Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica: Explorers and Kings 2014-15 Cruise

Dave Ellis
A group of King penguins.
Peyton McCollum
Ship graveyard in Stanley, Falkland Islands
Greg Michaels
Baby Seal at Sea Lion Island
Claudio Suter
Expedition Staff
Pair of King penguins on an Antarctica cruise
Ken Kaminesky
Relax in the lounge aboard the Sea Spirit.
Ken Kaminesky
Relax and enjoy a book in the library.
Three different environments, five penguin species and diverse landscapes make this expedition the quintessential Antarctic experience for Antarctic travelers.

Day 1

    Ushuaia, Argentina

    Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia offers you a small-town feel but has many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants to enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of hiking and outdoor activities.

    Day 2

      Embarkation Day

      As you embark, the anticipation and excitement grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. As every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They’re onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as to help make your wildlife dreams come true.

      Day 3

        At Sea

        There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team. They prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising that is to come. You’ll also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.

        Days 4-5

          Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

          Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and the rugged feel of the Falklands (Malvinas). The archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which yous will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.

          Port Stanley is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel to it, complete with a bit of a ramshackle charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit numerous churches and museums.

          In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic bird species; Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
          Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of your time in the Falklands.

          Days 6-7

            At Sea

            Sailing south, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters by crossing the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Expedition staff will be sure to keep you posted when you cross this invisible, yet important line.

            Days 8-11

              South Georgia

              This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, South Georgia Island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of those old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.

              One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, gift shop, church and a small research station.

              While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife.

              One day you may see rookeries with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day you may visit another beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island, this fragile and symbiotic relationship is something that your Expedition Team will share with you during your time here.

              Days 12-13

                At Sea

                Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with seminars from your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, your team may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, which are officially in Antarctica.

                Days 14-17

                  South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

                  The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.

                  Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether it is trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and every landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy.

                  As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in Antarctic waters!

                  Days 18-19

                    The Drake Passage to Ushuaia

                    After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.

                    Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.

                    Day 20

                      Disembark in Ushuaia

                      After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.

                      - 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.

                      This expedition includes:
                      * 1 night of pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia with breakfast
                      * Shipboard accommodation with housekeeping
                      * Shipboard breakfasts, lunches and dinners
                      * Shore landings per the program delivered on the ship each day
                      * Professional Expedition Leadership
                      * All Zodiac excursions and transfers
                      * Formal and informal educational presentations by the Expedition Team
                      * Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
                      * The loan of a pair of waterproof boots for the duration of the voyage
                      * An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep
                      * Coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock
                      * Comprehensive pre-departure package including a map and Reader
                      * All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
                      * All shipboard luggage handling
                      * Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person
                      * Transfer from Ushuaia airport to the hotel on Day 1

                      This expedition excludes:
                      * Any airfare
                      * Passport and Visa Expenses
                      * Government arrival and departure taxes
                      * Meals ashore
                      * Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance
                      * Excess baggage charges
                      * Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
                      * Shipboard or land telecommunication charges
                      * Gratuity for ship's crew, Hospitality or Expedition Team members
                      * Hotel nights prior to embarkation or after disembarkation