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Penguin photo opp in Antarctica

Christmas in Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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Join the Akademik Sergey Vavilov crew for a memorable Chirstmas celebration in Antarctica. At this time of the season you can enjoy extended daylight hours, busy wildlife colonies, and as the sea ice continues to break up, your range of landing sites expands even further. Start your 17-day expedition in King George Island and sail south for an active exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula's glaciated coastline. Then follow the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia, for a celebration of the most memorable Christmas Day! Finally head for the Falkland Islands and aim to spend one final day exploring the wildlife-rich Sea Lion Islands and nearby Bleaker Island.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Punta Arenas, Chile | Fly to King George Island | Embark
Days 2-4 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
Day 5 : Antarctic Peninsula
Day 6 : Elephant Island
Days 7-8 : Scotia Sea sailing towards South Georgia
Days 9-12 : South Georgia | White Christmas!
Days 13-15 : Sailing Towards the Falkland Islands
Day 16 : Falkland Islands
Day 17 : Stanley, Falkland Islands | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas


  • Enjoy guided walks on shore and visits to wildlife colonies
  • Zodiac cruise among the ice with expert naturalist guides
  • Sail the Errera Channel to visit penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island
  • Explore South Georgia's dark-sand beaches and wildlife-rich coastline


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Penguin photo opp in Antarctica Kayaking through the icy waters. Nesting Black-Browed Albatross on the Falkland Islands Travelers set out to explore the wildlife more closely in zodiacs A seal takes a quick nap

Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile | Fly to King George Island | Embark

Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. Gather at a central location and be transferred to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage).

Upon arrival at King George Island, embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling in to your cabins and exploring the new surroundings, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and your first meal. No doubt, everyone on board is looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead.

Day 2-4 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Overnight navigate through the Gerlache Strait and awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before you. For the next three days you have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. Southerly Petermann Island is home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica.

The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Your activity program is in full swing by now, and each day you enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location where encounters with pods of humpback whale are frequent.

Day 5 Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound, the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black-sand beaches. History is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where the Australian Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’, high up onto the rim of the crater.

Your goal is to enter the icy Weddell Sea through the broad channel that separates the continent of Antarctica from Joinville Island. At first you are awe-struck by the sheer size of the tabular icebergs in this area and their presence always makes for exciting navigation on the ship. This region is also home to some of the largest Adelie penguin rookeries found in Antarctica.

Day 6 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula and entrance to the Weddell Sea, you head for Elephant Island– a location forever connected to the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition a century ago. On the windswept north coast, exposed to the swells of the South Atlantic, is Point Wild. It was here that Shackleton and his exhausted men camped under their upturned boats, pondering their chances of survival. Shore landings here are notoriously tricky due to often gale-force winds and pounding surf onto the rocky beach. This is a thrilling location for anyone with a passion for polar history.

Day 7-8 Scotia Sea sailing towards South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As the ship departs Elephant Island you cannot help but ponder the journey made by Shackleton and his four companions as they attempted the near impossible, navigating 800 nautical miles in a 30-foot converted lifeboat across the tempestuous Scotia Sea to South Georgia. You make a much easier time of the crossing in your state-of-the-art expedition ship. Onboard experts keep you busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep you company as you enjoy excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. Anticipation builds as the mountainous peaks appear on the horizon, marking your arrival at South Georgia.

Day 9-12 South Georgia | White Christmas!

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Spend the next four days thoroughly exploring South Georgia's coastline, as the ship rounds the remote southeastern end of the island. Dark-sand beaches, tussock-covered hinterland, and a backdrop of towering peaks and glaciers are a feast for all the senses.

South Georgia has often been called the most staggering wildlife show on earth. Seals cover the beaches, seabirds fill the skies, and living in rookeries of immense size are the majestic king penguins. Your aim is to visit a number of these huge colonies, where naturalists estimate that more than 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins live in close proximity. Locations to visit include Gold Harbour, Royal Bay, St Andrews Bay, and Salisbury Plain.

Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here you can find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great polar explorer is a highlight of the trip. Continue your journey along the coastline hoping to visit Stromness, another former whaling station and the final destination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley and Tom Crean having made the near impossible traverse across the interior of South Georgia. This is a fitting location to celebrate Christmas and your team of chefs prepare a wonderful dinner – with all of the trimmings!

Day 13-15 Sailing Towards the Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
By now you are in sensory overload, cameras are full of images, and your journey towards the Falkland Islands commences. Much of your time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are your constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and a resident photography expert on board can show you the best techniques. The onboard educational program continues and your experts recap the remarkable journey to date. These days provide a good opportunity to catch up on journal entries, sort through your images in the multimedia room, and catch some rest after a busy two weeks of activity.

Day 16 Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several days crossing, Sea Lion Island marks your arrival into the Falkland Islands. This windswept location, situated in the southern archipelago, provides one additional day of activity. Launch the Zodiacs and go ashore to view the remarkable wildlife colonies found here. Three species of penguins including gentoo, Magellanic, and rockhopper exist in the vicinity. Southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are found hauled out on the beaches. Once ashore look for king cormorants and striated caracaras. Weather permitting you may have time to visit neighboring Bleaker Island, another settlement on the exposed southeastern coast of the Falklands. Charting a northerly course towards Stanley, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on your remarkable expedition to the farthest corners of the planet.

Day 17 Stanley, Falkland Islands | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
In the early morning, navigate through the narrows and into port. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town before you make your way to the airport for the return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It is possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. If you are staying in Punta Arenas, a transfer to several downtown locations is provided.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple Cabins
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Triple Share
Deck 3. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day) and one upper berth. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, and two portholes.
Twin Semi Private Cabins
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Twin Private Cabins
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Twin Private
Deck 3, 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
The Superior Cabins.
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Deck 3. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have portholes that can be opened.
Shackleton Suites
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5. One double bed, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities. Large window that can be opened.
One Ocean Suite
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5. One double bed, one sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow.


- 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:
- Flights to King George Island and returning from Port Stanley
- 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
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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