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Ponant Just Unveiled a Bonkers 30-Day Expedition to Antarctica



It is one of 12 new itineraries that the French cruise line has designed with the Explorers Club.

Ponant has decided two heads are better than one when it comes to creating interesting itineraries. The French cruise line has teamed up with the Explorers Club to design 12 new adventures across five continents.

Launched more than a century ago, the Explorers Club is dedicated to advancing the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space. As such, the new expeditions will be geared toward furthering field research in unscathed and unstudied destinations. The trips will run at various points between 2024 and 2026, with the first being a 30-day jaunt to the Antarctic.

Running from January 7 to February 5, Unexplored Antarctica between Two Continents will aim to analyze the effects of climate change on the glaciers. Rooted in discovery and education, the cruise will give those onboard a chance to learn about diverse ecosystems and environmental challenges in the lap of luxury.

Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot has rightfully been enlisted for the transoceanic itinerary. The massive 492-footer, which is the world’s only Polar Class 2–rated cruise ship, features two laboratories, a sonar room, a dedicated server for the scientists, and a meteorological station. In other words, it’s like a floating research center and a six-star hotel in one.

Following the paths of legendary explorers Jean-Baptiste Charcot and Roald Amundsen, the ice-breaker will cruise from South America to New Zealand to the Antarctic Circle. Travelers will explore the remote island of Marie Byrd Land and the world’s largest marine protected area.

Seafarers will also be able to see the highest volcano in Antarctica and the famous 43-mile Drygalski Ice Tongue. In addition, thrill-seekers can partake in offshore Zodiac outings, kayaking, hiking, and snowshoeing.

On the way, renowned glaciologist and geologist Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj Peña will run onboard discussions and hands-on snow sampling workshops to help travelers learn more about the shrinking glaciers and the steps that humans can take to slow climate change.

“Both Ponant and the Explorers Club are founded on principles of exploration with a deep respect for scientific research whose studies aim at preserving our oceans, the environment, and climate,” Navin Sawhney, Ponant’s CEO of Americas, said in a statement. “The Explorers Club’s members have been responsible for a series of famous ‘firsts’, including first to the South Pole, so it felt fitting for Antarctica to be the inaugural expedition onboard our polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot.”

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Entertainment and relaxation

Get Ready to Book Your Dream Vacation: Mandarin Oriental’s First Hotel in Greece is Finally Here!



Last February, Mandarin Oriental announced plans to open its first hotel in Greece. Now, the flashy new establishment is accepting reservations.

Located in southwest Peloponnese, the beachfront resort is a three-hour car ride from Athens or a 40-minute drive from Kalamata International Airport. Occupying a prime position in the upscale Costa Navarino development, the aptly names Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino neighbors a W hotel and Westin Resort. The newcomer will officially begin welcoming guests on August 15.

Perched on the Messanian hillside, the first Grecian outpost features 99 rooms and suites, including 48 pool villas with outdoor terraces overlooking the sea. Guests can enjoy a massive 16,145-square-foot wellness facility with an indoor-outdoor pool, plus five restaurants and bars.

There will also be water sports, biking, and rock climbing on offer if you wish to break a sweat, not to mention four local golf courses where you can tee off.

Gourmands will be pleased to know that all on-site restaurants are overseen by chef Bertrand Valegeas, who’s run Michelin-star venues in the past. Your options include local Greek cuisine at Oliviera, French fare at Brasserie de la Bay, Levantine-inspired dishes at Tahir Restaurant, and top-tier dining at the Private Kitchen. Just don’t forget to stop by the Three Admirals Lounge for an aperitivo. The indulgence doesn’t stop there, either: Costa Navarino is home to a spa, 20 restaurants, and a thalassotherapy center.

“We are delighted to be opening our first property in Greece in Costa Navarino and look forward to sharing this striking combination of unspoiled landscape, olive groves, pristine beaches, and authentic Greek culture in the region with our guests,” James Riley, group chief executive of Mandarin Oriental, said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with Temes, the group that has been responsible for the creation of Costa Navarino as a bourgeoning tourism destination.”

Founded in 1997, Grecian developer Temes opened the first of its five luxury resorts in 2010 and has helped to elevate Costa Navarino. Chairman Achilles V. Constantakopoulos says the development is “becoming a top international destination for people to visit and to live.”

Following the hotel’s debut next month, Mandarin Oriental is expected to open a private island resort in the Maldives in 2025. The tough part will be deciding how to split your time between the two waterfront destinations.

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