Ponant names its icebreaker after 'the gentleman of the poles'

Travelers on Le Commandant Charcot will experience veritable polar odysseys Travelers on Le Commandant Charcot will experience veritable polar odysseys

Ponant is going to call its luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot, in honor of the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who was known as 'the gentleman of the poles.'

Le Commandant Charcot is scheduled to enter service in 2021, and pre-booking at early bird prices opened today.

Noted French polar explorer

Capt. Charcot was an emblematic figure of French polar expeditions starting in the early 1900s. The name is even more significant since this new ship will be fitted with a scientific laboratory for conducting operational oceanography missions and research.

Le Commandant Charcot will offer passengers a chance to discover the geographic North Pole (latitude 90 degrees North) and parts of Antarctica, such as the Ross Sea, Charcot Island and Peter Island. Ponant said travelers who book these voyages will experience veritable polar odysseys rather than typical cruises.

Sailing on battery power for stints of two to three hours

This world-first hybrid electric icebreaker, under construction at Fincantieri's Vard, will be powered by LNG, and there will be zero air emissions when it operates in hybrid electric mode. This means Le Commandant Charcot will exceed current environmental regulations and reduce sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and carbon dioxide emissions.

Use of the latest generation of electric batteries will make it possible to sail without using the engines for two to three hours at a stretch.

In addition, Le Commandant Charcot will be equipped with an advanced wastewater treatment system.

Full-fare bookings will open on April 11, 2019.

Charcot's legacy

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1867, Charcot crossed the Arctic Circle in 1902 and traveled to the Arctic for the first time. From 1903 to 1905, aboard Le Français and from 1908 to 1910 aboard Le Pourquoi-Pas, he reached the Antarctic regions. In 1909, Charcot located Graham Land on navigation charts, dropped anchor near Alexandra Land, and discovered the island that would bear his name.

From 1920 to 1936, his scientific voyages led him from the Hebrides to Greenland's east coast.

Posted 06 September 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review