In the ice of the Arctic

From Greenland to Svalbard

Enjoy an exceptional experience roaming the Far North, as close as possible to the Arctic’s most legendary islands, from majestic Greenland to the immaculate territories of the Svalbard archipelago.


From Svalbard to Greenland

Duration: 19 days
Starts: Reykjavik, Iceland
Ends: Longyearbyen, Norway
Language: English Speaking Voyage

Itinerary might vary slightly depending on departure date, please ask.


Included
Optional


During a brand-new 19-day exploration, you will sail into the heart of the ice aboard Le Commandant Charcot, in the footsteps of the great explorers and meeting the Greenlandic Inuit people. Plunge into the history of these remote territories in the relaxed setting of an exceptional ship, during a period of extreme conditions when the ice still envelops the wild and deserted landscape.
Thanks to Le Commandant Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar exploration ship, you will brave the elements, in a season that is inaccessible to the majority of ships, to reach Greenland and the Scoresby Sound region. In the heart of this hostile yet sublime world of ice, you will navigate in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who was deeply connected to the Inuit land, where vestiges of his passage remain. The sumptuous decor is made up of snow-topped peaks and majestic fjords, icebergs of poetic shapes, and ice as far as the eye can see.
You will then set sail towards the Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest national park in the world and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: here, the trappers’ cabins are lost in the immensity of the magically coloured alpine landscapes and the impressive glaciers. You will go where few have had the chance, to the sites of the Arctic tales written by Jorn Riel. Polar bears and musk oxen live in these distant lands and you may be lucky enough to spot them on the horizon.
The shores of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve will appear progressively on the horizon. This total immersion in the polar desert in search of the sea ice offers the promise of an unforgettable adventure. You will admire Europe’s largest ice cap and the impressive fjords that punctuate this icy landscape.
Your exploration amidst these remote lands continues to the east. Le Commandant Charcot will attempt to reach the easternmost island of the Svalbard archipelago, Kvitoya – the white island –, entirely covered by the ice cap and overrun by walruses. Before the end of your journey, you will cross the Hinlopen Strait where basalt islets and majestic glaciers hide a rich marine ecosystem.
The polar silence, the encounter with the people of the North, the pristine landscapes of the Arctic, the sudden appearance of a narwhal or a seal in the distance… Everything here will leave you with everlasting memories.

Highlights
• An exploration between the territories of Greenland and Svalbard, to discover the history of the great explorers and Norwegian trappers, in landscapes that are as majestic as they are unexplored.
• Outings and shore visits in a zodiac inflatable or hovercraft* with a reinforced team of naturalist guides
• The encounter with the Greenlandic Inuit people of Sermersooq.
• Scoresby Sound, the world’s largest fjord system, and land of exploration for Captain Charcot; there is still a stela in remembrance of him, as well as his old dwelling.
• The Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest national park in the world, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, at the magical moment when nature awakens.
• Circumnavigation around Nordaustlandet, land of ice and the largest ice cap in Europe.
• Sail in the Hinlopen Strait between Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.
• Kvitoya, the white island, covered by the ice cap.
• Landscapes: mountains striped with multi-coloured strata, fjords, ice floes, glaciers, icebergs, wild tundra, sheer cliffs, steep-sided valleys and polar ice cap.
• Wildlife: polar bears, narwhals, seals, musk oxen, Arctic foxes and hares, walruses, orcas, Svalbard reindeer, sea birds.
• Many brand-new activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, ice fishing, polar plunge, ice floating, dog sledding, participative science.

Important trip details
Activities: please note that for polar plunge and ice floating, an EKG (electrocardiogram) by your general practitioner in addition to the expedition company medical questionnaire will be required.

Also, for persons under 18 wishing to take part in these activities as well as kayaking, a sworn statement from the parents or legal guardians that they are able to swim will be asked. A parent or legal guardian must be present at the time of the activity.

Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

Itinerary

Day 1: REYKJAVĶK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavķk”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliš hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrķmskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavördustķgur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

Day 2: SAILING THROUGH THE DENMARK STRAIT
Lying between Greenland and Iceland, the Denmark Strait was crossed for the first time by theVikings in the late 10th century, during Erik the Red’s expeditions. In the Second World War, its waters were the theatre of a battle between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy, on 24 May 1941. In the wintertime, extremely dense pack ice forms along the Greenlandic coasts and, while the Transpolar Drift sweeps icebergs along throughout the year, the strait is generally clear of ice during the summer. In the depths of the strait lies the world’s largest waterfall, an undersea cataract formed by the difference in temperature between the cold waters of the Greenland Sea and the warmer waters of the Irminger Sea. Numerous cetacean species thrive in this rich ecosystem.

Day 3- 4: BLOSSEVILLE COAST
Aboard your ship, follow in the footsteps of Jules Poret de Blosseville, a French explorer and sailor. In 1833, aboard La Lilloise, he set off to discover this isolated and unexplored part of eastern Greenland and gave French names to various sites on the coast. The adventure probably has an unfortunate outcome, since the crew was never found. This uninhabited territory, which now bears his name, lies to the south of Scoresby Sund. Surrounded by ice, icebergs and pieces of pack ice, Blosseville Coast is one of these wild and hard-to-reach places that very few people are lucky enough to explore.

Day 5-6: ITTOQQORTOORMIIT REGION
On the East coast of Greenland, in the Ittoqqortoormiit region, you will have the rare opportunity of immersing yourself in the heart of isolated scenery and exploring the beauty of its landscapes. The high alpine mountains stand out in the sky, revealing dark rock edges. The region is home to the longest fjord system in the world, Scoresby Sound. On the edge of the fjord, the eponymous village is considered one of the most remote inhabited places in the world. The colourful houses, so typical of Greenland, dot the landscape with small red, yellow and blue patches that stand out against the surrounding arid landscape. Immersing yourself in this region will allow you to discover the ancestral way of life of the last hunters of the polar region. This will be a veritable deep-dive into the lives of the Arctic’s inhabitants.

Day 7-8-9-10: EXPLORATION OF NORTH-EAST GREENLAND
Set sail for North-East Greenland to immerse yourself further and up higher in the Arctic region to explore the unexpected riches of the sea ice, where traditional ships cannot travel at this time of the year. As the light shifts and the moods of the sky change, the different states of the ice and the infinite diversity of its textures create an exceptionally stunning tableau. With patience and humility, you will sail amid the pearl-white floating cathedrals and the ice carried by the Transpolar Drift. En route, icebergs have their journey halted by ice and pressure ridges reveal their sharp edges. In the midst of this icy vastness, beauty is found in the detail and the magic of the moment. In the realm of polar bears, Le Commandant Charcot is a reassuring cocoon built for polar exploration and offers you wonderful opportunities to observe these lords of the ice when you happen upon them. You may even get the chance to admire the moving sight of a mother and her cub travelling across the immaculate icy expanse.

Day 11-12: AT SEA ABOARD LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT
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 13: NAVIGATING THROUGH THE SEA ICE
Enjoy the absolutely unique experience of sailing to the heart of the ice floe, this vast expanse of virgin, immaculate ice. The landscapes are constantly changing, shifting from a smooth, flat wilderness to a chaos of ice, then to channels of open water. Your ship will sail along these naturally open channels and through the areas where the frozen layer is thinnest, offering you the chance to experience magic maritime moments in the midst of drifting sea ice. It will also often be an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe.

Day 14-15: NORDAUST-SVALBARD NATURE RESERVE
The Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve has been protecting the northernmost and coldest part of the archipelago, Nordaustlandet (North East Land), since 1973. This vast polar desert covered by two ice caps is the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Protected by the Gulf Stream, the fjords and cliffs in the west and north are home to large colonies of birds and walruses. The landscapes in the colder east and south are dominated by imposing glaciers that calve majestic icebergs in the vast Hinlopen Strait. Large colonies of thick-billed murres have taken up residence on the sheer cliffs*. You may even get the chance to see a bear or an Arctic fox roaming in the vicinity.

