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Le Commandant Charcot - 270 Guests

Transarctic, The Quest For The Two North Poles

Nome, Alaska - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen


In 1926, when Umberto Nobile crossed the Arctic via the North Pole, aboard the Norge airship that he designed himself, he became the first man in the world to undertake this crossing. It was an exploit that many would subsequently attempt to repeat. For, behind the idea of exploring our planet’s last latitudes, there lies the prospect of raising our spirit, of matching our thirst for the unknown with our deep desire to gain a greater understanding of the world in which we live.

Le Commandant Charcot, a ship of scientific opportunity, follows in the tradition of Nobile, a pioneer and a tireless architect of polar discovery, in order to discover some of the Arctic’s secrets during a dedicated research mission at the highest point of the north.

The ship, the latest addition to the company’s fleet, shaped for polar exploration, is preparing to sail, a never travelled, transpolar maritime route, that is inaccessible to traditional ships. From the legendary Bering Strait, a link between the East and the West, to the ice-covered land of Svalbard, Le Commandant Charcot will carve out a path through the ice floes, exploring the ice of the Beaufort Sea, and use open water leads to attempt to reach the elusive Magnetic and Geographic North Poles.

Like a pioneer, you will cross these ice-covered landscapes of the Arctic by sea. During your exploration, you will discover the research projects that are part of the scientific mission taking place on board. This is a unique opportunity to clarify your knowledge alongside a multi-disciplinary team of around twenty researchers on board, to understand their investigations and closely follow their work. Also accompanied by our expert naturalists, you will discover unique ecosystems while sharpening your perception of the polar world and comprehending the stakes of their transformation. Use this journey to grant yourself an initiatory immersion: the rare occasion to take part in an adventure that is making a contribution to scientific research.

Taking an all-new route means pledging to enter an unexplored world with respect, taking the time to observe and understand, as a conscious witness, the unfolding show. With your senses awakened, with the ice floe as your travel companion, you will move through an ever-changing environment, its hypnotic panoramas of raw beauty sculpted by sea winds and plays on light. In the heart of the drifting ice, you will savour the constantly renewed poetry of the elements.




  • Be among the first people in the world to undertake a transarctic crossing and set off in search of the Geographic North Pole, following in the wake of the pioneers of polar exploration, like Umberto Nobile.
  • Discover the research work of an on-board international scientific mission during lectures and round tables.
  • Attempt to reach the Magnetic North Pole.
  • Aboard Le Commandant Charcot, a polar exploration vessel opening to the exterior, take time to immerse yourself in unique moments of exploration and observation, in the silence and respect of fragile landscapes and biodiversity.
  • At this time of the year and depending on the opportunities provided by the weather conditions, the possibility of observing the phenomenon of the Northern Lights near the Bering Strait.
  • Enjoy the unique experience of sailing through the heart of the ice floe and discover the endless variety of forms and states of the ice.
  • Exploration of Svalbard, from Europe’s largest ice cap on Nordaustlandet (North East Land) in the Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, the second-largest protected area in Norway.
  • The landscapes: alpine reliefs, icy shores, ice floes. In Svalbard: mountains patterned with multi-coloured strata, fjords, jagged mountains, glaciers, icebergs, ice floes, sheer cliffs, polar ice cap, wild tundra.
  • The wildlife: polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, whales, sea birds.
  • Brand-new activities*: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge.

*Subject to weather and ice conditions and to sailing opportunities


Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Sep 06, 2024Sep 26, 2024 0
Sep 05, 2025Sep 25, 2025 0
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Sep 06, 2024Sep 26, 2024 0
Sep 05, 2025Sep 25, 2025 0


2024 itinerary starts in Nome and ends in Svalbard!
2025 itinerary starts in Svalbard and ends in Nome!

Nome, Alaska

Embarkation 06/09/2024 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 06/09/2024 at 18:00

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.

Exploring sea ice in Beaufort Sea

Arrival 07/09/2024
Departure 14/09/2024

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.

Magnetic North Pole

Arrival 15/09/2024
Departure 15/09/2024

The convergence point for the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field, the Magnetic North Pole attracts the magnetic needle of the compass. While the Geographic North Pole is the Earth’s northernmost fixed point, marking the intersection of the Globe's rotation axis with the Earth’s surface, the Magnetic North Pole moves over time. In fact, it is linked to the Earth's magnetic field which originates in the Earth's outer core, which is made up of molten metal and is subject to convection movements. Localised for the first time in 1831, in the Canadian Arctic, it has since moved towards Siberia and thus become closer to the Geographic North Pole. Set off in search of the Magnetic North Pole, try to get closer to it and, if luck allows it, attempt to reach it!

Exploring sea ice in Beaufort Sea

Arrival 16/09/2024
Departure 16/09/2024

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.

