In January 2025, for the first time ever, an international cruise ship will sail the waters of the Saint Lawrence in the heart of winter.
Between late January and early March 2025, Le Commandant Charcot, with some 200 winter activity enthusiasts aboard, will make four 12-night sailings along the waters of the Saint Lawrence in Canada. Several Saint Lawrence member ports of call appear on the scheduled itinerary, including Îles–de–la–Madeleine, Gaspé, Sept-Îles, Saguenay and Québec. Embarkation and disembarkation operations will be shared between Québec and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
To enable passengers to immerse themselves fully in regional offerings in winter, the cruises may include longer stopovers of at least one overnight stay which is infrequent in conventional cruise planning. This decision comes in the wake of an onsite inspection tour conducted in February 2023 by José Sarica, Director, Expedition Experience with PONANT and Emerick Le Mouël, first officer aboard Le Commandant Charcot.
René Trépanier, Executive Director of Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL), could not be prouder of the efforts deployed upstream by the team at CSL and destination member ports of call. “For almost a decade, we have repeatedly promoted unparalleled winterscapes and winter season shore activities with expedition cruise operators. Our efforts appear, at long last, to have begun to pay off with the announcement of this exciting North American premiere,” asserted Mr Trépanier enthusiastically.
The launch of winter cruises on the Saint Lawrence marks a turning point in the history of international cruises in Québec – Caroline Proulx, Minister of Tourism of Québec
PONANT passengers will experience the wonders of the Canadian winter and a superlative succession of scenic snowscapes. They will enjoy the opportunity to tent overnight in an Innu community, tour on snowmobile, ride a fat bike on a snow-covered beach and try their hand at dogsledding, snowshoeing or even ice fishing on the Saguenay fjord. And who knows? They may even be treated to a dazzling display of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, as was the PONANT team this past February at Sept-Îles.
When Le Commandant Charcot sets out to navigate the ice of the Saint Lawrence in January 2025, she will be embarking on a world premiere journey. A hybrid electric polar expedition vessel powered by liquified natural gas, the Commandant Charcot offers a cutting edge example of a shift to more responsible navigation. The ship’s ice breaking capability enables her to operate safely in polar conditions.
“At PONANT, we are particularly attached to the Saint Lawrence region, a region that our ships have visited in summer for a number of years now. Our market-leading winter cruises will open the doors to totally novel experiences, unrivalled by any operator elsewhere in the world. The Commandant Charcot will enable us to navigate the ice in complete safety, while providing passengers with an onboard experience nothing short of exceptional. Working together with Destination Saint Lawrence authorities, we have developed an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary. And we are especially eager to share this adventure with our passengers,” stated Hervé Gastinel, President of PONANT.
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