Unexplored East Antarctica & French Southern Lands

Hobart - Cape Town

Antarctica, Australia
February
28 Nights

Choose Your Departure Date

le commandant charcot icebreaker cruise to the north pole
Hobart - Cape Town
Feb 17 2026 - March 17 2026
28 Nights

Price from per person

£37,890

Cruise Overview

Embark on an extraordinary 29-day half-circumnavigation of Antarctica aboard Le Commandant Charcot, traversing from Tasmania to the southern tip of Africa. This unparalleled journey offers a captivating exploration of East Antarctica, a realm of mythical expeditions and untamed wildlife.

Starting from Hobart, Tasmania, embark on a polar adventure to uncover the natural wonders of this remote territory. Navigate through coastal ice floes, drifting icebergs, and the vast polar icecap of East Antarctica, passing by Australian research stations along the way.

Experience the mesmerizing landscapes of Antarctica, from towering ice mountains to pristine ice floes bustling with Adelie penguins and majestic humpback whales. As you venture into uncharted waters, immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery and uncover the secrets of this frozen wilderness.

Follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers like Jules Dumont d’Urville and Douglas Mawson, while our expert team shares their knowledge of the region's history and wildlife.

Experience the thrill of exploration as Le Commandant Charcot navigates through the eastern side of the White Continent, revealing sparkling ice floes, monumental ice shelves, and spectacular polar landscapes. This unforgettable journey offers a unique opportunity to witness the unparalleled beauty of Antarctica in all its splendor.

Unexplored East Antarctica & French Southern Lands - map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Embark on an all-new half-circumnavigation of the eastern Antarctic, immersing yourself in the heart of the ice and the protected zones of the White Continent, between the Pacific, Southern, and Indian Oceans.
  • Follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers and sailors such as Jules Dumont-d’Urville, Marc Marion Dufresne, James Cook, and Douglas Mawson, reliving their epic journeys.
  • On board Le Commandant Charcot, an expedition vessel designed to connect with the environment, take time to explore and observe amidst the fragile landscapes and encountered species.
  • Enjoy outings and shore visits in a zodiac inflatable, led by a team of experienced naturalist guides.
  • Attend lectures on board, led by passionate experts specializing in the fauna, flora, and history of the polar regions.
  • Engage in a variety of activities in a winter setting, including hiking, snowshoeing, shore visits on the ice, polar plunges, and kayaking.
  • Discover the vast expanse of the world's largest polar icecap, the Inlandsis in East Antarctica, stretching over 3,000 meters (almost 10,000 feet) deep, offering a sense of boundless expansiveness.
  • Encounter humpback whales, seals, orcas, various penguin species (emperor, Gentoo, Adelie, chinstrap, and macaroni), and light-mantled albatrosses.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on a half-circumnavigation of Antarctica

Hobart
Day 1

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.

Embarkation from 16:00 to 17:00

Departure at 18:00

Days 2 - 5

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 land
Days 6-7 

Adelie Land

Adélie Land, situated in East Antarctica, is a region teeming with icy wonders and untamed beauty. Named after the distinctive Adélie penguin, this remote land is characterized by vast expanses of ice, towering glaciers, and rugged mountain ranges. Despite its harsh and unforgiving environment, Adélie Land is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including seals, seabirds, and other Antarctic species.

The landscape of Adélie Land is dominated by immense ice shelves and icebergs, which create a mesmerizing and otherworldly backdrop. Glaciers carve through the terrain, shaping valleys and fjords, while jagged peaks rise majestically against the stark polar sky. The region's coastline is dotted with rocky outcrops and cliffs, providing sanctuary for nesting seabirds and seals.

Day 8 

Magnetic South Pole

The Magnetic South Pole, located in Antarctica, holds a scientific intrigue. Unlike the geographic South Pole, which marks the southernmost point on Earth's axis of rotation, the Magnetic South Pole is where the planet's magnetic field points vertically downward. This phenomenon creates a unique and enigmatic region that has fascinated explorers and scientists for centuries.

Situated beneath the icy expanse of Antarctica, the Magnetic South Pole is constantly shifting and migrating due to fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field. This dynamic nature adds to its mystique, making it a subject of ongoing study and exploration.

Visiting the Magnetic South Pole offers a glimpse into the complex workings of Earth's magnetic field and its impact on navigation, communication, and scientific research.

Adelie land
Days 9-10 

Adelie Land

The landscape of Adélie Land is dominated by glaciers, icebergs, and towering ice shelves that extend into the Southern Ocean. These massive ice formations have been sculpted over millennia by the relentless forces of wind, ice, and sea, creating a breathtaking and otherworldly environment.

In addition to its natural wonders, Adélie Land is also of great scientific importance. The region is home to several research stations operated by countries participating in the Antarctic Treaty System. These stations support a wide range of scientific research, including studies on climate change, glaciology, biology, and astronomy.

Exploring Adélie Land is a challenging endeavor, as the harsh climate and rugged terrain present numerous obstacles. However, for those who venture to this remote corner of the world, the rewards are immense. Visitors are treated to stunning vistas of ice-covered mountains, pristine wilderness, and an abundance of wildlife.

