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Le Commandant Charcot - 270 Guests

The Northwest Passage

25 Day Reykjavík - Nome, Alaska


Explore the expanse of the Arctic world during extraordinary polar odyssey from Iceland to Alaska, via the mythical Northwest Passage. The greatest explorers long coveted travelling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the Far North route before Roald Amundsen accomplished the feat during his expedition from 1903 to 1906. Although this crossing is now legendary, PONANT invites you to go even further, aboard Le Commandant Charcot, by sailing along a virtually unexplored maritime route.

Your immersion in the northern world will also lead you to encounter the Inuit people for special moments of sharing based on their traditions. In the heart of the ice or at the confluence of the currents, there where all is pristine and wild, nature reigns supreme and an encounter with a polar bear is always a wonderful experience.

Beyond the Arctic Circle, your senses will further be ignited as the sight of the glistening ice floes, blue-tinged glaciers, rugged mountain chains and rolling tundra captivates you. Long fantasised about before being discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, the Northwest Passage promises you a trip that is synonymous with going back to basics.

This voyage will feature David Borish, a social scientist and documentary filmmaker who is pushing the boundaries of the use of audiovisual methods to explore and understand the relationships between humans and animals in the Arctic and Subarctic.



 

 

HIGHLIGHTS


  • This voyage will feature David Borish, a social scientist and documentary filmmaker who is pushing the boundaries of the use of audiovisual methods to explore and understand the relationships between humans and animals in the Arctic and Subarctic.
  • With the presence of Ian Dawson and Sue Flood, British Photo Ambassadors.
  • The eye and the advice of our photo ambassador, a privileged opportunity to immortalise your trip with, in the programme: workshops, conferences and personalized advice to improve your photographic skills.
  • The crossing of the Northwest Passage by a unique maritime route, long coveted by the great explorers, only accessible thanks to Le Commandant Charcot, capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Commander Charcot during days of exploration on board, where time stands still in the middle of the ice floe, in the special silence of the polar desert.
  • The west coast of Greenland, between traditional villages, glaciers and monumental icebergs.
  • Meeting the Inuit communities of the west coast of Greenland.
  • Discovery of Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.
  • An exploration into the heart of the ice in the Northwest Passage and the contemplation of sublime reliefs of unspoiled and immaculate landscapes, which are constantly changing.
  • Landscapes: icy channels, fjords, vast expanses of ice floe, icerbergs (Disko Bay), myriads of jagged islands, blue-toned glaciers, mountain chains, vertiginous walls, expanses of tundra.
  • Fauna: Arctic foxes, sea birds, belugas, bowhead whales, walruses and the possibility of seeing polar bears.
  • Brand-new activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, ice fishing, polar plunge.

DATES / RATES

Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Aug 12, 2024Sep 05, 202440,400 43,034
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Aug 12, 2024Sep 05, 202440,400 43,034


ITINERARY


12 AUGUST 2024 - REYKJAVÍK

Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhlið hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavördustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

13 AUGUST 2024  14 AUGUST 2024 - SAILING THROUGH THE DENMARK STRAIT

Lying between Greenland and Iceland, the Denmark Strait was crossed for the first time by theVikings in the late 10th century, during Erik the Red’s expeditions. In the Second World War, its waters were the theatre of a battle between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy, on 24 May 1941. In the wintertime, extremely dense pack ice forms along the Greenlandic coasts and, while the Transpolar Drift sweeps icebergs along throughout the year, the strait is generally clear of ice during the summer. In the depths of the strait lies the world’s largest waterfall, an undersea cataract formed by the difference in temperature between the cold waters of the Greenland Sea and the warmer waters of the Irminger Sea. Numerous cetacean species thrive in this rich ecosystem.

15 AUGUST 2024 - PRINS CHRISTIAN SUND

Your ship glides silently towards the Greenland coast, in a setting punctuated by pointed peaks and majestic glaciers… You are on the verge of crossing the Prins Christian Sund, a narrow channel that stretches out and zigzags over some one hundred kilometres between Greenland’s south-east and south-west. Fall under the spell of the primitive beauty of these unique landscapes, including rocky cliffs and waterfalls that are fed by the ice sheet and plunge into the icy waters. Here, bearded seals love to lie on the floating ice to soak up the sunshine.

