January 14, 2020
(12:23 p.m. EST) -- Ponant has revealed the inaugural Antarctic sailings for its first-ever hybrid electric polar vessel, Le Commandant Charcot. Among the highlights of the ships 2021/22 winter season will be a visit to Peter Island, one of the least visited islands in the region, as well as tethered hot air balloon rides above Antarctica.
"Nearly a century after the heroic age of exploration, Antarctica remains largely undiscovered today," the line said in a press release. "For the first time, Ponant's guests will be able to discover its remote parts like The Ross Sea -- which has one of the continent's most extreme weather patterns -- and the Bellingshausen Sea, home to colonies of emperor penguins."
The five options include: "The Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea," an 18-night sailing departing November 1, 2021; "Expedition to Charcot and Peter Islands," a two-week cruise departing on November 19 and December 14, 2021, as well as February 2, 2022; "The Weddell Sea & Larsen Ice Shelf," an 11-night voyage departing December 3 and 28, 2021, as well as March 14 and 25, 2022; "The Ross Sea," a 24-night sailing departing February 16, 2022; and "The Weddell Sea & The South Sandwich Islands," a 17-night cruise departing April 5, 2022.
Expeditions aboard Le Commandant Charcot will feature a range of activities including hikes, Zodiac excursions, hovercraft rides, kayaking and even diving in polar waters. Additionally, cruisers will be able to participate in research and experiments led by a team of onboard scientists.
Commandant Charcot will be powered exclusively by battery and LNG (liquefied natural gas), the cleanest fuel currently available on the market. It will also feature a scientific research laboratory onboard with equipment designed to study the ecosystems and biodiversity of polar environments.