In the Ice of the Arctic, from Greenland to Svalbard

In the Ice of the Arctic, from Greenland to Svalbard

Iceland, East Greenland, Svalbard
June-July
16 Nights

Choose Your Departure Date

polar bear on an icebreaker cruise
Explorers Club Special
Reykjavík, Iceland - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
25/06/2024 to the 11/07/2024
16 Nights

Price from per person

£25,440
polar bear on an icebreaker cruise
No Single Supplement
Reykjavík, Iceland - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
21/06/2025 to the 07/07/2025
16 Nights

Price from per person

£21,590

Cruise Overview

This unique expedition combines the serene uncharted sea ice of North East Greenland, only accessible by icebreaker, with the furthest reaches of the Svalbard Archipelago. Embarking on a journey beyond the Arctic Circle signifies a commitment to explore territories that were the life's mission of those who pioneered polar discovery. 

Encounter the regions of Ammassalik, Blosseville, and Ittoqqortoormiit, locked by sea ice throughout the winter, before navigating eastward towards Svalbard. Explore Nordaustlandet (North East Land) with Europe's largest ice cap. In these majestic fjords, polar bears roam the shores. Sail through the Hinlopen Strait with its monumental basalt bird cliffs before turning south to The Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, designated as an Important Bird Area home to cetaceans and Svalbard reindeer. 

In the ice of the Arctic from Greenland to Svalbard map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Discover the frozen expanses to the northeast of Greenland, a region that is inaccessible to traditional expedition ships during this time of year, and explore the furthest reaches of the Svalbard archipelago.
  • Discover the Ittoqqortoormiit region, one of the most isolated settlements on Earth and home to the final hunters of the polar region, situated at the gateway to Scoresby Sound, the planet's most extensive network of fjords.
  • Follow the trail of great explorers attempting to navigate the once-isolated eastern coast of Greenland, a region accessible only at this time of year, thanks to Le Commandant Charcot’s unique icebreaking capability.
  • Discover Nordaustlandet (North East Land), the most extensive ice cap in Europe.
  • Embark on exploring the Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, Norway's second-largest protected area.
  • Navigate through the Hinlopen Strait, where ice infiltrates and links Spitsbergen to Nordaustlandet.
  • Encounter a rich array of wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, whales, seals, and numerous Arctic birds species.
  • Engage in various brand-new activities such as kayaking, taking a polar plunge, hiking, snowshoeing, ensuring a diverse and immersive experience.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on a unique adventure to discover the ice-locked coast of East Greenland in the spring

Reykjavik in Iceland in the winter
Day 1

ReyjavÍk

Nestled on the edge of an expansive bay in the western part of the country, Iceland's capital unfolds its charms. The "Pearl of Reykjavík," Perlan, stands as a museum situated atop 'Oskjuhlið hill, providing a sweeping vista of the verdant landscapes below. Not far away, a signpost guides you to the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church and the historic centre, inviting leisurely strolls along the vibrant Skólavördustígur and Laugavegur streets, adorned with charming boutiques. For a tranquil retreat just beyond the city, visitors can explore the Reykjanes peninsula and indulge in the renowned thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

Embarkation from 20:00 to 21:00

Departure at 22:00

CHARCOT in the Denmark Strait PONANT
Day 2

Sailing Through The Denmark Strait

Situated between Greenland and Iceland, the Denmark Strait holds historical significance as the Vikings first traversed it in the late 10th century during Erik the Red's expeditions. The waters of the strait were also a battleground during the Second World War, witnessing a clash between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy on May 24, 1941. In winter, the Greenlandic coasts are enveloped by extremely dense pack ice, while the Transpolar Drift continues to transport icebergs throughout the year. However, during the summer, the strait generally remains clear of ice.

EXPLORATION OF AMMASSALIK REGION PONANT
Day 3

Exploring The Ammassalik Region

A mere century ago, the east coast of Greenland stood in relative obscurity, and to this day, it remains the most genuine and awe-inspiring region in the Arctic. Venture into a world where alpine mountains seamlessly merge with the sea, and fjords showcase towering, snow-capped peaks while icebergs gracefully drift or become trapped in the pack ice. Delve into the heart of frozen landscapes adorned with surreal beauty, where the diverse textures of various ice types weave an ever-changing tapestry.

Blosseville Coast expedition in East Greenland PONANT
Day 4

Blosseville Coast

Embark on a voyage following the path of Jules Poret de Blosseville, a French explorer and sailor. In 1833, aboard La Lilloise, he embarked on a journey to unveil eastern Greenland's isolated and uncharted expanse, bestowing French names upon various coastal sites. Unfortunately, the adventure likely ended in tragedy, as the crew was never located. Now named after him, this desolate region stretches south of Scoresby Sund. Enveloped by ice, icebergs, and fragments of pack ice, Blosseville Coast is one of those rugged and challenging terrains that only a fortunate few can explore.

