Enjoy the Argentinean leather markets and succulent lamb dishes that make Patagonia famous as you explore the southernmost town in the world. Highlights of Ushuaia include an award-winning museum and trips to nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and its popular “Train at the End of the World.”
Arriving at the ship in the afternoon, be greeted by the Expedition Team and ship's officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the Captain's welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on an early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past Magellanic penguin, rock cormorant, and sea lion colonies.
Among the wildlife spotting opportunities as you sail south are the albatrosses, prions, and petrels that frequently follow the ship. The Expedition Team is out on deck as well, looking for the whales and dolphins that may also be seen in the area. Experts will begin the presentations with informative and entertaining talks on the wildlife, history, and geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety are also held in the comfortable lounge.
The land of superlatives: Antarctica! The Expedition Leader and Captain create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. The route the ship takes highlights the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. The trip may include picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the humpback whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. The ship may make a stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as an historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
All the while, Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins abound, and Weddell, crabeater, and elephant seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory leopard seals and the aggressive Antarctic fur seal. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and orca sightings are also common.
The dramatic crossing to South Georgia is sure to have you out on deck and up on the bridge, spotting for whales and drinking in the ice swept seascape.
South Georgia's unique position inside the Antarctic Convergence yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice makes this island an ideal home for tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, a rugged coastline punctuated with castellate and tabular icebergs, a rich historical tapestry, and an astounding array of wildlife are all on view as you travel down South Georgia's leeward coast. Landing sites feature huge elephant seals, aggressive fur seals, macaroni penguins, albatross, petrels, skuas, and gulls. King penguins, from fuzzy little chicks to fattened adults, can be seen in the hundreds of thousands. Visit historic Grytviken whaling station, home of the whaling museum, Norwegian seaman's church, the active British Antarctic Survey station, plus the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
There is plenty of wildlife spotting as your ship makes its way west toward the underwater Burwood Bank, the feature that make these waters so rich in wildlife. Shipboard presentations continue, featuring the dramatic history and abundant wildlife of the Falkland Islands - the next stop on your adventure.
Chosen for its sheltered harbor and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel, Stanley is easy to discover on foot as most shops and services are centered on the port. The museum, the post-office featuring first day covers, plenty of shops with locally made wool items, and Stanley's lively pubs are all available to explore. It is possible to experience the wildlife of the Falklands from the town, too, including sea lions and Peale's and Commerson's dolphins in the harbor or bird life in nearby Gypsy Cove.
The westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands are remote farms that have been family-owned for six and seven generations. The sheep graze alongside albatross colonies and rockhopper, king, and macaroni penguin rookeries while striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese graze at the water's edge. A visit to one of these homesteads often includes an invitation for cakes and a cup of tea.
Your onboard presentation series and wildlife spotting continue as you sail for Rio Plata and Buenos Aires. There is also plenty of time to reflect on beautiful Antarctica and its fragile future. Arrive at Buenos Aires in the early hours of Day 22.
Morning disembarkation gives you a day to discover Buenos Aires before an evening flight home or to settle in for a longer stay. The capital of Argentina, the birthplace of Tango, the home of Asado, the “Paris of South America”, and the largest concentration of theaters in the world, this vibrant city is rich in culture and style.