Emperor Penguins of Bellingshausen Sea

Le Commandant Charcot
Le Commandant Charcot
250 Passengers
Starting 2021-22 Season — Icebreaker

Beyond Peter I Island and Charcot Island, this exceptional cruise will take you into the heart of the Bellingshausen Sea.

Named in honor of the Russian admiral and explorer who discovered Antarctica in 1820, this sea in the Southern Ocean, covered by ice floe most of the time, is hard to reach and practically unexplored.

But the reward lives up to the challenge: gigantic colonies of emperor penguins, a unique species endemic to the Antarctic and almost never observed, live here. This animal, elegant and majestic, is the promise of emotional encounters.

In this season, as winter gradually gives way to the austral spring, the chicks, only a few weeks old, become independent and gather in immense “creches”: a magical spectacle to which you will be a privileged witnesses.

Highlights
• A unique opportunity to approach colonies of emperor penguins bringing together adults and young at the end of the austral winter.
• Outings and shore visits in Zodiac inflatables.
• Lectures and information sessions hosted by our naturalist-guides.
• Approach two islands beyond the Antarctic Polar Circle.
• Hiking opportunity.
• Landscapes: glaciers, icebergs, thick ice floes, ice shelves.
• Wildlife: emperor penguins, humpback whales, gentoo penguins, Weddell seals.
• Many included activities: Hovercraft, hot air balloon, participative science, polar diving, outings and shore visits in Zodiac inflatables, kayaking, hiking, snowmobiles.

Includes pre-departure overnight in Puerto Montt, Chile, flight from Puerto Montt to Ushuaia, Argentina and from Ushuaia to Santiago, Chile.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Puerto Montt, Chile
Days 2 to 4 At Sea
Day 5 Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Day 6 At Sea
Days 7 & 8 Expedition to Charcot Island
Days 9 & 10 Expedition to Peter I Island
Days 11 & 12 English Coast - in search of emperor penguins
Day 13 Marguerite Bay
Day 14 Stonington Island | Pourquoi Pas Island
Day 15 The Gullet | Detaille Island
Day 16 At Sea
Days 17 & 18 Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 19 Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 1 — Puerto Montt, Chile

A picturesque stopover in southern Chile, the colorful city of Puerto Montt is the capital of the Lakes District.ᅠ Here, you'll discover reminders of its colonial past at the Plaza de Armas and neoclassical cathedral. The Manuel Montt lookout offers stunning views of the bay's sapphire beauty. Close to the town, the peaceful banks of Lake Llanquihue are conducive for a relaxing walk and the quaint, traditional villages of Puerto Varas and Frutillar are well worth a visit.

Days 2 to 4 — At Sea

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with our specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research  and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

Day 5 — Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Weather permitting, we'll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic 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. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.

Days 7 & 8 — Expedition to Charcot Island

When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 40 miles away from it. 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 8 miles 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 neighbor, Alexander Island, lying 30 miles away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.

Days 9 & 10 — Expedition to Peter I Island

You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 280 miles away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honor 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: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 5,400 ft, is protected by ice cliffs some 130 ft tall, making any approach difficult.

Days 11 & 12 — English Coast - in search of emperor penguins

Along the English Coast, land on the pack ice with your expedition team and head off in search of emperor penguin colonies. If you brave the few miles’ walk through the magnificent, quasi-unexplored desert of ice that separates you from these colonies you will be among the lucky few to have observed these majestic penguins from this close and enjoyed this rare, moving and intense experience. Emperor penguins are the largest of all living penguin species and they are champions at adapting to the harsh Antarctic climate. They live inland, where they protect their eggs between their feet and their abdomen and cover long distances in search of food.

Day 13 — Marguerite Bay

The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay, one of the most beautiful regions in the Antarctic. 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. Charcot named it after his 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.

Day 14 — Stonington Island | Pourquoi Pas Island

In the northeastern part of Marguerite Bay, along Graham Land, you will discover the small island of Stonington. The island was a British research station from 1946 to 1950 and later from 1960 to 1975. Numerous expeditions setting off from this station on dog sledges enabled the mapping of a significant portion of the Antarctic Peninsula. The two-story steel-framed buildings, whose vestiges are still visible, could accommodate 6 to 17 people. Equipment and facilities from that time can still be found there: the generator, the dog pens, radio equipment and weather instruments, the water reservoir and a storage space. The island is now an important breeding ground for Antarctic terns and south polar skuas.

Le Commandant Charcot will land on the coast of Pourquoi Pas Island, so named in the 1930s by John Riddoch Rymill in honor of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who discovered it from aboard his ship Le Pourquoi Pas? during his second expedition to Antarctica between 1908 and 1910. This mountainous island, situated in the north of Marguerite Bay between Graham Land and Adelaide Island, is 17 mi long and 9 mi wide. It is scattered with narrow fjords and snow-covered mountains. You will go to shore in a Zodiac dinghy with your expedition team and you could get the chance to observe Adelie penguins going about their business on the island’s rocky shores.

Day 15 — The Gullet | Detaille Island

The sumptuous landscapes of this narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land attract all visitors sailing towards Marguerite Bay. It is like an ice palace, its immaculate white walls reflected in the frozen mirror formed by the waters of the Southern Ocean, scattered with icebergs and gleaming blocks of ice. This passage was explored for the first time by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by the 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.

Detaille Island is a small island situated off the Loubet Coast in the Crystal Sound, a magnificent region surrounded by snow-covered peaks. A British research station was set up there in 1956, ahead of the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. Like the International Polar Years, organized for the first time in 1882-83, the purpose of this event was to take a coordinated approach to the geophysical research conducted by the different nations. With the island difficult to access, this station was shut down in 1959. The vestiges of the buildings and sledge dog pens that made it possible to map more than 4,000 miles around the island are now maintained by the United Kingdom Heritage Trust.

Days 17 & 18 — Crossing the Drake Passage

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to connect Antarctica to South America. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbors a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

Day 19 — Ushuaia, Argentina

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evokes journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible.

Important note: We are privileged guests in these remote lands where we are at the mercy of weather, ice, tidal and current conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each cruise a unique experience. The captain and the expedition leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Per Person USD
Rates Antarctica 2021-22
Prestige
Stateroom
Deck 6
Prestige
Stateroom
Deck 7
Prestige
Stateroom
Deck 8
Privilege
Stateroom
Deck 6
Privilege
Stateroom
Deck 7
Privilege
Stateroom
Deck 8
Prestige
Suite
Deck 7
Prestige
Suite
Deck 8
Privilege
Suite
Duplex
Suite
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $96,190
$25,370Full$25,830 $26,280 $31,040 $32,170 $33,310 $42,380Full$43,510 $45,780Limited$63,930 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $64,410
$16,480 $16,760 $17,040 $19,990 $20,690 $21,390 $27,010 $27,720 $29,120 $40,360 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is available for $53,700
$13,960 $14,190 $14,420 $16,860 $17,450 $18,030 $22,690 $23,270 $24,440 $33,750 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $64,410
$16,480 $16,760 $17,040 $19,990 $20,690 $21,390 $27,010 $27,720 $29,120 $40,360 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $58,850
$15,120 $15,370 $15,630 $18,320 $18,960 $19,600 $24,730 $25,360 $26,650 $36,890 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $64,410
$16,480 $16,760 $17,040 $19,990 $20,690 $21,390 $27,010 $27,720 $29,120 $40,360 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $119,090
$40,060Full$40,810 $41,560 $49,470 $51,350 $53,230 $68,280 $70,160 $73,930 $104,030 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is available for $53,700
$13,960 $14,190 $14,420 $16,860 $17,450 $18,030 $22,690 $23,270 $24,440 $33,750 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is available for $53,700
$13,960 $14,190 $14,420 $16,860 $17,450 $18,030 $22,690 $23,270 $24,440 $33,750 
Kayak
The Owner's Suite is ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶for $77,200
$18,990 $19,330 $19,670 $23,250 $24,110 $24,960 $31,780 $32,640 $34,340 $47,990 
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Prices are per person based on Double occupancy.
Single rates are available in all categories (except Owner's Suite) for approximately 1.8x the single rate.

Image_LeCommandantCharcot_Layout

DeckPlan_LeCommandantCharcot_prelim

   Owner's Suite
Deck 8 • Area: 1230ft² / 114m² • Capacity: up to 2 guests per stateroom
2000ft²/186m² private balcony with jacuzzi • Shower & Balneo bathtub • Butler service • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.
   Duplex Suite
Decks: 6 & 7 • Area: 515ft² / 48m² • Capacity: up to 4 guests per stateroom
280ft²/12.5 m² private balcony with jacuzzi • Shower & Balneo bathtub • Butler service • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.
   Privilege Suite
Decks: 6 & 8 • Area: 515ft² / 48m² • Capacity: up to 4 guests per stateroom
135ft²/12.5m² private balcony • Shower & Balneo bathtub • Butler service • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.
   Prestige Suite
Decks: 7 & 8 • Area: 430ft² / 40m² • Capacity: up to 4 guests per stateroom
Composed of two interconnected Prestige Staterooms as indicated by double arrow on Deck Plan ⟷
110ft²/10m² private balcony • 2 Showers • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.
   Privilege Stateroom
Decks 6, 7 & 8 • Area: 300ft² / 28m² • Capacity: up to 3 guests per stateroom
55ft²/5m² private balcony • Shower • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds - communicating staterooms available • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.
   Prestige Stateroom
Decks: 6, 7 & 8 • Area: 215ft² / 20m² • Capacity: up to 2 guests per stateroom
55ft²/5m² private balcony • Shower • Individually-controlled air-conditioning • Stateroom layout: king-size bed or twin beds - communicating staterooms available • Minibar - 24hr room service • Flat screen satellite TV • Video on demand • IPod™ docks • Safe • French bath products • Dressing table with hairdryer • Direct line telephone • 110V American/220V European • Internet access Wifi.