Unexplored Antarctica Between Two Continents

Ushuaia - Hobart

Antarctica
January
28 Nights

Choose Your Departure Date

Antarctic Circle Cruises landscape in Antarctica from a cruise ship
Ushuaia - Hobart
Jan 16 2026 - Feb 14 2026
28 Nights

Price from per person

£38,340

Cruise Overview

As we set sail aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the names of legendary explorers like Charcot, Bellingshausen, Amundsen, and others resonate throughout our journey. With its remarkable ability to navigate deep into the icy heart of Antarctica, Le Commandant Charcot offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to trace the paths of these Antarctic pioneers on an extraordinary half-circumnavigation from the southern tip of the American continent to Australia.

Our adventure will lead us to the very edges of the known world, where time seems to stand still and the horizon stretches endlessly, revealing surreal landscapes and teeming wildlife. From the storied southern seas of Bellingshausen and Amundsen to the remote and enigmatic Marie Byrd Land, our expedition will delve into some of the planet's most unexplored and isolated territories.

We'll traverse the iconic Ross Sea, the largest marine protected area in the world and a sanctuary for remarkable wildlife such as Antarctic petrels, whales, orcas, seals, and penguins. Along our journey, we'll encounter breathtaking natural marvels like the Drygalski Glacier, the expansive Ross Ice Shelf, and the grand Witkins and Getz ice shelves.

Unexplored Antarctica between Two Continents Map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Join Jonathan Shackleton, descendant of Sir Ernest Shackleton and esteemed lecturer and guide, offering rich historical insights throughout the journey.
  • Explore little-known islands such as Charcot Island and the Islands of Marie Byrd Land, uncovering the fascinating history of Antarctic exploration.
  • Visit the historic Bay of Whales, once a base for Roald Amundsen's victorious 1911 expedition to the South Pole.
  • Cross three southern seas – Bellingshausen, Amundsen, and Ross – and enjoy thrilling outings and shore visits led by experienced naturalist-guides aboard zodiacs.
  • Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from crabeater, leopard, and Weddell seals to Adelie penguins and majestic humpback whales and orcas.
  • Experience the pristine wilderness of Macquarie Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its biodiversity.
  • Engage in various activities such as kayaking, hiking, or snowshoeing, discovering endless adventure opportunities.
  • Extend your exploration with a half-circumnavigation of the northern part of the White Continent, continuing your journey beyond Antarctica's borders. Explore the second part of this extraordinary expedition for further discovery.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on a half-circumnavigation of Antarctica.

Ushuaia harbour in Argentina
Day 1

Ushuaia

Ushuaia, often referred to as the "End of the World," is a charming city nestled on the southern tip of Argentina. It is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery, adventurous spirit, and unique cultural heritage.

Despite its remote location, Ushuaia is a vibrant and lively city, with a thriving culinary scene, eclectic shops, and lively nightlife. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by exploring museums, attending traditional performances, and sampling regional delicacies.

Embarkation from 16:00 to 17:00

Departure at 18:00

sunset over the Drake Passage Antarctica
Days 2 -3

Crossing the Drake Passage

For travelers embarking on expeditions to Antarctica, crossing the Drake Passage is an exhilarating experience. While the journey can be rough at times, it offers a sense of adventure and anticipation as adventurers make their way to the frozen continent. Many expedition cruises include lectures and activities during the crossing, providing passengers with opportunities to learn about the wildlife, geology, and history of the region.

Crossing the Polar Circle - Ponant
Day 4

Crossing Antarctic Polar Circle

Should the weather permit, we'll embark on a remarkable journey as we cross the legendary Antarctic Polar Circle, positioned at 66°33' south of the Equator. This mythical boundary marks the southernmost point where the midnight sun can be observed during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun shines continuously above the horizon for a full 24 hours at least once each year. Crossing this boundary, an adventure reserved for a select few, promises to be a truly unforgettable highlight of your polar cruise experience.

Charcot Island - Ponant
Day 5

Exploration of Charcot Island

Days 6-8

Bellingshausen Sea

Spanning from the western reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula to the expansive Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea derives its name from the Russian admiral and explorer who laid eyes on mainland Antarctica in 1820, marking a significant moment in exploration history. Enveloping two of Antarctica's largest islands, Alexander Island and Thurston Island, this sea offers a captivating landscape of ice floes, sea ice blocks, and grand icebergs for exploration. Along its coastal areas, colonies of emperor penguins thrive, adding to the region's allure. Depending on the timing of the southern summer months, you may have the privilege of observing solitary adults, maturing adolescents, or newly independent young adults among these majestic creatures, creating a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

 

Amundsen sea
Day 9

Amundsen Sea

The Amundsen Sea, situated in the Southern Ocean, is a vast expanse of water bordered by West Antarctica, including the Antarctic Peninsula and Marie Byrd Land. Named after the famed Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, this sea holds a significant place in polar exploration history.

