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An elephant seal trumpets in the midst of King Penguin chicks

Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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Year after year, as the Antarctic summer comes to a close, the marine mammals come to life! Penguin chicks are almost fully-grown and quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before the long winter. March is a time of great activity in and under the water where you can encounter a high concentration of whales, in particular humpback and minke. Look for crabeater, Weddell and leopard seals, as they rest and store energy that sustains them over the cold months ahead. Join several world-renowned cetacean (whale) and marine mammal specialists for this memorable voyage aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-7 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
Day 8 : South Shetland Islands
Days 9-10 : Drake Passage
Day 11 : Ushuaia | Disembark

Highlights

  • Cross the Drake Passage and look for your first icebergs and whales
  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula's shorelines in inflatable Zodiac boats
  • Visit Petermann Island and observe Weddell, crabeater, and elephant seals
  • Cruise through the Bransfield Strait, an important whale migration corridor

Ship

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

An elephant seal trumpets in the midst of King Penguin chicks Penguins on the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula A humpback surfaces close to our zodiac An ocean of icebergs. King Penguins on South Georgia

Day 1 Ushuaia | Embark

Begin your adventure aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city at the tip of Argentina. Familiarize yourself with your new "home" for the next eleven days and as you do, stop to wonder about the exciting journey ahead. Enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and then cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime. Set sail in the early evening on a course through the Beagle Channel.

Day 2-3 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Much excitement is in the air as you cross the Drake Passage, sailing ever closer to the white continent. As you sail into these fabled waters, on-board naturalists split their time between whale watching from the deck and leading lively discussions about marine life in the ship's presentation room. Be 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 is on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of the modern research vessel. See your first icebergs, a huge variety of seabirds, and, with luck, several whale species. Watching whales fully breach out of the sea is a sight you remember forever!

Day 4-7 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Awake today and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before you.Take a deep breath– you have arrived. The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets and numerous islands. The landscape features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Rocky outcrops, known as ‘nunataks’ are home to gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguin rookeries and the waters are rich in marine life. Here you can encounter seals, including the powerful leopard seal, often found relaxing on an ice floe. Curious humpback whales and the smaller minke whales are found in sizeable numbers in this region. Sightings of orca are not uncommon.

Fournier Bay is a known whale ‘hot-spot’ and ice permitting, explore it in Zodiacs hoping to encounter pods of whales. The science team hopes to deploy non-invasive tracking devices on the whales to collect data on dive and feeding patterns. Observation and photography of whale flukes (tails) is something everyone is encouraged to participate in both from the ship and while Zodiac cruising. Whale flukes are unique identifiers of particular animals, in much the same way as a human finger print. Collecting and analyzing this data is vital to the understanding of whale migration patterns and social behavior.

In addition to your whale encounters, enjoy a regular program of exploration on and off the ship. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with your expert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and science stations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice is a memorable activity and sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship. A photography guide is on hand to help you with your camera handling, image composition, and the peculiar light found in Antarctica.

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 never disappoints and is another important location where the scientists hope to deploy their research tools. Neko Harbour is yet another highlight and offers an excellent hiking route providing stunning 360 degree views.

After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and frequent sightings of humpbacks and even the fast moving orca are often seen.

Day 8 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic location. History is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers, aircraft hangar and dilapidated wooden structures. There are several other nearby landing sites to tempt you including Half Moon Island, or 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.

Day 9-10 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to Ushuaia, the educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. Join a photography expert in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 11 Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Ushuaia early today. Following breakfast on board, say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Transfer to your hotel or airport, whichever your individual plans entail.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Deals

Save $1000
Early Bird Savings - Book by December 31 and receive $1,000 in Flight Credit.
Applies to Mar 23, 2018 departure
Per person starting at
$8,295
The Triple Cabins.
Select a Date
Triple Share
Bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared and there is a washbasin in the cabin, writing desk, porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
1 lower berth, 1 sofa bed and semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) facilities. Writing desk, window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
1 sofa bed, 1 lower berth and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Superior Cabins.
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Superior
2 lower berths, sofa and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.

Notes

- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- 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

Included

  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Jenna F

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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!
Justin Chappelle

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