On Sunday Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile saw the departure of the first cruise vessel to Antarctica under strict sanitary and safety conditions. The first Antarctic cruise since the start of the pandemic was implemented by what local authorities denominate the sanitary “green bubble”.
The French-flagged Le Commandant Charcot received 150 passengers who arrived directly from Santiago in a charter flight. From the airport, the passengers were driven in special buses to the waiting cruise vessel and by five in the afternoon left for the Antarctica tour. Passengers had to comply with a PCR test in Santiago, and in no moment did they come in contact with Punta Arenas except at the maritime terminal
The Epaustral company which manages Punta Arenas port, Rodrigo Pommier Aravena was present at the terminal to ensure compliance with all established protocols and to wish passengers a pleasant cruise.
We have a list of announced calls in Punta Arenas until the end of March. Hopefully, we will be back to what we knew as a normal cruise season. We know this season will be different but as of 2022/2023 I'm sure things will be back to business as usual, Pommier Aravena was quoted.
He added things have worked out as established in the protocols. In the Prat jetty at the passenger's reception and boarding lobby, we ensure all travellers have the appropriate requirements, a vaccines certificate, a PCR from their countries of origin, a second test at Santiago airport, and later will have to comply with other tests onboard on their return trip to Punta Arenas.
Le Commandant Charcot” is a cruise expedition vessel, 492 ft long, 92ft beam and 33ft draft, with a gross tonnage of 31,757 UMS, described as Class PC2. It has a 245 guest capacity and 235 crew, five decks, and electric propulsion motors.