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Whale watching in Antarctica

Antarctica - Polar Circle - Whale watching

Roundtrip Ushuaia - Example 12 Day Cruise aboard MV Plancius
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Explore the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoy the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica on this special 12-day cruise. In addition, this departure is specially timed to maximize the whale watching opportunity. Voyage polar waters in search of massive and elusive whales. This classic Antarctic route to the Antarctic Peninsula is a popular way to make the most of your polar voyage experience.
A group of travellers sail around a penguin colony off the shores of AntarcticaLemaire channel reflectionAn old icebergA humpback whale lifts its fluke The sun sets over polar mountains
Highlights
  • Sail across the Drake Passage - enjoy bird watching and spot icebergs
  • Set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of glaciers
  • Zodiac cruise by alpine peaks and a myriad of icebergs
  • Observe humpback whales and minke whales on your way to Paradise Bay
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: Ushuaia | Embark

The voyage begins in the southernmost point in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina. Starting this afternoon, embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed "The End of the World" and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. 

Day 2-3: Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
During these two days, sail across the Drake Passage. Experience cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin wale spouting up sea spray. When crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see wandering albatrosses, grey headed albatrosses, black- browed albatrosses, light- mantled sooty albatrosses, Cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, catch a glimpse of the first icebergs.

Day 4-9: Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Options for Antarctic Peninsula activities are many, and no less great during the late summer. Humpback whales are prolific in this region, gorging themselves on krill before their migration north. The penguin chicks are also fledging, stirring up activity on the beaches while sleek leopard seals lie in wait, poised to attack the less fortunate ones.
 
Sites for your Antarctic adventures may include: 
 
Livingston Island – Here you find a wide variety of Gentoo and chinstrap penguins on Hannah Point, as well as southern giant petrels and elephant seals hauling out onto the beach. 
 
Deception Island – Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. Hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. 
 
Cuverville Island – A small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island, Cuverville houses a large colony of gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas. 
 
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. You might also be able to set foot on the continent here. 
 
Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where you have a good chance of seeing humpback and minke whales. 
 
Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you may sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales as well as leopard seals. 
 
Crystal Sound – Your journey takes you south along the Argentine Islands to this ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning. 
 
Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty mountains and imposing glaciers. 
 
Fish Islands – Further north you encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. 
 
Melchior Islands – These islands offer a beautiful landscape rich with icebergs. Leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales are found here, and there are excellent opportunities for kayaking and diving. 
 
Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Day 10-11: Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, be greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But, they seem a little more familiar to both you and then birds. 

Day 12: Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Ushuaia this morning and disembark the ship. 

Ship/Hotel

MV Plancius

MV Plancius
MV Plancius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$7,700
Quadruple Porthole
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Quadruple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Quadruple Porthole
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Triple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin porthole cabin
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Twin with Porthole
9 twin private cabins with porthole. Two Lower berths. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin with window
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Twin with Window
26 twin private cabins with window. Two Lower berths (ca. 15 m2)
Twin Deluxe
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Twin Deluxe
2 twin private deluxe cabins. Lower berths - two single beds.(ca. 15 m2)
Superior
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Superior
10 twin superior cabins. Lower berth - double bed. (ca. 21 m2)

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.
- Single occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share twin price
-Children between the ages of 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Plancius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  •  Luggage Transfer from Pick-up Point to the Vessel on the Day of Embarkation in Ushuaia
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
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
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • Medical travel insurance, including emergency medical attention and evacuation coverage with a minimum of $100,000 of evacuation coverage is required.
  • Parkas are not provided on your cruise. Please bring your own windproof, waterproof, insulated parka with you. You will want to make sure it is roomy enough to fit warm layers underneath. Click here for information about parka rental.

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