In the Wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot Antarctica Icebreaker Cruise

Ushuaia - Ushuaia

Antartica
December, January
14 Nights

Choose Your Cruise Date

exploring captivating scenery on an Antarctica icebreaker cruise on Le Commandant Charcot
No Single Supplement
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
Jan 2 - Jan 17 2026
14 Nights

Price from per person

£18,700
exploring captivating scenery on an Antarctica icebreaker cruise on Le Commandant Charcot
No Single Supplement
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
Dec 5 - Dec 20 2025
14 Nights

Price from per person

£18,700
Icebreaker cruise in Antarctica on Le Commandant Charcot
No Single Supplement
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
Dec 19 2025 - Jan 03 2026
14 Nights

Price from per person

£18,700
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Cruise Overview

Embark on an authentic polar exploration aboard the state-of-the-art icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot and explore Antarctica's most southerly and least explored realms. This pioneering expedition takes you across the Antarctic Circle to explore the frozen seas of Antarctica's extreme south, only accessible by icebreaker. 

Following in the footsteps of French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, after which the ship is named, you'll explore the enigmatic Bellingshausen Sea and its secluded islets surrounded by sea ice. Led by a team of enthusiastic polar experts, they will unravel the tales of these epic journeys, enriching your experience with their extensive knowledge of the region's wildlife and breathtaking scenery.

Navigating the Bellingshausen Sea, you enter realms of increasing wilderness where ice dominates the view, ice floes extend endlessly, and icebergs float by, creating a surreal landscape. The approach to Charcot Island stirs deep emotions, offering a rare glimpse into the heart of Antarctic solitude.

For your ease and comfort this expedition includes return flights between Santiagio in Chile and Ushuaia where you will embark the ship.

In the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot Antarctica Icebreaker cruise map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Embark on a voyage with Le Commandant Charcot, tracing the legendary routes of Jean-Baptiste Charcot's two monumental polar voyages to the Bellingshausen Sea, delving into a world rich in biodiversity.
  • A unique chance to explore the frozen wilderness to the extreme south of the Antarctic Circle.
  • Encounter the wildlife of the frozen south, including majestic emperor penguins nestled amidst frozen seascapes.
  • Explore extraordinary landscapes: immense glaciers, tabletop icebergs, and immersion in the heart of the ice floes.
  • Wildlife encounters include the sight of Adelie, chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins; the presence of leopard, crabeater, and Weddell seals; glimpses of humpback and Minke whales, along with orcas. There's also a chance to spot the majestic emperor penguins and the elusive Ross seals.
  • You will have the chance to participate in adventurous polar activities, including kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, and a polar plunge.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Follow Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s Route to Antarctica’s extreme south on an icebreaker cruise and explore deep into the sea ice where few have ventured before

Ushuaia harbour in Argentina
Day 1

Ushuaia

Embarkation rom 16:00 to 17:00

Departure 18:00

Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, is the entry point to the icy realms of the White Continent and the South Pole. Affectionately dubbed "El fin del mundo" or "The End of the World" by locals, this city is cradled by towering mountains and expansive plains that have become a haven for diverse wildlife. Its extraordinary location, where the Andes meet the ocean, marks Ushuaia as one of the most captivating spots on the planet. The name itself whispers tales of adventures into the vast unknown, making it a beacon for explorers drawn to the edge of the world.

sunset over the Drake Passage Antarctica
Days 2 - 3

Crossing The Drake Passage

Make the most of your journey across the Drake Passage by getting acquainted with your vessel and deepening your understanding of Antarctica. Your Expedition Leader will introduce you to the essential IAATO guidelines for conducting yourself during shore visits and provide all the insights you need for your zodiac expeditions. This time also offers a chance to attend lectures on the region's history and diverse wildlife, enriching your knowledge about this enchanting part of the world, where no two voyages are the same. Onboard, savour the extraordinary sailing moments, and join the naturalist guides on the decks to watch for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds soaring above the Drake Passage.

Le Commandant Charcot Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Day 4

Crossing The Antarctic Circle

If the weather is in our favor, we'll navigate across the legendary Antarctic Polar Circle, positioned at 66°33’ south of the Equator. This symbolic boundary marks the region where, during the December solstice, you can witness the midnight sun phenomenon. Within the circle's confines, you will experience Antarctica's midnight sun. Embarking on this journey across the circle, a privilege experienced by only a select few, promises to be a memorable milestone of your polar expedition.

The Gullet Antarctica PONANT
Day 4

The Gullet

The breathtaking vistas of the slender passageway between Adelaide Island and Graham Land captivate all who navigate toward Marguerite Bay. It resembles a majestic ice castle, with its pristine white facades mirrored in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean, dotted with icebergs and shimmering ice formations. This channel was first navigated and mapped by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909 and later meticulously charted in 1936 by a British expedition led by John Rymill. In this enchanting environment, some of the earliest underwater photographs of the Antarctic were captured during Philippe Cousteau’s extensive four-month Antarctic expedition between 1972 and 1973.

Antarctica icebreaker cruise PONANT
Days 5 & 6

Expedition To Charcot Island

In 1910, Jean-Baptiste Charcot caught sight of this enigmatic island, encased in sea ice, while mapping Alexander Island from the deck of the Pourquoi Pas. Despite his efforts, Charcot couldn't approach closer than 40 miles. Nestled in an area prone to frequent low-pressure systems and consistent cloudiness, the island presents a mystery wrapped in ice and towering cliffs, save for a stretch of rocky terrain that spans several kilometres to the northwest. Recent fissures in the ice of Wilkins Sound have led to the island's formal separation from its neighbour, Alexander Island, located 50 km away. Few have set foot on its largely virgin territory, a sanctuary for seabirds, including petrels, Antarctic terns, and skuas, drawn to its isolated waters.

Bellingshausen Sea
Day 7

Bellingshausen Sea

Spanning from the western edge of the Antarctic Peninsula to the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea bears the name of the Russian admiral and explorer credited with the first verifiable discovery of mainland Antarctica in 1820. Its waters cradle two of Antarctica's vast islands: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You'll weave among ice floes, sea ice blocks, and towering icebergs as you navigate this sea. The shores bordering the Bellingshausen Sea are celebrated for hosting emperor penguin colonies. During the southern summer months, you may get the chance to spot solitary adults, young penguins asserting their independence, or newly matured individuals embarking on their own.

north pole cruise ship PONANT
Day 8

At Sea Aboard Le Commandant Charcot

Embark on a journey aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the pioneer in luxury polar exploration and the first PC2-class polar cruise liner designed to navigate the icy heart of polar realms, where traditional vessels dare not tread. Equipped with state-of-the-art oceanographic and scientific instruments chosen by a panel of experts, Le Commandant Charcot offers a unique opportunity to dive deep into the knowledge of the polar regions. Engage with on-board experts through lectures and discussions, gaining insights into these captivating ends of the Earth. Join us in contributing to vital scientific research, exploring together the mysteries that these spellbinding destinations continue to hold.

exploring Antarctica on an Icebreaker cruise PONANT
Day 9

Marguerite Bay

Each iceberg in Marguerite Bay surpasses the last in grandeur, floating amidst the deep, vibrant blue waters of one of Antarctica's most stunning areas. Bounded to the north by the rugged Adelaide Island, to the south by the George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and to the east by the Fallières Coast, this bay was named by Charcot in honour of his wife during his seminal Antarctic expedition from 1908 to 1910. In the bright clarity of the southern summer of 1909, Charcot undertook a significant scientific endeavour to chart and examine this locale. The bay serves as a sanctuary for various whale species, and with a bit of luck, you might spot leopard seals or Adelie penguins among the icy serenity.

Day 10

Pourquoi Pas Island

Le Commandant Charcot is set to make landfall on the shores of Pourquoi Pas Island, a name bestowed in the 1930s by John Riddoch Rymill as a tribute to Jean-Baptiste Charcot. Charcot stumbled upon this island while navigating aboard his vessel, Le Pourquoi Pas, on his second Antarctic expedition from 1908 to 1910. Nestled in the northern reaches of Marguerite Bay, flanked by Graham Land and Adelaide Island, this rugged island stretches 28 km in length and 14 km across, featuring a landscape dotted with slender fjords and snow-capped peaks. As you disembark onto the island via a zodiac dinghy with your expedition crew, you might have the unique opportunity to watch Adelie penguins in their natural habitat along the island’s stony coastline.

Giant Tabular Iceberg in Antarctica Ponant
Day 11 & 12

Antarctic Peninsula

Let yourself be enchanted by a realm unparalleled in its beauty and charisma. The Antarctic Peninsula, shrouded in legend, continues to captivate and offer its visitors moments they will treasure forever. As you venture through this icy domain, you'll be immersed in a breathtaking landscape painted in a palette of blues and whites amidst a world of extraordinary wildlife. This icy sanctuary is home to penguins, humpback whales, various seal species, giant petrels, elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on the sites you explore, you may have the unique opportunity to witness these creatures up close, sharing in the pristine beauty of this extreme environment.

Daily, the Captain and Expedition Leader will assess the ice conditions to plan zodiac excursions or landings that unveil the endless wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula. You might encounter glaciers, ice floes, massive icebergs, mountains that meet the sea, volcanic shores, scientific outposts, captivating bays, and remnants of past whaling operations. These diverse aspects of Antarctica will unfold before you, creating a serene and almost otherworldly experience. You'll follow in the footsteps of pioneering explorers such as Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache, and Sir Ernest Shackleton, who ventured into these secluded and untouched territories since the 19th century, seeking to uncover their secrets.

Albatross in flight over the Drake Passage
Days 13 - 14

Crossing The Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is a notorious stretch of water, feared and respected by tourists, scientists, and seasoned sailors alike. Positioned within the tempestuous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the most direct path linking Antarctica with South America. Experienced mariners often say that reaching the White Continent is an achievement that must be earned! This passage acts as a meeting point for the Antarctic Convergence, where the chilly currents from the South Pole blend with warmer waters from the equator, creating a hotbed for diverse marine life. Remember to cast your gaze upwards, too, where you might spot the graceful albatross or Cape petrels dancing in the wind above your vessel.

Ushuaia harbour in Argentina
Day 15

Ushuaia

After navigating the icy embrace of the Antarctic, braving the elements, and witnessing the untouched wonders of the polar world, our vessel charts its course back, docking safely in the welcoming arms of Ushuaia. This marks the end of an epic journey where the spirit of adventure brought us face-to-face with the raw beauty of the Earth's southernmost frontier, leaving us with memories that will echo through time.

Disembarkation at 07:00

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 exclusive experience.

Hiking or Snowshoeing

Nordic Ski Polar Trek in Greenland

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.

Zodiac Outings and Shore Visits

Zodiac ride in Antarctica PONANT

Aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the journey evolves with the rhythm of the sea, the whims of the weather, and the ice dance, where a fleet of 14 Zodiac boats stands at the ready for ventures and onshore discoveries. Imagine drawing near a glacier as it calves immense icebergs, setting foot on the vast stretch of an ice sheet, or observing wildlife from a closeness few ever experience. These instances are designed to leave a lasting imprint on your memories. These adventures are unique and fleeting, offering a peek into territories that are both unwelcoming to people and a haven for remarkable wildlife.

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.

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