In Shackleton's Footsteps Cruise

Andrew Halsall
A woman posing on the snow in front of penguins.
Mark Jones
Rockhopper penguins hanging out on the rocky coast.
Andrew Halsall
Hiking through through the snow.
Mark Jones
Elephant Seals hanging out on the beach.
Andrew Halsall
Zodiac tour through the icebergs.
Polar Pioneer's dining room.
Polar Pioneer's bar and lounge.
Celebrating one of the greatest survival stories in Antarctic exploration, this voyage takes you into the wild Weddell Sea, where Ernest Shackleton planned to start a daring feat – the first crossing of Antarctica. Follow in his wake, albeit in comfort and safety, to Elephant Island and South Georgia, shining a light on his heroic voyage. The Weddell Sea offers huge glaciers that pour down between the mountains from the polar plateau, and plates of ice the size of city blocks cover the ocean’s surface. Attempt to visit fossil-rich islands, wildlife havens, remnants of historic explorers’ huts, and even land on the Antarctic continent itself. On South Georgia's windswept islands see some of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. Famed for its abandoned whaling stations and Shackleton’s epic journey across the island's center, South Georgia is home to millions of fur seals and penguins, wallows of elephant seals, herds of reindeer and nesting albatross.

Day 1

    Embark in Ushuaia

    Step aboard in the late afternoon to a warm welcome, introductory briefing and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel. Settle into your homely cabin, explore the ship and enjoy a drink with your shipmates.

    Day 2

      Drake Passage

      Tune into the Southern Ocean as you cross the Drake Passage. Your naturalist and historians will inform you about Antarctica and the weeks ahead. Safety and environmental briefings prepare us for landings, while the outer decks and flying bridge offer the best vantage points for photography and wildlife viewing.

      Day 3

        Crossing the Antarctic Convergence

        The temperature plummets as you cross the biological boundary of the Antarctic Convergence. Cormorants, penguins and seals mark your approach to the South Shetland Islands, where you may well land.

        Days 4-6

          Weddell Sea

          Sail through Antarctic Sound with its spectacular iceberg parade, and into the Weddell Sea. Along the way set foot on the Antarctic continent, watch for whales and seals in a sea of abundance, and visit magnificent penguins rookeries at the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern end. In the Weddell Sea begin to trace Shackleton’s path.

          Day 7

            Elephant Island

            Approaching the steep slopes of Elephant Island, home to 22 of Shackleton’s men for four months, hope for a clear view of the spot where the men wintered beneath upturned boats. With luck go ashore to pay tribute to these hardy souls.

            Day 8

              South Orkney Islands

              Following in Shackleton’s wake, sail across the Scotia Sea, hoping to detour to the remote, mountainous South Orkney Islands. Zodiac cruise through a maze of icebergs, landing at a beach decorated with autumnal-hued lichen-encrusted boulders.

              Day 9

                Scotia Sea

                Time to reflect on all you’ve seen and learned, to prepare for the next phase of your journey as your ship continues across the Scotia Sea.

                Day 10

                  King Haakon Bay, South Georgia

                  Enter King Haakon Bay on South Georgia’s southern coast and may make a ceremonial landing at Cave Cove, Shackleton’s first landfall after his epic open boat voyage. Bid a farewell your alpine crossing party here as they begin their own adventurous journey through the crevassed terrain of the island’s interior.

                  Days 11-13

                    South Georgia exploration

                    While the alpine party crosses the mountains and passes of South Georgia, the shipboard party explores the bays and promontories, reveling in the island’s extraordinary diversity of wildlife. You will be spoiled for choice of landings: the world’s largest penguin rookeries, wandering albatross on nests, beaches of elephant and fur seals, and Grytviken’s whaling museum vie for your attention. You may choose to hike from Fortuna to Stromness, whose whaling station marked the ending of Shackleton’s arduous island crossing.

                    Days 14-16

                      At sea enroute to the Falkland Islands

                      Back to the Scotia Sea for a relaxing interlude. Continue your Antarctic education and wildlife watching en route to the Falkland Islands.

                      Day 17

                        Stanley, Falkland Islands

                        Stanley, the Falklands, features an excellent museum, post office, picturesque houses, welcoming shops and pubs. Spend the morning exploring the beautiful capital of the Falkland Islands.

                        Day 18


                          Sea Lion Island offers a welcome opportunity to stretch your legs. Amongst a treasure trove of birdlife, Falkland Island steamer ducks and Magellanic penguins enliven walks through the tussock. There are cliff tops to explore, birds and southern sea lions to watch.

                          Day 19

                            At Sea

                            Prions, petrels and albatross accompany you on the last leg of your voyage as you swap photos and stories and reflect on shared adventures.

                            Day 20

                              Disembark in Ushuaia

                              In the wee hours sail up the Beagle Channel to dock in Ushuaia. A hearty breakfast and fond farewell prepare you for leave-taking and the next leg of your respective journeys.

                              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

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

                              Cruise fare includes:
                              - Comprehensive pre-departure information
                              - All meals, snacks, tea & coffee
                              - All shore excursions and zodiac cruises
                              - Educational lectures and guiding services by polar experts
                              - Use of gumboots
                              - Daily cabin service
                              - Polar Pioneer travel mug
                              - Professionally produced voyage log