You will find frequently asked questions in the FAQ section below.
For more information, contact us by clicking here.
What is included in the all-inclusive offer?
At PONANT, the "all-inclusive" includes:
- accommodation in stateroom,
- the full meal plan,
- the Open Bar: beginning with boarding, and during the duration of the cruise, a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck champagne, spirits, coffee, tea) is served on request and at any time of the day. Certain premium alcoholic beverages on the menu are not included in the Open Bar,
- free Wi-Fi internet access 24 hours a day*,
- activities offered during expedition cruises (see section "Expedition cruises")
access to all the common areas:
- on board our sister ships and Ponant Explorers: fitness room, steam room, hair salon, swimming pool (sea water, heated), solarium, lounges, theater, boutique & leisure area.
- on board of our three-masted Le Ponant: Solarium of 400 m², marina, lounge, Boutique & leisure area.
Is airfare included in the price of the cruise?
To make your arrival and departure easier, we arrange private planes and transfers for some cruises. Thus we offer air packages having the following benefits: direct flights, baggage transported on a single flight to ensure its delivery at the arrival point, ship’s departure delayed in the event of a flight delay & personalized service on board. Some flights are included in the rate shown. These cruises are identifiable by the notation "round-trip flights included", "domestic flight for arrival included", or "return domestic flight included". For more information, our Information & Booking Service is at your disposal. You can contact them here.
Are port taxes included in the price of the cruise?
Yes, port taxes are included in the price of your cruise.
Do reservations with PONANT include visa applications?
In most cases, you should take care of visa applications and all the necessary paperwork for visiting certain countries. For reservations made by French, Belgian and Swiss citizens, we will indicate what type of visa is necessary for your trip. When certain visas are issued and invoiced directly on board, the information is indicated on our website, in the description of the cruise (Formalities section).
Are excursions included in the price of the cruise?
Excursions offered are not included in the price of the cruise.Outings and disembarkations by Zodiac inflatable boat are included on Expedition cruises.
Are all meals included in the price of the cruise?
The breakfast, lunches and dinners served on board are included in the price of the cruise, from the dinner on the first day to the breakfast on the final day. Beginning with boarding and during the entire duration of the cruise, beverages are served on request and at any time of the day. The Open Bar offers a wide selection of drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, wine, beer, Charles Heidsieck Champagne, spirits, coffee, tea). Certain premium alcoholic beverages on the menu are not included in the Open Bar.
Are Spa services included in the price of the cruise?
Access to the hamman (on the Sisterships only), the spa, the fitness room and the snow cabin (on Le Commandant Charcot only) is free, except on Le Ponant, which does not offer these facilities. You can find out about all the paid services (exfoliating scrubs, face and body treatments, haircare, hairstyling, etc.) on our spa menu here.
What champagne is included in the price of the cruise?
Charles Heidsieck brut champagne is included in the Open Bar on the Sisterships, the PONANT Explorers and Le Paul Gauguin.
Veuve Clicquot champagne is included in the Open Bar on Le Commandant Charcot and Le Ponant.
Are the rates displayed per person or per stateroom?
The rates displayed on our site are per person, on the basis of a double occupancy. A single supplement applies automatically for people wishing to travel alone. This supplement is offered on some cruises, discover the list of departures concerned by this offer here
What is the PONANT Bonus?
The earlier you book, the more advantageous your rates will be thanks to the PONANT BONUS, a reduction of up to 30% on the price of your stateroom or suite. This promotion decreases as the cruise fills up. Find out more about the PONANT Bonus here.
Are the rates displayed on the site calculated based on the PONANT Bonus?
The rates displayed on the site are updated in real time according to the evolution of the PONANT Bonus.
I have seen a different rate for the same cruise on other sites, how can this be explained?
PONANT is committed to offering exactly the same rates with travel agencies as with its direct customers, including Internet sales and on foreign markets. If you find different rates for the same PONANT cruise, please report this to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are your cruises suitable for solo travellers?
Every season, we offer a wide range of cruises with the single supplement fee waived: you thus get to enjoy a double stateroom to yourself, without any additional cost. The atmosphere on board is conducive to encounters and interaction with the other passengers. Our crews also cater to your well-being and ensure that you are settling in on board.
Check out our upcoming cruises, with no single supplement.
Where can I find the summary of my orders/cruises?
You can find the summary of your orders and your cruises on your account, in the "My PONANT” tab. Log in to your My PONANT account by clicking here.
What is the cancellation policy?
For more information on our cancellation policy, we invite you to consult our General Terms and Conditionshere.
* The connection may be slower or even interrupted in certain geographic regions or due to circumstances outside of our control.
How is the on-line payment of my cruise done?
During the course of the booking a PONANT cruise on our Internet site, you can make your payment by bank card: Visa, Mastercard, Carte Bleue, E-Carte Bleue or American Express. You can also choose between the payment of a deposit, or the payment of the totality of the balance of your account. Online payments are obviously fully secured since we use the SSL protocol encryption system that protects your information at the time of the transaction.
How can I find my PONANT Yacht Club membership number?
Your PONANT Yacht Club membership number is on the card that was sent to you. Your PONANT Yacht Club membership number is included in all the emails we have sent to you, and can also be found in your "MY PONANT" account. If you have lost your card, you can get a new one by contacting us
What is a waiting list and how do I register?
If the cruise that you want to book is complete, you have the opportunity to register on a waiting list. This list allows you to be informed as soon as the cruise is again available for sale. To register on a waiting list, simply go on the cruise sheet of your choice and click on the button "complete cruise". A link will take you to the form to complete.
Where does my vessel depart from?