16 AUGUST 2024 - AAPPILATTOQ (AUGPILATOK)

Aappilattoq (Augpilatok), is a small Inuit village of around one hundred inhabitants, whose name means “sea anemone” in Greenlandic. Located in a mountainous region inaccessible by road, its picturesque, colourful houses stretch out to the southern tip of Greenland, on the banks of the spectacular Prince Christian Sound. Some one hundred kilometres long, the sound connects the Labrador Sea to the Irminger Sea, meandering through stunning landscapes such as majestic glaciers, craggy peaks, and rocky cliffs with waterfalls fed by the ice sheet. This region was uninhabited in the 19th century. The village was created in the 1920s and the main activities revolve around hunting, fishing and livestock farming.

17 AUGUST 2024 - NUUK

When Erik Le Rouge, the exiled Norse chief, landed on the coast of Nuuk, he found a fertile and welcoming land dotted with fjords. He settled there with a group of his former countrymen, and the Norse remained the principal inhabitants until, over a period of 500 years, their population declined and gave way to the Inuit. Nuuk is situated at the mouth of one of the largest networks of fjords in the world, where the waters never freeze. The town spreads gently out towards the Davis Strait and enjoys an historic center that is particularly rich in national heritage. The vivid reds, blues, greens and yellows of the houses are a lively contrast to the somber waters of Greenland and serve to lift the spirits of the locals during the Winter months.

18 AUGUST 2024 - AT SEA ABOARD 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. 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 poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

19 AUGUST 2024 - DISKO BAY

To the east of Baffin Bay, discover Disko Bay, scattered with countless icebergs produced by the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From your ship, admire the majestic ballet of these ice giants as they slowly drift across the dark waters. This site is a natural marvel of Greenland, and is also renowned as an observation point for the region’s many humpback whales. The encounters with wild fauna and stunning landscapes in the heart of this spectacular and fragile nature will be pure moments of wonder for you.

20 AUGUST 2024 - AT SEA ABOARD 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. 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 poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

21 AUGUST 2024 - POND INLET, NUNAVUT

On Baffin Island, located in northern Canada at the mouth of the famous NorthWest Passage, there is a small Inuit settlement at the very bounds of infinity. To get there, cross the Arctic Circle, the imaginary line that separates man from lands of mystery and wonder. It’s not so much the way of life that sets Pond Inlet’s inhabitants apart, so much as the setting. Snow-capped mountains, fjords and glaciers combine in a dazzling natural environment that fills space and expands time. Some discoveries change you forever: this is one of them.

22 AUGUST 2024 - LANCASTER SOUND

Between Devon Island and Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, Lancaster Sound forms part of the Northwest Passage, a shipping route crossing the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, along the northern coast of North America. Coveted for almost 300 years, it saw several expeditions including the fatal one led by John Franklin, seen for the last time near Lancaster Sound in August 1845. Many colonies of cetaceans, polar bears and seabirds have taken up residence in or near these nourishing waters at the confluence of the currents. Situated in Inuit territory, the Sound is the subject of plans to create a marine conservation area intended to protect this rich ecosystem and its inhabitants.

23 AUGUST 2024 - DEVON ISLAND, NUNAVUT

Located in Baffin Bay, Devon Island is part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Anchored on the Arctic Cordillera, its rocky surface, similar to that of Mars, is of great interest to scientists. Robert Bylot and William Baffin were the first Europeans to sight Devon Island in 1616 but it would be mapped two centuries later by the British sailor William E. Parry, who named it after the eponymous English region. Around 1920, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a fur-trading outpost there, until the departure of the Inuits in 1936. A new attempt to populate it was made at the beginning of the 1950s. Only a few buildings in ruins, vestiges of that time, remain today.

24 AUGUST 2024 - BEECHEY ISLAND, NUNAVUT

Beechey Island, at the eastern end of Resolute Bay, will call to mind some of the most important moments of Franklin’s expedition. Sir John set off in 1845 in search of the mythical Northwest Passage and was forced to take shelter in Erebus Harbour for two long years, while he waited for the ice floes to recede and allow him a way through. It is a spectacular location; seeing the three wooden grave markers, bleached by the sun (indicating the burial places of at least three of Captain Franklin’s men) and visiting the memorial that has been erected in memory of Franklin and his men can only reinforce the hushed sense of reverence. If the surrounding wilderness impresses us, the ochre and yellows of the rocky desert soften the landscape.

25 AUGUST 2024  27 AUGUST 2024 - EXPLORING SEA ICE OF NORTHWEST PASSAGE

At the far north of the American continent, in the most northerly part of the Arctic archipelago, the Northwest Passage is the shortest waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Its crossing has been coveted since the 15th century and Roald Amundsen was the first to do so in 1906. Blocked by thick ice floe for most of the year, to date only a lucky few have managed to sail from one side to the other. The crossing of this little-mapped and little-explored region is a challenge worthy of Le Commandant Charcot, which was designed to sail in extreme environments. Sheltered in its refined and protective setting, you will make the most of this exploration of the ice with the inimitable appeal of the first time: just like the first explorers, you will sail in its channels sculpted by glacial erosion and discover spectacular landscapes, made up of craggy terrain and monumental fjords. You will be able to measure the privilege of undertaking such an exploration in the light of the experience’s rarity.

