typically reserved for private yachts, including apartment-size, split-level duplex suites equipped with private terraces and jacuzzis. Such is the level of sophistication awaiting all who board Le Commandant Charcot, which exemplifies the PONANT approach to small ship, expedition sailing.

Crowning the exquisite accommodations on offer is Deck 8’s breathtaking Suite de l’Armateur, or ‘the Shipowner’s Suite’. Wide sliding glass doors open onto an enormous 186m2 private terrace offering panoramic views of your voyage. Travel has rarely felt so expansive. Here, as well as in the Duplex Suites, the Privilege Suites and the Grand Prestige Suites, travellers benefit from the absolute amenity of PONANT’s exclusive butler service.

Those with a taste for the finer things will also find ample opportunity to indulge with the food and beverage experiences available onboard. In partnership with renowned Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse, travellers can choose from a menu of over 100 dishes specially crafted for PONANT and their guests at the onboard Gastronomic Restaurant, with the capacity to seat all passengers in a single sitting.

Enjoy contemporary brasserie-style selections over lunch, or sample the grand traditions of French fine dining at dinner. For more informal dining, the Buffet Restaurant serves similarly elegant, fresh gourmet cuisine. It’s also home to gala dinners offering special themed menus and culinary events.

Here, in keeping with PONANT’s philosophy of dining at sea, the emphasis is on quality produce that can be traced to the source. Luxury products like Kristal caviar, Bordier butter and Veuve Clicquot Champagne are par for the course. There’s also the open-air bar to enjoy, where a varied and refined range of international sweet and savoury dishes are served throughout the day. Once sated, guests are welcome to retire to the exclusive Cigar Lounge to enjoy the view, and peruse a menu of around 20 rare and reference spirits. It’s the ideal way to wind down after a long, rewarding day ashore on the ice.

PONANT's exquisite accommodation offerings onboard Le Commandent Charcot

PONANT's exquisite accommodation offerings onboard Le Commandent Charcot.

PONANT offers Antarctic experiences you'll treasure forever.

PONANT offers Antarctic luxury experiences you'll treasure forever.



The experiences that await the intrepid traveller with PONANT aboard Le Commandant Charcot are certainly rewarding. Powered by liquefied natural gas, safe and low impact polar navigation is her forte. As an icebreaker - a PC2 polar class ship - guests can now venture safely deep into the polar circles in breathtaking style, accompanied by her world-class expedition team.

Composed of biologists, naturalists, engineers, glaciologists and geologists, the passion and expertise of this team are an invaluable part of the Le Commandant Charcot experience. The expedition team guides and ensures the safety of passengers across all guest activities and shore excursions - from the unique to the intense, including dog-sledding through the polar environment, to snowshoeing, polar diving, ice fishing, and sightseeing in Zodiac inflatable boats.

Whether you wish to mingle with the Inuit people of Ammassalik in Greenland at Springtime or retrace the steps of Heroic Age explorers like Dumont d’Urville and Mawson from the shores of New Zealand to Ushuaia - ‘the city at the end of the world’ - via the magnetic South Pole, PONANT’s itineraries offer access to unique destinations only accessible by small ship, facilitating the kind of authentically immersive adventures that are vanishingly rare in this day and age.

In a world made smaller by technology, it’s refreshing when technology opens the door to the larger world outside of conventional travel. That’s what PONANT offer - the innovation of luxury-class polar navigation thanks to their breakthrough new sustainable vessel, and with it experiences that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Don’t spend your life wondering what else there is to see and do - seize life with both hands and book a genuine trip of a lifetime with the incomparable PONANT.

To learn more about PONANT’s polar itineraries aboard Le Commandant Charcot, speak with your preferred travel agent or a PONANT consultant on 1300 737 178 (AU) | 0800 767 018 (NZ); or email reservations.aus@ponant.com

Published on
13 Nov 2023


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