Begin this 13-day expedition in Ushuaia and chart a course through the Drake Passage, potentially making landfall in the South Shetland Islands prior to reaching the Antarctic Peninsula. Your journey may take you south of the Lemaire Channel to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, or reverse depending on ice and weather conditions. Optional activities include an overnight sea kayak and camping excursion led by kayak guides, camping on the ice amidst the Polar landscape, ski touring, snowshoeing, walking, hiking, zodiac cruising, and field photography. There are a handful of preferred landing sites where you can enjoy these activities, allowing you to appreciate varied terrain. This voyage offers awe-inspiring outdoor experiences paired with outdoor education on Antarctica and its environment.
Day 1 : Ushuaia | Embark Days 2-3 : Drake Passage Days 4-5 : South Shetland Islands | Northern Peninsula, Antarctica Days 6-9 : Gerlache Strait Region, Antarctica Day 10 : South Shetland Islands Days 11-12 : Drake Passage Day 14 : Ushuaia | Disembark
Attend educational presentations and courses from your Polar experts
Observe large penguin colonies, including the comical Adélie penguin
Kayak in the Antarctic waters to an overnight camp
Cross the infamous Drake Passage and search for marine life
Today is the first day of your adventure. As you board the Akademik Ioffe in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with your home for the next 13 days, you cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead. In the early evening, set sail and begin your voyage, leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Sail south towards Antarctica joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you transit the Drake Passage. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and a photography expert can show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of the modern research vessel. Throughout the day onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, and history of the locations you may visit in the coming days.
Day 4-5 South Shetland Islands | Northern Peninsula, Antarctica
Wake up today with the magnificent view of the Antarctica's snowy peaks. Depending on ice and weather conditions, plan on entering the McFarlane Strait, which separates Greenwich and Livingstone Islands. Half Moon Island or nearby Yankee Harbor are possible landing sites. A short way to the southwest lies Deception Island, a flooded volcanic caldera. Navigating the ship into the narrow passage takes great skill. The old whaling station here begs exploration and there are some fantastic hikes available along the black-sand beach to investigate the old aircraft hangar and other relics. A hike of several kilometers up to a highpoint known as Neptune’s Window is another option.
Overnight cross the Bransfield Strait and sail along the coastline of continental Antarctica. Over the next four days, your itinerary is deliberately flexible to account for early season ice conditions, and to take advantage of optimal snow conditions at several favorite landing sites. Your planned exploration starts in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour and neighboring Cierva Cove– both beautiful locations and the perfect introduction to Antarctica.
Spend your days exploring on and off the ship in the company of expert guides. Enjoy guided hikes on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and exploration of historic huts and science stations. Zodiac cruise in the ice and enjoy a ski exploration in the Antarctic's pristine terrain with experienced mountaineering guides.
Based on site characteristics, the ski touring group may set off to explore the pristine terrain and range several kilometers inland with the experienced mountaineering guides. What a unique thrill it is to carve ‘fresh tracks’ in the virgin snow of Antarctica! If you prefer join the snowshoe group and follow in the tracks of the skiers, climbing to high points which afford breathtaking views. The sea kayakers can head out on excursions which may last all day. If you are a photography enthusiast spend an entire day with the expedition photographer on an all-day field workshop. Take part in onshore camping if the weather cooperates.
Cruise as far south as ice conditions permit, in the comfort and safety of the expedition ship. Hope to navigate to Neko Harbour and into the Errera Channel, witnessing the migration of the penguins early in the season, as they busily re-establish their rookeries and prepare nests.
The adventure is not over and there is time to enjoy additional day of exploration in the South Shetlands. Prevailing weather conditions dictate your landing locations. Aitcho Island is another possibility and is a great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. King George Island also has a number of interesting landing sites. In the evening, navigate into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, 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. This sailing time is optimal for reviewing your newfound ‘field photography’ skills and learning more from onboard presentation staff and educational experts. Sailing up the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 14 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!