Sustainable travel isn’t just a buzzword at Ponant. It’s a driving factor for decision making, including how luxury expedition ships impact the environment, how guests interact with local cultures, and how onboard educational opportunities are curated. Ponant believes exploration must embrace an ethos of responsible travel. As such, all its luxury small ships embody a dedication to sustainable tourism, from ship to shore. Its latest icebreaker, Le Commandant Charcot, honors that commitment during Ponant’s Arctic and Antarctica expeditions — with a mission to preserve the fragile polar reaches of the globe. Here’s how.
Treading Lightly: On Sea & Land
Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s first hybrid-electric, liquid natural gas-powered polar exploration ship. Engineers reimagined what a cruise ship could be, from the ground up. Liquid natural gas can keep the ship running for six weeks, and when exploring protected marine areas, the vessel can switch to battery mode for a zero-emissions voyage.
Clean Ship Label. The Bureau Veritas has fully inspected Le Commandant Charcot and awarded her a recognition of reduced atmospheric emissions and water and waste processing.
Recycled Onboard Energy. When you cruise the polar regions, there’s nothing like warming up in the outdoor Blue Lagoon pool or lingering on deck to watch the landscapes pass by. Both the ship’s pool water and outdoor seating are heated by recycled energy produced by the ship’s propulsion.
Environment First. Exploration Second. Ponant’s crew follows specific guidelines for each sensitive region visited, altering course, if necessary, in the name of preservation. This adopts a zero-tolerance policy toward travel with a negative impact.
Community Focused. Itineraries are created in collaboration with local authorities, ensuring traditions and integrity are respected. Guests are also briefed on respectfully encountering cultures. Plus, when feasible, Ponant sources food for onboard meals from destinations visited. This allows guests to enjoy local cuisine while supporting local economies.
Eco-Friendly Landings. Cruising speeds have a maximum in protected areas, wildlife is viewed from afar (ensuring guides meet a minimum experience requirement), and sites of scientific observation are respected.
Become a Citizen Scientist. Le Commandant Charcot is home to two floating laboratories to observe, study, and collect samples from polar ecosystems. Guests can attend lectures about iceberg formation, glaciers, and climate, and opt to help gather valuable data to help researchers back onboard.
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