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The White Continent in all its facets: PONANT’s Winter 2024-2025 expeditions

Twenty-six! That’s the number of sailings for which PONANT has just launched sales for voyages to Antarctica for winter 2024-2025. Backed by 30 years of experience in the region, the company is offering expeditions for the whole of the southern summer season, from October to March, which covers the entire reproduction cycle of the penguins which populate the White Continent.

Every month has its privilege

November is special as this is when the penguins breeding and nesting take place on the Antarctic Peninsula. Against a backdrop of snow-covered mountain peaks, icebergs drift in the distance. In January, newborn penguins are a sight to behold, while February is an equally magical month as the chicks are growing and the end of summer snow makes hiking easier.

Aboard the company’s three small ships, Le Lyrial, L’Austral and Le Boréal, the experts at PONANT – Captains, Expedition Leaders, naturalist-guides – share their passion and knowledge of the region. Thanks to them, guests have an opportunity to see Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, orcas, seals, elephant seals, albatrosses and southern fulmars, all in conditions that fully respect the environment.

Among the must-see voyages for this season: The Southern Adventure promises a 15-day polar expedition in the highest latitudes between the Falkland Islands and untouched lands of the Antarctic; The Great Adventure takes in the southern region’s most beautiful sites; and Expedition to Southern Lands follows in the wake of the greatest explorers in South Georgia along shores of the White Continent on a 17-or-18-day voyage through time. Just three of the many adventures that beckon.

Focus on three exclusive itineraries

The Southern Adventure

This polar expedition to the planet’s southernmost lands begins with the discovery of the Falkland Islands. Escorted by Rudolphi whales, the ship follows in their wake through this archipelago of 200 islands, before approaching the frozen shores of the – almost – inaccessible Antarctica. Here guests can see for themselves that white comes in a thousand shades. Outings and landings in Zodiacs or sea kayaks, always supervised by professionals, bring guests as close as it is possible to be to the ice.

Ushuaia – Ushuaia, on Le Lyrial and Le Boréal. Two sailings, 1st and 16 November 2024, 16 days – 14 nights on board. From €14,000, Buenos Aires-Ushuaia return flights included – Find more about these voyages

The Great Adventure

L’Austral and Le Lyrial go back in time as she sets sail for South Georgia. It is here in the midst of black sandy beaches, watched over by snow-capped mountains, that Sir Ernest Shackleton miraculously washed up during the famous Endurance Odyssey in 1916. Further south on L’Austral, the Orkney Islands emerge just beyond the latitude of the mythical Screaming 60s. Throughout the voyage, this vast territory that is home to penguins, albatrosses, seals and whales is revealed.

Buenos Aires – Ushuaia, Ushuaia – Buenos Aires, on L’Austral and Le Lyrial. Two sailings, 9 November 2024 and 3rd March 2025, 19 days – 17 nights on board. From €14,990, Ushuaia-Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires-Ushuaia return flights included.

Emblematic Antarctica

At the border between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, guests enter Drake Passage. In the latitudes of the Furious 50s and Screaming 60s, the wind blows and waves beat against the bow; in the sky above, Cape petrels lead the ship to their kingdom, up to the first lands of the White Continent. The ice is there and evolves throughout the summer, in all its forms, to give life to the reproduction cycle of the Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins. A mountainous landscape opens up to give way to huge carving glaciers, as tabular icebergs drift in the ocean and sea ice shimmers in the distance.

Ushuaia – Ushuaia, on L’Austral, Le Boréal & Le Lyrial. 16 sailings from November 2024 to March 2025, 12 days – 10 nights on board. From €10,640, Buenos Aires-Ushuaia return flights included.


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Falklands, South Georgia & Valdes Peninsula: in the heart of the wilderness

Le Boréal will set sail for a polar expedition in the southern seas to discover stunning wildlife, in the heart of three rich and unique ecosystems: South Georgia, the Falkland archipelago and its 200 islands, and the Argentinean province of Chubut. Magellanic, gentoo and king penguins, elephant seals, fur seals, albatrosses and orcas inhabit these wild lands. The richness of the landscape will go from the black sand beaches encircled by the snow-capped mountains of South Georgia to the rich beauty of the shores of the Falkland Islands, where white sand beaches, sharp cliffs and windswept moors meet, before giving way to the desert lands of the Chubut province.

Ushuaia – Buenos Aires, on board Le Boréal. From 11 to 30 March 2025, 20 days – 18 nights on board. From €10,570, Buenos Aires-Ushuaia flight included.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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6 Comments

  1. Doing one of these luxurious Antarctica cruises is one of the things that’s nearing the top of my travel bucket list. This PONANT programme looks very entertaining.

  2. Love that picture of the penguins silhouetted against the sunset with the cruise ship on the horizon. Genius photography.

  3. Providing naturalists as guides who really know their stuff is a big draw. I’ve done some Caribbean and European cruises where the cruise line has sub-contracted the excursions and the quality has been pretty poor.

    Though, obviously with Antarctica there aren’t going to be any locals on hand to sub-contract too. You have to take your own guides!

  4. You’ve almost sold me an Antarctica cruise. It would be so different to any holiday that I’ve ever done before. The problem, and it’s a major one, is that there’s some big price tickets there.

  5. It’s almost impossible to mention this part of the world without thinking of Ernest Shackleton and his remarkable determination to overcome any difficulty.

    I’ve often read the story and am now keen to go and see for myself the terrain that he battled against.

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