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Le Commandant Charcot - 270 Guests

The Emperor Penguins Of Weddell Sea

Punta Arenas - Ushuaia

The theatre of the greatest expeditions, a refuge for the rarest wildlife and an endless ice desert, the Weddell Sea promises you intense emotions during a voyage of exploration aboard Le Commandant Charcot, an enveloping cocoon that is wide open onto the exterior polar setting. This place is home to emperor penguins, majestic birds endemic to the Antarctic, rarely observed and only in the most southern latitudes. The ultimate quest and the promise of all-new, unforgettable encounters.
The ultimate challenge of this exploration is the search for and the encounter with their majesties, the emperor penguins. In this season, as the winter gradually makes way for the southern spring, you will perhaps witness a magical show - that of the largest penguins in the world waddling along the ice floe or the younger penguins learning to swim. It is rare to discover their elegance, so the encounter will be priceless.
During your exploration of the Weddell Sea, you will follow in the footsteps of the great polar epics like that of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Our passionate naturalists will also share the history of the gigantic tabular icebergs with you, including their birth in the heart of the immense Larsen Ice Shelf. The ice here boasts all possible shades and the white takes different forms in the surrounding reliefs. Let yourself be guided and set off on an adventure into the heart of incredible and unexpected nature. Your Captain and the expert naturalists humbly seize these opportunities to give you an experience that will remain unique.

It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon the Weddell Sea; welcome to an extraordinary universe with compelling appeal.




  • An all-new exploration into the almost inaccessible Weddell Sea, in search of majestic emperor penguins, amidst immaculate and dreamlike landscapes.
  • Outings and shore visits in a zodiac inflatable with a reinforced team of naturalist guides.
  • Conferences and information meetings on board with our passionate experts, specialists in the fauna, flora and history of the polar regions.
  • Landscapes: immense glaciers, table top icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floes.
  • Wildlife: the possibility to observe emperor, Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins; Ross, leopard and crabeater seals; humpback, Minke whales and orcas.
  • Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit, participative science. Discover all the activities in the “Ponant Activities” tab.
  • For your comfort, your cruise package includes an overnight in Santiago the day before embarkation, transfers and flights Santiago/Punta Arenas and Ushuaia/Santiago (for details, see the 'included in your cruise' tab).


Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Nov 02, 2023Nov 17, 202322,330 23,681
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Nov 02, 2023Nov 17, 202322,330 23,681



Embarkation 03/11/2023 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 03/11/2023 at 18:00

Capital of the Magallanes Region and of the Chilean Antarctic, this handsome port city will charm you with its history and traditions. Once inhabited by several indigenous tribes, Punta Arenas has maintained an architectural style that remains true to its heritage.

Crossing the Drake Passage

Arrival 04/11/2023
Departure 05/11/2023

Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the zodiac outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

The Weddell Sea exploration

Arrival 06/11/2023
Departure 13/11/2023

Impassable, extreme and captivating: this is the best way to describe the Weddell Sea, much of which is covered by a layer of thick, densely packed ice. It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon this sea. Polar exploration finds its full meaning here. Heading towards the South is a real quest, with the promise of highly-charged encounters with the continent’s endemic fauna. This is the kingdom of the emperor penguin, the largest penguin in the world, renowned for its elegance. Unlike other penguins that live on the rocks, the emperor nests on the ice floe which it needs for its reproductive cycle. It is therefore on the ice floe that you will be able to observe it walking around with its characteristic gait. In this southern sea, where the ice changes and is transformed constantly, there is never any monotony. The new reliefs and new colours ensure never-ending wonderment. You will sail into the heart of the immaculate ice floe, which is dislocated or densely packed, into an alley of icebergs. Among them are immense blocks of ice, tabular icebergs, that drift and illuminate the ocean with their cerulean blue haloes. Aboard, on shore, on the ice, you will be as close as possible to the colonies of Adelie penguins, Weddell seals, Mink whales, orcas, snow petrels.… With a little luck, you will get a glimpse of a rare Ross seal with its silver pelage or of emperor penguins, waddling along the edge of the ice floe. A sight that is as fascinating as it is emotional.

North Antarctic Peninsula

Arrival 14/11/2023
Departure 14/11/2023

Throughout your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld’s ship, which was trapped by the ice during an important scientific expedition in 1902. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great many leopard seals.

Crossing the Drake Passage

Arrival 15/11/2023
Departure 16/11/2023

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to connect Antarctica to South America. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.


Arrival 17/11/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 17/11/2023 at 08:00

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…

Le Commandant Charcot (Luxury Expedition, 270-guests)

Le Commandant-Charcot welcomes you to an intimate and refined atmosphere. Equipped with just 135 staterooms including 31 suites with balconies and outside views, the ship offers outstanding gastronomy in its two restaurants, relaxation in the indoor pool surrounded by its winter garden, relaxation in the well-being area with sauna and Snow Room... Like on a private yacht, each of our guests is unique.

