(3:10 p.m. EDT) – French small-ship expedition cruise operator Ponant has officially taken delivery of its first polar expedition vessel at a ceremony in Le Havre.
Commandant Charcot was designed from the start to reach the most remote parts of the world, including the North Pole. The ship is the 13th in Ponant’s growing fleet of small vessels and is making its debut as one of the most versatile expedition vessels in the world.
While many expedition ships can visit Antarctica and the Arctic, even fewer can pass through the so-called “high Arctic” regions. On September 6, Commandant Charcot became the first French vessel, and the first vessel powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), to reach the geographic North Pole.
“The daring of this project is not only about taking passengers to the four corners of the Arctic and Antarctic, it is about doing so in complete safety and by following the same seamanship values that drive us. Our principles are first and foremost respect for nature – knowing how much we owe to the oceans and the fragile ecosystems we travel through. The polar regions in particular deserve the greatest respect and attention. We are committed to this mission every day, ”said Hervé Gastinel, CEO of Ponant.
A ceremony organized on September 28 in Have officially welcomed the ship to the Ponant fleet. Commander Charcot has the ability to cut ice up to seven feet thick and carries passengers in 123 luxurious cabins.
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The ship is able to operate in sensitive ecological areas by switching from propulsion to LNG to electric batteries, which will allow Commander Charcot to sail without emissions.
Passengers will also be able to participate in research projects during crossings, including helping scientists on board set up a research station on the sea ice or deploying a satellite transmitter that collects and shares environmental data with researchers.
Although a French ship at heart, voyages on Le Commandant Charcot du Ponant are available to English-speaking passengers. Other tour operators, such as Tauck, regularly charter Ponant ships for their own expedition cruises.
Trips aboard the Commander Charcot are open for reservation.