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Whale watching in Antarctica

Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake

Roundtrip Punta Arenas - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard World Explorer
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Optimize your Antarctica experience by flying over the Drake Passage, the fastest and most direct way to the 7th Continent. Board the World Explorer in King George Island and begin your expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, a land of snow-capped mountain peaks, beaches dotted with leopard seals and penguins, massive icebergs and magnificent landscapes. Find yourself thankful for the near-constant sunlight by which you can continue to take it all in.
Jumping penguinsWalking in AntarcticaMinke whale swimming in the oceanBlue ice of AntarcticaWhale watching in Antarctica
Highlights
  • Cross the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours
  • Zodiac cruise in search of whales, seabirds and astounding icebergs
  • Enjoy on-board lectures and presentations from polar specialists
  • Marvel at all the Antarctic Peninsula highlights
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile

Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, a representative brings everyone together to your starting hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.

Note: Please arrive at Punta Arenas airport by 3:00 PM.  Due to King George Island's unpredictable weather, scheduled charter flights may be made the night before the planned date should there be weather disruptions.

Day 2: Fly to King George Island | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica has you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship is approaching King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctica landscapes is from a very unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetlands. After landing, stretch your legs and spend some time exploring the island before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship. Meet the rest of your shipmates and set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!

Note: A clear sky with great visibility is required for safe take-off and landing at King George Island. Should the weather be uncooperative at this remote airstrip, flights can be moved earlier, or delayed later.  Historically, 85% of flights occur on the day they are scheduled.  But if this is not possible, the ship operator will follow their established contingency plan, which can be read here

Day 3-6: Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. Much of the continent is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through the human eye.

Your first sightings are from the ship itself. As the Captain and Expedition Team keep their eyes out for whales and seabirds, be alerted to any new sightings. Your team of expert lecturers also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history, and wildlife of the region.

Even more exciting are your daily excursions to land. Your first Zodiac landing is something you never forget! Walking up to a beach that is dotted with penguins and seals is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica. Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities and it is not long before you can tell the difference between an Adelie, gentoo, or chinstrap penguin.

You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs in Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming shot of a calving glacier at Petermann Island to the complete silence of night while camping on the ice in Antarctica, welcome each day with the excitement and energy of a young child.

Your Expedition Team is with you all along, providing insights into the places you visit and offering photography tips to get the most out of your expedition.

Day 7: Disembark at King George Island | Fly to Punta Arenas

After your seven days of exploration, say goodbye to the Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile brings your journey to an end. After transferring from the airport to the hotel, you can enjoy one final dinner to reminisce about all the sights and sounds of Antarctica.

NoteIf the weather at King George Island does not allow for flights this morning, the ship operator will follow their well-established contingency plan, again. 

Day 8: Depart Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, make your own way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flights.

Note: Flights arranged for later in the day provide more buffer against any of those potential flight delays out of King George Island.

Ship/Hotel

World Explorer

World Explorer
World Explorer
World Explorer

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Book your Antarctica 2024 - 2025 cruises now and enjoy up to 30% savings. On select departures, an additional savings of up to 5% discount may be applied if paid in full at the time of booking. This offer is valid only for new bookings, subject to availability, and not combinable with other discounts. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
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Book your Antarctica 2025 - 2026 cruises now and enjoy up to 30% savings. On select departures, an additional savings of up to 10% discount may be applied if paid in full at the time of booking. This offer is valid only for new bookings, subject to availability, and not combinable with other discounts. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
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Per person starting at
$16,795
World Explorer
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Triple Cabin
Located on Deck 6, and approximately 242 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, walk-out balcony, separate combo sitting area with a sofa bed and additional closet, refrigerator, TV, and private bathroom with shower.
World Explorer
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Infinity Suite
Located on Decks 5 and 6, and approximately 270 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, floor-to-ceiling glass Juliet balcony, refrigerator, TV, and private bathroom with shower.
World Explorer
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Veranda Suite
Located on Decks 5 and 6, and approximately 215 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, walk-out balcony, sitting area with sofa, refrigerator, TV, and private bathroom with shower.
World Explorer
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Superior Suite
Located on Decks 5 and 6, and approximately 278 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, walk-out balcony, sitting area with sofa, refrigerator, TV, and private bathroom with shower.
World Explorer
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Deluxe Suite
Located on Deck 5, and approximately 334 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, walk-out balcony, sitting area with sofa, refrigerator, TV, and private bathroom with shower.
World Explorer
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Owner's Suite
Located on Decks 5 and 6, and approximately 355 sq. ft. Suites feature one double or two single beds, walk-out balcony, sitting area with sofa, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, and bathtub.

Notes

- 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.

- Standard Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a Premium Cabin is 2 times the shared rate.

Insurance: Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person is included. Travelers should have a minimum US$50,000 (or equivalent) of emergency medical coverage prior to embarkation. It is recommended that you and all members of your party have comprehensive travel insurance covering trip cancellation, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage, and repatriation. Contact us for details.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Coffee, Tea and Cocoa Available Around the Clock
  • Leadership throughout the expedition by our experienced Expedition Leader
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Official Expedition Parka to Keep
  • Select Beer and Wine During Dinner
  • Photographic Journal Documenting the Expedition
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • A Briefing Dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas
  • Post-expedition Group Transfer in Punta Arenas from the Airport to the Hotel
  • A Pre-expedition Group Transfer in Punta Arenas from the Hotel to the Airport
  • Free beer, standard wines, spirits, and cocktails during bar service hours and dinner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi service on one device permitting basic Internet browsing, email, posting on social media and voice applications. (Premium packages are available for more data intensive applications.)
  • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast. (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
  • Flights to and from King George Island
  • A post-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the hotel
  • One night's post-expedition hotel accommodation (with breakfast) in Punta Arenas, as well as luggage storage
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Mandatory Waterproof Pants for Zodiac Cruising & Any Other Gear Not Specifically Mentioned
  • Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Basic complimentary Wi-Fi service does not include Premium packages, which enable more data-intensive applications

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
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