Day 1 Ushuaia | Embark
Today is the first day of your adventure. As you board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city on the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with 'your home' for the next 11 days, you cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of you. In the early evening, set sail and begin your voyage, leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2-3 The Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as you make your way ever closer to the white continent. Giant petrels, albatross and smaller Cape petrels are your companions as the ship transits the Drake Passage. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as your numerous polar experts prepare you for your adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, cross the Antarctic Convergence where you notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, witness all kinds of spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species who occasionally flaunt their size in full breach.
Day 4-9 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
- 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Take a deep breath – you have arrived. Welcome to Antarctica! This morning the magnificent snowy peaks welcome you with a truly awesome sight. Explore by Zodiac the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets, and numerous small islands. The Gerlache coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Explore the rocky outcrops, home to gentoo, Adelie, and chinstrap penguin rookeries and the rich marine-life waters. Prepare for close encounters with seals, including the powerful leopard seals, the curious humpback whales, and the smaller minke whales, present much of the time as they feed on the vast schools of krill. In this location sightings of orca are not uncommon.
Enjoy an exciting range of daily activities including guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with expert naturalist guides. Visit the historic huts and science stations located along the peninsula for a fascinating glimpse into the past and potential future. Zodiac cruise among the ice searching for seals and whales. Meanwhile, the sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship. A resident photography guide on board can help you with your camera settings and image composition.
Planned excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula could include Cierva Cove or Mikklesen Harbour, Danco Island, the Melchior Islands and Fournier Bay- or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the gentoo penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where you can encounter playful humpback whales. Nearby Paradise Harbour is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route to a viewpoint providing expansive views. Andvord Bay and Neko Harbour provide yet another continental landing opportunity.
It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that you can plan a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. The ship has all the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and is never guaranteed. If the weather is good and site characteristics suit the requirements, rest assured, you can go for it. Camping is included and you can decide to participate while onboard. There is no need to pre-book.
Day 10 South Shetland Islands
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Starit, bound for the South Shetland Islands. If the weather conditions allow, sail into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island, a very dramatic location. History is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with its rusted relics and dilapidated wooden buildings. On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience.
There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, and the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you can encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This evening, enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain, and spend your final hours cruising towards King George Island. Upon arrival at King George Island, drop anchor and be in position for disembarkation in the morning.
Day 11 King George Island | Disembark | Punta Arenas, Chile
This morning say goodbye to your expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. Walk from the landing site up towards the airstrip preparing to board your flight. The two-hour journey from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport into town is provided.
New for 2017/18 – A complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas at the end of the voyage is included for all guests returning from King George Island. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars, including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira, a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.
After a leisurely breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey (it is recommended to book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia? Just a few hours north lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park, home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness, a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.