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Le Commandant Charcot Activities

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
3 reviews
Editor Rating
Very Good
Jayne Clark
Cruise Critic Contributor

Entertainment & Activities

Theater and Shows on Le Commandant Charcot

This is a polar exploration ship with active scientific research being undertaken onboard, so it’s not surprising that activities revolve more around enrichment than blockbuster entertainment.

Daily Things to Do on Le Commandant Charcot

Lectures by naturalists on topics related to the surroundings are on the daily schedule. Several “tastings” were convened during our sailing. They included olive oil and chocolate (free) and caviar and rum (for a fee). The captain has a mostly open-door policy for the Navigation Bridge, so it’s possible to just drop in.

Movies are screened in the theater on some days, and occasionally in the evening, and tend toward polar-themed documentaries. There’s a daily tea service at 4 p.m. A daily program is delivered nightly to staterooms for a heads-up of what’s to come.

Nightlife on Le Commandant Charcot

Nightlife is more refined than raucous. On some nights, there’s dancing to live music in the Main Lounge. Others retire to the low-key atmosphere of the Observation Lounge for after-dinner drinks and to listen to live piano or violin music.

Le Commandant Charcot Cruise Ship Bars and Lounges

Top-shelf liquors and delightful French wines (Veuve Clicquot Champagne is the house pour) are included in the fare. But super-premium sips, like Grand Cru vintages, cost extra.

As on other small ships, the lounges serve multiple functions, including bar service.

The Main Lounge on Deck 5 is a large U-shaped space divided into discreet seating areas. At the far end is contemporary fireplace. Pre-dinner drinks here might be accompanied by a singing duo or a violinist. There’s also a dancefloor; if nightlife were to really get hopping (as it did on a couple of evenings on our cruise), this is where it’d happen.  

The other main gathering space serving libations is the Observation Lounge on Deck 9. On the walls are black-and-white photos depicting early polar exploration. Cream-colored sofas and barrel shaped chairs make for comfy spots to linger. The bar and main seating area faces floor-to-ceiling windows. A small entertainment space on one side hosts a baby grand piano. Beyond it is a sleek wall-inset fireplace that emits a cozy crackling sound. There’s a nice selection of board games and books.

The outdoor Blue Lagoon pool bar on Deck 9 features comfy chairs around a huge firepit. Also on Deck 9 is the Detox Bar (by the indoor pool in the spa area), which, as the name implies, serves non-alcoholic drinks.

The Cigar Lounge on Deck 5 is open by request and sports clubby leather chairs and specialty spirits such as Japanese whiskies and French liquers (not included in the base fare). Libations here start at 9 euros.  If you’re feeling flush, you can light up an €80 H. Upmann Magnum 56 cigar and sip a rare 1904 Vieil Armagnac (€330).

Pools and Hot Tubs on Le Commandant Charcot

It’s rare to find an indoor pool on a small expedition ship, but there’s one here on Deck 9 in a glass-ceilinged winter garden. It’s open 24/7, is heated to 95 degrees and has a resistance option. Chaise longues face panoramic windows on one side of the room.

Two shallow outdoor Blue Lagoon pools, heated from recycled energy, curve around the ship’s rear on Deck 9.

Sundecks on Le Commandant Charcot

Sunbathing isn’t really a thing on polar navigation ships, but this one has a few places ideal for soaking up the midnight sun. Comfy lounge chairs surround a firepit at the rear of Deck 9 by the outdoor restaurant and pool.

The helipad on Deck 6 also acts as a wildlife viewing space, though there’s no seating. The promenade deck is the place to go for a stroll. When you get tired, take five on heated benches. Or get a close-up view of the seascape via on-deck telescopes.

Services and Wi-Fi on Le Commandant Charcot

WiFi is included in the fare but is limited to one device per cabin. Connections can be temperamental -- no surprise given the remote waters in which the ship sails.

A small boutique on Deck 5 sells jewelry and clothing. Most of the gift items are French-made.

Books in the Main and Observation lounges can be borrowed on the honor system.  

A photo shop off the ship’s lobby near the reception desk allows passengers to view computer images of shots they might want to purchase at voyage’s end.

Spa & Fitness

Ponant Yacht Spa and Thermal Suite on Le Commandant Charcot

The relatively compact spa area has three treatment rooms and a single-chair hair salon. Services include the usual massages, scrubs and facials employing something called the “Second Skin” system.

Tip: Book spa appointments before sailing. With only three treatment rooms, slots can fill fast.

The spa area has a roomy sauna (no appointment necessary, but wear a robe or swimsuit). After a stint in the sauna, race over to the snow room – brace yourself -- and rub some of the cold, wet stuff into your body. Repeat three times, according to instructions for the ritual.

Fitness and Gym on Le Commandant Charcot

The gym packs a lot into a compact space. With a wall of windows looking out to sea it’s bright and airy. Aerobic equipment includes a rowing machine, two stationary bikes, a cross trainer and three treadmills. In addition, there’s a TechnoGym system, a pully-based weight machine that guides you through workouts via video. Other equipment includes some free weights, mats, stability ball and yoga gear.  It’s open 24/7.

Free group exercise classes – yoga, pilates, water fitness etc. – are offered on some days, but require advance signup.

For Kids

Is Le Commendant Charcot Cruise Ship Family Friendly?

Children must be at least 8 years old and there is no dedicated youth program or facilities.

Find a Le Commandant Charcot Cruise from $16,430

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