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Ponant: The Ross Sea

25 Days FROM USD 40,060

Overview

Embark on an extraordinary expeditions into one of the most extreme and unique corners of Antarctica. On board Le Commandant you will undertake a 25 day journey beyond the Antarctic Circle to some of the most marvellous sights in all of the white continent. Cruise through landscapes of infinite shades of blue. Discover species of Adelie and emperor penguins and waters home to minke whales, orcas and seals. This is a true adventure into the worlds most surreal landscape. 

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACPOTRS

Travel Style: Expedition Cruise

Location: Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Circle, Ross Sea

Ship: Le Commandant Charcot

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your cruise. Contact us today to discuss.

WHY CHOOSE THIS CRUISE?

  • Discover the incredible species of Antarctica as you observe Minke whales, orcas, fur seals, Adelie and the legendary emperor penguin.

  • This incredible journey will take you to the legendary sights of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice platform in all Antarctica. 

  • Undertake this voyage on board Le Commandant. The world's first luxury polar expedition vessel, promising the highest degree of elegance and sophistication as you cruise through one of the worlds most unique locations. 

CRUISE ITINERARY

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

Embarkation in Ushuaia

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.

Crossing the Drake - Day 2 and 3

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.

Crossing the Antarctic Circle

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.

Expedition to Charcot Island

You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.

Peter I Island

Stretching from the west side 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. Its waters surround, among others, two of the largest islands in the Antarctic: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You will sail amid ice floe, blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are home to large colonies of emperor penguins. Depending on the season, you may get the chance to observe some of these creatures in the open sea.

Bellingshausen Sea - Day 7 to 8

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.

At Sea

This island is dominated by Mount Siple, a dormant, potentially active shield volcano rising to an altitude of 3,000 metres. Entirely covered in a thick layer of ice, the gentle slopes of this cone are said to have been climbed, but no proof has yet been found of this feat. For now, it is thus considered Antarctica’s highest unclimbed peak. At the foot of this icy giant, you could have the good fortune of being welcomed by a colony of Adelie penguins and of admiring the magnificent Thurston Glacier

Siple Island

The following day will be spent at sea. Spend this time at your leisure, enjoying the time with your fellow passengers and the various amenities offered on board.

At Sea

This quasi-unexplored coast along Marie Byrd Land is one of the only territories in the world to have never been claimed by any country, making it a terra nullius. It was the American colonel Jacob Ruppert who made the first aerial reconnaissance flight along this coast, during the second Byrd Antarctic Expedition (1933-1935). A Soviet research station was established there in 1980, before being officially abandoned in 1990.

Ruppert Coast

This ice-covered cape, which forms the northwestern extremity of Marie Byrd Land, was discovered in January 1902 by the British National Antarctic Expedition. It was named in honour of Captain William Colbeck, one of the first explorers to have overwintered in Antarctica, during the Southern Cross expedition of 1899. This majestic cape delimits the western portion of the vast bay that contains the Ross Sea, the world’s largest marine protected area.

Cape Colebeck

“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. Since 2016, the world’s largest marine protected area has been keeping this last marine ecosystem intact. The theatre of the most impressive expeditions, it was discovered by James Clark Ross between 1839 and 1843. It was then that he discovered the enormous ice barrier formed by a gigantic ice shelf extending out to the open sea and from which titanic icebergs are calved. One third of the world’s Adelie penguin population lives in the area where this barrier breaks into icebergs. The currents maintain polynyas there, vast areas of persistent open water surrounded by sea ice. These give the penguins access to food. You may also get the chance to spot Ross seals, one of the rarest protected species in the Antarctic.

Ross Sea

The southern half of the Ross Sea is dominated by the largest ice shelf in the world, with a surface area equivalent to that of France. You will be awestruck by the majesty of this ice barrier which, far from being smooth and uniform, is ridged with caves, deep caverns, ledges, bays and promontories in infinite shades of blue carved out of it by the elements. Its vertiginous walls can reach up to 100 metres above sea level and some of them are several hundred metres deep. According to Sir Ernest Shackleton, some of the cavities could have contained Le Nimrod, his ship during the expedition he led to the South Pole between 1907 and 1909.

