No surprise that the food is a true highlight – this is a French ship, after all.
Le Commandant Charcot has two main dining rooms, plus an outdoor grill serving “international comfort food.” The fine-dining restaurant, Nuna (Inuit for Sky), claims fame as the first Alain Ducasse restaurant at sea. But fleet wide, Ponant menus are created in concert with, and chefs are trained by, the consulting firm Ducasse Conseil. All dining venues are included in the fare. Free room service is available 24/7.
Save room for pastries and other desserts. They’re made from scratch on board by a master pastry chef.
Nuna, the ship’s fine-dining restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is international with a French accent. The elegant space, large enough to seat everyone in a single sitting, also sports French trappings, from Ligne Roset furnishings to luxe Bernardaud tableware.
There’s a fine-wine cellar here, plus a second navigation bridge visible at one end of the room. It’s not often in use but brings a true visual quirk to fine dining when it is. A nightly four-course tasting menu with vegetarian options is available. A la carte fare includes a couple of soups, such as lemon grass consommé; several appetizers, such as grilled octopus with braised fennel; three main courses, such as duck seared scallops with pumpkin and hazelnut; and three desserts, such as panna cotta. And there’s always a cheese plate featuring French Bordier cheeses.
The buffet restaurant, Sila (Inuit for Sky), has two separate dining rooms with the buffet tucked in a space that links the two. Both dining areas feel more formal than the typical buffet, partly because the food stations are mostly out of sight. The three daily meals served here are a bounty of fresh deliciousness. Morning offerings include the usual fare like eggs Benedict, waffles and breakfast meats, plus indulgences like bread pudding. As with all meals, there’s a nice selection of cheeses.
Lunch and dinner fare includes several main courses (grilled salmon, rib eye and duck on one day) multiple vegetable dishes and other sides, salad fixings, sushi rolls, cold cuts and cheeses.
The on-deck grill restaurant, Inneq (Inuit for fire), is open for lunch from late morning to late afternoon and has a set menu that includes hamburgers, club sandwiches, poke bowls and the like, plus a daily special. Don’t miss the signature black-truffle-laced croque Charcot sandwich.
Early and late risers can enjoy fresh-baked croissants and other pastries in the Observatory Lounge.
The fine-dining menu contains vegetarian options for each course, as well as a no-meat tasting menu. In the buffet restaurant, there are always plenty of meat- and dairy-free options. Gluten-free breads get their own corner.
Menus are flagged with symbols denoting whether dishes are lactose- or gluten-free, vegetarian, or whether they contain garlic or peanuts.