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Exploring Antarctica

Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands

Example 20 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Diamond
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Set foot on the Antarctic continent and revel in the incredible scenery of snowcapped peaks, mighty glaciers, and glistening icebergs on this 20-day voyage aboard the Ocean Diamond. In the beautiful Falkland Islands, find huge populations of rockhopper, gentoo, and Magellanic penguins, as well as the regal black-browed albatross. Witness the vast penguin colonies of South Georgia—king, macaroni, gentoo, and chinstrap—as well as large numbers of elephant and fur seals crowding the beaches. Visit the burial site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and learn about early polar exploration and whaling history.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2 : Ushuaia | Embark Ocean Diamond
Day 3 : At Sea
Days 4-5 : Saunders Islands, Falkland Islands | Stanley
Days 6-7 : Cruising the South Scotia Sea
Days 8-10 : South Georgia
Days 11-12 : At Sea
Day 13 : Elephant Island
Days 14-17 : Antarctic Peninsula
Days 18-19 : Drake Passage
Day 20 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark

Highlights

  • Set foot on the Antarctic continent and revel in the incredible scenery
  • Visit the beautiful Falkland Islands, home to huge penguin populations
  • Witness large numbers of elephant & fur seals on the beaches of S. Georgia
  • Learn about early polar exploration and whaling history

Ship

Ocean Diamond

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Exploring Antarctica Birds of the south Explore Antarctica by zodiac and get close to impressive iceburgs Rock hoppers The fluke of a humpback whale

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in Ushuaia. Transfer to your group hotel with the rest of the day at leisure. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight.

Day 2 Ushuaia | Embark Ocean Diamond

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and disembark in Tierra del Fuego National Park for nature hikes surrounded by dramatic scenery. Board the Ocean Diamond this afternoon and set sail for the Falkland Islands.

Day 3 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Attend lectures on the natural and historical highlights ahead during a day at sea. On Saunders Island, you will find colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins.

Day 4-5 Saunders Islands, Falkland Islands | Stanley

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Go ashore on Saunders Island to find colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins. The next day, visit Stanley, the British-flavored capital of the Falklands.

Day 6-7 Cruising the South Scotia Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Lecturers recap your experiences and prepare you for your visit to South Georgia. On deck, join naturalists in search of the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.

Day 8-10 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Flexibility in this area is a must. Many of your leaders have been to South Georgia numerous times and, if the weather is in your favor, they may offer a landing before breakfast or even after dinner. Call at some of the many islands, bays, and coves where you can see outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals close at hand. The following is a list of places you may visit on South Georgia; some of them are pending final government approval.

Elsehul Bay – This beautiful bay is home to thousands of fur seals as well as macaroni penguins, the most numerous of all penguin species. Listen for the high-pitched trumpeting of king penguins amid the magnificent sounds of marine mammals that echo in the bay.

Salisbury Plain – Two glaciers flank Salisbury Plain on South Georgia’s north coast. Here, more than 200,000 king penguins congregate and breed, and you are greeted by one of the more remarkable sights—and sounds—on Earth.

Stromness Bay – Site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party’s arrival after their harrowing crossing of the island’s glaciers on foot, Stromness offers views of cliffs and a glacier from which the adventurer and his companions descended.

Grytviken – Go ashore to discover the ruins of this once-active whaling station. The cemetery holds a special fascination, as it is here that Shackleton is buried. Seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals can also be found here.

Gold Harbour – At the foot of the Bertrab Glacier, Gold Harbour is often referred to as the “jewel in the island’s crown.” In addition to a large king penguin colony, you are likely to see elephant and fur seals, gentoo penguins, giant petrels, and with luck, light-mantled albatross.

Day 11-12 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Naturalists recap your memorable visit to South Georgia and introduce you to the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.

Day 13 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today arrive at Elephant Island, made famous by the Shackleton expedition. Awesome glaciers, speckled with pink algae, create a dramatic backdrop. Weather permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the island and the opportunity to view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.

Day 14-17 Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, landings are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. There is the possibility that you may visit a research station and witness the scientific activities conducted by the multinational community of scientists working there. The expeditionary nature of this voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops. This list serves as a guideline only of the places you may experience:

Brown Bluff – Located on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with bizarrely-shaped boulders. Some 20,000 pairs of Adelie, and hundreds of gentoo penguins, make their home here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.

Deception Island – As you approach Deception through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for the ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Weigh anchor inside a volcano whose collapsed cone was filled by rushing seawater.

Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island – Cruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel, keep watch for the humpback and minke whales frequently spotted here. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Steep mountain peaks jut out of the sea on both sides, and the waters are often choked with icebergs and frequented by crabeater seals. A stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs lies in the shallow waters west of Pleneau Island, presenting a superb Zodiac cruising experience. Crabeater and leopard seals haul out on the ice, and elephant seals and gentoo penguins occupy the island itself.

Day 18-19 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
During your Drake crossing, watch for wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters, and white-chinned petrels. Whales are also frequently seen in these waters.

Day 20 Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your independent flight home.

Ocean Diamond

Ushuaia - Hotels

Per person starting at
$17,980
Ocean Diamond's Triple Cabin.
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Triple
Lower Deck, 200 sq feet. Two twin beds and an upper bed, two portholes and private bath with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Twin Cabin.
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Twin Obstructed View
Captains & Upper Decks, 200 sq feet, one double bed, partially obstructed view. Private bathroom with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Twin Cabin.
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Twin Window
Upper & Main Decks, 183-200 sq feet. One double bed or two twin beds, picture window, private bathroom with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Single Porthole Cabin.
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Single with Porthole
Lower Deck, 200 sq feet, one double bed or two twin beds. Porthole and private bathroom with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Single Cabin.
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Single Obstructed View
Captain's Deck, 200 sq feet, one double bed, partially obstructed view. Private bathroom with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Suite.
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Suite
Main Deck, 400 sq feet, one double bed or two twin beds, two picture windows and separate sitting area. Private bathroom with tub and shower.
Ocean Diamond's Balcony Suite.
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Balcony Suite
Observation Deck, 226 sq feet, one double bed or two twin beds, window and sliding glass door, private 96 sq ft deck. Private bathroom with tub and shower.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin 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.
-Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a suite is 2 times the shared rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person is included. Contact us for details on arranging additional travel insurance.

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain (rocky, uneven beaches in the sub-Antarctic islands, and occasional ice and snow on the Antarctic Peninsula). Temperatures will range from 45º – 55ºF in the sub-Antarctic region, and may get as cold as 30º – 40ºF on the Antarctic Peninsula itself.

Included:
  • All gratuities
  • Accommodations in hotel and on board the Ocean Diamond as outlined in the itinerary
  • All onboard meals
  • Soft drinks, wine, and beer with lunch and dinner
  • All group meals on land
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • All group activities and excursions
  • Kayaking (Kayaking is available to a limited number of experienced kayakers. Contact an Expedition Advisor to pre-register for this activity)
  • Landing and port fees
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Excluded:
  • All air transportation
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges

Included

  • 19 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 19 Dinners
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Kassandra Miller
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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