Ross Ice Shelf

The following day will be spent at your leisure.

At Sea

Spend the following day once again along the Ruppert Coast.

Ruppert Coast

The following day will be spent at sea at your own leisure.

At Sea

Burke Island is an island roughly 30 kilometres long lying southwest of Cape Waite. You may search for seals and whales among the ice floe.

Burke Island

You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.

Peter I Island - Day 20 to 21

The following day will be at Sea. Enjoy the various on board activities and amenities and reflect on this incredible journey so far with your fellow passengers.

At Sea

You will once again cross the formidable Drake passage. These final days at sea will be spent in the company of your crew and fellow passengers.

Drake Passage - 23 to 24

Your adventure comes to a close in Ushuaia. From here you may be transferred to the airport to board your flight home, or perhaps you may choose to continue your travel adventures and explore the incredible experiences that South America may offer.

Disembarkation in Ushuaia
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Begin your Antarctic experience by first exploring the dramatic and stunningly beautiful “End of the world”. Start in Buenos Aires, the capital of Tango and a vibrant, historical gem. Experience the wonders of El Calafate a land of stunning beauty and wonder located in the Patagonian steppe before finishing in Ushuaia and witnessing the incredible beauty of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Find out more

  • Amend your Antarctic voyage to include the amazing wonders of untamed Patagonia. A 4-day itinerary at the amazing Las Torres Hotel, located right in the heart of the Las Torres Del Paine National Park is an incredible all-inclusive way to experience the indescribable beauty of Patagonia. Undertake hikes at the base of snow-capped peaks, discover pristine solitary lakes and valleys of far-reaching beauty as far as the eye can see. Find out more

  • Explore the Chilean capital of Santiago, before heading to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in South America. Head to El Calafate on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and from here visit the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Find out more

Pricing & date

Ponant: The Ross Sea from USD 40,060
Departing Ending Duration
16 Feb 2022 12 Mar 2022 25

Important Information

  • Cabin accommodation whilst on board Le Commondant
    All meals whilst on board
    Beverages (excluding premium alcohol labels)
    All scheduled landings and excursions
    Guiding and lectures by expedition team 
    Complimentary Polar expedition jacket
    Free use of rubber boots for shore excursions
    All port taxes 
    Kayaking Activities
    Comprehensive pre and post voyage informational material
    Internal flights Santiago - Ushuaia on embarkation day  

    Exclusions 

    Airfares to and from embarkation/disembarkation city 
    Visa fees (if applicable) 
    Travel insurance 
    Personal expenses such as laundry, on board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email) 
    Gratuities for the crew
    Pre or post cruise travel expenses
    Optional activities

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more information. 

  • Please note this itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.

  • Departure date, seasonality and availability.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures is passionate and dedicated to sustainbility measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

A trip to the Antarctic is a completely different experience and quite unlike any other trip you have probably been on. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in this vulnerable ecosystem. We are fully compliant with all rules set down by the IAATO and all activities are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System. We carefully select all ships we work with and choose them for their small size as this creates far less impact on shore landings with wildlife. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller boats such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste, and all waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal, unlike some of the larger ships which do not facilitate this. This trip begins in Ushuaia where you will have time to sample local food and shop at local boutiques which we encourage individuals to take part in for experience and in support of the local community. We also try to create opportunity to see research and historical sites including the former research station/now museum of Port Lockroy and engage with local history. We discourage the buying of souvenirs made from endangered species or wrongfully taken from the environment i.e. shells. Our pre-departure pack provides you with all the information required for your tour, from what to take with you to practical advice about how to minimise your impact on the Antarctic environment. This pack highlights initiatives such as waste reduction, and how to appropriately engage with wildlife and the environment around you.

For more information visit our sustainability page.

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