Icebreaking cruise ship Le Commandant Charcot sails along with Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy near North Pole. Photo: screenshot from video

French cruise ship makes rendezvous with Russian nuclear icebreaker near North Pole

In thick Arctic sea-ice, 150 meter long icebreaking cruise vessel Le Commandant Charcot makes acquaintance with Russia's 50 Let Pobedy.
August 20, 2023


The meeting between the two vessels took place in remote Arctic waters not far from the North Pole.

Video made by passengers onboard the 50 Let Pobedy and shared on social media shows the two vessels trading greetings and sailing side by side through thick sea-ice.

Le Commandant Charcot meets 50 Let Pobedy in Arctic waters in middle of August 2023.

On board the brand new French cruise vessel are up to 450 people, of them 270 passengers, and the tourists are seen waving to the Russian ship as they break through the ice.

The distance between the two powerful ships is only a few dozen meters.


Helicopters from both the Le Commandant Charcot and the 50 Let Pobedy were in the air when the two ships met in the sea-ice. Screenshot from video


The Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker is on the way to the North Pole as part of an expedition for students. Shortly after its meeting with the tourist ship, it encountered also two other ships currently sailing in the area. According to ship operator Rosatom, the 50 Let Pobedy met with Arctic research station Severny Polyus, as well as research ship Akademik Tryoshnikov


The latter ship had sailed all the way from St.Petersburg with new crew and equipment for the drifting station that is on a two-year expedition across the ice.


The Le Commandant Charcot is the first vessel of its kind that has made it to the North Pole. Screenshot from video


The Le Commandant Charcot is the new vessel built for cruise ship operator Ponant. It is classified as icebreaker and can make independent voyages to the North Pole. In 2021, it was first hybrid-electric luxury cruise ship to make it to the North Pole.

The ship set out on a 16-days expedition from Reykjavik in early August. It sails to the geographic North Pole and ends up in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

It is not a voyage for the regular man and woman. The starting price per person is €31,485.


Luxury onboard the Le Commandant Charcot. Photo:


According to Ponant, the Le Commandant Charcot can offer the “cruise voyage of tomorrow.” On board, are luxury services never before offered in the farthest reaches of the northern hemisphere. 

Each of the ship’s common areas are designed to convey French-style discreet luxury and arouse wonder and amazement, the company informs.

The cruise ship has hybrid engines powered partly by liquified natural gas and electric batteries that allows it to briefly sail silently without engines running.




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