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Kayaking through the icy waters.

Christmas in Antarctica 2018

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
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Delight your senses with a traditional ‘White Christmas’ on a spectacular 11-day voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula. December provides maximum hours of daylight as you experience Antarctica during the Summer solstice. Visit many of the classic locations
along the Antarctic Peninsula with a great variety of exciting activities both on and off the ship. Towering glaciers, amazing wildlife encounters, snow-covered landscapes, massive icebergs, and the option to choose your favorite activities make this voyage the perfect introduction to the white continent. In the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula, spend your days off the ship exploring by zodiac boat, making several shore landings each day in the company of expert guides.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Ushuaia, Argentina
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-9 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
Day 10 : South Shetland Islands
Day 11 : King George Island | Disembark | Punta Arenas
Day 12 : Punta Arenas

Highlights

  • Sail among the ice on a memorable journey searching for seals and whales
  • Hike on shore and visit wildlife colonies with the expert naturalist guide
  • Kayak and experience Antarctica from an entirely different perspective
  • Visit the raucous gentoo penguin rookeries on Cuverville Island

Ship

Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Kayaking through the icy waters. Penguins at Christmas What a place to picnic for Christmas Kayak quiet waters as you sail to remote coves of Antarctica Elephant seal on the coast

Day 1 Embark in Ushuaia, Argentina

Your journey commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, Argentina as you embark your expedition ship, Akademik Ioffe. After settling in to your cabins and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. In the early evening, set sail along the Beagle Channel and push out into the Drake Passage towards Antarctica. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2-3 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sail south towards Antarctica joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels, albatross, and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you transit towards Antarctica. 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. Throughout the day onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, and history.

Day 4-9 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Awaken today with the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica laid out before you. Even the experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, take a moment to pause and reflect on the immense power of Antarctica. Take a deep breath – you have arrived.

The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deep bays, pristine coves, 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. 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 feeding on the rich krill blooms. Sightings of orca are not uncommon as well.

Your activity program is in full swing and you can choose how the adventure unfolds. Every day enjoy an exciting range of activities, including guided hikes on
shore (both short and long), visits to wildlife colonies with the expert naturalist guides, as well as Zodiac cruising. The historic huts and science stations located along the peninsula provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice and searching for seals and whales is a memorable activity. Meanwhile, the sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship, experiencing Antarctica from an entirely different perspective. Planned excursions along the Peninsula may include Cierva Cove or Mikklesen Harbour, Danco Island, the Melchior Islands, and Fournier Bay - or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the gentoo penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location to encounter playful humpback whales. Nearby Paradise Harbour is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route to a viewpoint providing expansive views. Andvord Bay and Neko Harbour provide yet another continental landing opportunity. It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that you plan a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. With the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and is never guaranteed on any voyage. (Contact us for details).

Day 10 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and, if the weather conditions allow, the ship sails into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic location. History is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden structures. 

On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, and the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you may 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.

There are several superb hikes and an opportunity for a swim - the 'Polar Plunge!' Head northeast, cruising along the pristine coast of Livingston Island, which on a sunny day is always a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in this vicinity including Half Moon Island, and the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you can encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain, cruising towards King George Island.

Day 11 King George Island | Disembark | Punta Arenas

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning say goodbye to your expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. Walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip where you board your special charter flight. This flight takes a little over two hours and is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport into town is provided.

POST VOYAGE HOTEL INCLUDED:
This itinerary includes a complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from King George Island at the end of the voyage. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.

Day 12 Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (We recommend you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia? Just a few hours north lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

Akademik Ioffe

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Deals

Save $1,000
Early Bird Savings - Book by December 31 and receive $1000 in flight credit. Offer subject to availability - contact us for details.
Applies to Dec 17, 2018 departure

Per person starting at
$11,195
Main Deck Triple Cabins
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Main Deck Triple
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 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Superior Cabins
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Superior
Deck 6. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window 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.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple 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.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- 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.

Rates Include: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers from central meeting point to the ship on Day 1 and from Punta Arenas airport to a downtown hotel at the conclusion of the voyage on Day 11
  • Hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas for one night at the conclusion of your voyage
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping.
  • Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat, breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up, and management
  • An emergency trained Physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
  • Sea Kayaking program available (additional charge of US$795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
The Expedition does not include:
  • Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
  • Visa and passport expenses
  • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
  • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
  • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – US$12-15 per day)

Included

  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Callie W

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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