The Northwest Passage onboard Le Commandant Charcot 2023

Explore the expanse of the Arctic world during extraordinary polar odyssey from Iceland to Alaska, via the mythical Northwest Passage.


Canadian Arctic
© PON

Crossing the Northwest Passage to discover the most remote places and icy channels of this legendary maritime zone, accessible only onboard in the icebraker ship, Le Commandant Charcot.
Enjoy amazing landscapes: icy channels, fjords, vast expanses of ice floe, myriads of jagged islands, blue-toned glaciers, mountain chains, expanses of tundra, vertiginous walls. Fauna: Arctic foxes, sea birds, belugas, bowhead whales, walruses and the possibility of seeing polar bears.

Duration: 25 days
Starts: Reykjavik, Iceland
Ends: Nome, Alaska
Language: English speaking voyage

A flight is included in this trip


Included

Itinerary

© PON
© PON
© PON

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: 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 3-4: SOUTHERN COAST OF GREENLAND
Set sail in the traces of the Norwegian explorer Erik Le Rouge by travelling along the south coast of Greenland. Your ship will head deep into the longest network of fjords in the region, the Prins Christian Sund. This sumptuous natural canal, surrounded by craggy mountains and impressive glaciers will offer you stunning landscapes.

Day 5-6: 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 7-9: HUDSON STRAIT
Linking Hudson Bay, the second largest bay in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean, the Hudson Strait was identified for the first time by the Venetian explorer Sebastian Cabot in 1517. However, it wasn’t until 1660 that the English sailor Henry Hudson explored this maritime passage as far as the bay. Offering privileged access to the centre of Canada, in the 18th Century the Hudson Strait became a commercial route, notably used for fur trading. Some 800 km in length and congested with ice for most of the year, it will offer you a truly unique sailing experience.

Day 10-11: FOXE BASIN
Named after the 17th-century explorer Luke Fox, who was the first to reach it, Foxe Basin marks the entry of the mythical Northwest Passage, much coveted since the 15th century and first crossed from one side to the other by Roald Amundsen in 1906. Blocked by ice for much of the year, Foxe Basin is home to the last emerged lands to be discovered in North America, in 1948, during aerial surveys: the Prince Charles, Air Force and Foley Islands. In summer, bowhead whales take up residence here to give birth.

Day 12: Fury and Hecla Strait
At the heart of the Arctic Ocean, set sail in the footsteps of the British explorer W.E. Parris who in 1822, during his desperate quest to find the North West Passage, discovered the Fury and Hecla Strait. The expedition that he led with two Royal Navy vessels, HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, in the hope of crossing the mythical maritime passageway, ended in failure. Trapped in the ice, the two ships were blocked to the north of Foxe Basin, but this allowed them to identify the strait separating the Melville peninsula and Baffin Island. Covered by ice floe for the majority of the year, this narrow stretch of sea is very difficult to access. When you enter the passage, you will have the privilege of visiting the Inuit village of Igloolik.

Day 13-20: EXPLORING SEA ICE OF NORTHWEST PASSAGE
At the far north of the American continent, in the most northerly part of the Arctic archipelago, the Northwest Passage is the shortest waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Its crossing has been coveted since the 15th century and Roald Amundsen was the first to do so in 1906. Blocked by thick ice floe for most of the year, to date only a lucky few have managed to sail from one side to the other. The crossing of this little-mapped and little-explored region is a challenge worthy of Le Commandant Charcot, which was designed to sail in extreme environments. Sheltered in its refined and protective setting, you will make the most of this exploration of the ice with the inimitable appeal of the first time: just like the first explorers, you will sail in its channels sculpted by glacial erosion and discover spectacular landscapes, made up of craggy terrain and monumental fjords. You will be able to measure the privilege of undertaking such an exploration in the light of the experience’s rarity.

Day 21: BANKS ISLAND
Located in the north of Canadian archipelago of the Northwest Territories, Banks Island, also known as Banks Land offers landscapes that are as sumptuous as they are spectacular. The island, covering some 70,000 km², offers a landscape of hills and valleys as well as sheer cliffs and canyons, a result of the glacial erosion. To the north of the island, the Aulavik National Park is home to a very rich wildlife mainly consisting of Arctic wolves, muskox, caribou, Arctic foxes, lemmings and many varieties of birds.

