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Abandoned whaling village of Stromness, South Georgia

Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands

2021 - Example 18 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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This classic small-ship expedition takes you to three unique locations, Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands. This journey begins with a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, where you board the RCSG Resolute and sail to the Antarctic Peninsula. Continue by following the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton whose epic small boat journey, from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia remains one of the greatest feats of navigation in history. Explore the northern coastline of South Georgia, home to some of the largest king penguin colonies on Earth. The shores are covered in wildlife – including nesting albatross, fur seals, and elephant seals. Rusting relics from the old whaling era sit silent and provide a dramatic contrast to the green tussock grass and snowy peaks that surround the area. Visit the Falkland Islands and aim to spend one final day exploring the wildlife-rich area. The voyage comes to an end in Stanley – the small capital of the Falkland Islands. This classic small-ship expedition to three unique locations.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 2 : Fly Drake Passage | King George Island
Days 3-4 : Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula Exploration
Day 5 : South Shetlands
Day 6 : Antarctic Sound
Days 7-9 : Scotia Sea - Toward South Georgia
Days 10-13 : Exploration of South Georgia
Days 14-16 : Toward the Falklands
Day 17 : Falkland Islands
Day 18 : Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Santiago

Highlights

  • Witness the impossible beauty of Antarctic ice
  • Marvel at the massive numbers of wildlife in South Georgia and the Falklands
  • Experience the polar wonders from aboard the ship and from land
  • Explore South Georgia's dark-sand beaches and wildlife-rich coastline

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Abandoned whaling village of Stromness, South Georgia Mountains coming straight out of the Antarctic waters A war memorial in the Falkland Islands Hiking in Antarctica is rewarded with spectacular views Observe beautiful fur seals

Day 1 Punta Arenas, Chile

Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, where your Antarctic journey commences, 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. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, facilitating easy exploration of the region pre-voyage.

Day 2 Fly Drake Passage | King George Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The journey begins this morning with a transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, embark the ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring your new surroundings, you meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. Everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.

Day 3-4 Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula Exploration

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Take a deep breath and venture out on deck as the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent are laid out before you. This is the moment you have been waiting for. For the next two days, have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. Aim for Paradise Harbour and an opportunity to step foot on the continental land mass of Antarctica. For many, this is the fulfillment of a life-long goal. A superb hike here leads up to a high point affording incredible views of the glaciers and mountains. This is a good location to observe nesting imperial cormorants on the cliffs. While Zodiac cruising or paddling the kayaks into nearby Skontorp Cove are other memorable activities – the small cove is surrounded by towering glaciers on all three sides.

Your activity program is in full swing by now, and each day enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with your expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Many of the expedition team members have been exploring this section of Antarctica’s coastline for many years and have a few special locations in mind. The Errera Channel has several such spots – including Danco Island – a dome-shaped sentinel providing some great hiking options. Cuverville Island is another favorite – with its substantial gentoo penguin rookeries.

The ship navigates north through the Gerlache Strait towards Spert Island - a little visited rocky outcrop with remarkable geology. The island is crisscrossed by narrow channels which make for fantastic Zodiac cruising and sea kayaking. The cliffs are home to numerous nesting bird species and you often encounter whales here. Nearby Mikkelson Harbour also allows for another potential off-ship excursion. After several busy days of exploration, head north, bound for the South Shetland islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and you expect sightings of humpbacks or the resident orca group that inhabit this area.

Day 5 South Shetlands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Having crossed the Bransfield Straight overnight, arrive in the South Shetland Islands. If the weather conditions allow, the ship may sail into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boiler sand 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.

Day 6 Antarctic Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Sound is about 10 miles wide and separates the Antarctic Peninsula from Joinville Island. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, Antarctic Sound is also an exciting destination in its own right. Home to science stations, Adelie penguin rookeries, and tabular icebergs, experience many of the different faces of Antarctica. While visiting Antarctic Sound, visit sites such as Brown Bluff, Hope Bay, or Gourdin Island.

Day 7-9 Scotia Sea - Toward South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species you have yet to encounter on this voyage. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned lifeboats before the six men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the James Caird'. Then chart a south easterly course bound for South Georgia.

Day 10-13 Exploration of South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as you approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs you begin your exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay, and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest.

Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here you find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton– who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great explorer is a highlight of the trip. Continue your journey along the coastline, hoping to visit Stromness – another former whaling station – and the final destination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley and Tom Crean having made the near impossible traverse across the interior of South Georgia after their epic boat trip from Antarctica a century ago.

Day 14-16 Toward the Falklands

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
By now you are in sensory overload, your cameras full of images and your journey towards the Falkland Islands commences. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are your constant companions as they soar above the ship. The onboard educational program continues, and the experts recap your remarkable journey to date. These days provide a good opportunity to catch up on journal entries, sort through your images at the multimedia stations and catch some rest after several busy days of activity.

Day 17 Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake to the sight of landfall in the Falkland Islands. Situated in the Scotia Sea more than 250 nautical miles off the coast of South America, the Falklands Islands are situated in relatively shallow and very rich waters for marine life. As such, the Falklands are host to an amazing array of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic species as well as many species from neighboring South America. It is entirely possible to see a striated caracara, known locally as a Johnny Rook, stalking Gentoo penguin chicks, with black-browed albatross soaring overhead. This amazing juxtaposition of Antarctic and South American wildlife is one of the many great surprises of the Falkland Islands.

Landing sites in the Falkland Islands will depend in many respects on your crossing from South Georgia. The transit speed will be dependent on the weather systems coming through the Drake Passage, which will, in turn, dictate your arrival time and place in the Falklands. You may visit the East Falklands or push on to the West Falklands for a day of excursions prior to disembarkation in Port Stanley. Possible excursion sites include Bleaker Island in the East Falklands or West Point Island in the West Falklands. Either offer excellent wildlife opportunities with Magellanic penguins, potentially rockhopper penguins and a number of bird species endemic to the Falkland Islands. In the waters around the islands, you may be fortunate to see Commerson’s and/or Peale’s dolphins.

While the wildlife of the Falkland Islands is certainly an attraction for many, there is a vibrant history and an engaging Camp or countryside lifestyle. As you visit the Falkland Islands and are hosted by landowners, you will learn much about life in this isolated outpost of the United Kingdom.

Day 18 Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Santiago

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning you find yourselves in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to the crew and make your way to the airport for your return private air charter to Santiago (included in the price of your voyage). On arrival in Santiago, your journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. 

RCGS Resolute

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Per person starting at
$22,895
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 Punta Arenas the night before the voyage commences.
  • Transfers in Punta Arenas to the airport on Day 2.Transfers from the ship to Stanley airport and on arrival in Santiago to a downtown location at the conclusion of the voyage on Day 18
  • Private air charter from Punta Arenas (Chile) to KingGeorge Island (Antarctica) and from Stanley (FalklandIslands) to Santiago (Chile)
  • 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 AdventureConcierge 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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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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