Ittoqqortoormiit in the spring PONANT
Day 5

Exploration of the Ittoqqortoormiit Region

On Greenland's East coast, within the snow and ice-covered Ittoqqortoormiit region for nine months of the year, you'll encounter the rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart of an isolated territory and marvel at the beauty of its boundless polar expanse. The lofty alpine mountains pierce the sky, gradually revealing their dark rock edges beneath a layer of snow. Positioned at the entrance to the world's longest fjord system is the village of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the northernmost inhabited places on the East Coast. Translating to 'great house' in Greenlandic, it serves as the home to the last hunters of the polar region, preserving their ancestral way of life.

Polar Bear in North East Greenland PONANT
Days 6-9

Exploring North - East Greenland

Embark on a journey towards North-East Greenland to delve deeper into the Arctic, reaching heights that conventional ships cannot traverse during this season. Navigate through the unexpected treasures concealed within the sea ice as the play of light and the ever-changing skies set the stage for a mesmerising spectacle. Amidst the vast expanse of ice, where conventional vessels cannot venture, a breathtaking tableau unfolds, showcasing the myriad textures and states of the ice.

With a blend of patience and humility, your expedition will lead you through the pearly-white floating cathedrals and the ice carried by the Transpolar Drift. Witness icebergs brought to a standstill in their journey and pressure ridges unveiling their sharp edges. Within this frozen wilderness, beauty reveals itself in each moment's intricate details and enchantment.

In the domain of polar bears, find solace aboard Le Commandant Charcot— a specialised cocoon crafted for polar exploration. This vessel provides remarkable opportunities to observe these majestic rulers of the ice as you encounter them during your journey. Perhaps you might even witness the poignant sight of a mother polar bear and her cub traversing the pristine icy expanses, adding an extra layer of magic to your Arctic exploration.

Sailing through the sea ice PONANT
Days 10-11

Sailing Towards Svalbard

As we depart the magnificent coast of East Greenland, spend time indulging in Le Commandement Charcot's outstanding facilities. Enjoy the view of the ice from the heated outdoor lagoon, and spend time in the indoor pool, relaxation areas or sauna. During your time at sea, our team of naturalists and scientists will undertake presentations in the ship's theatre and share their knowledge with you, ready for our next destination, Svalbard.

Nordaust-Svalbard PONANT
Days 12-13

Exploring Nord East Svalbard Nature Reserve

Since 1973, the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve has safeguarded the northernmost and chilliest region of the archipelago, Nordaustlandet (North East Land). This extensive polar desert, draped with two ice caps, is the second-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Shielded by the Gulf Stream, the fjords and cliffs in the west and north harbour thriving colonies of birds and walruses. In the colder east and south, the landscapes are dominated by imposing glaciers, releasing majestic icebergs into the expansive Hinlopen Strait. Sheer cliffs serve as the nesting grounds for substantial colonies of thick-billed murres. Depending on the nesting and migration period, you might even glimpse a bear or an Arctic fox roaming nearby.

Polar bears on a Svalbard icebreaker cruise
Day 14

Sailing the Hinlopen Strait

Embarking on a voyage through the Hinlopen Strait, nestled in the heart of the Arctic Ocean between the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet, guarantees an unforgettable experience. Within the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve domain, this region unveils awe-inspiring vistas featuring magnificent basalt formations and an ice cap extending to the horizon, plunging into the sea. The shoreline, sculpted by fjords cutting inland, creates a magical tapestry where icebergs gracefully float, born from the majestic calving of surrounding glaciers.

While today it is a sought-after location for observing seabirds nesting in colossal cliffs, polar bears, and walruses, this place holds historical ties to 17th-century whalers. Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, a director of a Dutch whaling company, bestowed the strait with its name. Subsequently, Russian trappers, European explorers, scientists, and even brave mountaineers have traversed this region, marked by its sublime yet challenging nature.

Søraust
Day 15

South East Svalbard Nature Reserve

The Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve stands as the second-largest protected expanse in Norway, its establishment dating back to 1973. Spanning over 21,000 km2, this conservation area presents breathtaking landscapes, ranging from coastal scenes and rocky islets to mountain plateaux, expansive tundra plains, and drifting ice floes.

Endowed with the distinction of being recognized as an Important Bird Area, the reserve offers the opportunity, with a bit of fortune, to witness a diverse array of seabirds. Additionally, the site is conducive to spotting cetaceans, Svalbard reindeer, and possibly even Arctic foxes. Notably, Edgeoya Island is famed for providing a haven for numerous polar bears during the breeding season.

Hornsund in Svalbard on an expedition cruise with PONANT
Day 16

Hornsund

Nestled amidst ancient glaciers and sculpted mountains, Spitsbergen, often hailed as the "crown of Arctic Norway," is a realm untouched by night. Your vessel will guide you into the heart of this captivating archipelago, focusing on the Hornsund fjord. It is recognized as Svalbard's southernmost fjord and boasts a distinguished reputation for its breathtaking scenery. At the culmination of its expansive bay, eight grand glaciers gracefully descend to the sea, yielding to a multitude of icebergs that elegantly drift along its frigid and enigmatic waters.