28 AUGUST 2024  29 AUGUST 2024 - BANKS ISLAND

Located in the north of Canadian archipelago of the Northwest Territories, Banks Island, also known as Banks Land offers landscapes that are as sumptuous as they are spectacular. The island, covering some 70,000 km², offers a landscape of hills and valleys as well as sheer cliffs and canyons, a result of the glacial erosion. The north of the island, is home to a very rich wildlife mainly consisting of Arctic wolves, muskox, caribou, Arctic foxes, lemmings and many varieties of birds.

30 AUGUST 2024  2 SEPTEMBER 2024 - EXPLORING SEA ICE IN BEAUFORT SEA

Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal its magnificent icy landscapes to you. With a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some polar bears, since the region is renowned for sheltering the Lord of the Arctic.

3 SEPTEMBER 2024 - SAILING IN BEAUFORT SEA

Delimited by the entrance to the Northwest Passage and the Amundsen Gulf to the east and by Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories to the west, the Beaufort Sea makes up part of the – almost – inaccessible Arctic Ocean. Due to its extreme weather conditions, it was not explored until 1914, by the Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson. However, it was named after Francis Beaufort, a British admiral and hydrographer. You will sail on these remote waters strewn with a mosaic of ice resulting from sea-ice breakup. Surrounded by this stunning scenery, you may spot a few belugas and bowhead whales, established in colonies in the region.

4 SEPTEMBER 2024 - CROSSING THE BERING STRAIT

You will cross the Bering Strait, a 90-km (56-mile) wide maritime channel between eastern Siberia and Alaska, named after the Danish explorer Vitus Bering. You will sail this strait that people once used to walk across, during the last glaciations, from Asia to North America. The transfer of Alaska to the Unites States by the Russians, in 1867, turned the Strait into a significant geostrategic site nicknamed the “Ice Curtain” during the Cold War. Delineated in 1990, the border between the two countries is located in the middle of the Strait, between the two Diomede Islands, making one of them Russian and the other American. During your crossing, favourable conditions will be conducive to a moving encounter with wildlife, attracted by these nourishing waters.

5 SEPTEMBER 2024 - NOME, ALASKA
Disembarkation  at 08:00

Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly coloured houses, you will discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sledge-racing... People here live from their manual labour. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna.

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)

WHAT'S INCLUDED


  • Disembarkation Day - Nome/Seattle
  • Disembarkation.
  • Meet and greet at the port by our local English-speaking representative.
  • Transfer to the airport in time for check-in for the PONANT selected flight from Nome to Seattle.
  • Flight Nome/Seattle selected by PONANT.
  • Approximate flight duration: 5 hours.
  • We highly recommend you stay one night in Seattle after this flight.
This programme includes:
  • Flight Nome/Seattle selected by PONANT in economy class.
  • The transfer mentioned in the programme.
  • English-speaking assistance.
This programme does not include:
  • Tips for the driver and local guide.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Any other service not mentioned in the programme.
Please note:
  • The flight included in the programme to this date, operated in economy class.
  • Due to limited local transportation resources, waiting might be generated.
  • For passengers in transit in Seattle, we recommend staying one night in Seattle after this flight.
  • Programme and flight schedule are subject to change without prior notice.

For your serenity, PONANT selects a flight and organises the transfer between the port and the airport. This package is included in your cruise fare.


POLAR PLUNGE

Let yourself be seduced by the unrivalled sensations of being surrounded by cold water. Weather and ice conditions willing, you will have opportunities to undertake a unique experience during a polar plunge wearing just your swimming costume, in the middle of the ice. You will be be filled with intense emotions and will fully appreciate the energy boost when warming up after the swim!*

*with limited places available

KAYAKING - LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT

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

ICE FISHING

What better place than the icy Arctic regions to practice ice fishing? Assisted by the naturalist guides, you will look for the perfect spot to cut a hole on the ice floe or on frozen lakes and try to catch fish using an ancestral method. You will make the most of weather and ice opportunities to practice this unusual activity, which will equally delight fans of game fishing and those who are curious to make new discoveries.*

*with limited places available

HIKING OR SNOWSHOEING

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, subject to availability and can change at any time