On the boarding day of your cruise, your vessel leaves the port mentioned on the first day of the itinerary. A few weeks before your departure, you receive your travel book with all the information necessary for the proper conduct of your cruise, including a reminder of your itinerary and the name of the port of embarkation.
How do I get to the departure location of my cruise?
It is possible for you to come to the place of departure for your cruise by your own means, or to call our services. Your round trip flights, your transfers between the airport and the port of embarkation and disembarking or your programs before and after cruise: PONANT accompanies you through the complete planning of your trip. Discover all the information on our no-worries offer here.
What time can I embark on the first day of my cruise?
The embarkation schedule is indicated on the first day of your cruise itinerary. A few weeks before your departure, you receive your travel book with all the information necessary for the proper conduct of your cruise, including the embarkation schedule. Normally, you will be received and welcomed on board from 4:00 PM onwards, local time.
What documents are necessary for boarding?
All passengers must have valid proof of identity and the necessary visas for the destination countries, according to their nationality. Details of the documents you need to provide can be found in the Formalities section of your main cruise details. Upon your arrival on board, the form of identification you used to complete the Information Sheet will be taken from you. It will be kept until the end of the cruise to be presented by the ship officials to the customs authorities at each port. If you need it during a port of call, it will be available for you at reception, provided that you return it once back on board.
How does disembarkation work?
More details of the end-of-cruise disembarkation will be given in the logbook and at reception. We invite you to read these details carefully. Disembarkation normally takes place in the morning, after the breakfast service.
Where can I find the times of the ports of call of my cruise?
The times of arrival and departure for each port will be indicated on the day prior in the newsletter you will receive each evening. Please note that the ship is unable to wait for latecomers. We thank you in advance for your understanding and for respecting the designated times.
What is the procedure for arrival in port?
At each arrival into a new port, immigration and customs officials will board the ship. As soon as the necessary checks have been done, the passengers and crew will be allowed ashore. In the event of a lack of required infrastructure in certain ports, the ship could anchor offshore. In this case, disembarkation will be done using small boats from the ship, or local launches. Given the limited number of these boats, the disembarkation will be done in groups. Please pay close attention to on-board announcements.
Are there excursions you can go on to discover and explore the destination?
You will have a range of excursions to choose from, with the exact excursions available varying from each port of call to the next.
- There will be one excursion per person, per port of call included in the price of your cruise, with a selection of excursions put together by our destination experts to choose from.
- There will also be paid excursions available, enabling you to explore the region in even more depth.
Excursions may sometimes be altered or cancelled without notice for either technical reasons or in cases of force majeure, or when the minimum number of participants has not been reached. If this happens with a paid excursion, you will not be charged. You will also not be entitled to any compensation if an excursion included in the price of your cruise is cancelled.
Are excursions mandatory?
Excursions are optional. You can therefore choose not to book any, or you can organise your own yourself if you prefer.
- you will not receive any discount or compensation if you choose not to take part in the excursions included in the price of your cruise;
- and you are only guaranteed to be back on board in time with the excursions provided as part of the cruise.
What is the difficulty level of these excursions? Would they be suitable to an elderly person, a beginner or children ?
We do all we can to offer excursions that are accessible to the greatest number of people. We will specify in the description if an excursion presents a certain level of difficulty (long walks, rugged trails, long journeys etc.) and whether a minimum age is required. If you have any doubts about the feasibility of an excursion, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Trip Advisors HERE
Do all excursions have to be pre-booked before the cruise departure date?
Yes, all excursions must be pre-booked, whether they are included or not.
From what point can I book my excursions?
You will be sent an email informing you when pre-booking opens. It is possible to sign up for excursions through pre-registration from 60 days before the start of your cruise, as a minimum, and up to 7 days before your boarding date. This can be done by email (email@example.com) or by telephoning your travel consultant on +33 (0)4 91 36 41 65 or requesting a call back via the PONANT app.
Places on excursions are limited, so booking requests will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis.
Once you have completed your pre-registration, all you then need to do is confirm your excursions at the Excursions Office once on board.
How do I pay for pre-booked optional excursions?
Pre-booked optional excursions are paid for directly on board.
I haven't pre-booked my excursions. Can I sign up for them on board?
If you have not pre-registered prior to your cruise, you can always book once on board at the Excursions Office (open daily – opening hours can be found in your daily cruise programme).
You will be required to complete a booking form. This form will be kept at the office and also used to record any additional bookings. The price of the excursion will be charged directly to your onboard account.
However, certain excursions have limited places and a booking deadline. Such excursions cannot be booked or altered (if already booked) once this deadline has expired. Booking requrests are dealt with on a first come, first served basis while places are still available. We therefore strongly advise you to pre-book your excursions in advance.
Can I take part in multiple excursions on the same day?
Because ot timing conflicts it is only possible to reserve one excursion per day in port. In the event that you would like to take part in a second excursion on the same day, visit the Excursions Office in order check the feasibility.
Once aboard, how does the organisation of the excursions work?
On the day before your excursion, you will receive, in your stateroom, a ticket reminding you of the name of the selected excursion as well as the meeting time and place.
On the day of the excursion, please bring this ticket with you as it will be collected at the beginning of the tour.
In order to take part in the tours as a group with your family or friends, please let the Excursion Office know the numbers of your staterooms at the beginning of your cruise.
Can I cancel a pre-booked excursion?
You can cancel an excursion up to 48 hours before the excursion departs (without charge if the excursion is a paid excursion).
How is the expedition team made up on board? What role does it play?