Longyearbyen
Day 17

Longyearbyen

As the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, Longyearbyen is situated on the main island of Svalbard and is the northernmost territorial capital on Earth. With winter temperatures plummeting to below -40 °C, the vistas of this mining town are genuinely awe-inspiring. The glaciers, expansive mountains seemingly extending endlessly, and the pristine wilderness collectively evoke the sensation of uncharted territory.

Arrival: early morning

Disembarkation: 08:00

Activities

Activities

Kayaking

Kayaking in Greenland PONANT

Discover the art of embracing the natural elements, where you'll seize every opportunity provided by the ever-changing weather and ice conditions to navigate the crystal-clear polar waters. Under the expert guidance of licensed professionals, you'll embark on a kayaking adventure, a craft cherished by the Inuit people for over four millennia. Initially designed for hunting and fishing, the kayak now becomes your gateway to immersing yourself in the unspoiled wonders of polar regions, whether it's the White Continent or the enchanting Far North.*

*Please note that limited spots are available for this experience.

Hiking or Snowshoeing

Hiking and snowshoeing on Le Commandant Charcot

Amid our shore landings, you'll have the chance to join our seasoned naturalist guides for hiking expeditions of varying difficulty levels based on the ecological resilience of the unique biome. These excursions may range from leisurely coastal strolls to extended treks lasting several hours, taking you to breathtaking viewpoints and historic sites. You'll seize the moment, adapting your journey to the prevailing weather and ice conditions. And when our itineraries permit, donning snowshoes* will transport you into the footsteps of early explorers, unlocking the uncharted corners that have remained largely untouched by mankind.

*Kindly be aware that there are limited spaces available for snowshoeing.

Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge activity PONANT

Prepare to be captivated by the unparalleled experience of plunging into frigid waters. Weather and ice conditions permitting, you'll have unique opportunities to partake in a polar plunge while clad only in your swimwear, right in the heart of the icy realm. The intense rush of emotions and the invigorating warmth that follows will leave you with unforgettable memories, reenergizing you for the journey ahead.*

*Please keep in mind that there are limited spots available for this daring adventure.

If you are interested in participating in these adventurous activities please enquire about availability at the time of reservation. All activities are subject to availability and weather conditions.

Your Ship

Your Ship

Le Commandant Charcot

Introducing the majestic Le Commandant Charcot, the world's first luxury icebreaker. Imagine exploring the seldom visited furthest reaches of the polar regions in comfort levels never seen before on an icebreaker. Her unique icebreaking PC2 Polar Class 2 Hull allows it to explore captivating destinations locked in by sea ice from the North Pole to the frozen seas of East Greenland and Antarctica, which are off-limits to standard expedition ships. The onboard experience is second to none, with fine dining, an outdoor heated lagoon and sumptuous ensuite cabins with verandas. With a team of onboard expedition experts, Le Commandant Charcot is perfect for adventurers and connoisseurs looking to explore the unexplored in safety and style.

Ship Highlights

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The World’s first Luxury Icebreaker Built For Polar Exploration

The ice-strengthened hull and powerful engines give Le Commandant Charcot an extraordinary ability to explore places where no other cruise ship has ventured before offering out-of-this-world itineraries. Equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs for excursions and kayaks, this is the ultimate expedition ship.
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Outstanding Onboard Experience & Fine Cuisine

From bathing in the heated outdoor blue lagoon to unwinding in the relaxation area complete with detox bar, indoor pool, and seating with large windows, Le Commandant Charcot is conceived around the guest experience at every level. Enjoy the finest gourmet food at the ship’s two restaurants.
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Small Group Size​

Le Commandant Charcot takes a maximum of 245 guests with only 200 on Antarctica voyages. The ship is spacious and never feels crowded. A small group size offers our guests the best experience on the ship, during Zodiac excursions and shore landings.
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World Class Expedition Teams and Leaders

What makes expeditions on Le Commandant Charcot truly pioneering is the team’s experience behind it. From captains to expedition leaders, naturalists, guides, scientists, and special guest speakers, there is a passion and wealth of experience that is shared with you every step of the way.
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Environmentally Responsible Expeditions

From cutting-edge hybrid electric engines powered by liquid natural gas to an outdoor pool heated with recycled thermal energy generated by the ship’s engine, the ship utilizes the latest technologies to be a leader in environmentally respectful cruising.
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Luxury Accommodation

Le Commandant Charcot offers luxury never seen before on an icebreaker. The tastefully designed cabins feature balconies and ensuites. For those looking for exceptional luxury, there is a choice of suites featuring private deck areas with jacuzzis, large living spaces, and dining areas.
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Dedicated to Scientific Discovery

Equipped with science laboratories, Le Commandant Charcot offers a platform to host scientists and researchers to gain valuable insights into understanding and protecting the most remote places on Earth with their knowledge shared with guests during presentations.

Do you need help planning your expedition?

Our friendly and knowledgeable Travel Experience Team is ready to assist you.

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