Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Your journey to Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, Argentina. Gather at your central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark your expedition ship. After settling into your cabins and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner, and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime
Day 2-3 Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sail south towards Antarctica 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 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, and history and the locations you may visit in the coming days.
Day 4-9 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
- 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before you. Even your experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, take a moment to pause and reflect on this incredible sight. Take a deep breath – you have arrived. This is Antarctica.
The waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula are home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets, and numerous small islands.The Gerlache coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Rocky outcrops, known as ‘nunataks’, are home to gentoo, Adelie, and chinstrap penguin rookeries and the waters are rich in marine life. Encounter seals, including the powerful leopard seal, usually found hauled out on an ice floe. Curious humpback whales and the smaller minke whales are present much of the time as they feed on the vast schools of krill. Sightings of orca are not uncommon.
The activity program is in full swing and you get to choose how your adventure unfolds. Every day an exciting range of activities is offered, including guided hikes on shore (both short and long), visits to wildlife colonies with expert naturalist guides, as well as Zodiac cruising. The historic huts and science stations located along the peninsula provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice, searching for seals and whales, is a memorable activity.
Meanwhile, the sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship experiencing Antarctica from an entirely different perspective. The resident photography guide is on hand to help you with your camera handling and image composition. Maybe what you really want to do is sit on a rock, watching the penguins come and go from the water. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the show.
Planned excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula may include Cierva Cove or Mikklesen Harbour, Danco Island, the Melchior Islands, and Fournier Bay - or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the gentoo penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where playful humpback whales are frequently encountered. Nearby Paradise Harbour is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route to a viewpoint providing expansive views.
Andvord Bay and Neko Harbour provide yet another continental landing opportunity.
It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that you plan a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. All the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen are provided - all you need is an adventurous spirit! Camping always depends on the weather and is never guaranteed on any voyage. If the weather is good and site characteristics suit the requirements, rest assured, you can go for it. Camping is included and you can decide to participate while onboard. There is no need to pre-book.
Day 10 South Shetland Islands
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, head for 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 location. History is all around you as you explore the old whaling station and airport hangar. There are several superb hikes and an opportunity for a swim - the 'Polar Plunge!' Head northeast, cruising along the pristine coast of Livingston Island, which on a sunny day is always a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in this vicinity including Half Moon Island and the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour where you can encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain, cruising towards King George Island.
Day 11 King George Island | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning say goodbye to your expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. Walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip and board a special charter flight back to South America. This flight takes a little over two hours and is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport into town is provided.
Post Voyage Hotel Included:
This itinerary includes a complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from King George Island at the end of the voyage. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.
Day 12 Punta Arenas, Chile
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (It is recommended that you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia? Just a few hours north lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers, and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.