On expedition cruises, our passengers are always accompanied by a team of about ten naturalist-guides and experts on board, with double that number on Le Commandant Charcot, which constitutes one of the best guest-to-staff ratios found on any voyage of this kind. They are all specialised in a particular field: history, geology, marine or land mammals, ornithology... Their objective is to share their knowledge with passengers during on-board conferences and excursions as well as landings in Zodiac boats, with the aim of making them true ambassadors of the regions they visit. They are also there to ensure safety during expedition activities, excursions and landings in Zodiac boats. They set off on scouting missions, prepare meticulously for every excursion, supervise and ensure the safety of passengers, etc.
They are trained in the regulations governing exploration trips in the polar zones (IAATO in Antarctica, AECO in the Arctic) and have the necessary certifications and licences to ensure the supervision of the proposed activities.
Are the boardings and landings in Zodiac boats accessible to everyone?
We do everything we can to make these expeditions accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and reduced mobility.
What activities are offered on board?
PONANT expedition cruises are an opportunity to meet experts from the region visited, to attend their conferences and to talk with them after their presentations, during outings and landings in zodiac boats or during more informal discussions. On board, it is also possible to take advantage of our well-being areas such as the spa, the hair salon and the gym, or the library and the various shared areas of the ship. Screenings in the Theatre, cooking demonstrations and tastings are regularly organised. For more information on the activities offered on board our ships, please consult the "Leisure and activities" section of our FAQs.
What activities should I pre-book?
In addition to the landings and zodiac outings, some expedition cruises offer additional activities (see the "activities" tab of your cruise if applicable). The number of places is limited, so they must be pre-booked.
What specific activities are offered during cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot?
On board Le Commandant Charcot, many new activities are offered in the Arctic and Antarctica:
|Included activities (limited places)||The Arctic||Antarctica||minimum age|
|Kayaking||X||X||12 years old*|
|Dog sledding||X||12 years old|
|Hiking||X||X||10 years old|
|Snowshoeing||X||X||10 years old|
|Ice fishing||X||12 years old|
|Polar plunge in a swimwsuit||X||X||16 years old|
|Outings and shore visits in zodiac inflatables||X||X||8 years old|
*The dog sledding activity is only offered at the beginning of the Arctic season on the east coast of Greenland, on the Scoresby Sund (Ittoqqortoormiit and area). There are no dogs on board the ship. The activity is offered by a local partner
Are the activities offered during the cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot accessible to all?
For polar plunge activity, you will be required to present :
- A medical certificate allowing you to swim in polar waters
- A swimming certificate
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) from within the last 12 months: the resulting graph printout must be presented to the onboard doctor; interpretation by a specialist is neither sufficient nor necessary.
- For those under 18 years of age: a sworn statement from parents or guardians that they are able to swim and that a parent is present at the time of the activity.
The kayak activity for under 18-year-olds is subject to the following conditions:
- A sworn statement from the parents or guardians that they are able to swim
- A parent must be present at the time of the activity.
For any medical questions, please see the "Health and Accessibility" section.
In addition, although we aim to offer activities at every opportunity, we are subject to ice and weather conditions and cannot guarantee to offer all activities to all passengers.
Is sailing on board Le Commandant Charcot as comfortable as on other ships in the PONANT fleet?
Thanks to its 10-metre draught, its anti-roll stabilisers used in open waters, and its ice-breaking hull specially adapted to meet the requirements of a cruise ship and to meet comfort standards, Le Commandant Charcot is particularly stable. It is the first ice-breaker type ship with integrated stabilisers.
What is a pre- or post-programme?
Pre- and post-cruise programmes are offered before and after your cruise. Our short programmes enable you to travel stress-free and with complete peace of mind, whilst our multiple-night programmes give you the opportunity to discover and explore new regions or new countries.
When can I reserve my pre- and post-programmes?
The pre- and post-programmes, whether they take place before or after the cruise, should always be reserved before departure. Discuss the options with your Trip Advisor.
How can I access my stateroom?
One (or more) key cards will be distributed to you per stateroom. On all the ships, you just have to close your door for it to lock behind you. Therefore, be sure not to leave your key card inside when you leave your stateroom.
Is there air-conditioning in my stateroom?
Each stateroom is equipped with adjustable air-conditioning. Your stateroom Officer will be there if you need help setting the desired temperature.
Is there a television in my stateroom?
Each stateroom has a television with channels in different languages (which can vary depending on the geographical region). A free-to-access selection of films and documentaries is available.
Is there a safe in my stateroom?
There is an individual safe in each stateroom, where you can leave your valuables. For high value items, we advise you to use the main safe. This can be accessed at reception.
What equipment is available in my stateroom?
PONANT provides a bathrobe, slippers, towels and DYPTIQUE toiletry and care products, in large eco-friendly containers, ready for you to use from the moment you arrive in your stateroom.
Do all staterooms and suites have a private balcony or a terrace with sea views?
All staterooms and suites on our Sisterships, our PONANT Explorers and Le Commandant Charcot have a private balcony or a terrace with views out over the sea, with the exception of the seven superior category staterooms located on deck three of the Sisterships vessels, namely stateroom 300, which simply has a porthole, and staterooms 301 to 307, which each have a large square window. On our sailing ship Le Ponant, a luxury yacht with just 16 staterooms and suites, all the staterooms and suites located on the Zéphyr and Alizés decks each have a large private balcony with views out over the sea. The staterooms located on the Mistral deck have either portholes or large square windows.
Are there any interconnecting staterooms? What is the difference between a prestige stateroom and a prestige suite?
Onboard our sister ships (Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial) as well as the PONANT Explorers, there is a door between some prestige staterooms to transform them into prestige suites. On the layouts of our ships (available at the end of the brochure as well as on our Internet site on the tab "Our ships"), all prestige staterooms with an arrow across them can be transformed into prestige suites.