Day 22-25: EXPLORING SEA ICE IN BEAUFORT SEA
Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal its magnificent icy landscapes to you. With a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some polar bears, since the region is renowned for sheltering the Lord of the Arctic.

Day 26: NOME, ALASKA
Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly coloured houses, you will discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sledge-racing... People here live from their manual labour. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna.

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: 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 3-4: SOUTHERN COAST OF GREENLAND
Set sail in the traces of the Norwegian explorer Erik Le Rouge by travelling along the south coast of Greenland. Your ship will head deep into the longest network of fjords in the region, the Prins Christian Sund. This sumptuous natural canal, surrounded by craggy mountains and impressive glaciers will offer you stunning landscapes.

Day 5-6: 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 7-9: HUDSON STRAIT
Linking Hudson Bay, the second largest bay in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean, the Hudson Strait was identified for the first time by the Venetian explorer Sebastian Cabot in 1517. However, it wasn’t until 1660 that the English sailor Henry Hudson explored this maritime passage as far as the bay. Offering privileged access to the centre of Canada, in the 18th Century the Hudson Strait became a commercial route, notably used for fur trading. Some 800 km in length and congested with ice for most of the year, it will offer you a truly unique sailing experience.

Day 10-11: FOXE BASIN
Named after the 17th-century explorer Luke Fox, who was the first to reach it, Foxe Basin marks the entry of the mythical Northwest Passage, much coveted since the 15th century and first crossed from one side to the other by Roald Amundsen in 1906. Blocked by ice for much of the year, Foxe Basin is home to the last emerged lands to be discovered in North America, in 1948, during aerial surveys: the Prince Charles, Air Force and Foley Islands. In summer, bowhead whales take up residence here to give birth.

Day 12: Fury and Hecla Strait
At the heart of the Arctic Ocean, set sail in the footsteps of the British explorer W.E. Parris who in 1822, during his desperate quest to find the North West Passage, discovered the Fury and Hecla Strait. The expedition that he led with two Royal Navy vessels, HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, in the hope of crossing the mythical maritime passageway, ended in failure. Trapped in the ice, the two ships were blocked to the north of Foxe Basin, but this allowed them to identify the strait separating the Melville peninsula and Baffin Island. Covered by ice floe for the majority of the year, this narrow stretch of sea is very difficult to access. When you enter the passage, you will have the privilege of visiting the Inuit village of Igloolik.

Day 13-20: EXPLORING SEA ICE OF NORTHWEST PASSAGE
At the far north of the American continent, in the most northerly part of the Arctic archipelago, the Northwest Passage is the shortest waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Its crossing has been coveted since the 15th century and Roald Amundsen was the first to do so in 1906. Blocked by thick ice floe for most of the year, to date only a lucky few have managed to sail from one side to the other. The crossing of this little-mapped and little-explored region is a challenge worthy of Le Commandant Charcot, which was designed to sail in extreme environments. Sheltered in its refined and protective setting, you will make the most of this exploration of the ice with the inimitable appeal of the first time: just like the first explorers, you will sail in its channels sculpted by glacial erosion and discover spectacular landscapes, made up of craggy terrain and monumental fjords. You will be able to measure the privilege of undertaking such an exploration in the light of the experience’s rarity.

Day 21: BANKS ISLAND
Located in the north of Canadian archipelago of the Northwest Territories, Banks Island, also known as Banks Land offers landscapes that are as sumptuous as they are spectacular. The island, covering some 70,000 km², offers a landscape of hills and valleys as well as sheer cliffs and canyons, a result of the glacial erosion. To the north of the island, the Aulavik National Park is home to a very rich wildlife mainly consisting of Arctic wolves, muskox, caribou, Arctic foxes, lemmings and many varieties of birds.

Day 22-25: EXPLORING SEA ICE IN BEAUFORT SEA
Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal its magnificent icy landscapes to you. With a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some polar bears, since the region is renowned for sheltering the Lord of the Arctic.

Day 26: NOME, ALASKA
Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly coloured houses, you will discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sledge-racing... People here live from their manual labour. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna.


© PON
© PON
© PON


INCLUSIONS

Disembarkation Day - Nome/Seattle:
Meet and greet at the port by our local English-speaking representative.
Transfer to the airport in time for check-in of flight Nome/Seattle
Flight Nome/Seattle
(A one night stay in Seattle after this flight is highly recommended)



EXCLUSIONS

Personal expenses.
Any other service not mentioned in the program.


* 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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