Weddell Sea - Emperor Penguin Voyage Cruise

Beautiful King Penguins
Franco Banfi
An old iceberg
Franco Banfi
A contemplative Chinstrap penguin
King Penguins exploring their territory
A young Elephant Seal
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
Ortelius' dining area.
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
The bar and observation lounge aboard the Ortelius.
During this Antarctic voyage, explore the areas in or between the Antarctic Sounds and James Ross Island in attempts to observe magnificent scenery and emperor penguins on their way to the open water.

Day 1

Ushuaia, Argentina

In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel. After settling in, spend the rest of the evening sailing through this scenic waterway.

Days 2-3

Crossing the Drake Passage

During these two days sail across the Drake Passage. When you have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may meet wandering albatrosses, grey headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, Cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic Petrels.

Days 4-7

Weddell Sea

A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.

Sail into the Weddell Sea, and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not allow to sail further, you might see the huge tabular icebergs that announce your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Plan to experience an Antarctic Continent landing at Brown Bluff.

The use of helicopters has a great advantage and will support the goal to reach the emperor penguin colony, but the itinerary is ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. If the conditions are favorable, you may be able to see the emperor penguins from the helicopter.

Examples of other possible helicopter landing sites in the Weddell Sea area include the incredibly beautiful and wildlife filled Brown Bluff, or the interesting Duse Bay, Devil Island, Vega Island, and Hope Bay.

On the way north through the Antarctic Sound, the crew may stop at the Argentinian station, Esperanza. Here, you may look for emperor penguins and visit Gourdin Island to search for three other penguin species - chinstraps, gentoo, and Adelies.

Keep in mind that you will be in the world’s most remote area and there are no guarantees, including a specific amount of helicopter time. Conditions may change rapidly, having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is of greatest concern and no compromises can be made.

Day 8

Half Moon Island & Deception Island

In the morning plan to visit Half Moon Island where you can see chinstrap and gentoo Penguins, various other bird species, and southern elephant seals and Weddell seals. Early in the afternoon sail to Deception where you will enjoy the last landing of your voyage at Pendulum Cove.

Day 7

Antarctic Continent

If conditions were favorable on both day 5 and 6 and you have successfully visited the emperor penguins, your captain may decide to visit Devil Island, Vega Island or Hope Bay. If we have not reached the emperor penguin colony on one or two of the previous days, ship-to-shore helicopter flights to Snow Hill Island will again be offered.

Days 9-10

Drake Passage

In the Drake Passage have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and take advantage of the knowledge of your lecture team.

Day 11

  • Breakfast

Ushuaia / Disembark

Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
 Quadruple PortholeTriple PortholeTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
Helicopter Exploration:
An emperor penguin rookery is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The captain of the vessel will do his utmost to position the vessel close enough to Snow Hill Island in order to enable travelers to experience ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to approx. 45 minutes walking distance from the emperor penguin Rookeries. If successful, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience that would happen on days 5 and 6 of the trip (less than 50% chance).

During this voyage three days will be reserved to visit the emperor rookeries by helicopters. If succeeded the first two days, it may be decided to offer an alternative landing in the Weddell Sea on the third day, such as Paulet Island where travelers can visit a fantastic Adelie penguin colony with approximately 1 million breeding pairs.

Please note:
It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed $120 USD per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure the Ortelius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of $25 USD per passenger per night.

A typical itinerary to the Weddell Sea is illustrated above. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.