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PONANT will be offering winter exploration cruise itineraries in the Great North. From January to February 2025, PONANT will offer four voyages through Canada’s St. Lawrence River during the Boreal winter—a first for a cruise line—aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first icebreaker and hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG. Due to its Polar Class 2 ice rating with capabilities to break through ice up to eight feet thick, Le Commandant Charcot is able to explore destinations that are otherwise inaccessible during the winter months. The 13-day expeditions will combine sub-zero adventuring like kayaking, ice-fishing, dog sledding and skijoring along with visits to Indigenous Innu and Mi’kmaq communities, rare wildlife sightings including caribou and black bears, and the spectacle of the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.

PONANT — Wintry Itineraries

Two of these PONANT itineraries, Jan. 17 and Feb. 10, will depart from the French territory of Saint Pierre Island off the Atlantic Coast. Le Commandant Charcot will head west to Sydney, Nova Scotia, then on to the Magdalen Islands, the only place in the world where you can observe newborn whitecoats (harp seal pups) (available on Feb. 10 and 22 departures). The archipelago offers captivating landscapes—from drifting ice floe and tall red sandstone cliffs to snow-covered valleys—and a fascinating insight into Acadian culture. From there, Le Commandant Charcot will sail through the Gaspe, stopping for a snowshoe walk in the Forillon National Park and to admire the Perce Rock and thousands of snow-covered conifers in the Magic Forest. On the Sept-îles, PONANT guests will have the privilege of meeting the Indigenous Innu people and learning about their ancestral customs and traditions, while in the borough of La Baie, in the majestic Saguenay Valley, guests will experience the hospitality of the Saguenayen people on dog-sledding, snowshoe and ice-fishing adventures. The expedition ends in Quebec City and guests joining the January departures will arrive just in time for Winter Carnival—one of the world’s largest—with ice-carving contests, sleigh rides, canoe races and more. The PONANT ship will then make the return journey from Quebec City to Saint Pierre Island on the Jan. 29 and Feb. 22 departures.

Joining the PONANT expeditions are award-winning British photographers Sue Flood and Ian Dawson, who will be on hand to share stories from their travels and guide guests as they snap photos of the wildlife and landscapes. With four sailings scheduled for winter 2025,
guests will have ample opportunity to witness the magic of the aurora borealis and other seasonal happenings along the mighty St. Lawrence.

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