For security reasons when at sea, the door is locked in the opened or closed position and cannot be opened by guests. If two prestige staterooms have been purchased as a suite, the door between them is unlocked and cannot be closed. For more information on the plans of our vessels, contact our Information & Booking Service here.
Can I get stateroom service?
On each of our ships, you can enjoy room service at any hour of the day and night (except at night on Le Ponant). A butler service is also available to passengers:
- on the sister ships: for passengers staying in one of the staterooms on deck 6,
- on the PONANT Explorers: for passengers staying in one of the Privilege and Grand Deluxe Suites and on the Shipowner’s Suite.
- on Le Commandant Charcot: for passengers staying in the Shipowner's Suite, the Duplex Suites, the Privilege Suites and the Grand Prestige Suites.
- on Le Paul Gauguin: for passengers staying in the Shipowner's Suite, the Grand Suites, the Veranda Suites, and the Veranda Staterooms.
Discover our complete range of services here.
Can I exchange currency on board?
No, there is no Bureau de Change on board our ships. We advise you to exchange your currency through your bank or at an international airport.
How are my on-board expenses handled?
An account will be opened for you when you first board the ship for any expenses you make whilst on board: for example, at the boutique, premium drinks at the bar, using the laundry service, or for excursions. A partial bill can be produced by reception at any time during the voyage.
We invite you to leave an imprint of your credit card at reception. The bill, along with the receipt of your card payment, will be left in your stateroom the day before disembarkation. As the on-board accounts are closed on the day before disembarkation, any further payment after 10 pm on this day will have to be made in cash. This also applies to those who have reserved two or more consecutive cruises.
You can also pay for your purchases in cash or by cheque at the reception.
What is the on-board currency?
The currency on board is the Euro, but the US Dollar is also accepted. The totals for bills are always shown in these two currencies.
What methods of payment are accepted on board?
Credit cards (Visa, EuroCard/Master Card and American Express), cash and personal cheques (in EUR and USD only) are accepted. Travellers cheques and Diners Club cards are not accepted.
What leisure activities are there on board?
On board our fleet, in addition to the animation programme and the cultural and scientific conferences, you will find a choice of books and board games. On board the Sisterships, the library is also equipped with Wi-Fi connected computers. On the lower deck there is an image and photography area in order to view and order photos of your cruise. The staterooms on all our ships are each equipped with a television offering free films and documentaries.
Can I practice a sport activity on board?
In order to maintain your fitness, and following the programme, a group gym session on the decks, in the pool or in the theatre (fitness, yoga, Pilates, meditation, aquagym - list to be confirmed on board with the crew) will be offered to you during your cruise.
All our ships have a fitness room, with the exception of Le Ponant. Find here the details of our equipment.
On board Le Commandant Charcot, in addition to the group sessions open to all, personalised private classes are offered by the fitness and well-being coach (classes not included, priority given to passengers in the Armateur, Duplex, Prestige and Grand Prestige suites, then subject to availability).
Are any activities organised on board?
Informative presentations may be organised during the day. A varied and entertaining programme of cultural and fun activities is on offer every evening.
What are the relaxation areas on board?
For your greater comfort, PONANT offers various relaxation areas on board.
On board Le Ponant, you can enjoy a solarium, deck chairs, a bar, a lounge, a massage cabin as well as a fitness room.
On board our other ships, you can enjoy lounges, a spa with massage staterooms and a steam room, a hair salon, a fitness room, a swimming pool, a theater and a boutique. Discover all the relaxation areas on board our ships here.
On board Le Commandant Charcot, you can also enjoy an indoor pool, a Snow Room, the Blue Lagoon, a Brasero and a Cigare Lounge.
Discover all the relaxation areas on board our ships here.
What are the Spa fees?
Discover the menus for all our spas here.
Can I make an appointment at the spa before my departure?
We advise all our passengers to book their benefits at the spa after they are settled on board. It is not possible to make a reservation before your departure.
Is the swimming pool heated?
Our ships Le Boreal, Le Soléal, L'Austral, Le Lyrial offer an outdoor swimming pool. The water is heated sea water.
Where can I find a layout of the vessel?
The layout plans for all our ships are available on the ships' main pages on our website. You can also find the layout of each vessel in our downloadable brochures here. Deck plans for all the decks are available in the lifts on board.
Is it possible to visit one of your vessels?
For any question concerning the visiting our ships, kindly fill in the contact form . All authorisations are subject to the agreement of the relevant local authorities. here.
How do I find out more information about Le Commandant Charcot?
Discover all about our luxury polar exploration vessel on our special dedicated web page.
What are your commitments in terms of sustainable tourism?
Sustainable development is enshrined in the company's articles of association and has been at the heart of the PONANT project since its inception. Founded over thirty years ago by committed sailors, the company was born out of a desire to share a passion for the oceans and the treasures of the Earth. This responsibility commits us to a respectful dialogue with the environment and the populations we meet and to investing in many fields related to the preservation and development of the natural and cultural heritage of the polar and oceanic regions.
To find out more about our commitments in terms of sustainable development and the PONANT Foundation, please visit our dedicated web page.
Is your fleet “green”?
We were among the first cruise operators in the world to abandon the use of heavy fuels, and our ships are equipped with electric diesel engines and SCR catalytic converters, which enable a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. Our polar exploration ship, Le Commandant Charcot, is a hybrid-electric vessel, propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG enables a 25% reduction in carbon emissions, an 85% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and a 95% reduction in fine particle emissions. Each time we design a new ship, we equip it with the latest available eco-technologies, enabling us to maintain our position as the cruise industry's environmental leader, ahead of international regulations in some areas. A commitment recognised by many independent organisations:
- Our entire fleet (except Le Paul Gauguin) is Clean Ship certified by the Bureau Veritas. This certification guarantees that our ships fulfil very precise criteria: emissions levels, waste processing, waste water etc.