*depending on nesting and migration period

Day 16: SAILING IN THE HINLOPEN STRAIT
Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait, in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, between the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet promises an unforgettable experience. This territory of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve offers breathtaking panoramas, with magnificent basalt formations and the ice cap stretching as far as the eye can see, diving into the sea. The shore line cut by the fjords moving inland composes a magical landscape in which icebergs float here and there, the result of the calving of the surrounding glaciers. This place, today a popular spot to observe the seabirds nesting in the enormous cliffs, polar bears and walruses, was once intrinsically linked to the history of the whalers who frequented the region from the 17th century. Indeed, it was one of them, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, then director of a Dutch whaling company, who gave the strait its name. Later on, Russian trappers, European explorers, scientists and even mountaineers roamed this region, as hostile as it is sublime.

Day 17: SORAUST-SVALBARD NATURE RESERVE
The Sųraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve is the second largest protected area in Norway. Established in 1973, this nature conservation area stretching over more than 21,000 km2 will offer you stunning panoramas including coastal landscapes, rocky islets, mountain plateaux, vast tundra plains, and ice floes. With a little luck, you will be able to observe a wide variety of seabirds, given the site is listed as an Important Bird Area, as well as cetaceans, Svalbard reindeer, or even Arctic foxes. Among other things, Edgeoya Island is renowned for providing shelter to a number of polar bears during the breeding season.


Day 18: HORNSUND
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.

Day 19: LONGYEARBYEN, SPITSBERGEN
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

Itinerary

Day 1: REYKJAVĶK
Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavķk”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhliš hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrķmskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavördustķgur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon.

Day 2: SAILING THROUGH THE DENMARK STRAIT
Lying between Greenland and Iceland, the Denmark Strait was crossed for the first time by theVikings in the late 10th century, during Erik the Red’s expeditions. In the Second World War, its waters were the theatre of a battle between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy, on 24 May 1941. In the wintertime, extremely dense pack ice forms along the Greenlandic coasts and, while the Transpolar Drift sweeps icebergs along throughout the year, the strait is generally clear of ice during the summer. In the depths of the strait lies the world’s largest waterfall, an undersea cataract formed by the difference in temperature between the cold waters of the Greenland Sea and the warmer waters of the Irminger Sea. Numerous cetacean species thrive in this rich ecosystem.

Day 3- 4: BLOSSEVILLE COAST
Aboard your ship, follow in the footsteps of Jules Poret de Blosseville, a French explorer and sailor. In 1833, aboard La Lilloise, he set off to discover this isolated and unexplored part of eastern Greenland and gave French names to various sites on the coast. The adventure probably has an unfortunate outcome, since the crew was never found. This uninhabited territory, which now bears his name, lies to the south of Scoresby Sund. Surrounded by ice, icebergs and pieces of pack ice, Blosseville Coast is one of these wild and hard-to-reach places that very few people are lucky enough to explore.

Day 5-6: ITTOQQORTOORMIIT REGION
On the East coast of Greenland, in the Ittoqqortoormiit region, you will have the rare opportunity of immersing yourself in the heart of isolated scenery and exploring the beauty of its landscapes. The high alpine mountains stand out in the sky, revealing dark rock edges. The region is home to the longest fjord system in the world, Scoresby Sound. On the edge of the fjord, the eponymous village is considered one of the most remote inhabited places in the world. The colourful houses, so typical of Greenland, dot the landscape with small red, yellow and blue patches that stand out against the surrounding arid landscape. Immersing yourself in this region will allow you to discover the ancestral way of life of the last hunters of the polar region. This will be a veritable deep-dive into the lives of the Arctic’s inhabitants.