Geographic North Pole

Arrival 17/09/2024
Departure 17/09/2024

Defined by a 90° North latitude, the Geographic North Pole lies on the Earth’s rotational axis, at the intersection of all meridians. Plunged into darkness for six months of the year, then lit by the sun for the following six months, this mythical site, permanently covered in ice and remote from any land, has fascinated generations of explorers. So far, only a very few people have ever reached it: an exploit which is now accessible to you aboard Le Commandant Charcot.

Navigating through the sea ice

Arrival 18/09/2024
Departure 20/09/2024

Enjoy the absolutely unique experience of sailing to the heart of the ice floe, this vast expanse of virgin, 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 you the chance to experience magic 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.

Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve

Arrival 21/09/2024
Departure 21/09/2024

The Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve has been protecting the northernmost and coldest part of the archipelago, Nordaustlandet (North East Land), since 1973. This vast polar desert covered by two ice caps is the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Protected by the Gulf Stream, the fjords and cliffs in the west and north are home to large colonies of birds and walruses. The landscapes in the colder east and south are dominated by imposing glaciers that calve majestic icebergs in the vast Hinlopen Strait. Large colonies of thick-billed murres have taken up residence on the sheer cliffs*. You may even get the chance to see a bear or an Arctic fox roaming in the vicinity.

*depending on nesting and migration period

Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait

Arrival 22/09/2024
Departure 22/09/2024

Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait, in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, between the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet promises an unforgettable experience. This territory of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve offers breathtaking panoramas, with magnificent basalt formations and the ice cap stretching as far as the eye can see, diving into the sea. The shore line cut by the fjords moving inland composes a magical landscape in which icebergs float here and there, the result of the calving of the surrounding glaciers. This place, today a popular spot to observe the seabirds nesting in the enormous cliffs, polar bears and walruses, was once intrinsically linked to the history of the whalers who frequented the region from the 17th century. Indeed, it was one of them, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, then director of a Dutch whaling company, who gave the strait its name. Later on, Russian trappers, European explorers, scientists and even mountaineers roamed this region, as hostile as it is sublime.

Soraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve

Arrival 23/09/2024
Departure 23/09/2024

The Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve is the second largest protected area in Norway. Established in 1973, this nature conservation area stretching over more than 21,000 km2 will offer you stunning panoramas including coastal landscapes, rocky islets, mountain plateaux, vast tundra plains, and ice floes. With a little luck, you will be able to observe a wide variety of seabirds, given the site is listed as an Important Bird Area, as well as cetaceans, Svalbard reindeer, or even Arctic foxes. Among other things, Edgeoya Island is renowned for providing shelter to a number of polar bears during the breeding season.


Arrival 24/09/2024
Departure 24/09/2024

Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.


Arrival 25/09/2024
Departure 25/09/2024

The vast Isfjorden is one of the main fjords in Svalbard. These different branches reach the heart of the island of Spitsbergen. Located deep inside the Billejforden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier with its front of ice, nearly 5 km wide, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. You will perhaps have the opportunity to discover the ghost town of Pyramiden. Constructed at the foot of a mountain in the form of a pyramid, this former mining town, founded by Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century before being sold a few years later to the Soviet Union, and abandoned in 1998, has conserved all the buildings from its glory days, when it lived off coal mining.

Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

Arrival 26/09/2024
Disembarkation 26/09/2024 at 08:00

Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory. We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation, mainly in the fjords, will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the fast ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing programme, outings, activities and observation of fauna cannot be guaranteed and are subject to weather and ice conditions. The experiences are unique and vary from day to day and for each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the AECO.

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)


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

Embarkation Day - Seattle/Nome

  • Flight Seattle/Nome selected by PONANT.
  • Approximate flight duration: 5 hours.
  • We suggest you to be at the check-in counter 2 hours before departure.
  • Meet & greet at the airport by our local English-speaking representative.
  • Transfer to the pier for embarkation.
- Cruise aboard your cruise ship –

Disembarkation Day - Longyearbyen/Paris
  • Disembarkation.
  • Meet and greet at the port by our local English-speaking representative.
  • According to the flight departure time from Longyearbyen, PONANT adapt its services or activites before your transfer to the airport in time for check-in for the PONANT selected flight from Longyearbyen to Paris.
  • Flight Longyearbyen/Paris selected by PONANT.
  • Approximate flight duration: 4 hours 30.
This programme includes:
  • Flight Seattle/Nome and Longyearbyen/Paris selected by PONANT in economy class.
  • Transfers as mentioned in the programme.
  • English-speaking assistance.

This programme does not include:
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Personal expenses.
  • Any other service not mentioned in the programme.
Please note:

  • The flights included in the programme to this date, is operated in economy class.
  • Due to limited local transportation resources, waiting might be generated.
  • For passengers in transit in Seattle/Paris, we recommend staying one night in Seattle/Paris before/after the flights.
  • Programme and flight schedule are subject to change without prior notice.

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!*

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.*

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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* Rates are listed per person in USD

DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time