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An elephant seal trumpets in the midst of King Penguin chicks

Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Year after year, as the Antarctic summer comes to a close, the marine mammals come to life! Penguin chicks are almost fully grown and quickly shedding their downy coats in preparation to take to the sea before the long winter. March is a time of great activity in and under the water where you can encounter a high concentration of whales, in particular, humpback and minke. Look for crabeater, Weddell and leopard seals, as they rest and store energy that sustains them over the cold months ahead. Join several world-renowned cetaceans (whale) and marine mammal specialists for this memorable voyage aboard the RCGS Resolute.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santiago, Chile | Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-6 : South Shetland | Northern Gerlache Strait
Days 7-8 : Southern Gerlache Strait
Days 9-10 : Drake Passage
Day 11 : Ushuaia | Disembark

Highlights

  • Cross the Drake Passage and look for your first icebergs and whales
  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula's shorelines in inflatable Zodiac boats
  • Visit Petermann Island and observe Weddell, crabeater, and elephant seals
  • Cruise through the Bransfield Strait, an important whale migration corridor

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

An elephant seal trumpets in the midst of King Penguin chicks Penguins on the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula A humpback surfaces close to our zodiac An ocean of icebergs. King Penguins on South Georgia

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

Depart from Santiago this morning on your special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. You will be transferred from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy 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, you will board the expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabins and exploring the ship, you'll 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
Much excitement is in the air as you cross the Drake Passage, sailing ever closer to the white continent. As you sail into these fabled waters, on-board naturalists split their time between whale watching from the deck and leading lively discussions about marine life in the ship's presentation room. Be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you transit the Drake Passage. 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. See your first icebergs, a huge variety of seabirds, and, with luck, several whale species. Watching whales fully breach out of the sea is a sight you remember forever!

Day 4-6 South Shetland | Northern Gerlache Strait

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The Antarctic Peninsula provides literally a hundred or more sites for potential shore landings and excursions. Approaching the South Shetland Islands on your way south, aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island – home to a boisterous colony of nesting chin strap penguins. A short hike brings you to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behavior. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point which you may chose as alternative landing sites. A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here – one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black-sand beach where an old aircraft hanger can be viewed. It’s from here, the very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.

Enter the maze of islands and waterways and enjoy shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Willhelmina Bay is always an impressive location and one you often find large pods of humpback whales. As the ship cruises into the Errera Channel, you'll have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island – with its sizeable Gentoo penguin rookery. Nearby Danco Island, has a fantastic hike to the snow-covered summit, providing staggering views. Neko Harbour is another possibility for a landing and maybe your very first opportunity to step foot on the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.

Day 7-8 Southern Gerlache Strait

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Further south more, there will be more glorious locations to explore. Paradise Harbour provides another opportunity for a continental landing. A climb to the top of hill above the old Argentine refuge reveals another spectacular viewpoint. Zodiac cruising under the cliffs here allows you to observe nesting imperial cormorants, and after a short distance, you come to Skontorp Cove. This narrow body of water is surrounded by immense glaciers on three sides – one guest likening it to a ‘heavenly ice cathedral’. It's easy to see why.

Continue to push further south, hoping that ice conditions allow for a transit of the Lemaire Channel. Snow covered cliffs tower about the Lemaire on both sides and slowly navigating on the ship through here is a thrilling experience. At Pleneau Island, visit and observe a substantial gentoo penguin rookery. In the shallow waters nearby, witness a vast field of icebergs which have run aground after drifting on the current and the winds. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the trip. A working science station is located in the vicinity and a visit to the base provides an intriguing insight into the life of permanent residents in Antarctica. The station staff welcome you ashore and provide a tour of the facilities and explain the important climate change research work taking place.

Nearby Winter Island allows for an excellent hike over a snowy saddle to an old historic hut. As you return to the ship, cast the gaze back to the north towards the soaring peaks of Mount Shackleton and nearby Mount Scott. This is an impressive sight. The time has come for you to weigh anchor and commence your return journey to South America.

Day 9-10 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to Ushuaia, the educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. Join a photography expert in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, hope to 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 | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Ushuaia early today. Following breakfast on board, say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Transfer to your hotel or airport, whichever your individual plans entail.

RCGS Resolute

Per person starting at
$11,295
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.

Included in Cost:
- Transfers from/to designated meeting points to/from the ship
- Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
- All meals during the voyage
- Welcome reception & welcome dinner
- Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
- Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
- Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
- Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
- Natural essential oil amenities
- Services of English-speaking medical officer
- Use of multimedia room
- Use of on-board expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear
- All zodiac and landing excursions
- Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
- Camping (subject to weather and ice conditions)
- Educational presentations
- Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer
- Expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff

Not Included in Cost:
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities
- Meals & transfers in arrival/departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls & email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Mary C

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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