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From Dumont d’Urville to Mawson: Retracing Heroic Age Expeditions

From Dumont d’Urville to Mawson: Retracing Heroic Age Expeditions

From AUD $78,500

Description

Curiosity, surpassing oneself, being open to the world. Humans have always looked toward what some would call the ‘impossible elsewhere’. With Le Commandant Charcot, which is capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, we can dream even bigger and glimpse new horizons. This polar odyssey at the boundaries of the world follows the path of the first to discover Antarctica and sharpens our senses to let us see all the riches of a journey marked by the nuances of the ice. Set off on an all-new half-circumnavigation of Antarctica from the New Zealand shores to Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world.

The first penguins will appear on the horizon as you approach the shores of Macquarie Island. This island’s biodiversity is so abundant that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: four species of penguin (king, royal, Gentoo and southern rockhopper) breed here.

The attraction exerted by the White Continent’s infinite territories and their mythical names will soon intensify further. Adelie Land, Victoria Land, Marie Byrd Land. The first will plunge you into the heart of the French polar adventure where Paul-Émile Victor founded the Dumont d’Urville scientific station, in honour of the eponymous explorer. The second, claimed by the Australians, is forever linked to the name of the explorer Mawson, who defied the winds in Commonwealth Bay, which may exceed 240 km/h (150 mph). As for the third, it is one of the planet’s rare Terra nullius – a territory claimed by no State – whose remoteness and climate have certainly kept it well away from human conquests. Bordered by the Ross Sea to the west and the Amundsen Sea to the east, it will plunge you into a world where wild nature has raised its own cathedrals of ice.

Your crossing beyond the Antarctic Circle will continue in the Bellingshausen Sea where the Charcot and Peter I Islands roll out their icy masses. Le Commandant Charcot will attempt to approach their shores, deemed impassable, before your arrival in the Tierra del Fuego.

