Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile | Embark
Today is the first day of your adventure. Gather at a central meeting point and transfer to the wharf where you embark your expedition ship. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air and you can enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Chart a course through the Straits of Magellan and be on your way, bound for Antarctica – and what promises to be an incredible adventure.
Day 2-3 The Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as you make your way ever closer to the white continent. Giant petrels, albatross and smaller Cape petrels are your companions as the ship transits the Drake Passage. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as your numerous polar experts prepare you for your adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, cross the Antarctic Convergence where you notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, witness all kinds of spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species who occasionally flaunt their size in full breach.
Day 4-7 South Shetland Islands | Antarctica
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before you. Even your experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, take a moment to pause and reflect on this incredible sight. Take a deep breath – you have arrived. This is Antarctica.
The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets, and numerous small islands. The Gerlache coastline 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, usually found hauled out on an ice floe. Curious humpback whales and the smaller minke whales are present much of the time as they feed on the vast schools of krill. Sightings of orca are not uncommon.
Your activity program is in full swing and all guests are encourageds to choose how their adventure unfolds. Every day an exciting range of activities is planned, including guided hikes on shore (both short and long) and visits to wildlife colonies with your expert naturalist guides. 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 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. The resident photography guide is on hand to help you with your camera handling and image composition. Maybe what you really want to do is sit on a rock, simply watching the penguins come and go from the water? Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the show.
Planned excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula could 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 and one where you can frequently 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 camping is planned. All the right gear and equipment and an expert team are provided - all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and it is never guaranteed. Camping is included and you can decide to participate on the day. There is no need to pre-book
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
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By morning arrive in 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 place and history is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. 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 also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater.
After leaving Deception Island, cruise along the coast of Livingston Island which in a sunny day is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetland's including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour. This is another 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 McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage.
Day 9-10 The Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 11 Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark
In the early morning, arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests are transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.