Weddell Sea Explorer - Fly and Sail Cruise

Hannah Conduct
Penguins on a rocky beach in Antarctica.
A traveler stares into the arctic sunset.
A seal sleeping on a mound of snow.
Andrew Halsall
A close up of an Elephant Seal.
Andrew Halsall
A woman posing on the snow in front of penguins.
Polar Pioneer's dining room.
Polar Pioneer's bar and lounge.
Sail across Bransfield Strait to an Antarctic Sound dawn, where tabular icebergs ride currents from the Weddell Sea. The Peninsula’s wild side welcomes you with a strange, ice-free landscape hiding renowned fossil beds and vast penguin colonies. Hope to explore Prince Gustav Channel, Seymour Island and Otto Nordenskjold’s historic hut on Snow Hill Island. In contrast to the Weddell Sea’s wild isolation, the Peninsula’s west coast offers glaciated peaks rising from a maze of islands and waterways alive with seals, penguins and whales.

Day 1

Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile

Today you make your own way to the group hotel where you will meet your fellow expeditioners and enjoy your first group dinner. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Fly to King George Island

Fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica, to be warmly welcomed aboard Polar Pioneer. Settle in for safety and environmental briefings to prepare for landings as your expedition cruise sets off across Bransfield Strait.

Day 3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Weddell Sea

Access to the Weddell Sea is totally ice-dependent. Calved from massive ice shelves, the tabular icebergs of Antarctic Sound create a memorable sight. The ice-strengthened Polar Pioneer, helmed by a highly-experienced Russian Captain, gives the best chance to thread through waters alive with penguins against a backdrop of breathtaking volcanic scenery.

Days 4-6

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Antarctic Exploration

Weather systems and shifting pack ice dictate the schedule. Perhaps visit the vast Adélie and gentoo penguin colonies of Brown Bluff or Paulet Island, fossil-rich Seymour Island, and historic Snow Hill Island. Or hike to spectacular vantage points on Beak and Devil Islands. The ship may even reach the islands of Prince Gustav Channel. Wherever you go, wildlife, Heroic Age relics, and haunting landscapes await.

Days 7-8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Western Peninsula

Head for the Peninsula’s beautiful western flanks to make full use of the late summer daylight hours and relatively ice-free waters. Make wildlife offshore islands, a continental landing, visit historic huts, and Zodiac cruise amidst bergs. Whales are abundant as they prepare to migrate north. Listen carefully for the otherworldly courtship song of the leopard seal.

Days 9-10

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drake Passage

Petrels, prions and albatross accompany the ship across the Drake Passage. Final talks help polish your Antarctic education before making a ceremonial rounding of Cape Horn, time and weather permitting. Gather for a celebratory dinner as you enter the Beagle Channel.

Day 11

  • Breakfast

Disembark in Puerto Williams / Fly Punta Arenas

A pre-dawn sail along the Beagle Channel and an early breakfast prepare for docking in Puerto Williams at dawn. Enjoy a tour of the rustic port and surrounds before boarding your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile.

Please note that all of Polar Pioneer itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. These itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.

- Rates represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate

Voyage Inclusions
· One night accommodation at Cabo de Hornos hotel in Punta Arenas pre voyage
· Transfer from hotel to Punta Arenas airport
· Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island
· Luggage transfer from King George Island airstrip to Polar Pioneer
· Transfer from Polar Pioneer to Puerto Williams airport, including Puerto Williams town and surrounds tour
· Flight from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas
· Accommodation during the voyage
· All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage
· All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
· Educational lectures and guiding services from our expert team
· Access to our on board doctor and basic medical services
· Loan of gumboots during the voyage
· Daily cabin service
· Comprehensive pre-departure information
· Professionally produced electronic voyage journal
· Port taxes and charges