Trip Name
From Dumont d’Urville to Mawson: Retracing Heroic Age Expeditions
Days
28
Overview
Vessel Type: Polar Luxury Expedition Passenger Capacity: 135 cabins Built: 2018/2019 Be the first aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world's luxury polar exploration vessel, and enjoy a unique sailing experience in the Arctic or Antarctic! With its hybrid propulsion combining liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electric generators, Le Commandant-Charcot has been designed to minimise the environmental impact of travel to the furthest latitudes.  The decoration of the ship, imagined by two internationally renowned design and architecture firms - the studio of Jean-Philippe Nuel and Wilmotte & Associés - is designed to be in harmony with the environment. The approach is contemporary with the desire to create a warm and elegant setting; stone, wood and leather recall the natural environment in which the ship is sailing. Equipped with just 135 staterooms including 31 suites with balconies and outside views, Le Commandant-Charcot welcomes you in an intimate and refined atmosphere. Outstanding gastronomy in the 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. PUBLIC AREAS Le Commandant-Charcot has many common areas that are designed and equipped to meet all of your needs while preserving the intimacy of each passenger. A 177 m² reception area includes: A reception/concierge desk, An expeditions desk, The ship’s administrative services, The sales office, manned by our Hospitality & Travel Manager officer, Our boutique which sells clothing, jewellery, beauty products, postcards and various accessories, The image & photo desk. The different lounges: A 302 m² main lounge including a 28 m² cigar lounge, a tea corner and a bar, with live music on selected evenings, A 400 m² panoramic bar and lounge, An open-air Bar. The recreation spaces  Fitness & Beauty Corner: Fitness room: Elliptic, running machines, bicycles...  Beauty Corner: Hairdresser, Massage rooms, Sauna, Snow Room, Nail Shop. Pool area: Indoor Pool and winter garden - Outdoor Pool Theatre: Capacity: 270-276 - Main show room for conferences and live entertainment on selected evenings - State-of-the-art audio and video technology. Leisure area: Public areas - Library - Medical centre. 16 Zodiac®.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 Auckland
The day before embarkation – AucklandTransfer from airport to PONANT selected hotel.
Day 2 - Day 2 Embarkation Day – Auckland/Dunedin
Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city and is often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. This city of the south, wears its Scottish heritage with pride. The city contains some of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. The Silverpeaks hinterland to the North West provides a picturesque backdrop and The Otago Peninsula, which lies within the city boundaries, has internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross.
Day 3 - Days 3 - 4 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 4 - Day 5 Macquarie Island
Long celebrated as one of the wonder spots of the world, Macquarie Island is an island of great beauty and outstanding natural diversity, a breeding place for more than 3.5 million seabirds, most of which are penguins. There are four species breeding on Macquarie Island: Royals, Kings, Gentoos and Rock Hoppers. There are also three types of fur seals and one seventh of the world's population of elephant seals breeding on the Island. In 1948 The Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) established its expedition headquarters on Macquarie Island. If time and weather permit, guests will have the opportunity to land ashore and view the prolific wildlife that resides here.
Day 5 - Days 6 - 7 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 6 - Day 8 Adelie Island
Adelie Land covers around 400,000 km2 (around 250,000 square miles) of the White Continent between the 136th and 142nd meridians longitude East. These lands claimed by France in Antarctica are home, on Petrel Island, to Dumont-d’Urville station, which is named after the eponymous French explorer who investigated the region in 1840. Here, the few resident scientists share the Antarctic desert with Adelie penguins, seals and orcas, as well as emperor penguins during the winter. The extreme climate of this land at the edge of the world, characterised by its very low temperatures and its violent winds or blizzards, make it difficult to access its shores, which are protected by thick ice floe. Be among the rare people to discover this unique place where you will be captivated by the polar silence and the ice reflecting the rays of the sun as you experience the Southern Continent’s powerful fragility.
Day 7 - Days 9 - 12 Victoria Land
Reach the inaccessible by exploring extreme Victoria Land. You will discover part of the history of the Australian polar expeditions: in Commonwealth Bay, slip into the shoes of the legendary Douglas Mawson, who created his main base in 1911 in Cape Denison, where there are still remnants of his wooden cabin. Welcome to the country of blizzards, these violent winds filled with snow flakes. Among the natural marvels of this territory, you will note the glacial tongue of the impressive Mertz Glacier whose wall of ice is cut with immense crevasses. The grandiose sight of absolute nature. Marking the border with Marie Byrd Land, the Transantarctic Mountains, extending the Andes, offer this Eden of ice some mountainous landscapes.
Day 8 - Day 13 The Ross Sea
“The last ocean” is what scientists from all around the world call this deep bay that runs along the edge of Antarctica between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land. Since 2016, the world’s largest marine protected area has been keeping this last marine ecosystem intact. The theatre of the most impressive expeditions, it was discovered by James Clark Ross between 1839 and 1843. It was then that he discovered the enormous ice barrier formed by a gigantic ice shelf extending out to the open sea and from which titanic icebergs are calved. One third of the world’s Adelie penguin population lives in the area where this barrier breaks into icebergs. The currents maintain polynyas there, vast areas of persistent open water surrounded by sea ice. These give the penguins access to food. You may also get the chance to spot Ross seals, one of the rarest protected species in the Antarctic.
Day 9 - Day 13 Crossing the international date line
Your itinerary enables you to cross the International Date Line. This imaginary line across the Earth’s surface approximately follows the 180th meridian in the Pacific Ocean. Because of the roundness of the Earth and the necessity of having reference time meridians, we have to change dates when we cross this line. So if your ship is travelling west, you will need to add a day to the expected date; conversely, if travelling east, you will take away a day. This paradox, already noted by Magellan’s crews during his circumnavigation, serves as dramatic motivation in several novels, including Jules Verne’s famous Around the World in Eighty Days.
