In what will be a world first for a cruise ship, PONANT’s 2024-2025 winter programme is now offering a breathtaking voyage through the ice of the St Lawrence River to pristine Québec and the Innu and Micmac communities of Canada.
Guests are invited to experience an exceptional journey on board Le Commandant Charcot, the cutting-edge world’s only luxury icebreaker, fuelled by LNG and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, ensuring an unparalleled and unique adventure. Crafted with ample time for travellers to savour the expansive frozen landscapes adorned with glistening ice, immaculate white forests and illuminated by the captivating aurora borealis, the 13-day expedition promises an opportunity to relish some of the world’s most magnificent open spaces.
Hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, dog sledding and ice fishing is available for adventure seekers, allowing them to explore this enchanting and truly fascinating environment while potentially encountering the emblematic caribou, elk and black bears in their natural habitat.
Famous for the local peoples’ hospitality and friendly nature, this “region of a thousand customs” promises a voyage of a lifetime enriched by the warm welcome and ancestral traditions of the Innu people in Sept-Îles and the Micmacs in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The St Lawrence River in the heart of the Boreal Winter
Québec – Saint Pierre Island, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon – 12 nights, 11 days
On the high polar exploration ship Le Commandant Charcot
From AUD 31,910 per person*
4 sailings from January to February 2025
Find more about these voyages
– Outings and shore visits with a team of naturalist-guides.
– A voyage to discover the grandeur of nature in the Canadian winter and breathtaking landscapes: fjord, pristine boreal forests, ice, snow-covered valleys.
– Visiting traditional villages and meeting the indigenous Innu and Micmac communities.
– Possibility of admiring the unique colours of the Northern Lights rippling across the sky.
– Activities* during the unique winter season: kayaking, ice fishing and tasting raw rockfish, dog sledding, tastings of local produce, and optional activities such as ice climbing, canoeing on ice and skijoring.
– The legendary Quebecois hospitality and friendly nature.
– In Québec attend the world’s largest winter carnival where ice decorations and sculptures and lightsform a magical spectacle (departures on 17 and 29 January 2025).
– Chance to see newborn whitecoats* in the Magdalen Islands: the only place in the world where you can observe this unique scene. (departures 10 and 22 February 2025).
*Activities subject to weather conditions; to be pre-booked before departure.
“There is no other place where you can experience the cold with so much warmth.” – Saguenean saying from the Saguenay region of Québec, Canada
A review of the scouting trip by the team in charge of putting together this one-off itinerary
10 March 2023. St Lawrence, Canada.
José Sarica, Director of Research and Development for the PONANT Expedition Experience, and Emerick le Mouel, First Officer on Le Commandant Charcot embarked on a trip to explore this captivating region to bring guests an immersive experience.
A look back in images of the scouting trip for this brand new itinerary
What is the purpose of a scouting trip?
“Doing a recce like this is key to forging strong ties with local communities and co-building exceptional experiences. Generally, we arrive on site with a very clear idea of the area and go away with a totally different point of view which is what happened for this location”.
How is it that PONANT is a pioneer of exploration voyages on the St Lawrence in winter?
“Le Commandant Charcot’s ice-breaking capabilities are arousing the curiosity and interest of local communities, who are eagerly awaiting our arrival. It’s not just about being pioneers, our CSR approach is paving the way for new and meaningful polar exploration voyages. “
Which stage will be the highlight of this expedition?
“Saguenay is the cornerstone of this voyage. Le Commandant Charcot will be docked in the ice for three days. Guests will be able to disembark directly from the ship and enjoy unique experiences in close contact with nature and ancestral customs. Dog sledding, hiking, ice fishing, and so on. Saguenay embodies the philosophy of Le Commandant Charcot”.
What do you think will be the most rewarding moment on the voyage?
“Meeting the Innu people will be a magical moment of exchange and discovery. Our guests will become ambassadors for these people who deserve to be in the spotlight”.
What is the philosophy?
“In an environment like this you feel so alive, so in tune with everything, you’re in a constant state of wonder. Thanks to the short distances between each stage and nights spent on site, guests will have plenty of time to explore, discover and listen to some wonderful stories. It really is an initiation voyage”.