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 and Pleneau Island, 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 : Ushuaia | Embark Days 2-3 : The Drake Passage Days 4-7 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula Day 8 : South Shetland Islands Days 9-10 : The Drake Passage Day 11 : Ushuaia | Disembark
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. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.
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.
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 setting and image composition.
Planned excursions could include Cierva Cove, Danco Island, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where you can encounter playful humpback whales. Paradise Bay is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route providing stunning 360 degree views.
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 is a great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. In the evening, navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
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, no doubt that time is spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Join a photography expert in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. Sail the Beagle Channel and celebrate the conclusion of your polar expedition at a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 11 Ushuaia | Disembark
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:
- 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
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!