- In 2020, PONANT was recognised as “the cruise operator with the greenest fleet in the world in terms of airborne emissions” by the German NGO, NABU.
- PONANT was awarded the Prix des Palmes du Tourisme Durable 2020 (Prize for Sustainable Tourism) in the “Voyage” category for the elimination of heavy fuel oil in favour of LS MGO.
- In 2019, PONANT became the first European cruise company to obtain the North American Green Alliance certificate. This certifies that its members have adopted practices and technologies that are respectful towards the environment.
- PONANT is also a signatory of the Charte Bleue from Armateurs de France, which commits the maritime sector to act to protect the marine environment.
By 2025, all our ships will be equipped with catalytic nitrogen-oxide reduction systems and electrical shoreside power connections.
What happens to the wastewater from your ships?
All of the wastewater is treated by means of processes that exclude the use of chemical products. The recycled water is used to clean the exterior of the ship. The water that is discharged into the sea is treated, drinkable water.
What do you do with the waste produced on board?
We have optimised our organisation in order to reduce waste at the source. Waste is nonetheless still produced on board. As of 2020, 60% of this is sorted and recycled, with an objective of 85% set for 2023. We ensure the complete traceability of this waste.
What is your position with regard to single-use plastics?
We have eliminated the use of single-use plastics (straws, cups, food serving trays, laundry bags etc.). A metallic flask is issued to each passenger on expedition cruises and water fountains are available in the common areas of the ships. We are also developing the bottling of our water in glass bottles.
Find out more about our every day actions.
What is your relationship with the people groups you visit?
We work in close collaboration with local communities to plan your excursions. We are attentive to their wishes, their needs and their advice, with a view to, together, constructing a more sustainable tourist industry. Created in 2018, the main goal of the PONANT Foundation is to promote dialogue with indigenous peoples, by supporting specific projects that aim to safeguard and showcase cultural heritage sites, while protecting and enriching them.
How do you respond to those who criticise expeditions, in particular in the Arctic and Antarctic territories?
Our cruises are in keeping with the desire to “travel less, but travel better”. We believe that we can better protect what we are familiar with. In bringing our passengers to the ends of the Earth, we encourage them to become genuine ambassadors, who work to encourage respect for these regions. Because we follow strict rules, in particular when it comes to expedition cruises, our impact is minimal and temporary.
Our membership of the IAATO and AECO associations, which regulate the practices of tourism stakeholders in the polar regions, commits us to adhere to strict protocols to ensure the preservation of these sensitive ecosystems and their biodiversity.
To learn more about our polar and tropical expeditions, please visit our dedicated web page.
Is Le Commandant Charcot an icebreaker?
Le Commandant Charcot is a high polar exploration vessel equipped with a reinforced hull of class PC 2 (ice-breaker), has a large helipad, a sizable medical unit, and powerful pods or propellers that will allow it to operate in extreme conditions. Unlike icebreakers whose sole purpose is to open up waterways for other ships, Le Commandant Charcot is a cruise ship designed for exploration. Among her functions is that of an icebreaker. It guarantees the ship's autonomy and safety when navigating in the most extreme areas.In accordance with the navigation code, Le Commandant Charcot has to assist other ships if their safety is at risk.
How is Le Commandant Charcot sailing through the ice whilst at the same time respecting its ecosystem?
Le Commandant Charcot sails at times of the year when the ice is still very present and impassable for other ships. We favouring areas of ice which are easiest to cross, and much of the navigation will be through existing, already naturally open channels, as the pack ice expands is in perpetual motion.
We have developed our own ice routing software to study our routes carefully to make them more comfortable for guests, as well as to reduce our impact and to optimise our fuel consumption.
The on-board helicopter is only used when necessary for navigation and safety purposes including locating the best routes. These sorties are carried out at the discretion of the captain, who will decide how often it needs to go out.
Though it has sufficient power to do so, Le Commandant Charcot does not sail through the coastal land-fast ice, which is a vital environment for both wildlife and Inuit communities. When conditions allow, the ship moors at the edge of this fast ice to provide access to it for organised disembarkations and off-board activities.
To find out all about the different types of ice and explore the art of polar navigation with our captains, visit our online magazine Escales.
What makes Le Commandant Charcot an environmentally friendly ship?
Le Commandant Charcot is the first ever hybrid electric and LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) - the cleanest energy available today - powered cruise ship. Le Commandant Charcot is the only ship in the world with LNG autonomy of two months.
- 25% in carbon emissions
- 85% in nitrogen oxide emissions
- 95% in fine particle emissions
LNG allows for a reduction of:
Thanks to its bank of electric batteries, Le Commandant Charcot is able to navigate for two hours without producing any emissions or noise.
In order to comply with the Safe Return To Port regulation, the ship is also equipped with tanks for light fuel oil, which can be used in addition to LNG. It provides a back-up solution if there is a problem with the LNG supply. It is also the only reserve fuel if there is any damage.
Are there any risks with regard to wildlife animals during the proposed activities?
During our activities we will not disturb wildlife and animals by respecting the minimum regulatory distances recommended by AECO (Arctic) and IAATO (Antarctic). In the Arctic, armed guides are posted around the perimeter where the activities take place to ensure your safety.
Our ships offer the very best in both acoustic comfort and underwater noise reduction. We also reduce our speed in zones of passage for marine mammals, and we are working on implementing intelligent anti-collision systems.
