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  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Paris
  • Champagne
  • Svalbard
  • Geographic North Pole
  • Scoresby Sund
  • Reykjavík

20 Days Expedition Voyage
  • Departing:
  • 24 Sep 2024 On Request

Follow in the footsteps of great explorers on this rare expedition to the Geographic North Pole. On board the world’s first luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot, this breathtaking voyage delves deep into the scenic wonderland of the Arctic region and includes visits to Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, reaching the northernmost point of our planet. We’ll begin our adventure with a visit to Paris and Champagne and then travel in absolute luxury aboard the very first hybrid electric polar exploration ship. Image above: PONANT-Nath Michel.


Tour Manager & Doctor - Dr Alison Burke

Your Accompanying Tour Manager & Doctor For This Journey Is Dr Alison Burke

We arrive in Paris the early afternoon and settle into the original palace hotel in the heart of the City of Light, Le Meurice Hotel. The rest of the day is yours to spend how you wish. Wander amongst the verdant blooms in the 17th Century Tuileries Gardens, discover the Louvre, or take a stroll along the Seine. Tonight, we celebrate our arrival with a welcome dinner in Le Meurice Hotel’s grand Salon Tuileries where we will meet our fellow polar explorers and Tour Host Team.

After breakfast, we settle back into our seats on a train to Reims in the heart of the Champagne region. Here, we explore the verdant vineyards and ancient terroir of this most famous of sparkling wine regions. Our day trip includes a visit to the historic Vranken Pommery Champagne House where we will taste multiple vintages and sit down to a memorable lunch featuring the best local produce. We return to Paris mid-afternoon and enjoy dinner at the hotel or a choice of the best local restaurants.

This morning we depart Paris and embark on a chartered flight to Longyearbyen. The capital of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, it is one of the northernmost inhabited regions in the world. It is here in this place of breathtaking beauty that we board our ship, Ponant’s luxury expedition icebreaker, Le Commandant Charcot, for our polar adventure. Once settled in, the evening will be ours to dine at leisure.

Today we awake to the wonders of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. As we sail past the last landmass before the Arctic ice floe, we will enjoy an unrivalled vista of the rugged coastline dotted with fjords and teeming with birdlife. Witness mountain peaks rising above ancient glaciers from the comfort of your balcony, a sublime panorama.

Enjoy the unique experience of sailing to the heart of the Arctic ice floe, a vast expanse of immaculate ice. The landscapes are constantly changing, shifting from a smooth, flat wilderness to a chaos of ice, then to channels of open water. 

Your ship will sail along these naturally open channels and through the areas where the frozen layer is thinnest, offering the chance to experience magical maritime moments in the midst of drifting sea ice. It will also often be an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe. On board, the team of up to 23 expedition experts including biologists, naturalists, engineers, glaciologists, and geologists will be on hand to share valuable information on these largely unexplored ecosystems.

Take in the magnificent views from the comfort of the Observation Lounge, the Main Lounge or the Promenade Deck. Take time to relax in one of the heated Blue Lagoon pools or lie back in the sunroom offering large external-facing windows. Celebrated chef Alain Ducasse and his team offer contemporary French cuisine of the highest standard at the three restaurants on board.

This morning we wake to the Geographic North Pole in the distance. This permanently ice-covered point lies on the earth’s rotational axis and has long been a focus for daring expeditions amongst the ice floes. Now for the first time you can follow these intrepid footsteps in the safety, and comfort afforded by Le Commandant Charcot. 

Today, weather permitting, we have the chance to disembark the ship for a range of activities:
— Accompanied by expert guides you can glide through the pristine Arctic waters by kayak, a vessel used by the Inuit people for over 4000 years. This experience affords the chance paddle amongst the ice floes.
— Another ancient Inuit custom, your guides will help find the perfect spot to cut a hole in the ice floe and fish using traditional methods. An enlightening experience for both novice and experienced anglers.
— Don snowshoes and trek where few have ever trekked, following the footsteps of explorers, and witnessing sights few people will ever have the chance to see.
— Intrepid travellers might want to try the polar plunge, descending into near freezing water in just your swimming costume. It’s an invigorating and energising experience that has been a rite of passage amongst polar travellers for decades.

After a day’s exploration, we return to our ship to relax and spend the evening at leisure.

Once again, we navigate the ice floes surrounding the Geographic North Pole on a journey toward Greenland. Enjoy the ships amenities at leisure. As we sail, we will view the largest national park in the world. 

Northeast Greenland National Park covers almost a quarter of the entire island including parts of the Greenland ice sheet. As we sail down the coast, we immerse ourselves in the spectacular beauty of the Arctic. With the rugged Greenland coastline in the distance, we cruise though ice sheets and past giant blue icebergs.

We sail into the epic natural wonder known as Scoresby Sund, named after explorer William Scoresby who mapped this giant fjord system in 1822. This wild untouched wilderness is full of dramatic contrasts, the deep blue of the water, the snow-covered jagged peaks, and silent icebergs. At Rode Fjord, the blues give way to the red iron cliffs. As our ship silently glides through these ancient waters, we can’t help but feel a profound sense of wonder.

On our second day in the Sund, we visit a remote Inuit settlement. Here we immerse ourselves in their cultures and customs, to discover the ancestral way of life of the last hunters of the polar region. Ittoqqortoormiit is one of the world’s most isolated communities, and our visit will be an enlightening experience about the people of the Arctic and the lives they lead in one of the least hospitable environments on the planet.

Today we make our way toward Denmark Strait while enjoying all the ship’s facilities. Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the Arctic. Together we will discover what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

Today we enter the Denmark Strait, a popular sea-lane and trade route since Vikings first discovered it in the 10th Century. The strait is famous for being a site of a legendary World War II sea battle. It’s also a stretch of water that’s extremely good for whale watching. Head for the bow to survey the seas for the Strait’s cetacean inhabitants.

Our epic journey to the top of the world comes to an end in the city of Reykjavik. Iceland’s capital is resplendent with natural wonders, designer stores and locavore eateries. Once we disembark the ship and check into our hotel, we have a choice of two unique Reykjavik experiences:
— Discover the region’s incredible geology and epic landscapes on the renowned Golden Circle Route. Our trip takes us to Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area. We then visit Fridheimar Farm where the local tomato Schnapps will be offered for tasting.
— The mineral-rich waters of theotherworldly Blue Lagoon give it a deep blue hue. The lagoon offers the chance to relax and rejuvinate after your exciting journey. There’s also an indoor pool and geothermal sauna on site. The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend as you wish, whether it’s strolling the streets of this fascinating city or taking advantage of a spa treatment at the hotel. 

Tonight, we gather at a renowned local restaurant for our farewell dinner.

After breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to our incredible adventure, and our new-found polar explorer friends.