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Embark on an extraordinary journey from Patagonia to the Antarctic Peninsula. Embark on an 18 day journey on board Le Commandant, the world's first luxury polar vessel. Discover the wildlife of the far south as you encounter king and gentoo penguins, fur seals, elephant seals, humpbacks and orcas as you navigate the frozen waters. This incredible journey will take you to 4 unique ecosystems, from wooded heights to snow-capped summits. This is a truly unique Antarctic expedition.
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
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.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Deception Island, where the flooded caldera of an active volcano harbors an abandoned whaling station.
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.
Amidst the eerie stillness of the Weddell Sea, you'll wend your way through a veritable labyrinth of dense ice floe and majestic table icebergs. Sweeping ice platforms sculpt a landscape unlike any other, populated by fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and other imposing seabirds. The Weddell seal, king of this realm, will welcome you to his territory with a haunting cry that pierces the surrounding silence. You'll recognise him by his dark grey coat and spotted belly. Weddell seals have the impressive distinction of being able to stay underwater for more than an hour.
The southernmost island in the Sandwich Islands is a volcano that rises to an altitude of 700 metres. For a long time, this former military base was the source of conflicts between the British and the Argentinians, who finally took possession of the island in 1982 after the Falklands War. While you are there, you may get the chance to observe impressive elephant seals and Adelie or chinstrap penguins.
Cook Island, an uninhabited volcano buried under a thick white coat, seems to float on the surface of the ocean. There is a striking contrast between the imposing and peaceful mass of glistening ice and the brown sheer cliffs that loom over its shores. Its highest peak, Mount Harmer, rises to an altitude of 1,115 metres. This island, the largest in the Southern Thule island group, was discovered by James Cook in 1775, the first explorer to have crossed the Antarctic Circle in search of a new continent. In 1819, the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen christened it as a tribute to this illustrious explorer.
The brown volcanic silhouette of Saunders Island, overlooked by Mount Michael, which rises to an altitude of more than 900 metres, will then come into view on the horizon. The island’s frozen and rugged shores are considered very difficult to access. If you have the good fortune of being able to land in this lunar landscape, you will be able to meet chinstrap and Adelie penguins or attempt to observe the Cape petrels nesting in crevices along the cliff faces. It is one of only eight volcanoes in the world whose summit crater, with a diameter of 700 metres, contains a persistent lava lake. Its most recent eruption was in 2005.
Lying in the north of this archipelago, this majestic volcanic island is often ice-free year round, unlike the islands further south. Different species can be found on either side of this bio-geographic border: Subantarctic species in the north and Antarctic species in the south. Enveloped in the warmth of the volcanic fumeroles, one of the world’s largest colonies of chinstrap penguins (over two million individuals) thrives in this ideal environment. This volcanic island was discovered in 1819 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of his ship’s captain
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.
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.
The following days will be spent at sea. Take this time to reflect on the incredible journey you have had so far. Enjoy the various amenities on board and enjoy this time with your fellow passengers and crew.
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.
Why not start your Antarctic Journey with a visit to the “Paris of the south”? Discover the wonders of Buenos Aires on this 4-day itinerary. Explore a unique fusion of European elegance and Latin American energy as you explore the history of this magnificent city. Take part in a unique tango show or take a break from cities and visit the gaucho town of San Antonio de Areco. Find out more
Before embarking on your Antarctic voyage, why not experience the amazing wonders of two of South America’s most vibrant cities. A 9 Day Rio to Buenos Aires journey will be the perfect way to indulge in a mix of Latin American cultural experience and sights. From the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer, to the roaring cascades of Iguazu falls and the European avenues of Buenos Aires this is a spectacular way to experience this unique and dynamic corner of our world. Find out more
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
Pricing & date
Ponant: Weddell Sea and South Sandwich Islands from USD 18,990
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
Comprehensive pre and post voyage informational material
Internal flights Santiago - Ushuaia on embarkation day
Airfares to and from embarkation/disembarkation city
Visa fees (if applicable)
Personal expenses such as laundry, on board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email)
Gratuities for the crew
Pre or post cruise travel expenses
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.