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Emperor penguins and chicks

Epic Antarctica

Example 22 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
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Over this 22-day Antarctica expedition visit wildlife colonies, historic sites, science bases, and spend plenty of time ashore enjoying extended walks, many up to stunning viewpoints. Cruise among the icefloes in inflatable Zodiac boats, searching for whales and seals, or admiring and photographing the deep blue icebergs. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, the spectacular icy Weddell Sea region, and the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands. In practical terms, this voyage provides you with more than 30 off-ship excursions.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 2-3 : At Sea towards Antarctica | Drake Passage
Days 4-5 : King George Island | Antarctic Peninsula
Days 6-8 : Towards the Antarctic Circle | Gerlache Coastline
Days 9-10 : Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands
Day 11 : King George Island
Days 12-14 : Antarctic Peninsula
Day 15 : Weddell Sea
Days 16-17 : Antarctic Sound | Weddell Sea
Day 18 : Elephant Island
Days 19-21 : Southern Ocean
Day 22 : Port Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas


  • Meet Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins on King George Island
  • Sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound
  • Land on Neko Harbour for terrific hiking opportunities
  • Navigate through the Weddell Sea's tabular icebergs and sea ice


Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

  • Antarctica
  • Antarctica Peninsula
  • Chile
  • Falkland Islands
  • Patagonia
  • South America
  • Antarctic Polar Circle
  • Brown Bluff
  • Cuverville Island
  • Deception Island Antarctica
  • East Falkland Island
  • Elephant Island
  • Gerlache Strait
  • Half Moon Island
  • King George Island
  • Neko Harbor
  • Paradise Bay Antarctica
  • Paulet Island
  • Petermann Island
  • Punta Arenas
  • Scotia Sea
  • South Orkney Islands
  • South Shetland Islands
  • Stanley
  • Wilhelmina Bay Antarctica


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Emperor penguins and chicks Zodiac tours through the ice. Fur seal paradise in Antarctica Lone kayaker Whale sighting in Polar waters!

Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark

Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. Meet at a central location and transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute journey you are met on arrival and transferred to the pier.

Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town before making your way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner, and cast off, bound for Antarctica – and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2-3 At Sea towards Antarctica | Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Begin charting a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its biodiversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. The ship is joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you sail south. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and a photography expert is on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of your modern research vessel. Throughout the day on-board experts educate the group with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, and history of the locations you visit in the coming days.

Day 4-5 King George Island | Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
This morning wake in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls, and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon, continue your journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife so keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. Large icebergs are present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light.

By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and the ship should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place where sizeable pods of humpback whales are often encountered. Navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel, hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.

Day 6-8 Towards the Antarctic Circle | Gerlache Coastline

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
You are encouraged to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as the ship navigates south. Pass through the ice-strewn waters making way towards the ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, the first goal is to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950s.

This vicinity marks the ship's turnaround point and from now on, sail in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. Potentially visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. If the conditions are right, the overnight camping program is offered to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. All the gear and an experienced team are on-board to make this a night to remember!

Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with gentoo penguins and imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run around in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.

Day 9-10 Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Cruise north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations feature terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic viewpoints. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage.

By morning, arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, the ship sails into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history surrounds you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where the Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins, made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater.

Day 11 King George Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning the ship is anchored off King George Island. Say farewell to many of your fellow passengers as they disembark, transfer to the airstrip, and board their charter flight back to South America. There is an opportunity to go ashore, or you may wish to relax on board, updating the diary or visit the multi-media room to download and back up your images. New guests are welcomed aboard the ship and you are soon underway– for the second leg of your epic adventure

Day 12-14 Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
For the next three days you have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. This whole region is one large Polar ‘playground’ with a great variety of landing sites. As always the weather and ice dictate your route. Planned visits could include Port Charcot, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. All three locations offer excellent hiking opportunities, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to land on Danco Island – a large dome-shaped island affording terrific views of the whole region from its summit. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location you could stop at for a second visit, as there are frequently encounter pods of humpback whales in this area. If the channel south of Brooklyn Island is ice-free, you may ship cruise through here as the ship pushes to the north into the broad expanse of the Gerlache Strait. Cierva Cove and Mikkelsen Harbour are also possible locations you could visit– both providing good Zodiac cruising opportunities.

Day 15 Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You are now on your way towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. On the port side are the South Shetland Islands. It won’t be the first time you have cruised these waters, but there are some terrific sites here which you may go and explore. Half Moon Island is nearby and is home to a sizeable chinstrap penguin rookery. Across the MacFarlane Strait is Yankee Harbour– with its broad pebble beach– a known location for Weddell seals. If the weather is good a second visit to Deception Island is also a possibility. It’s always a thrill to navigate the ship into ‘Neptune’s Bellows’– and to explore inside the submerged volcanic caldera by ship and Zodiac.

Day 16-17 Antarctic Sound | Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Navigating into the Weddell Sea, you can see the vast sweep of the Antarctic icecap for the first time and find yourself increasingly surrounded by tabular icebergs. These gargantuan icebergs break from the ice shelves and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation and stunning photographic opportunities.

The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries you have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island, and Brown Bluff. There are reports of successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, the naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing– and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.

As you head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender-pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship makes some of you pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years ago.

Day 18 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Approach Elephant Island from the south at Point Lookout, home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species your expedition crew has yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals are hauled out on the beaches in large numbers. Enjoy shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats.

Day 19-21 Southern Ocean

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Sailing north to the Falkland Islands, your onboard polar experts recap on your Weddell Sea adventures and prepare you for the final days ahead. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species once again join you and are your constant companions as they soar above the ship. Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and large nesting black-browed albatross colony.

Day 22 Port Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

In the early morning, navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town before you make your way to the airport for a return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It is possible to connect flights to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. If you are staying in Punta Arenas, a transfer is provided to several downtown locations.

Akademik Ioffe


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Antarctica Savings - Book by September 1 and receive up to $1500 in flight credit. Savings subject to availability and depend on date of departure - contact us for details.
Applies to Jan 13, 2018 departure
Save up to $1500
Early Bird Savings - Book now and save up to $1500, depending on your departure date.
All 2018/19 Season Departures
Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple Cabins
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day) and one upper berth. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, and two portholes.
Twin Semi Private Cabins
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Twin Private Cabins
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Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Superior Cabins
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Deck 6. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Shackleton Suites
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5. One double bed, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities. Large window that can be opened.
One Ocean Suite
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5. One double bed, one sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow.


- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and 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.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

Please note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and is subject to change.

Included in Cost:
- Flights to/from Port Stanley
- Transfers from/to designated meeting points to/from the ship
- Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
- All meals during the voyage
- Welcome reception & welcome dinner
- Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
- Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
- Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
- Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
- Natural essential oil amenities
- Services of English-speaking medical officer
- Use of multimedia room
- Use of on-board expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear
- All zodiac and landing excursions
- Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
- Camping (subject to weather and ice conditions)
- Educational presentations
- Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer
- Expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff

Not Included in Cost:
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities
- Meals & transfers in arrival/departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls & email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew


  • 21 Breakfasts, 20 Lunches, 21 Dinners
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Kassandra Miller
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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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