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Zodiac cruising among icebergs

Christmas in Antarctica

via Stanley - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Experience the ultimate ‘White Christmas’ on a memorable 11-day voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula. December provides maximum hours of daylight as you visit Antarctica during the Summer Solstice. 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 : Santiago, Chile | Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-5 : Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea & Northern Gerlache Straight
Days 6-7 : Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration
Day 8 : South Shetland Islands
Days 9-10 : Drake Passage
Day 11 : Stanley | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

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┬ádegree views
  • Contemplate the history around you as you explore an old whaling station

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Zodiac cruising among icebergs What a place to picnic for Christmas Kayaking through the icy waters. With a large whale bone in Antarctica Icebergs in the harbor of Port Lockroy RCGS Resolute Exterior

Day 1 Santiago, Chile | Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark

Depart in Santiago this morning on a special charter flight direct to Stanley. You will be transferred from the airport to the town and you can spend your time exploring or join a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides your first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. 

Making your way to the port, board the expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabins and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

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 4-5 Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea & Northern Gerlache Straight

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Navigating into Antarctic Sound you will witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an aweinspiring sight. Notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs entering the Weddell. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south drifting here on the prevailing currents. Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering exist here – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. There are several fantastic locations to consider but the ice conditions will likely dictate the landing sites. Gourdin Island and Brown Bluff are two such locations featuring substantial penguin rookeries. The region is also full of history of early exploration and has fascinating geological sites with thousands of fossils strewn over the shoreline. You have a busy day of exploration on shore, in the Zodiacs and on the ship.

The Gerlache Strait is an important whale migration corridor and you are encouraged to be on the bridge or outer observation decks looking for the tell-tale blows of the migrating whale pods. With luck, you may even catch a glimpse of the resident orca group that inhabits this stretch of water. There are several interesting locations to explore over the coming days, such as Cierva Cove or nearby Mikkelson Harbour. This area provides great excursion options on shore, in the Zodiacs and for the sea kayakers. You'll start to encounter much larger numbers of nesting gentoo penguins with their distinct orange beaks. Chinstrap penguins are another species you will begin to view in the coming days. Kelp gulls, skuas and Imperial cormorants are just some of the sea birds you can expect to observe. It takes a sharp eye to spot the snowy white plumage of the Antarctic petrel - always a treasured sighting for the bird lovers. Look forward to a special Christmas dinner prepared by the culinary team - what a place to celebrate the ultimate 'White Christmas'!

Day 6-7 Southern Gerlache Strait Exploration

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Anvers Island is one of the largest of the off-shore ‘barrier’ islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. There are several outstanding sites here as well as on neighboring Wiencke Island. These locations provide us with opportunities to venture on shore, breaking into smaller groups.

Enjoy a short or longer hike, wander over to observe penguins guarding their precious eggs or newborns on the nest, cruise in the Zodiacs or just sit and soak it all in. The choice is yours. A short transit across the Gerlache Strait brings us along the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A potential shore landing at Paradise Harbour will be a highlight for many – as you step foot on the continent proper, for the very first time. A nearby hike up a snow-covered hill provides staggering 360-degree views. A Zodiac cruise or paddle into the nearby ice ‘cathedral’ of Skontorp Cove is another memorable experience. If the conditions are right, overnight camping will be offered to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. All the gear is available onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember. However, camping always depends on the weather and this activity is never guaranteed on any voyage.

One of the largest gentoo penguin colonies along this stretch of coastline can be found on Cuverville Island, situated at the northern end of the Errera Channel. This is an important research site with the populations being carefully monitored by visiting scientists. Your naturalist guides will be able to tell you more about this important work. Cuverville is a good location for a Zodiac cruise and a circumnavigation of the entire island is sometimes possible. Other locations in the area we hope to explore include Willhelmina Bay. This is a known whale 'hotspot'. This is a magnificent location with towering glaciers tumbling off the mountainous spine of the Antarctic Peninsula.

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 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As the ship makes its way back to South America, the educational presentations continue as you enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room to 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 Stanley | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning you'll find yourselves 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. On arrival in Santiago your journey comes to an end. 

RCGS Resolute

Deals

Complimentary Travel Credit
Antarctica Savings - Book before November 30, 2019 and receive a $500 travel credit per person. Select departures only. For new bookings after October 1, 2019. Contact us for details.
Applies to Dec 21, 2019 departure

Per person starting at
$12,695
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 from a central meeting point in Stanley on Day 1 and from the port to the airport (or a downtown hotels) at the conclusion of your voyage on Day 11
  • 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 cener 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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Alexandra L

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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