by Roberto Valle
For those whose bucket list includes an expedition to the polar regions, but without the arduous physical trek, the luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot offers an incredible opportunity for the adventurous epicurean.
The latest jewel in the crown of French cruise ship operators Compagnie du Pondant, the Charcot is a Class 2 polar vessel pairing icebreaking capabilities with the epitome of elegance and a purposefully light carbon footprint. The powerful vessel uses green technologies and runs on a hybrid liquefied natural gas propulsion system coupled with a bank of high-capacity batteries.
Le Commandant Charcot
The ship’s power is duly overshadowed by its level of comfort, with interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel and Jean-Michel Wilmotte, including a theater with seating for all 245 passengers, a spa replete with snow room, several lounges and two pools, one wrapping around the back deck surrounded by heated sofas for lounging in chilly weather.
The ship’s restaurant, Nua, boasts menus created by famed French chef Alain Ducasse, his first floating restaurant, where fine wines, caviar and foie gras are served along with other specialty dishes for the gourmand adventurer.
After all, this is an expedition ship and hosts two scientific laboratories for those studying the Arctic. There’s even an onboard helicopter for scientists to venture out onto the ice cap, collecting valuable data about this frigid yet fragile ecosystem.
With itineraries in the Antarctic in the summer and the northern hemisphere in the winter, the Charcot offers the unique opportunity to set off on an exhibition few have attempted, and none so luxuriously.
Photos courtesy of Le Commandant Charcot