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Penguin sighting in Antarctica

Christmas in Antarctica - Circle Crossing

Sail-Fly-Cruise - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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This unique expedition provides a modern twist on a much-loved classic and is a magical way to spend the holiday season. From Santiago, Chile you fly to the embarkation point of Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Crossing south to Antarctica you'll witness the magnificent pelagic seabirds of the Southern Ocean, including the wandering albatross. This ocean habitat is a fascinating ecosystem in its own right. While the ship navigates towards the Antarctic Circle, enjoy seven days of off-ship exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting a large number of landing sites and cruising among the ice floes in Zodiac boats.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santiago, Chile
Day 2 : Fly to Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 3-4 : At Sea - Towards Antarctica
Days 5-6 : King George Island | The Antarctic Peninsula
Days 7-9 : Towards the Antarctic Circle
Days 10-11 : Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands
Day 12 : King George | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas
Day 13 : Depart for Home

Highlights

  • Admire the fantastic glaciated scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Observe outstanding wildlife on shore and from the ship
  • Visit historic sites and world famous science stations
  • Learn about the environment and wildlife of Antarctica from the on board polar experts

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Penguin sighting in Antarctica Weddell seal taking a rest Midnight sun over the flat-topped icebergs of the Weddell Sea Penguins in Antarctica Zodiac cruising among icebergs

Day 1 Santiago, Chile

Once you’ve arrived in Santiago, the cultural center of Chile, make your way to the hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, you are encouraged to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with the representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage.

Day 2 Fly to Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Depart Santiago this morning on your private air charter (this flight is included in the price of your voyage) direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. You will be met on arrival and transfer 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 board your 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 3-4 At Sea - Towards Antarctica

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. The ship is joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you make your way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and the photography expert will be 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 your onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations you can hope to visit in the coming days. If you enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, you may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Never the less this is a thrilling place to visit.

Day 5-6 King George Island | The Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
This morning you are in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon continue your journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight – making your way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife and you should keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and you should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place you can frequently encounter sizeable pods of humpback whales. Navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island –home to a rookery of gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a Zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.

Day 7-9 Towards the Antarctic Circle

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as you navigate further south. Pass through the ice-strewn waters making your way towards the ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle, which the crew will aim to cross on Christmas Day. This will be a magical experience for the whole family. Given favorable ice conditions, the first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950s. This vicinity marks the turnaround point and from now on, return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. Visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut – Wordie House.

If the conditions are right, an overnight camping program is available to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. All of the gear is available onboard and an experienced team will make this a night to remember!

Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies- the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just offshore, massive icebergs run around in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.

Day 10-11 Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Transit the Lemaire Channel on your way north towards Paradise Harbour where you will spend a white Christmas and have an opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic viewpoints. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage.

By morning arrive in 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 place and history is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. 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 also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater.

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, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where sometimes encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Island in the early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship – the perfect end to your Christmas in Antarctica.

Day 12 King George | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

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 where you board your private air charter. 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. 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 13 Depart for Home

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey.

RCGS Resolute

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Santiago - Hotels

Deals

Complimentary Travel Credit
Antarctica Savings - Book before November 30, 2019 and receive a $750 travel credit per person. Select departures only. For new bookings after October 1, 2019. Contact us for details.
Applies to Dec 16, 2020 departure

Per person starting at
$15,095
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.  

Your expedition includes: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • A pre-voyage night in the hotel in Santiago the night before the voyage commences.
  • Transfer in Santiago to the airport on Day 2 and from Punta Arenas airport to a downtown location on arrival back from Antarctica on Day 13.
  • Private air charter from Santiago (Chile) to Stanley(Falkland Islands) and from King George Island(Antarctica) back to Punta Arenas (Chile)
  • Hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas for one night at the conclusion of your voyage
  • 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 science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. 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 medical 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 massage options (charge applies for massage and 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 a 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 area
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 (i.e. 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 $15-20 per day)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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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.
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