Most expedition ships venture into the Far North only during the summer to take advantage of the warmer weather. But PONANT is once again pioneering new ground, giving you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience this starkly beautiful polar region all winter long, starting in October 2024.
The silence of the Arctic polar desert is especially profound in winter. Immaculate landscapes, icy channels, vast ice floes and icebergs, beryl-blue glaciers, towering ice walls, and snowcapped mountains are more sublime. Indigenous locals are more welcoming. Your senses are more heightened.
Starting in October of 2024, PONANT guests will experience that sublime silence and get a glimpse of an ice-covered world once reserved for the most intrepid explorer. Because in the winter of 2024-2025, Le Commandant Charcot is going where most ships can’t go. PONANT’s expedition flagship of scientific inquiry is the only luxury icebreaker in the world, which means that you can cruise comfortably and safely to the Arctic’s breathtaking ice- and snow-covered landscapes, even in winter.
Read on to learn how Le Commandant Charcot embraces you in her warm, soothing luxuries, and how our 2024-2025 Arctic itineraries immerse you in a part of the world seldom visited in winter.
Warm and Cozy: PONANT’s Eco-Conscious Custom Ship Design
PONANT not only has your safety in mind when we journey to the Far North; in a place as fragile as the Arctic, we also protect the environment. Le Commandant Charcot is the first hybrid-electric deep polar expedition ship powered by liquefied natural gas. Free of fumes and particulate emissions, it’s been “clean-ship” certified – as green as luxury vessels get.
This brilliantly designed ship was inspired by the icy regions it explores. Clean sight lines, vast windows, expansive observation areas, and an uninterrupted promenade deck and a private balcony or terrace in every stateroom, all showcase the gleaming white landscapes. As for outdoor spaces, stepping out to inhale the pure, chilly polar air has never been so inviting, with ample outdoor temptations that actually keep you warm. The “hot spring” feel of our Blue Lagoon pools, warming benches along the promenade deck, and a giant firepit help you take in the vast and pristine beauty all around you. All of these exclusive features are heated using an efficient energy recovery system.
You can read much more about Le Commandant Charcot here.
Experience the Arctic at Its Most Pristine and Wondrous
The Arctic in winter presents countless unprecedented opportunities. PONANT guests will explore white wildernesses that are seldom seen by travelers, talk with onboard scientists who are studying seasonal factors, and become immersed in isolated communities that call these polar regions home. Here’s some of what you’ll experience when you join us:
Witness a primeval wilderness where few footprints fall. We all seek out that overwhelming sense of awe when we journey to faraway places. The Arctic in winter surely makes you feel it. Layer upon layer of snow-packed craggy mountains reach inland from the sea, colossal icebergs drift on glassy bays, and sheets of ice blanket the water as far as the eye can see.
On land, you’ll have the chance to see the unique boreal forests of Canada in winter, one of the world’s largest continual forests. They are a wonder to behold any time of year, but in the winter, the dense stands of snow-covered conifers are truly enchanting. Turn your gaze skyward, and you might witness the magnificent Aurora Borealis, popularly known as the Northern Lights. The legendary lightshow casts the northern skies under a green curtain that is nothing short of magical.
See wildlife in their winter habitat. It’s a rare thing to glimpse the denizens of the Arctic when it’s coldest here. But our expedition leaders are pros. They’ll be on the lookout for polar bears, walruses, seals, musk oxen, reindeer, moose, and a full menagerie of other creatures that persevere amid the snow and ice. Be sure to have your binoculars and your camera at the ready!
Get a rare look at indigenous life in winter. All year long, the indigenous populations of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska live their days around the tides and the ice floes. The wintertime poses its own challenges – and opportunities. These hardy people have been accustomed to the seasonal cycles for some 4,000 years. You’ll have a chance to meet them on select itineraries and get a firsthand glimpse of what it’s like to live out the winter here.
Learn what’s important to polar scientists in winter – and beyond. The visionary Le Commandant Charcot is one of the only French icebreakers to collect data in an onboard research facility. The labs are staffed by resident scientists who study polar glaciers, marine biology, chemistry, the atmosphere, and more using sonars, beacon-buoys, a salinometer, a corer, and a drone. You’ll be kept up to date on their latest findings throughout your expedition.