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An ocean of icebergs.

Polar Circle Quest

12 Day Sample Cruise aboard MV Ushuaia
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Embark on this exciting expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, and endeavor to cross the Polar Circle on this 12-day polar voyage. Board the MV Ushuaia and voyage roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina across the Drake Passage and into the great southern region.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Ushuaia
Days 2-3 : At Sea | Crossing the Drake Passage
Days 4-9 : South Shetland Islands | Antarctic Peninsula | Polar Circle
Days 10-11 : At Sea | Crossing the Drake Passage, northbound
Day 12 : Disembark in Ushuaia

Highlights

  • Discover the western Antarctic peninsula's icy landscape & varied wildlife
  • Spot wildlife, including penguins, seabirds, whales, and seals
  • Enjoy a full program of lectures and the Ushuaia's open bridge policy
  • Explore south of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle

Ship

MV Ushuaia

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

An ocean of icebergs. A view from the ship. A seal sits on snow. Humpback whale in Antarctica Taking pictures of the beautiful sunset from the ship.

Day 1 Embark in Ushuaia

Embark the Ushuaia in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabin, sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

Day 2-3 At Sea | Crossing the Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As you sail across the passage, lecturers are out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses which follow in your wake.

The open bridge policy allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures is offered as well.

The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage, lecturers and naturalists accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.

Day 4-9 South Shetland Islands | Antarctic Peninsula | Polar Circle

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula's remarkable history provides you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. There is plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, gentoo, and chinstrap penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur, and leopard seals as well as minke whales and orcas at close range. At this time of year you are also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as humpback, fin, and sei whales in the area.

Hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel, and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest gentoo penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and post office Port Lockroy.

As further exploration leads you far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, you might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faradey - where the ozone hole was first spotted, the rugged Yalour Islands, and south of the Polar Circle Detaille Island.

On your way north plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent-shaped island Half Moon, home to chinstrap penguins in breathtaking surroundings.

Day 10-11 At Sea | Crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join your lecturers and naturalists on deck as you search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

Day 12 Disembark in Ushuaia

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark after breakfast.

MV Ushuaia

Per person starting at
$7,990
Standard Plus Triple Cabin
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Standard Plus Triple
2 Standard Plus triple outside cabins with portholes or windows on Deck E, private facilities, 3 lower berths.
Standard Twin cabin on the Ushuaia
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Standard Cabin
12 Standard twin outside cabins with portholes on deck E with semi-private facilities, 2 berths (upper/lower).
Standard Plus Twin on Ushuaia (#640)
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Standard Plus
11 Standard Plus twin outside cabins with portholes or windows on deck E, private facilities, 2 lower berths. Cabin 640: 1 double bed.
Ushuaia's Category A Cabin.
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Premier Twin
6 Premier twin outside cabins with windows on upper deck G, private facilities, 2 lower berths.
Premier Single Cabin
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Premier Single
2 outside Premier single cabins with portholes (view obstructed by lifeboat) on upper Deck G, private facilities, 1 single bed.
Ushuaia's Superior Cabin.
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Superior
9 Superior twin outside cabins with windows on upper deck G, private facilities, 2 lower berths. Cabin 301: 1 double & 1 single bed.
Ushuaia's Suite.
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Suite
4 Suite outside cabins with windows on upper deck G, private facilities, 2 lower berths, lounge, TV, DVD player & fridge. Suite 201: 2 double beds. Suite 202: 1 double bed & sofa bed. Suite 204 & 207: 3 lower single beds.

Notes

- Fuel surcharge may vary: no surcharge if the price of the barrel of crude oil is $100 or lower.
- 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.
- Twin cabins (except suites) are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the share rate. Suites may be reserved at 2 times the share rate. A third berth (sofa bed) in a few suites maybe occupied at 50% of the published twin share rate.
- Special family rates: A child (under 16 years) accompanied by two adults will be free of charge in a triple Superior cabin or triple Suite.

All rates are subject to change, especially possible fuel surcharges. However, there will be NO fuel surcharge if the price of the barrel of crude oil is US$100 or lower.

Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Your exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions and they will try their best to reach the Polar Circle. However if ice conditions do not allow access the route might be changed. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.

Included in the cruise price:
  • Voyage aboard the Ushuaia as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the Ushuaia
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by zodiac
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Detailed post-expedition log

Not included in the cruise price:
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post land arrangements
  • Transfers to / from the vessel
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges
  • Customary gratuity at the end of the voyages (guidelines will be provided)

Included

  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kassandra Miller
Kassandra M

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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