Ponant Unveils New 2021 Solar Eclipse Cruise to the Weddell Sea

Le Commandant Charcot
In November 2021, Ponant's new Le Commandant Charcot (a rendering is shown above) will transport luxury cruise guests to the Weddell Sea to witness a solar eclipse.(Photo by Ponant)

Small-ship luxury cruise line Ponant has added a new 15-day itinerary that will transport luxury travelers to Antarctica's Weddell Sea to witness the total solar eclipse on December 4, 2021. That sea is the only area in the world where the eclipse will be 100 percent visible.

Departing November 30, 2021 from Ushuaia, Argentina, the line's new expedition ship, Le Commandant-Charcot, a hybrid-electric, polar-class vessel with 135 staterooms and suites, will sail through the Drake Passage before arriving to the Weddell Sea ice pack on December 4. Guests will disembark onto the ice pack to witness the solar eclipse as the moon passes between Earth and the sun. In a region where the sun never quite sets, luxury cruisers will be enveloped in complete darkness for a few minutes.

"We will be positioned in the heart of the sea ice, where the pristine white creates a high-pressure zone that will allow for clearer skies," says Nicolas Dubreuil, polar and tropical expedition expert and director of sustainability, Ponant. "Guests will have the privilege of witnessing this rare phenomenon from the ice pack."

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Under the supervision of the team of naturalist guides and the onboard scientists, guests will be able to participate in the research and analyses of this astronomical event. Travelers can also join scientists as they set up a station on an ice floe and take water samples from these remote regions, working to improve the knowledge of the biodiversity, ecosystems and human’s impact on this region.

The itinerary also includes sailing by the Larsen Ice Shelf, the ice barrier that helps prevent the erosion of the Antarctic ice sheet; visiting the South Shetland Islands, home to a number of scientific research stations; and observing wildlife including Weddell seals, Adelie penguins and humpback whales.

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