Ponant launches first high polar exploration vessel

Le Commandant Charcot

Ponant has launched its first high polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot, with the inauguration ceremony taking place in Le Havre in France, of explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot fame in the presence of his reat-grand-daughter Anne Manipoud-Charcot, Hervé Gastinel, Ponant’s CEO and Captains Etienne Garcia and Patrick Marchesseau

“The boldness of this project is not just about taking passengers to the far corners of the Arctic and the Antarctic, it is about doing it safely and following the same values and principles of seamanship that move us. Our values are first about respect for nature – this nature that is so dear to us, all the more knowing how much we owe the oceans and the fragile eco-systems we travel. Polar regions in particular deserve the highest respect and attention. We are committed to this mission every day and today ever more,” said Hervé Gastinel, PONANT’s CEO.

After a musical prelude from violinist Nemanja Radulovic and pianist Laure Favre-Kahn, bagpipes, and other traditional Breton instruments of le Bagad de Lann-Bihoue resonated under the Normand sky off the Etretat cliffs. The Chef Alain Ducasse, the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the director Luc Jacquet, the designer Jean-Philippe Nuel were among the guests alongside other partners of the company including Vard shipyard, Stirling Design International and Aker Arctic. Also among the guests were Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, French Ambassador for the Poles and Jérôme Chappellaz, Director of the Paul Emile Victor Institute.

Eco-designed and at the cutting-edge of technology, Le Commandant Charcot is without any doubt the most ground-breaking ship in the Ponant fleet, with its hybrid electric Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) propulsion system. This major innovation is aligned with the commitment of the company to sustainable tourism. This Polar Class PC2 ship was designed with the highest attention in mind in terms of safety, comfort and respect for the environment in order to sail and explore the extreme and far-reached territories of the Arctic and the Antarctic, in complete self-sufficiency. Certified Cleanship by Bureau Veritas, Le Commandant Charcot displays the latest green technologies onboard including waste recycling and sewage management.

With 123 cabins, this innovative polar ship, which can carry up to 245 guests, will be able to reach polar destinations, until now out of reach, such as the geographic north pole, the Weddell sea, the Ross sea or Pierre-1st island. It is also fitted with facilities and equipment for research, providing the scientific world with a platform for observation, research and analysis to study the polar eco-systems.

Founded in 1988 by officers from the French Merchant Navy, PONANT pioneered a new type of cruises, flying the French flag, with a unique approach about sea travel and a commitment to promote sustainable and responsible travel. To reach exceptional destinations on board beautifully designed cruise yachts where the art of living and high standard cuisine are equally important. This is the promise of a PONANT voyage, unique and authentic.