Day 7-8-9-10: EXPLORATION OF NORTH-EAST GREENLAND
Set sail for North-East Greenland to immerse yourself further and up higher in the Arctic region to explore the unexpected riches of the sea ice, where traditional ships cannot travel at this time of the year. As the light shifts and the moods of the sky change, the different states of the ice and the infinite diversity of its textures create an exceptionally stunning tableau. With patience and humility, you will sail amid the pearl-white floating cathedrals and the ice carried by the Transpolar Drift. En route, icebergs have their journey halted by ice and pressure ridges reveal their sharp edges. In the midst of this icy vastness, beauty is found in the detail and the magic of the moment. In the realm of polar bears, Le Commandant Charcot is a reassuring cocoon built for polar exploration and offers you wonderful opportunities to observe these lords of the ice when you happen upon them. You may even get the chance to admire the moving sight of a mother and her cub travelling across the immaculate icy expanse.

Day 11-12: AT SEA ABOARD LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT
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 13: NAVIGATING THROUGH THE SEA ICE
Enjoy the absolutely unique experience of sailing to the heart of the ice floe, this vast expanse of virgin, immaculate ice. The landscapes are constantly changing, shifting from a smooth, flat wilderness to a chaos of ice, then to channels of open water. Your ship will sail along these naturally open channels and through the areas where the frozen layer is thinnest, offering you the chance to experience magic maritime moments in the midst of drifting sea ice. It will also often be an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe.

Day 14-15: NORDAUST-SVALBARD NATURE RESERVE
The Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve has been protecting the northernmost and coldest part of the archipelago, Nordaustlandet (North East Land), since 1973. This vast polar desert covered by two ice caps is the second largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Protected by the Gulf Stream, the fjords and cliffs in the west and north are home to large colonies of birds and walruses. The landscapes in the colder east and south are dominated by imposing glaciers that calve majestic icebergs in the vast Hinlopen Strait. Large colonies of thick-billed murres have taken up residence on the sheer cliffs*. You may even get the chance to see a bear or an Arctic fox roaming in the vicinity.

*depending on nesting and migration period

Day 16: SAILING IN THE HINLOPEN STRAIT
Sailing in the Hinlopen Strait, in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, between the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet promises an unforgettable experience. This territory of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve offers breathtaking panoramas, with magnificent basalt formations and the ice cap stretching as far as the eye can see, diving into the sea. The shore line cut by the fjords moving inland composes a magical landscape in which icebergs float here and there, the result of the calving of the surrounding glaciers. This place, today a popular spot to observe the seabirds nesting in the enormous cliffs, polar bears and walruses, was once intrinsically linked to the history of the whalers who frequented the region from the 17th century. Indeed, it was one of them, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, then director of a Dutch whaling company, who gave the strait its name. Later on, Russian trappers, European explorers, scientists and even mountaineers roamed this region, as hostile as it is sublime.

Day 17: SORAUST-SVALBARD NATURE RESERVE
The Sųraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve is the second largest protected area in Norway. Established in 1973, this nature conservation area stretching over more than 21,000 km2 will offer you stunning panoramas including coastal landscapes, rocky islets, mountain plateaux, vast tundra plains, and ice floes. With a little luck, you will be able to observe a wide variety of seabirds, given the site is listed as an Important Bird Area, as well as cetaceans, Svalbard reindeer, or even Arctic foxes. Among other things, Edgeoya Island is renowned for providing shelter to a number of polar bears during the breeding season.


Day 18: HORNSUND
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.

Day 19: LONGYEARBYEN, SPITSBERGEN
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.




INCLUSIONS

• Flight Longyearbyen/Paris in economy class.
• Transfer as mentioned in the programme.
• English-speaking assistance.

EXCLUSIONS

• Personal expenses.
• Any other service not mentioned in the programme.


* The prices are per person in US Dollars, unless expressly specified in a different currency. In that case, payment will be in US dollars at the exchange rate of the day.
** All prices will be re-confirmed by email at the time of booking.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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