Venture to the wild, unspoiled expanses of the Antarctic.
Venture to the wild, unspoiled expanses of the Antarctic. Reach the extreme lands of the Arctic. Give yourself the opportunity to go on "the trip of a lifetime" with our polar expeditions. Travelling to places where nature reigns supreme, in all its majesty, needs to be meticulously planned and prepared, and for good reason. Making completely safe progress; getting to and approaching isolated places; always being on the lookout for the spectacle offered by the exceptional wildlife… To ensure the experience is a success, it is best to have the proper help and support.
Having been leading expeditions to polar regions for more than 20 years, PONANT has acquired the experience necessary to take its passengers to some of the world's most remote and out-of-the-way places. The company offers unique itineraries, far from the main sea and ocean routes, in both Antarctica and the Arctic.
From 2021 onwards, and thanks to the advent of the first ever polar exploration cruise ship, Le Commandant Charcot, PONANT is also set to become the only luxury cruise operator in the world offering voyages to the remotest seas and oceans. This will therefore make it possible to reach the Geographic North Pole or sail alongside the colonies of emperor penguins at the edge of the Antarctic ice shelf.
PONANT has passionate and dedicated naturalist guides onboard for every expedition cruise. The majority come from the scientific world, and they act as a special link between the passengers and the spectacular natural landscapes they sail and travel through. The guides decipher and explain natural phenomena and animal behaviour, describe the diverse range of flowers and plants, and familiarise passengers with the local cultures.
The talks they deliver sometimes begin onboard then continue out on the waves; or on the land, once safely disembarked from the Zodiac® dinghies, depending on the opportunities available in each instance. In the Arctic, sightings of humpback whales, seals and penguins are all on the agenda; in the North Pole region, it's possible to spot polar bears, Arctic foxes and killer whales. It's essential, above all, not to miss any aspect of these magical, fleeting instants. This is where a polar adventure really lives up to its name and comes into its own.
Whereas the Arctic largely consists of winding fjords and thousand-year-old glaciers, the Antarctic opens out onto a peninsular ice shelf extending as far as the eye can see, and onto the vast mountain ranges of South Georgia. The seas around the White Continent also contain some of the world's most stunning and awe-inspiring icebergs.
Though just a handful of scientists make up the only human life to be found locally in Antarctica, at the opposite end of the planet human encounters are a constant occurrence. For a number of years now, PONANT has been building ties with the Inuit community based on trust and mutual respect. One way the company is doing this is by helping to support the FabLab organisation in Upernavik. FabLab provides training for Inuit artisans to ensure the continued production of local craft products and items, which are then sold to European museums.
Respect for local populations forms an integral part of PONANT's cruise concept. The company is committed to responsible tourism in its everyday activities and operations, and carries out environmental impact studies prior to developing its itineraries. Zero-impact disembarkation, a good practice charter, vessel wave-generation reduction, sound and light pollution reduction, the ollection of rubbish on visited beaches, and both passenger and crew awareness-raising activities are all measures that serve to ensure, amongst other benefits, an approach that works in favour of sustainable tourism.
PONANT has committed to these principles in its daily operations and activities through its membership of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), whose mission is to promote responsible tourism in the Antarctic. Each and every off-ship tour/visit is managed in accordance with strict regulations governing such aspects as the maximum number of people authorised to disembark, the ratio of guides to passengers, how the wildlife is to be observed, etc. And where the Arctic is concerned, PONANT is a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), which promotes environmentally friendly tourism.
The spirit of adventure allied with refined elegance, excursions and on-shore visits by Zodiac® combined with softly furnished surroundings, hikes on the ice and luxury onboard—it's all about making the success of the expedition a certainty. Thanks to our intimately sized expedition ships—veritable yachts, sleek and elegant in design–PONANT is able to both access remote locations and continue the French tradition of luxury.
Thanks to the all-inclusive service provide by the company, the expedition cruise experience is completely relaxed and stress-free. The service includes, in particular, trips and disembarkations by Zodiac®, onshore excursions, talks and lectures, complimentary parka jackets, and boot hire.