In what ways can the PONANT fleet serve the interests of scientific projects?
Le Commandant Charcot is able to sail to remote areas that are normally difficult for scientists to access. Le Commandant Charcot is equipped with laboratories, specialised instruments, staterooms and a dedicated workforce, and offers a platform for observation, research and analysis that can be used for studying polar regions.
The scientists who travel on the ship as part of carrying out their research host conferences on board on a regular basis. The exchanges and interactions involved in these events offer exceptional opportunities to learn more about the polar regions and the issues involved in protecting them.
Is there a dress code on board the ships?
We recommend wearing elegant, casual clothes at your discretion, and for the gala evenings, a cocktail dress for ladies and a shirt and tie for gentlemen, and a white or black-and-white outfit for the Officers' evening. Shorts/Bermudas are not permitted in the evening in the gastronomic restaurants.
What clothes do I need to bring on an expedition cruise?
On an expedition cruise, be sure to bring practical clothes as well as comfortable shoes suitable for travelling in Zodiacs and disembarking on beaches or mud flats. On tropical expeditions be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and long sleeved/legged clothing. For polar cruises, you will be given a polar parka in your size and suitable boots will be available for use when ashore.
Are temperatures during cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot more extreme than those encountered in the polar regions normally visited?
Due to the locations of the new sites we visit and the times of year we travel to them, colder temperatures are to be expected. The average temperature recorded over the last 20 years in the areas we visit is -10°C / 14°F. You are advised to bring the same kinds of clothing as recommended for the polar expedition cruises with you, only warmer. Because 70 percent of body heat is lost through the skull, it's important to ensure the head is covered when visiting these polar regions.
Base layer: top, underwear, leggings, socks.
Insulation layer: fleece jacket
Outer layer: parka (provided on board), waterproof overtrousers
Accessories: warm hat, neck warmer, glove liners, warm waterproof gloves
Do you need any specific equipment for cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot?
The parkas provided on expedition cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot are suitable for use in very low temperatures. They are distributed directly to the staterooms and suites prior to boarding.
- Adults: from 32 (XXS) to 50 (5XL)
- Children: from 4 years old (104 cm; 4T) to 14 years old (164 cm; XL)
PONANT provides suitable boots for temporary loan on board.
- Adults: from 37 (UK 4½) to 48 (UK 13)
- Children: from 25 (UK 8 JNR) to 36 (UK 3½ ADULT)
Cruise guests keep the same boots throughout the cruise. Snowshoes and a pair of walking poles are provided.
What technical accessories are recommended?
We advise you to equip yourself with a ski mask, sunglasses, walking poles (available to purchase in the shop), a waterproof rucksack, binoculars, a technical watch, a mosquito head net (for the Arctic) and a waterproof pouch.
How do meals work?
Breakfast can be enjoyed in the form of a buffet, or in your stateroom by request. For early-risers, a continental-breakfast option is available in the Grand Salon bar. This is also available for late-risers until 10 AM (timetables may be altered to accommodate onboard activities).
Lunch is served in the restaurants in the form of a buffet (except on Le Ponant). However, there is also a menu available offering other options.
A formal à-la-carte dinner is served in the gastronomic restaurant in the evening. However, a buffet is available at Le Grill for guests wishing to dine in a more informal manner.
There is a 24-hr room-service menu available (except on Le Ponant).
On Le Ponant, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served à la carte or on request.
Can I have a snack outside of meal times?
Yes, coffee, tea and small cakes/pastries will be available in the morning, outside the restaurant opening times. A tea-time service is offered at the Grand Salon in the afternoons. More details will be given in the newsletter provided each evening in your stateroom.
What is the Open Bar?
From embarkation and throughout the cruise, unlimited complimentary drinks* are served. We call this the Open Bar. This also applies to drinks from the minibar and those served by room service.
* Excludes premium alcohol drinks served à la carte
What menu is offered on board?
Our chefs and their brigade interpret and share with our passengers their passion for the French culinary heritage, enriched with the products and traditions of the countries visited. Our menus are constantly renewed according to the destination and the route chosen. On our mega yachts, two restaurants welcome you according to your wishes, the gourmet restaurant and the grill restaurant.
The availability of selected products such as Bordier butter and cheese, Kaviari caviar, pata negra, foie gras and Pierre Hermé macaroons cannot be guaranteed on late-season departures to Antarctica (from late January/early February). In addition, products originating directly from France are banned in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines). The supply of French products in these areas therefore depends on local sourcing possibilities. In Australia and New Zealand, the fish menu includes stonefish, sole, tuna, salmon and red mullet.
Learn more about the on-board gastronomy here.
Do dinners vary on long or consecutive cruises?
Our chefs and their teams offer a varied menu every day. The breakfasts and lunches are served buffet-style and feature a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes, as well as bread baked daily by our on-board French baker.
Here is what other passengers had to say: “There is so much choice between the two restaurants and the menu that you will always find something different as well as new recipes.”
Do I need to complete a medical questionnaire to go on a cruise?
For reasons of safety, you will be sent a document enabling you to notify the presence of certain contra-indicated medical or physiological conditions prior to the start of the cruise, which you will also need to sign and return before the start of the cruise.
Are vaccines necessary to go on a cruise?
When you visit certain destinations, vaccines can be recommended. Once you have made your reservation, we will send you all the important information so that you can begin your cruise with peace of mind. It is worthwhile contacting your medical advisors before you travel as they will have access to the latest information. If you would like to know more about a destination, the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can give you some invaluable advice.
Is there a doctor on board?
- The schedules of consultation are listed each day in the log book (emergency consultation 24/7).
