Transarctic, the quest for the two North Poles

Nome, Alaska - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

North Pole, Svalbard
September
20 Nights

Choose Your Departure Date

Geographic North Pole PONANT
Last Staterooms
Nome, Alaska - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Sep 6 - Sep 26 2024
20 Nights

Price from per person

£36,390
Trans Arctic Icebreaker cruise to the North Pole
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen - Nome, Alaska
Sep 5 - Sep 25 2025
20 Nights

Price from per person

£38,570

Cruise Overview

Be a true polar explorer and participate in the world's first trans-polar expedition by ship to cross the frozen Arctic Ocean on the luxury Icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot. From the Bering Strait, connecting East and West, to the ice-covered expanse of Svalbard, the ship will navigate through ice floes, exploring the Beaufort Sea's icy terrain and utilising open water leads to venture towards the elusive Magnetic and Geographic North Poles. 

This groundbreaking voyage will take you on a transpolar maritime route inaccessible to conventional ships. Traverse an ever-changing environment, appreciating the unspoiled beauty amidst the drifting ice, with great opportunities to see wildlife, including polar bears. 

Guided by a team of expert naturalists, you can learn about these seldom-visited untouched parts of the planet. 20 researchers will make scientific discoveries as part of the voyage. Make history and seize this rare chance to participate in a world-first navigation contributing to scientific research.

trans arctic icebreaker cruise map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Become part of a tiny elite group of polar explorers and visit the Magnetic and Geographic North Poles.
  • Make history, embark on a world-first voyage, and traverse the frozen Arctic from Nome in Alaska to Longyearbyen in Svalbard.
  • This expedition offers excellent opportunities to see wildlife on the pack ice during the cruise to the North Pole. The region is home to an array of Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, Arctic birds, seals and whales.
  • Explore the highlights of Svalbard, known for its native polar bears, captivating scenery and over 2,000 glaciers.
  • Your journey will take you across the top of the world, guided by a highly experienced expedition team who will share their knowledge with you.
  • Learn about the research work taking place on-board by an international scientific mission through lectures.
  • As a bonus, revel in exciting new activities such as kayaking, hiking, or snowshoeing, and even take a polar plunge into the frigid waters, all subject to weather and ice conditions and sailing opportunities.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on an Epic Voyage To Discover 2 North Poles

Nome Alaska Icebreaker Cruise
Day 1

Nome, Alaska

Nestled beside the Bering Strait on the western edge of Alaska, Nome presents the enchanting allure of an ancient gold-mining community amidst breathtaking wilderness. Meandering through the vibrantly painted houses, you'll uncover the enduring influence of pioneering heritage embedded in local customs. The residents sustain their livelihood through hands-on work by engaging in activities such as fishing, reindeer husbandry, and sledge racing. The expansive plains surrounding the area offer captivating viewpoints for observing the diverse Arctic wildlife.

Embarkation from 16:00 to 17:00

Departure at 18:00

Sailing in the beaufort sea PONANT
Days 2-8

Exploring The Sea Ice of the Beaufort Sea

Lying along the northern shores of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea has long been regarded with trepidation due to its harsh climatic conditions. Enveloped in a dense ice cover for most of the year and remaining uncharted until 1914, this sector of the Arctic Ocean, christened in tribute to the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, promises to unveil its stunning icy panoramas. With a touch of good fortune, you might encounter polar bears along the way, as this region is renowned as the habitat of the Arctic's majestic rulers.

Magnetic North Pole
Day 9

The Quest for the Magnetic North Pole

Serving as the point where the field lines of Earth's magnetic field converge, the Magnetic North Pole exerts a magnetic pull on the compass needle. Unlike the Geographic North Pole, which stands as the Earth's northernmost fixed point and signifies the intersection of the globe's rotation axis with the Earth's surface, the Magnetic North Pole is in constant motion. Its movement is intricately tied to the Earth's magnetic field, originating in its outer core molten metal, subject to convection movements. Initially pinpointed 1831 in the Canadian Arctic, it has shifted towards Siberia, progressively drawing closer to the Geographic North Pole. 

Northe Pole Cruises on Le Commandant Charcot
Day 10

Navigating the sea ice towards the Geographic North Pole

Enjoy a day of sailing, watching the vast expanses of ice drift past as we approach the Geographic North Pole. Enjoy an outdoor hot pool or savour the view from the ship's relaxation area with an indoor pool or sauna.

Geographic North Pole PONANT
Day 11

The Geographic North Pole

Marked by a latitude of 90° North, the Geographic North Pole occupies a pivotal position on Earth's rotational axis, intersecting all meridians. Enveloped in darkness for half of the year and bathed in sunlight for six months, this legendary location, perpetually cloaked in ice and distanced from any landmass, has captivated generations of explorers. Historically, only a select few individuals have reached this elusive point—an achievement now within your grasp aboard Le Commandant Charcot.

Sea ice in the Arctic PONANT
Days 12-15

Navigating the sea ice towards Svalbard

Witness the unparalleled thrill of sailing into the heart of the ice floe, an expansive canvas of untouched, pristine ice. The landscapes unfold constantly, evolving from a serene and level wilderness to a dynamic array of ice formations, leading to open water passages. Your vessel will gracefully traverse these naturally occurring channels, navigating through areas where the frozen layer is at its thinnest.

This promises you the opportunity to immerse yourself in magical maritime moments amidst drifting sea ice. Additionally, these ventures often unveil encounters with unique fauna intricately linked to the ice floe, adding an extra layer of fascination to your journey.

Nordaust-Svalbard PONANT
Day 16

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 17

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 and 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 18

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 19

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.

Isfjord Svalbard
Day 20

Isfjord

The expansive Isfjorden stands as one of the primary fjords in Svalbard, its various branches extending into the heart of Spitsbergen. Nestled deep within the Billejforden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier boasts a majestic ice front nearly 5 km wide, rendering it one of the most spectacular glaciers in the Svalbard Archipelago.

Longyearbyen
Day 21

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.

Disembarkation at 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 exclusive 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.

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