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Penguins navigating the icy slopes

Ross Sea Antarctic Odyssey

Bluff, NZ to Ushuaia - Example 32 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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This is your ultimate chance to sail to the southern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea, visiting Shackleton’s and Scott’s huts, McMurdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Campbell Island Island. This 32-day voyage offers opportunities to explore Antarctica by air with transfers to and from the ship by helicopter. Aboard the ice-class vessel, Ortelius, be prepared for true emotion and unforgettable memories on this Antarctic cruise.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Bluff, New Zealand | Embark
Day 2 : At Sea toward Campbell Island
Day 3 : Enderby Island
Day 4 : Campbell Island
Days 5-8 : At Sea | Southern Ocean
Day 9 : Balleny Islands
Day 10 : At Sea
Day 11 : Cape Adare
Day 12 : Cape Hallett
Day 13 : At Sea Inexpressible Island
Days 14-16 : Ross Sea
Day 17 : Ross Ice Shelf | International Date Line
Days 18-24 : Amundsen Sea
Day 25 : Peter I Island
Days 26-27 : Bellingshausen
Day 28 : Pendleton Straight
Days 29-31 : At Sea | Drake Passage
Day 32 : Ushuaia | Disembark

Highlights

  • See the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world at Cape Adare
  • Follow the routes of Scott, Ross, Amundsen and Shackleton
  • Visit the United States' research center, McMurdo Station
  • Sail along the floating mass of land-ice known as the Ross Ice Shelf

Ship

Ortelius

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Penguins navigating the icy slopes A whale plays near the surface at dusk. Antarctic Landscape A whale comes up to say hello Antarctic landscape Curious young gentoo penguins A leopard seal stretches out on the ice

Day 1 Bluff, New Zealand | Embark

Your voyage begins in Bluff, commonly held to be New Zealand’s most southerly town. Sailing beyond the boundaries of the civilized world, you venture into the untamed regions of the far south.

Day 2 At Sea toward Campbell Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Seabirds trail your vessel across limitless horizons toward Campbell Island.

Day 3 Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Another jewel in the crown of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands is Enderby Island.
 
Part of the Auckland Islands, Enderby offers a vast variety of birdlife, including potential sea sightings of white-capped albatrosses, Buller’s albatrosses, and a number of other tubenoses.
 
On Enderby Island you might also see yellow-eyed penguins, Auckland teals, and perhaps even rare and endemic Auckland shags. 

Day 4 Campbell Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding
penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.Day 5 - 8: Once more to the Southern Ocean

Day 5-8 At Sea | Southern Ocean

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Sea birds are also prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions. 

Day 9 Balleny Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle. 

Day 10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By now you’ve become a veteran of the high seas, if you weren’t when you started the voyage. You spend today sailing toward the Antarctic Continent.

Day 11 Cape Adare

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.

Day 12 Cape Hallett

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing south along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you may attempt a landing at the protected area of Cape Hallett and its large Adélie penguin rookery. 

Day 13 At Sea Inexpressible Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery. 

Day 14-16 Ross Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island.
 
In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole.
 
If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area.
 
The American scientific base of McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base are other possible locations you might visit. From McMurdo Station you could also make a 10-km hike (6 miles) to Castle Rock, where there are great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole.
 
Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.

Day 17 Ross Ice Shelf | International Date Line

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
 
The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911.
 
Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Day 18-24 Amundsen Sea

  • Ship
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.

Day 25 Peter I Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.

Day 26-27 Bellingshausen

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You now sail across Bellingshausen Sea, bound for the Antarctic Peninsula.

Day 28 Pendleton Straight

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Day 29-31 At Sea | Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Over the following days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray.
 
After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone.
 
Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Day 32 Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, reputed to be the southernmost town in the world, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Ortelius

Deals

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Polar Savings - Book before December 1, 2019 and save 5% per person. Contact us for details.
Applies to all upcoming departures.

Per person starting at
$27,500
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4 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins). Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
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2 triple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities. These cabins are spacious with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.
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23 twin cabins with portholes, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.
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Superior
1 suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Children between the ages of 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.

Special note: Crossing the International Date Line Depending on which direction one travels across the International Date Line, a day is either lost or gained. (Crossing westward, a day is gained; crossing eastward, a day is lost.) Please take note of this when calculating your actual time traveled. The days listed in the itinerary duration reflect the actual time traveled.

Fares include:
- Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee, and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes aboard the Ortelius
- Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia
- Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- Comprehensive pre-departure material

Not included:
- Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights
- Pre- and post land arrangements
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes
- Meals ashore
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory)
- Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)

Helicopter Transfers:
These departures will transfer passengers ashore by zodiac. But, the two helicopters onboard will be operated in certain areas where zodiacs can not be used. Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Cape Evans (hut of Scott), Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton), Ross Ice Shelf at Bay of Whales, Peter I Island, and the Dry Valleys. In theory, the goal is five helicopter-based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time can not be predicted. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted.

Please note: It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days before departure the Ortelius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $400 per passenger.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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