World’s First Hybrid-Electric Expedition Vessel Reaches North Pole

The expedition cruise sector continues launching cleaner and greener ships, and with Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot earlier this month, the world’s first hybrid-electric exploration vessel has been unveiled.

With a purpose-built advanced expedition ship, Ponant has now introduced a new level of luxury for those guests who want to cash out over €34,000 for a two-week trip that takes them to the farthest reaches of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Le Commandant-Charcot is the first, one-of-its-kind hybrid-electric ship aimed at polar exploration. It operates on liquefied natural gas. The latest addition to Ponant’s fleet, the Le Commandant Charcot reached the North Pole, a few days after the ship had set sail from Longyearbyen, Svalbard around 10:38 on Monday morning. This time of the year experiences the lowest extent of sea-ice and the Midnight Sun does not set before late September.

Image Credits: Ponant

During the next season, the vessel is expected to bring in more passengers on the same tour with four planned departures from Longyearbyen in the period between early July and late August.

With a crew capacity of 235 and a guest capacity of about 270, the Norwegian-built ship by Aker Arctic boasts an indoor spa, swimming pool, some panoramic restaurants, and a range of suites with private balconies, and some with jacuzzis.

The new cruise vessels keep adding to the list of present-day ice-classed expedition cruise ships that are aimed for the Arctic waters. Ponant has some more vessels that are yet to be included in the fleet.

It may appear like a paradox, but global warming opens more Arctic waters for ships bringing tourists who wish to see sea ice before all disappear.


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