- The Sisterships, PONANT Explorers, Le Paul Gauguin and Le Commandant Charcot also have a hospital for any small surgery.
- During excursions, cruise guests are accompanied by a doctor or a nurse to provide first aid when away from the ship.
All the ships have a doctor and a nurse available on board, except Le Ponant, on which there is a nurse and a telemedicine service available:
Do I have to pay for medical consultations on board?
Consultations, medical or surgical treatments, and laboratory-based or medical imagery-based (radiology) analyses carried out on board by the doctor or the nurse have to be paid for. The price can vary according to the time and place of the consultation (hospital or stateroom). The prices for all treatments and procedures are displayed in the waiting room. Any medication must also be paid for by the passenger. If using medications on a regular basis make sure to bring adequate supplies for the duration of your cruise.
The doctor on board is not authorised to distribute sick leaves and prescriptions. Only accounts and invoices are provided which may be used by the passenger to obtain a refund from his/her health insurance if his/her contract allows.
Should I inform PONANT if I have any special medical treatment?
If you have any special treatment, we ask you to inform the reservation service when you register for the cruise, to note it on the information sheet before departure, then inform the on-board crew at the moment of departure and always keep your medication with you for the duration of the cruise.
I suffer from seasickness, can I still come on the cruise?
Our ships (except Le Ponant) have stabilisers equipped with dynamic fins which adapt to the movements of the ship. This system allows the ship to anticipate and compensate for the pitching and tossing of the sea to achieve greater stability. Passengers suffering from seasickness will see their symptoms alleviated and are pleasantly surprised to not feel uncomfortable during their journey. However it is wise to bring travel motion medication with you for peace of mind.
Are the PONANT ships adapted to suit those with reduced mobility?
Our Sisterships, PONANT EXPLORERS, Le Paul Gauguin and Le Commandant Charcot were designed for people with reduced mobility in mind:
- Specially designed staterooms;
- Access ramps allowing easy movement in communal areas:
- Decks 3 (307), 4 (407) and 5 (509) on board the Sisterships: three 18 m² double cabins adapted for wheelchair access and fitted with either a double bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower and toilet, and in the case of the cabins on decks 4 and 5 only, a 4 m² balcony fitted with a small exterior wheelchair access ramp.
- Decks 4 (431) and 5 (527) on board the PONANT Explorers: two 27.5 m² double cabins adapted for wheelchair access and fitted with either a double bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower and toilet, and a 4 m² balcony with a small exterior wheelchair access ramp.
- Decks 6 (626 and 628) and 8 (818) on board Le Commandant Charcot: three 28 m² double cabins adapted for wheelchair access and equipped with either a double bed (180 x 200 cm) or two single beds (90 x 200 cm), a bathroom with shower and toilet, and a 7.5 m² balcony with a small exterior wheelchair access ramp.
- Deck 4 (415 and 416) on board Le Paul Gauguin: two 21 m² double cabins adapted for wheelchair access, with cabin 416 fitted with a queen size bed (160 x 200 cm) and cabin 415 fitted with two single beds (90 x 200 cm), and with both cabins featuring a panoramic window and a bathroom with shower and toilet.
- Posters, signage and stateroom numbers are translated into Braille.
Despite these arrangements, each passenger should be able to be independent or travel with a close family member or friend who can give them whatever assistance they require during their trip.
If a person has not been judged suitably fit for travel in complete safety, the company reserves the right to refuse their embarkation. Disembarkation in difficult places or in a Zodiac® is subject to the approval of the Captain, who will always have the safety and wellbeing of the passenger in mind.
Are onboard power sockets European standard?
Yes, the 220 volt 50 hertz alternating current is distributed by sockets meeting European standards. Onboard power is 200 volt AC (European standard) and 110 volt AC (North American standard). For safety reasons, hair irons and clothes irons cannot be used in staterooms. Please note that on Le Ponant, 110 volt AC is only available in stateroom bathrooms.
Are power adapters provided?
A number of electrical outlets are provided for our cruise guests to use in our common areas.
Are electrical outlets available in the common areas?
Electrical outlets are available to our passengers in the common areas.
What services are on offer on board?
On board our vessels you can enjoy the following services:
- Reception desk 24/7 on our Sisterships, Le Paul Gauguin and PONANT Explorers, and 7:00AM to 11:00PM on Le Ponant,
- Customer Service Office,
- Excursions Office,
- Breakfast in your stateroom,
- Butler service:
- On Sisterships: for passengers staying in one of the suites on deck 6.
- On PONANT EXPLORERS: for passengers staying in the Privilege Suites, Grand Deluxe Suites and the Owner's Suite.
- On Le Commandant Charcot: for passengers staying in the Owner's Suite, the Duplex Suites, the Privilege Suites and the Grand Prestige Suites.
- On Le Paul Gauguin : or passengers staying in the Owner's Suite, the Grand Suites, the Veranda Suites, and the Veranda staterooms.
- Stateroom service (Free & available 24/7),
- Wake-up service by the reception,
- Fitness room,
- Wellness area,
- Group sessions of gym,
- Outdoor pool (except for Le Ponant),
- Photography/video service (except for Le Ponant),
- Postal service,
- Only onboard Le Commandant Charcot :
- Alain Ducasse restaurant (Deck 5)
- Brasero and Blue Lagoon
- Indoor pool
- Cigare Lounge
- Private fitness sessions (depending on the availability of the coach, non included, priority for the passengers of the Owner Suite, Duplex Suites, Prestige and Grand Prestige Suites).
What languages are spoken on board?
The crew are bilingual in French and English. All signage and announcements made are in French and English. On certain cruises, crew members also speak other languages.
