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Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshaushen Sea | Le Commandant Charcot

15 Days FROM USD 23,370


Take an extraordinary expedition cruise into the heart of the Bellingshuasen Sea. A magnificent spectacle, you will explore the mysterious and less frequently visited Charcot and Peter I Islands. Encounter the legendary emperor Penguin, the largest of all penguin species. As the gradual winter gives way to austral spring you will encounter penguin chicks, a truly incredible moment sure to leave a strong emotional impression. This is truly a unique Antarctic journey. 

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACPOBES

Travel Style: Expedition Cruise

Location: Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Circle

Ship: Le Commandant Charcot

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your cruise. Contact us today to discuss.


  • Encounter the legendary emperor penguin, the largest of all penguins and a true embodiment of tenacity and survival in the pure, harsh grace of the Antarctic Islands

  • Undertake this incredible journey on board the Le Commondant the latest in Ponant's fleet, the world's first luxury polar exploration vessel, promising the highest levels of luxury and elegance as you cruise to one of the worlds most unique and enchanting locations.

  • This itinerary can easily combined with a land based tour of South America, allowing you to experience a multitude of unique experiences and cultural encounters on the one incredible journey.


Embarkation from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Departure at 6:00 pm

Capital of the Magallanes Region and of the Chilean Antarctic, this handsome port city will charm you with its history and traditions. Once inhabited by several indigenous tribes, Punta Arenas has maintained an architectural style that remains true to its heritage.

*package price includes a pre-night accommodation in Santiago, a flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas on Embarkation day, and a return flight Ushuaia to Santiago on the final day with transfers.

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

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.

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 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, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.

Expedition to Charcot Island

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

At Sea

You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it 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: “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 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.

Expedition to Peter I Island

Along the English Coast, head off in search of emperor penguin. Brave the magnificent, quasi-unexplored desert of ice to be among the lucky few to observe these majestic penguins and enjoy this rare 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 during winter, and cover long distances in search of food.

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.

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-storey 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 honour 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 28 km long and 14 km large. 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.

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, organised 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.

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 harbours 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

Today your expedition comes to an end. You will disembark in Ushuaia around 8am and transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago.



  • Begin your Antarctic experience by first exploring the dramatic and stunningly beautiful “End of the world”. Start in Buenos Aires, the capital of Tango and a vibrant, historical gem. Experience the wonders of El Calafate a land of stunning beauty and wonder located in the Patagonian steppe before finishing in Ushuaia and witnessing the incredible beauty of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Find out more

  • Before embarking on your Antarctic voyage, why not experience the amazing wonders of two of South America’s most vibrant cities. A 9 Day Rio to Buenos Aires journey will be the perfect way to indulge in a mix of Latin American cultural experience and sights. From the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer, to the roaring cascades of Iguazu falls and the European avenues of Buenos Aires this is a spectacular way to experience this unique and dynamic corner of our world. Find out more

  • Why not start your Antarctic Journey with a visit to the “Paris of the south”? Discover the wonders of Buenos Aires on this 4-day itinerary. Explore a unique fusion of European elegance and Latin American energy as you explore the history of this magnificent city. Take part in a unique tango show or take a break from cities and visit the gaucho town of San Antonio de Areco. Find out more

Pricing per person & date

Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshaushen Sea | Le Commandant Charcot from USD 23,370
Departing Ending Duration
29 Oct 2022 12 Nov 2022 15

Important Information

  • Cabin accommodation whilst on board Le Commandant
    All meals whilst on board
    All scheduled landings and excursions
    Guiding and lectures by expedition team 
    Complimentary Polar expedition jacket
    Free use of rubber boots for shore excursions
    All port taxes 
    Kayaking Activities
    Comprehensive pre and post voyage informational material 
    Flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on embarkation day 
    Flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires on disembarkation day 


    Airfares to and from embarkation/disembarkation city 
    Visa fees (if applicable) 
    Travel insurance
    Beverages (other than tea and coffee) 
    Personal expenses such as laundry, on board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email) 
    Gratuities for the crew
    Pre or post cruise travel expenses
    Optional activities

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details.

  • Please note this itinerary may be subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.

  • Departure date, seasonality and availability



Chimu Adventures is passionate and dedicated to sustainbility measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

A trip to the Antarctic is a completely different experience and quite unlike any other trip you have probably been on. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in this vulnerable ecosystem. We are fully compliant with all rules set down by the IAATO and all activities are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System. We carefully select all ships we work with and choose them for their small size as this creates far less impact on shore landings with wildlife. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller boats such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste, and all waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal, unlike some of the larger ships which do not facilitate this. This trip begins in Ushuaia where you will have time to sample local food and shop at local boutiques which we encourage individuals to take part in for experience and in support of the local community. We also try to create opportunity to see research and historical sites including the former research station/now museum of Port Lockroy and engage with local history. We discourage the buying of souvenirs made from endangered species or wrongfully taken from the environment i.e. shells. Our pre-departure pack provides you with all the information required for your tour, from what to take with you to practical advice about how to minimise your impact on the Antarctic environment. This pack highlights initiatives such as waste reduction, and how to appropriately engage with wildlife and the environment around you.

For more information visit our sustainability page.

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