Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Your journey to Antarctica commences in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. Upon arrival, 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. One of the southernmost cities in the world, windswept Ushuaia is the gateway to Tierra del Fuego National park where hiking enthusiasts and wildlife aficionados will discover the beauty of the area.
Day 2 Ushuaia | Embark
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Begin your journey with a transfer to the pier to embark our expedition ship. After settling into your cabins and exploring the vessel, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 3-4 At Sea - Towards Antarctica
- 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. You will be 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 our 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 our modern research vessel. Throughout the day the 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. As you approach the coastline of Antarctica, anticipate an increase in whale sightings.
Day 5-8 South Shetland Islands | Antarctica
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Today you'll awake to the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before you. Even your experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, will 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. You will frequently 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.
Your activity program is in full swing and you are encouraged to choose how your adventure unfolds. Every day an exciting range of activities is planned for you, including guided hikes on shore (both short and long), visits to wildlife colonies with your expert naturalist guides. 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 explore several miles from the ship experiencing Antarctica from an entirely different perspective. The resident photography guide will be on hand to help you with your camera handling and image composition. Maybe what you really want to do is sit on a rock, simply watching the penguins come and go from the water? Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the show.
Planned excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula could include Cierva Cove or Mikkelsen 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 found. 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.
After several busy days of exploration along the Peninsula, head north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and you can expect sightings of humpbacks or the resident pod of Orca that inhabit this stretch of water.
Day 9 South Shetland Islands
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By morning, arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, the ship will 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 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, high up onto the rim of the crater.
After leaving Deception Island, cruise along the coast of Livingston Island which on a sunny day is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetlands including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you may encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. Hannah Point, with its elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels - is another possibility. In the evening, navigate north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage.
Day 10-11 Drake Passage
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you make your way back to South America, the educational presentations continue, enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. Join the photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, you can 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 the early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 12 Ushuaia, Argentina | Disembark
In the early morning, arrive at Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.