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Orca coming up for air

Antarctica In Depth

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Experience the ultimate journey south on a memorable 12-day voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula. 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. Spend your days off the ship exploring by zodiac boat, making several shore landings each day in the company of expert guides. By breaking into small special interest groups, discover Antarctica and its remarkable wildlife through photography, zodiac excursions, hiking onshore, and for the more adventurous – camping and sea kayaking. Visits to historic huts and working research bases add another dimension to the voyage.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-7 : Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula
Day 8 : South Shetland Islands
Days 9-10 : Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
Day 11 : King George Island | Disembark | Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 12 : Punta Arenas, Chile | Return Home

Highlights

  • Observe Antarctic wildlife, such as leopard seals relaxing on ice floes
  • Visit historic sites and science stations to learn more about this area
  • Hike in Paradise Bay and admire stunning 360¬†degree views
  • Contemplate the history around you as you explore an old whaling station

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Orca coming up for air Kayaking through the icy waters. With a large whale bone in Antarctica Ushuaia Midnight sun over the flat-topped icebergs of the Weddell Sea

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

Your journey commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, Argentina as you embark your expedition ship. After settling in to your cabin 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. As you approach the coastline of Antarctica, encounter more icebergs as you anticipate your first whale sightings.

Day 4-7 Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 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.

Enjoy several days of exploration as the activity program is in full swing, allowing you to choose how your adventure unfolds. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with your expert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and science stations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice is a memorable activity and the sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship. Your photography guide is on hand to help you with your camera handling, image composition, and the peculiar light found in Antarctica. 

Planned excursions could include Cierva Cove, Danco Island, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where you can encounter playful humpback whales. Paradise Bay is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route providing stunning 360 degree views. Andvord Bay and Neko Harbour provide yet another continental landing opportunity. Along this stretch of coastline you may spend a night on shore camping, if the weather is good and site characteristics suitable. Camping is included and all the right gear and equipment is provided. There is no need to pre-book and you can decide to participate on the day.

After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and you can expect sightings of humpbacks or the resident pod of orca that inhabit this stretch of water.

Day 8 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels, is another possibility. In the evening, navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.

Day 9-10 Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into the sound you witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea you'll notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice.

Day 11 King George Island | Disembark | Punta Arenas, Chile

This morning we say goodbye to our expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. We walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip where we board our special charter flight.

Day 12 Punta Arenas, Chile | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (It is recommended you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia.

RCGS Resolute

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Per person starting at
$14,095
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
Located on Deck 3 these cabins feature the option for a double or two single beds and a third Pullman berth, which can fold out from the wall if required. A sectional lounge is placed by the portholes with a writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. A flatscreen entertainment system is also included. These cabins provide easy access to the expedition room and gangway.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Twin Private Cabin
Twin Private cabins are located on Deck 4 and have the option for either a queen or two single configured beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Cabin
Located forward on Deck 5 the Superior cabins have the option for either a queen or two single beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Plus Cabin
Superior Plus cabins are located midships on Deck 5. They are spacious and well appointed with the option for either a queen or two single beds. A comfortable lounge is placed by the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Shackleton Suite
The Shackleton Suites are situated on Deck 6. Suites include the comfort of a sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor to ceiling cabinetry, and washroom facilities with shower. A flat screen entertainment system is also included. Sleeping quarters feature the option for either a queen or two single beds with upgraded linen/ pillows.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
The One Ocean Suites are situated on Deck 6 and offer an indulgent amount of space. Sleeping quarters feature a queen size bed with upgraded linen/pillows. Included is a comfortable sectional lounge with matching club chairs, a large desk, expansive floor to ceiling cabinetry, and spacious washroom facilities with both a shower and bathtub.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.  

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.

Your Expedition Includes: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers in Punta Arenas to the airport on Day 1 and from Punta Arenas airport (to a downtown location) on arrival back from Antarctica on Day 11
  • Scheduled flight to Stanley (Falkland Islands) and special charter flight from King George Island (Antarctica) back to Punta Arenas (Chile)
  • 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
  • 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 biologists, 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).
  • 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 center 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$15-20 per day)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Mary C

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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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