Northern Adventures With PONANT

A rare opportunity to explore the North Pole, wrapped in the finery of new ship Le Commandant Charcot.

By Robb Report Staff 31/03/2022

Travelling to the ends of the earth is infinitely more luxurious with French adventurers PONANT.

Long a source of allure, inspiration and fascination, the Geographic North Pole is now accessible thanks to the tourer’s state-of-the-art new vessel, Le Commandant Charcot. Taking its name from the esteemed explorer, scientist and humanist Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s first hybrid-electric luxury polar exploration vessel, one powered by liquefied natural gas and the first in the world to achieve a PC2 polar class hull-rating.

Following in the footsteps of those who once traversed and surveyed these elusive parts, the 15-night ‘Geographical North Pole’ itinerary sets out from Norway’s Longyearbyen – the northernmost territorial capital on the planet.

From here, Le Commandant Charcot pushes further north into even icier waters – taking in millennia-year-old glaciers, rugged mountains and hollowed-out fjords as it passes along the wonderous coast of Svalbard and past Spitsbergen, a final piece of land before the Arctic ice floe.

After the five days afloat – five incredible days lost to truly unique and emotive aquatic vistas – Le Commandant Charcot arrives at 90-degrees North latitude, that is, the Geographic North Pole.

Here, modern sailors will become absorbed in the wonders of what remains a mythical site – basking in the remote calm that has fascinated generations of explorers.

The vessel then turns on its bow and returns to Norway, passing through the same notable and impressive landscapes, arriving back in port after 15 days at sea.

The time at sea enables guests an opportunity to explore and engage Le Commandant Charcot’s wealth of luxury amenities, activities and experiences.

Feel the surprising sensations of true cold-water immersion, opt for a guided kayak tour or try your hand at ice fishing under the guidance of naturalist guides. Each shore landing means a chance to hike or snowshoe — with a range of hikes at different fitness levels — allowing you to experience areas few have gone before. Alternatively, become a ‘citizen scientist’ and assist researchers taking part in turbidity studies while helping to also improve knowledge of the region’s biodiversity, marine life or glaciology.

For some personal introspection, the 430sqm wellness lounge comes complete with spa, massage, beauty, nail and hair capabilities.

If pampering isn’t central to the travel plans, try working up a sweat at the sauna before cooling off in the ‘Snow Room’. A heated indoor swimming pool offers counter-current swimming and comes aligned to a gym replete with Technogym machines and dedicated trainers. There is also sports coaches and group fitness classes as well as yoga, Pilates, active walking and meditation.

Accommodation aboard Le Commandant Charcot is framed in French finery — the interiors the work of designers Jean-Philippe Nuel and Jean-Michel Wilmotte and prove not only class-leading, but tastefully luxurious and warming.

Of the various 123 staterooms and suites – each a designer driven cocoon of comfort, the elevated notion of what’s offered neatly surmised and highlighted by the impeccable 115sqm Owner’s Suite.

Boasting terrace inclusive of outdoor spa, voluminous main dining and lounge area as well as generous and appealing bedroom, dressing room, bathroom, private butler service as well as 24-hour room service, it is a standout among the vessel’s set.

Elsewhere, and with slightly more space at hand, the new Duplex Suites are split over two levels and include a secluded terrace and private spa — the ultimate PONANT experience. Note all accommodations offer private balconies as well as many varied inclusions.

When it comes to dining, things are equally heightened thanks to menus and eateries from Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, as well as various bars (as well as a cigar lounge) in which to take in a tipple and the stunning scenery.

Le Commandant Charcot ultimately proves a peerless polar experience – one that furthers the already revered PONANT name.

The Geographic North Pole itinerary from PONANT starts at $44,500. Learn more about Le Commandant Charcot and its various itineraries via le-commandant-charcot.com; 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or email reservations.aus@ponant.com

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