Ponant accepts delivery of Le Commandant Charcot

First Polar Explorer handed over by VARD in Norway

Ponant has taken delivery of Le Commandant Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar expedition ship powered by Liquified Natural Gas, at a ceremony at the VARD shipyard in Norway.

Le Commandant Charcot is Ponant’s 13th vessel and has been six years in the making.

Ponant partnered with a number of experts to design the vessel, including Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and VARD.

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“Delivery of Le Commandant Charcot is both a culmination and the beginning of a new kind of odyssey for the company,” said Hervé Gastinel, CEO Ponant.

“The construction of this prototype ship demanded extremely high standards in terms of quality. I am proud of the work that our teams have accomplished.”

© Kristin Støylen, via Ponant

“We are welcoming into our fleet a ship that will offer so much more than just a voyage of exploration, but rather a truly inspiring and fascinating discovery of a still little-known polar world,” Gastinel remarked.

The ceremony was marked by an exchange of flags between Ponant and VARD at the shipping yard.

With just 123 staterooms and a capacity of 245 guests, Le Commandant Charcot is a major innovation in the French company’s commitment to sustainable tourism. A Polar Class PC2 ship, her design includes all the latest ‘green’ technologies, including 100% waste sorted on board and waste treatment. Le Commandant Charcot will be fitted with facilities and equipment for research, providing the scientific world with a platform for observation, research and analysis to study water, air, ice and biodiversity in extreme polar regions.

Guests will have a suite of activities from which to choose, including citizen science, lectures by experts, kayaking, hovercraft, hiking, ice fishing and more.

Le Commandant Charcot will sail in the world’s most remote regions: the Geographic North Pole, Northeast Greenland’s National park, circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago, the Billingshausen Sea, Charcot and Pierre I Islands, Weddell Sea and the Larsen Ice Shelf.

According to Ponant’s website, the first voyage of Le Commandant Charcot is scheduled for 31 October 2021 – an 18-night Emperor Penguins of Bellingshausen Sea cruise departing Puerto Montt.

Lead image: Le Commandant Charcot – Nicolas Dubreuil/Ponant

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