Ponant - Luxury expeditions to the Polars

Gill Nicholls on 26 April 2023
In April I was invited to a seminar at sea by the French cruise company, Ponant. They were showcasing their flagship Icebreaker vessel, name Le Commandant Charcot. The vessel took 6 years to design and build, 2 years longer than usual and is the most technological craft on earth and the only one to be powered with L&G energy.

It’s Hull is 3x thicker than conventional ship hulls and this allows the ship to break through ice up to 3m thick which means it can get to the North and South poles and closer to nature than any other luxury ship. It also has two Bridges at either ends of the ship and thrusts that are capable of rotating 360° giving the ship the capability to sail backwards. The environment is at the heart of what Ponant do and so, on their Expeditions, minimal footprint is left behind with all waste being either recycled or stored safely until it can be disposed of later.

As this is an expedition ship, going to remote parts of the planet, scientific research is welcomed with a resident scientist on board and other scientists being invited on board and the ship has a wet lab where samples can be stored and research work can be carried out.

The passenger ship is small and luxurious, only holding 245 passengers. Its a 5* service on board with a Michelin starred Alain Ducasse restaurant called Nuna, 2 swimming pools, fully equipped gym and top notch SPA complete with sauna and ice room. It’s small but feels very spacious.

There is a lovely seated area at the back of the ship with heated seating and a heated outdoor pool. The outdoor grill serves lovely comfort food such as burgers and aranchini balls.

Ponant is a fantastic for adventure and luxury combined.