Day 10 - Days 14 - 15 The Ross Sea Exploration
“The last ocean” is what scientists from all around the world call this deep bay that runs along the edge of Antarctica between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land. Since 2016, the world’s largest marine protected area has been keeping this last marine ecosystem intact. The theatre of the most impressive expeditions, it was discovered by James Clark Ross between 1839 and 1843. It was then that he discovered the enormous ice barrier formed by a gigantic ice shelf extending out to the open sea and from which titanic icebergs are calved. One third of the world’s Adelie penguin population lives in the area where this barrier breaks into icebergs. The currents maintain polynyas there, vast areas of persistent open water surrounded by sea ice. These give the penguins access to food. You may also get the chance to spot Ross seals, one of the rarest protected species in the Antarctic.
Day 11 - Days 16 - 18 Marie Byrd Land exploration
Marie Byrd Land is one of the most remote territories of our planet’s most inaccessible continent. It is a real privilege to just be able to contemplate its shores! Between the Ross Sea and its large shelf to the east and Bellingshausen Sea to the west, the frozen coastlines of these lands are bordered by the Amundsen Sea, partially covered by a thick ice floe. Stretching over more than a million km2 (over 620,000 square miles) in Western Antarctica, its ground is also isolated from the rest of the continent by the Transantarctic Mountains. It is certainly this geographic remoteness and its harsh climate that have made it one of our planet’s rare Terra nullius, a territory claimed by no State. In 1929, Marie Byrd Land got its name from Admiral Richard E. Byrd, in honour of his wife, following his expedition to the region. The exploration of its ice-sculpted landscapes will plunge you into the infinite Antarctic desert, where penguins, seals, whales and orcas are the only living souls. Depending on the time and weather conditions, your exploration of the region will take you towards a string of islands which, although little-known, remain fascinating: Siple Island and its eponymous mount, resulting from an old volcano, Clark Island and Dean Island.
Day 12 - Days 19 - 20 Amundsen Sea
The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen – famous as one of the first five men to reach the geographic South Pole – gave his name to this southern sea in 1929, following an expedition in its waters. Almost entirely frozen by a thick ice floe, Amundsen Sea stretches along Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica, between Bellingshausen Sea to the west and the Ross Sea to the east. The monumental icebergs are all that break the monotony of the infinite ice floe here: let yourself be immersed in a feeling of tranquillity before this vastness. These privileged moments sailing in the Amundsen Sea are opportunities to make the most of the original equipment and spaces on Le Commandant Charcot. Find yourself in this refined cocoon. Nourish yourself with the knowledge of the scientists and expert naturalists, who provide unique support during your polar cruise. Or simply contemplate the fascinating and captivating decor from the ship’s exterior decks.
Day 13 - Day 21 Bellinghausen Sea
Stretching from the west side 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. Its waters surround, among others, two of the largest islands in the Antarctic: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You will sail amid ice floe, blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are home to large colonies of emperor penguins. Depending on the season, you may get the chance to observe some of these creatures in the open sea.
Day 14 - Day 22 Expedition to Peter I Island
You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.
Day 15 - Day 23 Bellinghausen Sea
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Day 16 - Day 24 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 17 - Day 25 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 18 - Days 26 - 27 Crossing the Drake Passage
f 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 19 - Day 28 Disembarkation Day – Ushuaia/Santiago
Disembarkation.Meet and greet at the port.Transfer to the airport in time for check-in for the flight Ushuaia/Santiago selected by PONANT in economy class.
Day 20 - Please Note:
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the coastal ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing schedule and any landings, activities and wildlife encounters are subject to weather and ice conditions. These experiences are unique and vary with 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 IAATO.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $78,500Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $79,990Prestige Stateroom Deck 7
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $179,680Suite Duplex
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $213,410Owner's Suite
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $81,490Prestige Stateroom Deck 8
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $83,750Deluxe Suite Deck 6
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $87,490Deluxe Suite Deck 7
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $90,480Deluxe Suite Deck 8
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $115,970Prestige Suite Deck 7
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $119,720Prestige Suite Deck 8
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $123,460Grand Prestige Suite
13-02-202312-03-2023AUD $127,220Privilege Suite Deck 8

Inclusions

    • The all-new half-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, an unforgettable trip into the heart of the ice and a continent full of extremes.
    • A stopover on Macquarie Island, an Australian sub-Antarctic island classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its incredible biodiversity.
    • A dive into the history of the French and Australian conquest of the South Pole, with the approach to Adelie Land and the Dumont d’Urville scientific station and the discovery of Victoria Land.
    • The crossing of five southern seas: Dumont d’Urville, Somov, Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen.
    • The exploratory approach to some of the most little-known islands in the world: Charcot Island, Peter I Island and the Marie Byrd Land Islands.
    • Outings and shore visits in a Zodiac® dinghy or hovercraft with an reinforced team of naturalist-guides.
    • The landscapes: ice shelves, surrealist glaciers, monumental icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floe.
    • The wildlife: crabeater seals, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, orcas, king penguins and Adelie penguins.
    • Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit, participative science.

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