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Polar research station

Journey Below the Antarctic Circle

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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This remote stretch of the Antarctic Peninsula is visited for just a few short months each year. From January onwards, seasonal ice conditions give you best chance of achieving your objective - crossing the Antarctic Circle. Witness expansive landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries, and large tabular icebergs that have drifted north from the Bellingshausen Sea. Detaille Island, below the Circle is a spectacular location. The snowy peaks soar more than 2,000 meters above the ice-strewn waters. Aim to cross 66 degrees, 33 minutes south of latitude, which officially marks the position of the Antarctic Circle on the global map. Return north along the heavily glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Argentine, Fish, and Yalour Island archipelagos and into the Gerlache Strait and Danco coast.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Days 2-3 : At Sea - Towards Antarctica
Days 4-7 : Antarctic Circle | Lower Antarctica Peninsula
Days 8-10 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula Exploration
Day 11 : South Shetland Islands
Days 12-13 : Drake Passage
Day 14 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark

Highlights

  • Cross the fabled Antarctic Circle, visiting remote historic locations
  • Spend a night ashore camping like the early Antarctic explorers
  • Visit a working scientific base to learn of its important climate research
  • Discover Petermann Island, home to a sizable Adelie penguin rookery

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar research station An old iceberg on the beaches of Deception Island Kayak quiet waters as you sail to remote coves of Antarctica Albatross cruising the Drake Passage to Antarctica Glacier trekking in Antarctica

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

Your journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. Gather at your central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark your expedition ship. After settling in to your cabins and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2-3 At Sea - Towards Antarctica

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Drake Passage is rich in biodiversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. Hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross, giant petrels, and smaller Cape petrels are constant companions as make your way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and the 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 your modern expedition vessel. Throughout the day your onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, history, and the locations you may visit in the coming days.

Day 4-7 Antarctic Circle | Lower Antarctica Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Seeing the continent for the first time takes your breath away. Given favorable ice conditions, your first goal is to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut. ‘Base W’ was established in the 1950s and is in a remarkable state of preservation. For the history buffs this is a fascinating place, providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic visitors. Further exploration this far south is highly dependent on optimal weather and ice conditions. If conditions allow, you may push even further to the south.

This vicinity marks your turnaround point and from now on, cruise in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. There are several locations in the Fish and Argentine Island archipelagos which allow for zodiac cruising and potential shore landings. Visit a working scientific base to learn of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut.

Petermann Island is home to a sizable Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with gentoo penguins and imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the Lemaire Channel. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a zodiac cruise here is a highlight of the voyage.

Day 8-10 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula Exploration

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The goal is to transit the Lemaire Channel on your way north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic viewpoints. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. The good news is, your adventure is not over and you still have several days of exciting exploration ahead.

Orne Harbour is another celebrated location you may visit and the hike up to a rocky knoll provides excellent access to a chinstrap penguin rookery. At Cuverville Island, there is a large gentoo penguin colony which you can observe at close quarters. Leopard seals are often sighted cruising the shallows along the landing site.

For the kayakers, a full circumnavigation of the island is a real thrill. It is in this vicinity that you may spend a night ashore camping, if weather conditions permit. The gear and an expert team of guides are provided to make this unique experience happen.

You are now at the most northern point on the Peninsula. Visits to Mikkelson Harbour and nearby Cierva Cove round out what has been a comprehensive exploration of the Gerlache coastline. Tonight, leaving the continent in the soft twilight, reflect on an incredible week of exploration.

Day 11 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Having crossed the Bransfield Straight overnight, arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, sail the ship 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 here, high up onto the rim of the crater.

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, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you can encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise.

Day 12-13 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 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 14 Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
In the early morning, arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. 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. It is possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

RCGS Resolute

Deals

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RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, portholes, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Twin Private Cabin
Deck 4. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Superior Cabin
Deck 5. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Superior Plus Cabin
Deck 5. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large picture windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom.
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 6. 22 m2. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge convertible to a sofa bed, large picture windows, a large desk, expansive cabinetry, and washroom facilities including both a shower & bathtub.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 6. 44 m2. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge convertible to a sofa bed with matching club chairs, large picture windows, a large desk, expansive cabinetry, and washroom facilities including both a shower & bathtub.

Notes

Rates Includes: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers from a central meeting point in Ushuaia on Day 1 and from the port to the airport (or a downtown
    hotels) at the conclusion of your voyage on Day 14
  • 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 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). 
  • 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$12-15 per day)

Included

  • 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
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Kassandra Miller
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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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