Explore the wildlife-rich shores and waters of remote Antarctica on this 11-day small ship cruise on the Akademik Ioffe! Your journey takes you to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay, where you encounter colossal icebergs and, of course, the ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yen for history have the chance to camp out on the ice overnight and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary, including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of gentoo, Adelies and chinstraps, as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. Prepare to be dazzled - Antarctica gets under your skin unlike any other place on earth!
Day 1 : Embark in Ushuaia Days 2-3 : The Drake Passage Days 4-8 : Antarctic Peninsula Days 9-10 : The Drake Passage Day 11 : Disembark in Ushuaia
Attend presentations on Antarctic wildlife and history
Observe a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins
Search for humpback, killer, and minke whales
Take frequent trips ashore to explore the polar landscape on foot
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.
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as you make your way ever closer to the white continent. 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.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and to marvel up close at nature's glory. Planned excursions might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay and even the southerly Petermann Island, where you can observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas, and other seabirds as well as a shocking abundance of penguin species including some very large colonies of the comical Adélie penguin. At Half Moon Island observe a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. Hope to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to observe killer and minke whales.
Arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing. In particular be struck by the oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal 'tabular' icebergs that break away from the continent's ice shelf. The weather may be mild enough to allow you to step foot on the White Continent itself. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.
As you leave this magical place and make your way back, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, spend time sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition at a special dinner.
Day 11 Disembark in Ushuaia
In the early morning, arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests are transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.
Deck 5, 1 double berth, 1 sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, TV/DVD, IPod station. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow. Deluxe amenities.
- 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:
- All meals/afternoon teas
- Use of on-board expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear
- Shore excursions
- Camping (subject to weather and ice conditions)
- Educational presentations
- Expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff
- An ER-trained English speaking physician
- Guided hikes/walks
- Complimentary tea and coffee 24 hours per day
- Access to the multimedia room and download stations
- Accommodations on board
Not Included in Cost:
- Additional purchases on-board in the gift shop or bar
- Communication or laundry services
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.