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Humpback whale dive

Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands

Example 18 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Visit three different locations on this 18-day classic voyage. The Falkland Islands and the island of South Georgia are home to a proliferation of unique wildlife and birdlife. Both locations feature a fascinating history and stunning scenery. To the south lies Antarctica, the frozen continent where icebergs in all shapes and sizes fill the waters, and encounters with whales including humpback, minke, and orca are frequent. Explore on shore in the company of expert guides, including naturalists, marine biologists, ornithologists, and adventurers as well as a resident photography professional. Cruise in Zodiac boats, explore on long hikes ashore, or kayak along the icy waters. This itinerary appeals to those who want to see it all!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage | At Sea towards the Antarctica
Days 4-6 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula Exploration
Day 7 : Elephant Island
Days 8-10 : Scotia Sea | Towards South Georgia
Days 11-13 : Exploration of South Georgia
Days 14-16 : At Sea - Toward the Falklands
Day 17 : Falkland Islands
Day 18 : Stanley | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

Highlights

  • Visit old whaling stations and the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Sail along the Falkland Islands joined by hundreds of seabirds
  • Search for whales & other marine mammals on your way to South Georgia
  • Enjoy a range of activity choices, including kayaking and hiking
  • Learn about the environment, wildlife, history, and ecology of the region

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Humpback whale dive A huge colony of king penguins. Elephant seal on the coast Kayaking through the icy waters. Antarctic mountains at sunset

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

As you board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city on the tip Argentina, and start to become familiar with your 'home' for the next 19-days, one cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead. In the early evening, set sail and begin your voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.

Day 2-3 Drake Passage | At Sea towards the Antarctica

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands you are joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. 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 of the Southern Ocean and the locations visited in the coming days.

Day 4-6 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula Exploration

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
For the next three days, you will be exploring Gerlache coastline and South Shetland Islands. Aim for the Paradise Harbour and an opportunity to step foot on the contintal land mass of Antarctica.  A superb hike here leads up to a high point affording incredible views of the glaciers and mountains. This is a good location to observe nesting imperial cormorants on the cliffs. Zodiac cruising or paddling the kayaks into nearby Skontorp Cove are other memorable activities. The small cove is surrounded by towering glaciers on all three sides which on a still day are perfectly reflected in the icy waters.

Navigate through the Gerlache Strait towards Spert Island - a little visited rocky outcrop with remarkable geology. The island is criss-crossed by narrow channels which makes for fantastic Zodiac cruising and sea kayaking. The cliffs are home to numerous nesting bird species and we often encounter whales here. Nearby Mikkelson Harbour also allows for another off-ship excursion. After several busy days of exploration we head north, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and we expect sightings of humpbacks, or the resident orca group that inhabit this area.

If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden buildings. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rim of the crater.
 

Day 7 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetlands, you'll head for Elephant Island – a location forever connected to the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition a century ago. Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species you have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, you will visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of the island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats for several months in 1917, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'.

Day 8-10 Scotia Sea | Towards South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Departing Elephant Island you cannot help but ponder the perilous journey made by Shackleton and his four companions – as they navigated 800 nautical miles in a tiny 24-foot converted lifeboat crossing the tempestuous Scotia Sea to South Georgia. Make a much easier time of the crossing in our state-of-the-art expedition ship. Onboard experts keep you busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep us company – and anticipate excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels. Anticipation builds as the mountainous peaks appear on the horizon, marking your arrival at South Georgia.

Day 11-13 Exploration of South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Having arrived in South Georgia we spend the next three days exploring the coastline. Dark sand beaches, tussock covered hinterland and a backdrop of towering peaks and glaciers are a feast for all the senses. South Georgia has often been called the 'greatest wildlife show on earth'. Seals cover the beaches, seabirds fill the skies and living in rookeries of immense size, are the majestic king penguins. We visit several of these huge colonies where naturalists estimate that more than 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins live in close proximity. Locations may include Gold Harbour, St Andrews Bay and Salisbury Plain.

Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here you'll find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton – who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great explorer is a highlight of the trip. We continue our journey along the coastline, hoping to visit Stromness – another former whaling station – and the final destination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley and Tom Crean having made the near impossible traverse across the interior of South Georgia after their epic boat trip from Antarctica a century ago. 

Day 14-16 At Sea - Toward the Falklands

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. The onboard educational program continues, and the experts recap your remarkable journey to date. These days provide a good opportunity to catch up on journal entries, sort through your images at the multimedia stations and catch some rest after several busy weeks of activity

Day 17 Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake to the sight of landfall in the Falkland Islands. Approaching Sea Lion Island visit the very barren and windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage. Launch the Zodiacs and go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found at this location. Three species of penguin including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the bird species we expect to see. As you cruise along the coast of the Falklands, bound for Stanley, enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain.

Day 18 Stanley | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning you'll find yourself back in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to your crew and after some free time in town, make your way to the airport for your return charter flight to Santiago.

RCGS Resolute

Deals

Save $800
Antarctic Savings - Book before May 31, 2019 and save $800 per person and receive a complimentary pre-voyage hotel stay in departure city. Select departures only. Contact us for details.
Applies to Jan 28, 2020 departure

Per person starting at
$21,195
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.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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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.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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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.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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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.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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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

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 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 18
  • 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$12-15 per day)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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