Stretching from the western Antarctic Peninsula to the Ross Ice Shelf, the Amundsen Sea is characterized by its icy waters and floating ice shelves. It is known for its immense icebergs, towering glaciers, and expansive ice fields, making it a captivating yet challenging environment to navigate

Marie Byrd Land
Days 10 -16

Marie Byrd Land Exploration

Covering an area of approximately 620,000 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers), Marie Byrd Land is one of the least visited and most inaccessible regions of Antarctica. Its landscape is dominated by the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which blankets much of the landmass and extends out into the surrounding sea as floating ice shelves.

The exploration of Marie Byrd Land has been limited due to its remote location and challenging environmental conditions. However, scientific research expeditions continue to uncover valuable information about the region's geology, glaciology, and climate dynamics, contributing to our understanding of Antarctica's role in the Earth's climate system.

Overall, Marie Byrd Land remains a pristine and mysterious wilderness, offering a glimpse into the awe-inspiring beauty and scientific importance of Antarctica's vast and remote interior.

Icebreaker cruise to the north pole
Day 17

Crossing the International Date Line 

Embarking on our voyage, we'll have the extraordinary chance to cross the International Date Line, a fascinating concept that spans the Earth's surface along the 180th meridian in the vast Pacific Ocean. As we navigate this symbolic boundary, the Earth's curvature and the need for standardized time meridians will prompt us to adjust our dates accordingly. If we're journeying westward, we'll add a day to our expected date; conversely, when heading eastward, we'll subtract a day. This intriguing paradox, observed by the crews of Magellan during their historic circumnavigation, has sparked curiosity and inspired literary works such as Jules Verne's iconic novel "Around the World in Eighty Days."

ross sea
Days 18-21

Exploring Ross Sea

Renowned as "the last ocean," this expansive bay running along the edge of Antarctica between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land holds a special place in scientific circles worldwide. In a landmark move in 2016, the Ross Sea was designated as the world's largest marine protected area, marking a significant step in preserving its pristine marine ecosystem. This region has been the starting point for countless historic expeditions to the South Pole, most notably by James Clark Ross in the 19th century. Ross's exploration revealed the imposing barrier of a massive ice shelf extending into the open sea, from which colossal icebergs break off.

Weather and ice conditions permitting, our voyage will offer opportunities to explore several iconic sites in the region. Among the potential ports of call, Cape Adare, situated at the northernmost point of the Borchgrevink Coast, hosts one of the world's largest colonies of Adelie penguins. We'll also endeavor to visit Terra Nova Bay, home to the breathtaking Drygalski Ice Tongue. This ancient ice formation, over 4,000 years old, stretches an impressive 70 km (43 miles) from the David glacier into the sea, reaching a width of 24 km (15 miles) at its widest point.

Ponant - penguin
Day 22

Balleny Islands

These remote islands are named after English mariner John Balleny, who first sighted them in 1839 during a sealing expedition. The archipelago consists of four main islands: Young, Buckle, Sturge, and Sabrina, along with several smaller islets and rocks.

Characterized by rugged and glaciated terrain, the Balleny Islands are predominantly covered in ice and snow, with towering cliffs rising abruptly from the sea. The islands are uninhabited and devoid of permanent human presence, making them a pristine and untouched wilderness.

Despite their harsh and remote environment, the Balleny Islands are home to diverse wildlife, including seabirds such as albatrosses, petrels, and skuas. Marine mammals such as seals and whales also frequent the surrounding waters, attracted by the nutrient-rich currents that flow through the region.

Sauna Le Commandant Charcot
Days 23-25

At sea onboard Le Commandant Charcot

Engage with onboard lectures and discussions led by renowned specialists, delving deep into the mysteries of the polar regions. From climate dynamics to wildlife conservation, these sessions provide unique insights into the delicate ecosystems of the poles. Join hands in advancing scientific research with PONANT, contributing to our collective understanding of these remote and captivating destinations.

Together, let us embark on a journey of exploration and enlightenment, as we uncover the secrets hidden within these mesmerizing polar landscapes.

Adelie penguins on an iceberg in Antarctica
Day 26

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island, located in the Southern Ocean, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most isolated islands in the world. Situated approximately halfway between Antarctica and New Zealand, it is part of the Australian state of Tasmania. The island is characterized by its rugged terrain, dramatic cliffs, and diverse wildlife.

Covering an area of about 128 square kilometers, Macquarie Island is primarily composed of oceanic crust uplifted by tectonic activity. Its landscape features rolling hills, rocky plateaus, and coastal cliffs that rise steeply from the surrounding sea.

While access to the island is restricted, those who have the opportunity to visit are rewarded with breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and a profound sense of isolation in one of the world's most remote and pristine environments.

indoor pool and relaxation area
Days 27-29

At sea onboard Le Commandant Charcot

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships.

Hobart
Day 30

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, Australia, is nestled at the foot of Mount Wellington and overlooks the sparkling waters of the Derwent River. With its charming blend of colonial architecture, vibrant arts scene, and natural beauty, Hobart offers a unique blend of historical charm and modern sophistication.

The city's rich maritime history is evident in its well-preserved historic waterfront precinct, where 19th-century warehouses have been transformed into trendy restaurants, cafes, and galleries. Salamanca Place, lined with sandstone buildings, is particularly famous for its bustling Saturday market, where locals and visitors alike gather to browse artisanal crafts, fresh produce, and gourmet delights.

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.

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

1

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.

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