An unrivalled Expedition Cruise into one of the world’s most seldom-visited places; Peter I Island.

Departing from Argentina’s Ushuaia, cross the legendary Drake Passage and Antarctic Circle, before arriving in some of Antarctica’s most remote and elusive islands that were discovered by legendary explorer Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, including Charcot Island that was named after his father during a discovery in 1910.

Discover Detaille Island, a small island previously used as a research base by the British Antarctica Survey for only a few years before it was abandoned due to bad weather conditions. Ashore the island, travellers are able to explore the base where it remains suck in time, complete with items such as skis, magazines, training books and electrical items left exactly as they were in 1959. We will further travel to Pourquoi Pas Island, Marguerite Bay and through the Gullet, a narrow channel often filled with ice floes and impressive bergs.

Travelling alongside a National Geographic Expert and Photographer, experience this specular region with enriched insight during frequent lectures and workshops.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard Ponant’s Le Commandant-Charcot ship. View full details including deck plans and features onboard here.

Overnight in Santiago + flight Santiago/Ushuaia + transfers + flight Ushuaia/Santiago

Trip highlights

Experience the remarkable, and largely unexplored islands beyond the Antarctic Polar Circle; Charcot & Peter I Islands.

Opportunity to experience a wealth of activities during your Expedition Cruise including hovercraft riding, hot air balloons, snowmobiles and polar diving as well as kayaking and hiking that allow you to enjoy the spectacular surroundings in a unique manner.

Get closer to the wonders of Antarctica during Zodiac® outings and land visits, which will allow you to witness an array of wildlife including various species of penguins and seals as well as whales and an abundance of birdlife.

Travelling alongside a National Geographic Expert & Photographer, enjoy lectures and workshops where you can learn more about the destination and improve your photography skills, whether you’re a novice or already experienced.

Itinerary - 14 Days

1 Ushuaia

Start your journey at the very southern part of Argentina in Ushuaia, the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province. The contrast of its colourful houses against the great mountain background makes this city unique. If your schedule permits, discover the natural and indigenous history of Tierra del Fuego at the End of the World Museum, explore the National Park or sail along Ushuaia bay for the best views of the city and the chance of spotting some sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

2-3 Crossing the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is notorious with tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers for being a tough crossing. The cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses which often equates in a high swell and a rough crossing, but as many say, it’s a small price to pay to visit the White Continent.

During your time onboard, familiarise yourself with the amenities onboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world's first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first hybrid electric polar exploration ship. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the onboard spa whilst gazing out to sea or pick up a book from the library in the observatory lounge. Enjoy numerous lectures and workshops given by the National Geographic Experts & Expedition Team who will introduce you to the region's wildlife and highlight the important IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the Zodiac® outings.

Furthermore, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside our team of naturalists.

4 Crossing the Antarctic Circle & Detaille Island

Located along 66°33’ south of the Equator, cross the Antarctic Polar Circle, an experience not many people have had the pleasure of enjoying, and will certainly become a memorable moment during your Polar expedition.

This area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year.

Situated just off the Loubet Coast in the Crystal Sound is Detaille Island, a small, sheltered island that is home to an abandoned Antarctic base; Base W. Having previously been used by the British Antarctic Survey, the base was established in 1956 but it was deserted in 1959 after the unstable ice around the island cut the scientists off from their supply ships. The base was used again in 1996/97 by the BAS but in 2009 it was declared a historic landmark.

Today, the base remains in good condition and is maintained by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. The doors are left unlocked with visitors able to go inside and step back in time, many of the original items left by the research team can be viewed in the hut including old magazines, cooking equipment and various research items including training books.

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is weather dependent.

5 The Gullet & Pourquoi Pas Island

Situated at the very southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Gullet is an often ice-filled channel offering specular scenery and mirror-like waters. The narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land was first explored by Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1909, who sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by a British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Cousteau’s four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.

Le Commandant Charcot will continue on to the mountainous Pourquoi Pas Island, situated in the north of Marguerite Bay between Graham Land and Adelaide Island. Pourquoi Pas was also named and explored by Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who discovered it from aboard his ship Le Pourquoi Pas ? during his second expedition to Antarctica between 1908 and 1910. Scattered with narrow fjords and snow-covered mountains, enjoy a unique Zodiac® outing where you may have the opportunity to land and observe Adelie penguin colonies.

6 Marguerite Bay

One of the most beautiful regions in Antarctica, Marguerite Bay was also named by Charcot. It is delimited in the north by the mountainous Adelaide Island, in the south by George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and in the east by the Fallières Coast.

This island was named after Charcot’s wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. In 1909, in the southern summer when the skies are at their clearest, he led an important scientific mission to map and study this region. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans, and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.

7-8 Expedition to Charcot Island

When Jean-Baptiste Charcot discovered the island, he couldn’t get closer than 40-miles due to the sea-ice. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west.

The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, but even from the waters, you can observe the magnificent seabirds and wildlife that resides here.

9-10 Expedition to Peter I Island

Continue your journey to Peter I Island, that was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there.

This uninhabited volcanic island is largely covered, with an impressive 95% of the island's surface covered in ice. Its highest peak reaches 1,640 metres and is furthermore protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.

11 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the amenities onboard Le Commandant Charcot. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the onboard spa whilst gazing out to sea or take a dip in the swimming pool. You may be able to catch up with our onboard National Geographic Expert and Photographer as they give greater insight into the destination via lectures and workshops or visit the photo gallery area where you can take a look at some of the professional photos that have been taken during your trip so far. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside our team of naturalists.

12 The Gullet

Situated at the very southern end of the Antarctic Penninsula, the Gullet is an often ice-filled channel offering specular scenery and mirror-like waters. The narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land was first explored by Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by a British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Cousteau’s four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.

13-14 Crossing the Drake Passage

If there is one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly the Drake Passage. The waters of this route to Antarctica can be rough because of the strong winds and the merge of cold currents from the South Pole and warmer equatorial water masses. But this very special place can also offer you a very diverse marine fauna, and albatross and Cape petrels flying around your ship.

15 Ushuaia

End your Antarctic adventure in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Formerly a missionary base, penal colony and naval base, Ushuaia is now a great tourist destination where you’ll find all kind of hikes, tours, ski trails and boat trips to fill your days. Food is also a highlight of this town, with local lamb and fresh seafood from the surrounding waters.

Show More

You are leaving this Website and being directed to an External Website.

Please read the privacy policy of the External Website to understand how your personal information will be treated.

GO NOW

You are leaving this Website and being directed to an External Website.

Please read the privacy policy of the External Website to understand how your personal information will be treated.

GO NOW