In the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot

From Santiago to Santiago
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  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Luxury Antarctica
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Tour Description

 From the Antarctic Peninsula to the Bellingshausen Sea and its unknown islets, Le Commandant Charcot will take you on a 15-day exploration of the Far South, in the wake of the legendary man, Jean-Baptiste Charcot.

Your journey aboard Le Commandant Charcot will begin with your first look at this strikingly elegant ship, capable of navigating our planet’s most extreme environments. You are about to begin an adventure that will lead you to the edges of the Earth, on the continent that no people have ever inhabited, the Antarctic. But while these lands belong to no one, they have been the theatre of the greatest expeditions and have proven the heroism exemplified by certain men. 

After crossing the mythical Drake Passage, beaten by the winds and home to soaring cape petrels, you will glimpse the last continent on the horizon. Jean-Baptiste Charcot led his first journey to the Antarctic over a century ago, but his exploits still resonate and his traces are tangible here. His first expedition with the ship Le Français built his legend and made a mark on Salpêtrière Bay. A little further south lies Marguerite Bay which he explored during his second expedition. He named this mountainous and magnificent land after his wife and Pourquoi-Pas Island after his eponymous ship. At the exit of the Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island still holds memories of the wintering of this fabulous expedition.

As you sail on exploring the Bellingshausen Sea, the conditions become increasingly extreme. Ice takes over your horizon, the ice floe stretches out, and icebergs drift around you. The approach to Charcot Island guarantees intense emotions and gives you the unique feeling of being among the privileged few able to contemplate it.

Throughout your journey, our team of passionate experts will go over all the details of these historic exploits with you while sharing their in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and landscapes. You will have the chance to observe Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins and perhaps even some young emperor penguins on the edge of the ice floe. Leopard, crabeater and Weddell seals, humpback and Mink whales, and orcas also live in these southern waters that you will sail through like those men of legend did before you.

Viva's Best Bits...

An all-new exploration aboard Le Commandant Charcot, following in the footsteps of Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s two great polar expeditions, to the Bellingshausen Sea, discovering abundant biodiversity.

Unique opportunities including Crossing the Arctic Circle and the exploratory approach of the distant Charcot Island and many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge

Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s 1st PC2 luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration ship. Explore remote destinations in complete luxury never before seen in polar exploration.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Transfer from Santiago airport selected hotel.

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.

Overnight at a hotel in Santiago

Day 2
Santiago Ushuaia

A light morning breakfast will be served before leaving for the airport for your Santiago/Ushuaia flight.
Transfer to the airport.

Flight Santiago/Ushuaia in economy class.
Seats in business class may be available, please let us know if required
Approximate flight duration: 3 hours

Meet and greet at Ushuaia airport (English-speaking assistance).
Transfer to Le Commandant-Charcot.

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…

Day 3-4
Crossing the Drake

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.

Day 5
Crossing The Antarctic Circle The Gullet

Crossing The Antarctic Circle
Weather permitting, we'll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.

The Gullet
The sumptuous landscapes of this narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land attract all visitors sailing towards Marguerite Bay. It is like an ice palace, its immaculate white walls reflected in the frozen mirror formed by the waters of the Southern Ocean, scattered with icebergs and gleaming blocks of ice. This passage was explored for the first time by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by the British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Cousteau’s four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.

Day 6-7
Expedition to Charcot Island

When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 40 miles away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.

Day 8
Bellingshausen Sea

Stretching from the west of the Antarctic Peninsula to the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea was named after the Russian admiral and explorer who has been attributed the first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica, in 1820. Among others, its waters surround two of the Antarctic’s largest islands: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You will explore this sea amid ice floe, blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are also renowned as the home of colonies of emperor penguins. Depending on the month of the southern summer, you will perhaps be lucky enough to observe isolated adults, adolescents seeking emancipation or recently independent new adults.

Day 9
At sea

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.

Day 10
Marguerite Bay

The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay, one of the most beautiful regions in the Antarctic. It is delimited in the north by the mountainous Adelaide Island, in the south by George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and in the east by the Fallières Coast. Charcot named it after his wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. In 1909, in the southern summer when the skies are at their clearest, he led an important scientific mission to map and study this region. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.

Day 11
Pourquoi Pas Island

Le Commandant Charcot will land on the coast of Pourquoi Pas Island, so named in the 1930s by John Riddoch Rymill in honour of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who discovered it from aboard his ship Le Pourquoi Pas ? during his second expedition to Antarctica between 1908 and 1910. This mountainous island, situated in the north of Marguerite Bay between Graham Land and Adelaide Island, is 28 km long and 14 km large. It is scattered with narrow fjords and snow-covered mountains. You will go to shore in a zodiac dinghy with your expedition team and you could get the chance to observe Adelie penguins going about their business on the island’s rocky shores.

Day 12-13
Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula

Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts.

Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest zodiac outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.

Day 14-15
Crossing the Drake Passage

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.

Day 16
Ushuaia Santiago

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…

Disembarkation at 8am

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 in economy class.
Approximate flight duration: 3 hours
Seats in business class may be available, please let us know.

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

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 14 nights on board
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 1 night pre cruise hotel accommodation in Santiago
  • Included Copy 20 All meals while on board the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Open bar & room service 24 hours (conditions apply)
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Return flight from Santiago to Ushuaia
  • Included Copy 20 Airport transfers in Ushuaia
  • Included Copy 20 Outings and shore visits in Zodiacs with a team of experienced naturalist guides
  • Included Copy 20 Parka to keep & boots to Loan while on the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Lectures and information sessions hosted by our naturalist-guides
  • Included Copy 31 Activities: Kayaking, Hiking & Snowshoeing, Polar Swim
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, Travel Insurance, Gratuities / Tips are not included
  • Included Copy 7 Personal expenses, such as laundry, onboard communication

Le Commandant Charcot

270 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers


  • Included Cross the Arctic Circle and the exploratory approach of the distant Charcot Island.
  • Included Landscapes: immense glaciers, monumental icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floes.
  • Included Wildlife: Adelie penguins, chinstrap penguins, gentoo penguins, leopard seals, crabeater seals
  • Included Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit
  • Included Outings and shore visits in a zodiac inflatable with a team of naturalist guides.
  • Included Conferences and information meetings on board with our passionate experts
  • Included The possibility to observe emperors penguins and Ross seals.
  • Included Workshops, lectures and customised advice to improve your photographic skills.
Click here for dates & prices

16 days

Price from

$22,042 USD

Per person, twin share

Based On Lowest Cabin

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