(Click image to view Ship details)


Overnight in Santiago + flight Santiago/Punta Arenas + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Santiago

For your serenity, PONANT has organised the following included programme for you, which starts the day prior to embarkation.

The day before embarkation – Santiago

  • Transfer from airport to PONANT selected hotel.
  • In order to organise your transfer, please inform your travel agent 60 days before departure, your flight number as well as your arrival time and day.
  • Meet and greet at the hotel by our local representative. Check-in from late morning.
  • Lunch on your own and time at leisure in the afternoon.
  • Dinner.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Embarkation Day – Santiago/Punta Arenas

  • A light morning breakfast will be served before leaving for the airport for your Santiago/Punta Arenas flight.
  • Transfer to the airport.
  • Flight Santiago/Punta Arenas selected by PONANT in economy class.
  • Seats in business class may be available, please contact your travel agent.Approximate flight duration: 3 hours
  • Meet and greet at Punta Arenas airport (English-speaking assistance).
  • Transfer to Le Commandant-Charcot.
  • Embarkation.

– Cruise on board your ship –

Disembarkation Day – Ushuaia/Santiago

  • Disembarkation.
  • Meet and greet at the port (English-speaking assistance).
  • Transfer to the airport in time for check-in of the flight Ushuaia/Santiago selected by PONANT in economy class.
  • Approximate flight duration: 3 hours
  • Seats in business class may be available, please contact your travel agent.

It is highly recommended to have an international inbound flight the day after PONANT selected flight.

Your programme includes:

  • Transfer from airport upon flight arrival.
  • 1-night accommodation in a 5* hotel the night before embarkation.
  • Your hotel will be confirmed few weeks before your cruise.
  • Early check-in available from late morning.
  • Hospitality desk at the hotel in Santiago.
  • Return flight Santiago/Punta Arenas and Ushuaia/Santiago selected by PONANT, in economy class.
  • Seats in business class may be available, please contact your travel agent.
  • Meals as mentioned in the programme and beverage package.
  • Transfers as mentioned in the programme.

Your programme does not include:

  • Tips for the local guide.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Other meals and services not mentioned in the programme.

Please note:

  • The local currency is the Chilean Peso. You will be able to make most of your purchases in USD (in small denominations) or by credit card, accepted in most hotels, shopping centres and boutiques. You will also be able to retrieve Pesos from the ATM’s.
  • Summer season in Santiago: temperatures may be very hot, but often between 68 °F (20 °C) and 95 °F (35 °C).
  • Summer season in Ushuaia: temperatures vary between 41 °F (5 °C) and 65 °F (15 °C)
  • We recommend you wear warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
  • If case PONANT has not received your full flight details, services start at the hotel in time for check-in.

Programme is subject to change.
To know your PONANT flight schedule, please contact your travel agent; it is also indicated on your electronic ticket included in your travel documents.


Experience the unrivalled sensations of immersion in cold water. Whether you take a polar plunge in a swimsuit or a dip in a dry-suit* that allows you to float, you will enjoy a unique experience in an exceptional setting, surrounded by ice. Feel intense thrills and enjoy the energy boost you get as your body warms back up after the swim!

*with limited places available


You will make the most of the sailing opportunities and weather and ice conditions to glide along on the clear waters or between the ice floes and get as close as possible to the immaculate nature of the poles. Supervised by licenced expert guides, you will try your hand in a kayak- a craft favoured by the Inuits for at least 4,000 years.  The kayak was initially used for hunting and fishing; for you, it will be a means of making the most of your adventure on the White Continent or in the Far North.*

*with limited places available


Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with the most modern oceanographic equipment and all the facilities necessary to support a scientific team in its research. Guided by naturalists trained in participatory science, you will have the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the global scientific effort. Depending on the opportunities provided by the sailing, weather and ice conditions, you will be able to assist research by taking part in a turbidity study using a Secchi disk, counting wildlife, studying the state of the pack ice or taking water samples. Thanks to simple protocols, you’ll be able to discover part of the scientific adventure in the polar regions and contribute to improving the knowledge of biodiversity, marine mammals or glaciology and better understand climate/ecosystem/man interactions.


Aboard Le Commandant Charcot, depending on the opportunities provided by the sailing, weather and ice conditions, a fleet of 14 zodiacs expedition dinghies will be used for outings and shore visits. Getting closer to a glacier calving huge icebergs, setting foot on a sheet of ice floe, observing the fauna up close: so many unforgettable moments that very few people will ever have the chance of experiencing in these regions that are hostile to man and home to unique wildlife.


During shore landings, depending on the ecological resilience of the biome, we will propose hikes at different levels, in the company of your experienced naturalist guides. From a simple stroll along the coast to walks lasting several hours to reach particular viewpoints or historical sites, you will make the most of the opportunities provided by the weather and ice conditions. When the itineraries allow, you’ll put on snowshoes* to set off like the explorers of old and discover areas that have barely known Man.

*with limited places available


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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person and subject to change.