May I bring one or more children on board?
Children under one year of age shall not be authorised to embark on the ships.
On classic cruises, children are accepted from the age of one, with a maximum of 5 children between 1 and 6 years old on board.
On "expedition" cruises children are accepted from 6 years old (except cruises aboard Le Commandant Charcot) and must be fully independent during all the outside activities organised and during disembarkation in rubber boats, be sufficiently tall to sit on the inflatable sides of the boats, and old enough to understand, and immediately respond to the orders given by the persons in charge. As a result, children's participation in any activity in an inflatable boat shall be subject to the agreement of the Captain and of the Expedition Head, depending on the sea conditions, and the difficulty of disembarking at each location visited. The ships do not carry Parka’s in children’s sizes. Parents must arrange to bring a suitable Parka for children. In all cases, children and young people under the age of 18 are at all times on board or on land under the full and total responsibility of their parents or carers.
For all "expedition" cruises on board Le Commandant Charcot, children are accepted from 8 years old only.
Children aged 4 years or more can be welcomed in the Kid's Club when the service is offered on board (consult the list of cruises concerned).
Can I travel on board if I'm pregnant?
Yes, you can be up to three months pregnant on the date the cruise ends, but not on expedition cruises; this is due to reasons of safety in case of premature birth issues, which can be difficult to manage in remote, isolated places.
I am travelling alone, will I feel integrated with the other passengers? Is there a good atmosphere?
On board, each space has been designed with the wishes of everybody in mind. There are places where your privacy is respected, and other places where you can pass the time together with others.
Here is what other passengers had to say:
"I have been on a cruise once with other people, and once, recently, by myself in Patagonia. I can assure you that they were largely as good as each other. The atmosphere is very pleasant, from the Captain and his crew, to the very attentive staff, and finally the other passengers who were all very friendly. All sorts of activities were on offer where you could alternate learning or cultural sessions with rest times if you wanted to. Personally, I never got bored. It doesn't matter whether you're male or female, I would go for it. It's an adventure where you'll make some amazing memories". Single guest, member of PONANT community.
Join the community.
Are animals allowed on board?
For reasons of hygiene and safety, animals are not allowed on board.
Is smoking allowed on board?
PONANT ships are non-smoking, even on the stateroom balconies. Smoking is only allowed in the exterior parts of the ship designated for the purpose.
Le Commandant Charcot has an onboard cigar lounge on Deck 5, where you can enjoy the delights of a refined selection of cigars (cigarettes are not allowed) and fine spirits.
Are tips obligatory?
Bonuses for the staff is one of the customs of cruise ships and are left to your discretion. An anonymous envelope is left in your stateroom at the end of your cruise. You can leave it at reception in a box provided. For informational purposes only, the average tip left per day by our cruise guests is between €10 and €12 per passenger. It is then divided between the members of the crew.
Is there a laundry service on the ships?
Yes, your stateroom Officer will be able to take care of your laundry**. The washing and ironing of your clothes will take between 24 and 48 hours. Only ironing** can be delivered on the same day. As dry-cleaning is not possible on the ship, please only give us clothes that can be washed in water.
** These services are not free of charge and are billed directly to your stateroom account.
Is it possible to make purchases on board?
Gifts and souvenirs can be bought on board at our boutique. Please note that the law does not allow us to open the boutique whilst we are docked at a port of call.
The items sold in the onboard shops are duty free, except on exclusively French itineraries on Le Paul Gauguin, on which some items offered are not duty-free.
It is also possible to book your next cruise(s) on board our ships with the Voyages Ambassador. For every cruise booked on board, you get to enjoy a 5% reduction (on the cruise component only), which can be used in combination with your PONANT advantages.
What items are not allowed on board?
You can view the list of prohibited items on all our ships by clicking here.
Can I send letters during my cruise?
You may leave letters and postcards at Reception and they will be posted for you. Please note your stateroom number where you would normally place the stamp. The postage fee will be added to your account.
Is a telephone service available on board?
A satellite communication system is provided for you to use to contact people anywhere in the world. The total charges for all such communications are added directly to the stateroom account (the rates depend on the region the ship is sailing through). Calls that you receive can be transferred directly to your stateroom or to any other communal area on the ship. To receive or send faxes, please see Reception.
Is internet access available on board?
Free Wi-Fi internet access is available on all of our ships, in both the staterooms and the communal areas. One or several computers are at your disposal in the recreation centres. Please note that the Wi-Fi connection may be discontinued depending on the navigation area and landscapes that may block the vessel from satellite coverage, especially at high latitudes (no connection possible beyond 80° North or South), or for technical reasons beyond our control.
I no longer wish to receive email from PONANT, how do I request that?
If you no longer want to receive electronic communication from PONANT, please click on the unsubscribe link located at the bottom of one of the emails that has been sent to you or tell your travel advisor that the change can be taken into account.
How can I contact PONANT?
How can I change the language of the site?
The site is accessible in English, French and German. If you want to change the language, you simply select your country by clicking on the menu “Country” at the bottom of the homepage.
How does the dedicated concierge service on board the Le Commandant Charcot work?
The concierge service is made up of a team of four travel agents who can be reached by telephone on the dedicated phone line for passengers of Le Commandant Charcot. They will deal with any special requests you may have and help you decide which tailored, personalised services to choose to match your tastes and preferences and further enhance your overall cruise experience.
The concierge service is offered to all passengers of Le Commandant Charcot, regardless of whether they have booked a stateroom or a suite.
- By telephone on +33 (0)4 91 26 62 20
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Available, ready to listen and highly responsive, the team can arrange to meet you at PONANT's head office and can also be contacted at any time: