Polar Lights: From North Cape to the Lofoten Islands on Le Commandant Charcot
With featured guest Ian Dawson, British Photo Ambassador.
Winter is silently approaching and the day is slowly withdrawing near the Arctic Circle, making way for a long dusk pre-empting the darkness. Take the time to discover the Norwegian fjords and the sumptuous Lofoten archipelago, in the morning light or at dusk. The moment is perfect for a sensitive experience, if ever there were one, and for exploring this seasonal temporality like somewhere completely new.
The warm refuge of Le Commandant Charcot will open the doors for you to an all-new journey on the cusp of winter and invites you to explore the magnificent panoramas from the uninterrupted outside promenade deck, the Blue Lagoon pool or the Observatory Lounge. Appreciate the discreet and refined comfort of its spaces opening out onto the exterior and enjoy moments in complete communion with the elements.
Experience first-hand the North Cape, the summit of Europe, and explore the rugged shores of the edges of the Arctic and the natural sanctuaries of Norway: dolomite cliffs shaped by the last glaciation, an archaeological site dating from the Bronze Age, majestic fjords, remarkable coastal cities, fishing villages and coniferous forests. During this journey above the Arctic Circle, you will discover Lapland, home to the Sami, who are reindeer farmers and one of the last European indigenous people. During warm encounters, you will discover their cultural traditions and their way of life, in harmony with the elements. Immerse yourself in nature and, as the night overtakes the day, set off to chase the Northern Lights.
Amidst these distant landscapes, the Lofoten archipelago reveals itself, and is quite captivating. Can we conceive of a spectacle that is more fascinating than the undulating and coloured veil of the Northern Lights observed in the heart of these marvellous islands? The Swedish Impressionist artist, Anna Boberg (1864-1935) understood. She discovered the Lofoten Islands in 1901 and continued to return there over 33 years, finding the archipelago to be a great place from which to observe the Northern Lights. Her paintings give them a poetic, lyrical and almost mystic vision, celebrating the beauty of the setting.
Be like this passionate painter and allow the beauty of the journey soak in as the sky enshrouds the landscapes with surreal light.
The itinerary is subject to modifications. On board, the sailing programme, outings and activities cannot be guaranteed and are subject to weather conditions.
An eco-friendly sailing
PONANT’s latest addition to the fleet, Le Commandant Charcot - the very first luxury hybrid electric polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas, is the epitome of responsible and sustainable sailing. Safe and low impact polar navigation is her area of expertise, taking advantage of the latest innovations and even developing new, market-leading technologies and solutions to make Le Commandant Charcot one of the most advanced polar vessels at sea today.
The art of polar navigation
Le Commandant Charcot is the world's first passenger ship to be fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) hull. This gives it the ability to sail between the sheets of drifting sea ice and reach the most remote and isolated regions, when conditions allow. Protecting the polar ecosystems and the coastal sea ice – a vital habitat for marine wildlife – is our priority. Expertise, innovation, humility before nature, cooperation with local peoples and ensuring a minimal impact on the environment are the fundamental concepts behind responsible exploration.
Pioneer of safety regulations in the polar regions
The rescue and safety equipment developed and designed from scratch by PONANT for Le Commandant Charcot (Ice Cube, group survival kit, floating polar shelters and survival suits) currently exceed the existing safety criteria established by the tourism industry as well as the military, raise the bar for maritime safety and standards in polar tourism, and help experts across the world to devise new safety strategies.
PONANT is the World Leader in Luxury Expeditions with ultra-modern, intimate ships, offering attentive service and well-designed itineraries that touch all corners of the globe. Every cruise is a blend of adventure, exploration, and discovery—all experienced in luxurious comfort, even in the heart of extreme landscapes.
Why cruise with PONANT?
• 12 luxury small ships, able to easily navigate small waterways and visit remote destinations not accessible by large cruise ships.
• Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration yacht, sails further into the polar regions (including the Geographic North Pole).
• The youngest expedition fleet afloat.
• The leader in luxury polar expeditions for over 20 years and cultural cruising for over 30 years.
• Over 400 awe-inspiring cruises, calling at over 450 ports on all seven continents.
• Experts on board our voyages of discovery and learning to enrich guests’ understanding of the destinations.
• An exclusive partnership with Smithsonian Journeys, the the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution.
• Understated elegance on board with French-inspired cuisine, fine wines, and chic design.
• Proud to partner with Sothys, Veuve Clicquot, and Ducasse Conseil. Ships feature fabrics by Pierre Frey, beauty products from Hermès, macarons by Ladurée, and tea from Palais des Thés.
• 100% of our staterooms have a sea view and 95% have a balcony (100% on the PONANT EXPLORERS).
• Attentive yet discreet service from an experienced, multilingual onboard staff and crew.
• Open bridge access (requires approval from Captain).
• “Clean Ship” certification for the fleet in recognition of their eco-friendly features.
• All-inclusive pricing with open bar, gratuities, port fees, and taxes (including Zodiac explorations/landings on expeditions).
• The world’s first underwater passenger lounge, the Blue Eye, featured exclusively on the PONANT EXPLORER ships.