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Kayakers -- see the Weddell seal to the left?

Antarctica - 'In Depth' (Antarctic Circle crossing)

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
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In early December, Antarctica’s snow and ice are in pristine condition, the penguin rookeries are busy with parents guarding precious eggs, and in some locations, you can witness nature at its very best – observing young penguin chicks emerging into the icy Antarctic world for the first time. Towering snow-covered mountains surround you and the sea ice is starting to break up, opening even more potential landing locations. This incredible 12-day small ship cruise offers a variety of activities so you can choose how you want to live your Antarctic experience!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-9 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
Day 10 : South Shetland Islands
Day 11 : King George Island | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas
Day 12 : Punta Arenas, Chile

Highlights

  • Encounter the powerful leopard seal in unique Gerlache Strait
  • Visit incredible wildlife colonies joined by expert naturalist guides
  • Observe curious humpback whales at Wilhelmina Bay
  • Hike around Paradise Harbour & enjoy a viewpoint providing expansive views

Ship

Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Kayakers -- see the Weddell seal to the left? Camping in the Polar regions A humpback surfaces close to our zodiac An elephant seal trumpets in the midst of King Penguin chicks Penguins and cruise ship in Antarctica

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

  • Ship
  • 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

  • Ship
  • 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

  • Ship
  • 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

  • Hotels
  • 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

  • 1 Breakfast
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.

Akademik Ioffe

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple Cabins
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day) and one upper berth. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, and two portholes.
Twin Semi Private Cabins
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Twin Private Cabins
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Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Superior Cabins
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Superior
Deck 6. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Shackleton Suites
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5. One double bed, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities. Large window that can be opened.
One Ocean Suite
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5. One double bed, one sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow.

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.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

Rates Include: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers from central meeting point to the airport on Day 1 and from the Punta Arenas airport to a downtown hotel on Day 12
  • Special charter flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas at the end of the voyage
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
  • 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). Onboard or on shore
  • 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 centre 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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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
Karen Snider

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