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Blue ice of Antarctica

The Great Austral Loop

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Board the L'Austral and explore the Falkland Islands, whose wild beauty and lush moors are sure to captivate you, before heading to South Georgia, its impressive glaciers and its black-sand beaches where large colonies of king penguins have taken up residence. Sail then to the White Continent, realm of the unexpected. Weather and ice conditions permitting, this extreme environment where nature reigns supreme will reveal to you its most beautiful secrets through numerous discoveries. Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins, humpback whales, seals and seabirds: these are some of the encounters you will most likely have the chance to experience in the Antarctic Peninsula, creating indelible memories. 
A penguin races across the snow with its prized pebbleAn elephant seal peeks out of the water around South GeorgiaA spectacular iceberg off the coast of AntarcticaCrabeater sealBlue ice of Antarctica
Highlights
  • Explore white-sand beaches and turquoise waters in the Falkland Islands
  • Discover drifting icebergs, snow-capped mountains in the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Meet black-browed albatrosses, snowy albatrosses, Magellanic penguins, Gentoo penguins
  • View the wild terrain from glacier-covered mountains to lush pastures
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Overnight in Buenos Aires

Arrive at Buenos Aires, relax and spend the overnight here preparing for your adventure.

Day 2: Ushuaia | Embarkation

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…

Day 3: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call is also an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they are able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 4: Grave Cove, Falklands | Carcass Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated in the north-west of the Falklands, Carcass Island was named after the ship HMS Carcass, which visited the island in the late 18th century. Its landscapes, combining steep rocks, sheer cliffs, wild expanses and white-sand beaches, form a rich and varied panorama that amateur or experienced bird watchers will appreciate. On this island, one of the few where no predators have been introduced, numerous species of birds live, breed and are born in total serenity. Due to the fresh, windy and humid subarctic oceanic climate, a fauna and flora similar to those of Patagonia, situated 460 km (286 miles) away, thrive here. You could get the chance to observe emperor, royal, Adélie or southern rockhopper penguins.

Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white. A stroll along the grassy dunes lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island, you can find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you can also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.

Day 5-6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Leaving the Falklands, your ship sets out for your next stop on this Austral loop. As you cruise the open water, keep your eyes out for marine mammals or seabirds who play alongside the vessel.

Day 7-9: South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you can recognize by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.

Day 10-11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Rest up for the last leg of your voyage as your ship sails further south. Try to contain your excitement as you approach the great White Continent.

Day 12-14: Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds a real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals, and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you can be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts.

Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader suggest Zodiac®outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. Sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.

Day 15-16: Crossing the Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly the Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbors a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

Day 17: Ushuaia | Disembarkation

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark at Ushuaia after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires.

Ship/Hotel

L'Austral

Enjoy a gourmet meal at the Gastronomic Restaurant.
Stunning views from the bar and lounge
Relax on the sun deck.

Buenos Aires - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$17,220
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone
Included
  • 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners
  • 16 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
  • Arrival & Departure Transfers
  • Return flight Buenos Aires - Ushuaia - Buenos Aires selected by PONANT, in economy class.
  • 1-night accommodation in a 4* hotel the night before embarkation
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • Transfer from the Hotel in Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires Airport Before the Voyage

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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