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In the Footsteps of Shackleton & The Endurance | Le Commandant Charcot

19 Days
From USD 23,920

STYLE: Small Ship Expedition Cruise

Trip Code: ACPOITFS

DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)

SHIP: Le Commandant Charcot

DestinationDestination

Antarctica, South Georgia and Weddell Sea

DestinationDeparture Date

11/03/2023

TransportAccommodation

Cabin on board a ship



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OVERVIEW

Set out on a timeless journey to the heart of untamed nature—a habitat of the seals, whales, and king penguins on board Le Commandant Charcot and undertake an incredible journey, following the legendary polar expedition route that Sir Ernest Shackleton’s took on the Endurance Odyssey to the Weddell Sea. Cross the dramatic Drake Passage and explore this remote wonder, home to some of the worlds largest tabular icebergs and dramatic ice shelves. It was near here that Endurance sank, only to be discovered in 2022, almost a century after this mythical expedition. Watch history take shape before your very eyes. You will head north to the shores of the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoy the stunning landscape, with icebergs, glaciers, mountains, before heading on to the South Shetland Islands. Here you will visit Elephant Island, which is another place made famous by Shackleton’s expedition. This is where the crew arrived to await help after getting shipwrecked.  Sail to South Orkney islands and enjoy the pristine glaciers and marvel at the inhospitable landscape before continuing on the path of Shackleton, who set out in a rowing boat to save his stranded crew. You will then make your way to South Georgia, home to black-sand beaches and dominated by snow covered mountains. It is here that the explorer miraculously ran aground. You will feel like you’ve travelled back in time to discover more about this fascinating time in history. 
 

ITINERARY

Arrive & Overnight in Santiago

Arrive in Santiago and spend the night exploring before your voyage tomorrow.

Fly to Usuaia & Embark

Today you will transfer to Santiago Airport for your flight to Ushuaia. On arrival you will be transferred to your ship for embarkation.

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. 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…

Crossing the Drake Passage - Day 3-4

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. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

Weddell Sea - Day 5-6

Impassable, extreme and captivating: this is the best way to describe the Weddell Sea, much of which is covered by a layer of thick, densely packed ice. It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon this sea. Your exploration of this vast polar expanse, a real labyrinth frequented by majestic tabular icebergs, will plunge you into the heart of an extraordinary and enchanting silence. These ice giants come from the calving of the legendary Larsen Ice Shelf which looms in the southern part of this mythical sea. It was in this zone that the ship Endurance, commanded by Ernest Shackleton, was crushed and swallowed by the ice. “What the ice gets, the ice keeps” he said. Not exactly, though, since the famous wreck was miraculously found in 2022... While polar expeditions are no longer the same as they were a century ago, the adventure continues. Humpback whales, orcas, colonies of Adelie penguins, and giant petrels are all to be found here, yet the lord of the kingdom is no other than the Weddell seal. On these lands, only the throbbing of its cries breaks the surrounding tranquillity. A record-breaker (it can remain underwater for more than an hour), you will recognise it by its dark grey pelage and spotted belly.

North Antarctic Peninsula

Throughout your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld’s ship, which was trapped by the ice during an important scientific expedition in 1902. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great many leopard seals.

South Shetland Islands

On the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, 120 km (70 miles) from the White Continent, the South Shetland Islands offer surreal and mysterious scenery. On these volcanic islands of dark rock, the landscapes alternate between long, jagged and snow-covered coast and large, gently sloping bays. These lunar and wild lands are home to important scientific research stations and a large number of animal species: chinstrap penguins, crabeater seals or Weddell seals, Antarctic terns, giant petrels and elephant seals have taken up residence here.

South Orkney Islands

More than 85% glaciated, these remote mountainous islands are hidden in the Southern Ocean, some 600 km from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The archipelago is composed of four main islands: Coronation Island, Signy Island, Powell Island and Laurie Island. Discovered in 1821 by seal hunters, they were also explored in 1823 by the British navigator James Weddell, who gave them their current name. Despite the ravages caused by whale and seal hunting, today a sizeable leopard seal population can be found there, along with chinstrap penguins and snow petrels. Laurie Island is home to an old scientific station that is still in operation.

At Sea - Day  10-11

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.

South Georgia - Day 12-15

Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.

At Sea - Day 16-18

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.

Disembark in Montevideo

Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is a white city, and one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Come and admire the beautiful historical remains dating from Spanish rule; you’ll find the most interesting within the Cuidad Vieja, formerly fortified, its old town dates from the 18th century. The best preserved are the cathedral and the former governmental palace of the Cabildo, both listed historical monuments. In the crook of a vast blue bay, the city is also blessed with beautiful beaches.

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Le Commandant Charcot

Le Commandant Charcot

A sleek and elegant vessel with an intricate dose of luxury and revolutionary technology. 

Sailing under the French Flag, Le Commandant Charcot is the newest vessel in the Ponant fleet. A design with sustainable development at its core, Le Commandant is the first Hybrid luxury Polar Exploration Vessel to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Optimized with energy saving solutions, reduced energy consumption and advanced waste water treatment, this vessel truly combines luxury with a unique focus on the sustainability of the spellbinding and wonderful destinations it explores. 

With just 135 cabins. including 68 suites with private terraces this ship remains true to the philosophy of providing every guest with the relaxed ambience of travelling on a private yacht. Even at the extreme temperatures of the poles, this vessel promises the upmost care for intimate comfort, discrete service, incredible gastronomy and extensive luxury amenities including spas and a wellness center.

Ice Class: Length: 150m (492ft)
Breadth: 28m (91ft)Max
Draft: Cruising
Speed:
Electricity: Passenger
Capacity:
270

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Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

Standard

Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.

Superior

Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.

Deluxe

Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.

Kayaking

Experience the unforgettable thrill and serenity of kayaking in Antarctica as part of a small, expertly guided paddling group.

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Snowshoeing

Go even deeper into Antarctica’s interior and reach less visited places where many other visitors simply don’t go! 

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Hiking

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Pricing per person & date

In the Footsteps of Shackleton & The Endurance | Le Commandant Charcot from USD 23,920
Departing Ending Duration
11 Mar 2023 29 Mar 2023 19

Important Info

  • Cabin accommodation on board vessel
    All meals on board 
    Open Bar and In Room Mini-bar 
    Free and unlimited wifi 
    Flights Santiago - Ushuaia
    Transfer from airport upon flight arrival 
    1-night accommodation in a 5* hotel the night before embarkation
    Early check-in available from late morning
    Meals as mentioned in the programme and beverage package
    Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition crew
    Kayaking, Snowshoeing and Polar Plunge 
    All scheduled landings and excursions by zodiac
    Transfers as mentioned in the programme

    EXCLUSIONS

    International Flights
    Gratuities for staff and crew
    Travel insurance
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable) 

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available on request. Please contact us for more information.

  • Please note this itinerary may be subject to change depending on weather, ice and sea conditions.

  • Departure date, seasonality and availability.