Wilkes Land
Day 11-12

Wilkes Land

Wilkes Land, located in East Antarctica, is one of the largest and most remote regions of the continent, spanning an area of approximately 1.5 million square kilometers (580,000 square miles). Named after the American naval officer Charles Wilkes, who led the United States Exploring Expedition in the 1830s, this expansive territory is characterized by vast ice sheets, towering mountain ranges, and expansive glaciers.

The landscape of Wilkes Land is dominated by the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which covers much of the region and extends for thousands of kilometers inland. This ice sheet is one of the largest in the world and contains a significant portion of the Earth's freshwater reserves. In addition to the ice sheet, Wilkes Land is home to several notable features, including the massive and enigmatic Aurora Subglacial Basin, which is one of the largest known subglacial basins in Antarctica.

Despite its harsh and remote environment, Wilkes Land is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including various species of seals, seabirds, and penguins. The region's coastal areas provide important breeding grounds for these animals, while the surrounding seas are rich in marine life, including krill, which forms the basis of the Antarctic food chain.

Le Commandant Charcot Luxury Icebreaker Cruise
Day 13

Sailing along the Shackleton Shelf

Sailing along the Shackleton Ice Shelf entails navigating along the edge of a massive ice shelf named after the renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. This shelf extends from the coast of Antarctica into the surrounding ocean, forming a formidable barrier between the frozen continent and the open sea. As one sails along its edge, they are treated to breathtaking views of towering ice cliffs, mesmerizing ice formations, and the vast expanse of the Antarctic landscape.

For explorers and adventurers, sailing along the Shackleton Ice Shelf offers a profound experience of the Antarctic wilderness. It is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the pristine beauty of the continent while retracing the footsteps of Shackleton and other polar pioneers who ventured into these icy realms in pursuit of discovery and exploration.

Emperor Penguins
Days 14 -16

Queen Mary Land

Queen Mary Land, nestled between Cape Filchner and Cape Hordern on the eastern coast of Antarctica. This rugged terrain, first sighted during Douglas Mawson's historic Antarctic expedition in 1912, tells tales of legendary explorations. Towering ice mountains stand like majestic sculptures, glistening in the southern sunlight, while glaciers carve their path like flowing rivers of glass, creating magnificent landscapes. Amidst this frozen realm, colonies of emperor penguins gather along the shores, and leopard seals lounge on the ice floes, accompanied by the graceful presence of whales gliding through the icy waters.

Sauna Le Commandant Charcot
Days 17- 19

At sea onboard Le Commandant Charcot

Set sail aboard Le Commandant Charcot and immerse yourself in a world of extraordinary amenities during days at sea. From luxurious spa treatments to gourmet dining experiences, indulge in unparalleled comfort and relaxation as you traverse icy waters inaccessible to ordinary ships. Unwind in the onboard sauna, savor exquisite cuisine, and partake in enriching activities, making every moment at sea an unforgettable journey.

elephant seal
Days 20 - 21

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

In the vast expanse of the Antarctic region, spanning between the 37th and 50th parallels south, lies the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, encompassing the largest emerged lands in the southern Indian Ocean, from the Crozet archipelago to the Kerguelen Islands. Following the footsteps of renowned European explorers such as Julien Crozet, Marc Marion Dufresne, and James Cook, who ventured in search of Terra Australis Incognita, you'll embark on an expedition to explore these volcanic territories, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These lands serve as sanctuaries of biodiversity and provide unique terrain for scientific research.

Here, majestic icebergs loom like fleeting sculptures, bearing witness to the passage of time, while king penguins and elephant seals, the reigning inhabitants of these harsh environments, inhabit the shores in vast colonies.

Theatre on Le Commandant Charcot
Day 22

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.

elephant seal
Days 23

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF) are a group of remote islands in the southern Indian Ocean and the Antarctic. They are a French overseas territory, comprising several islands and archipelagos, including the Kerguelen Islands, the Crozet Islands, the Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands, and the Adélie Land in Antarctica. These territories are known for their unique ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and important scientific research conducted there. The TAAF are managed by a commissioner appointed by the French government and are primarily used for scientific research, conservation, and monitoring of the environment and biodiversity.

Indoor swimming pool on Le Commandant Charcot PONANT-Gilles Trillard
Days 24 - 28

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.

Cape Town
Day 29

Cape Town

Cape Town, nestled at the southern tip of South Africa, captivates with its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history. Towering over the city is the iconic Table Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and coastline. The city's diverse neighborhoods showcase a blend of colonial and modern architecture, bustling markets, and lively streets filled with a mix of local and international flavors.

The historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a bustling hub of activity, boasts an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, all set against the backdrop of the picturesque harbor. Nearby, the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood, with its cobblestone streets and brightly painted houses, provides a glimpse into Cape Town's multicultural heritage.

Cape Town's rich history is reflected in its landmarks, such as the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa, and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years during the apartheid era. Visitors can also explore the vibrant street art scene in the city's neighbourhoods, showcasing the creativity and resilience of its people.

Disembarkation: 8am

 

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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