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Antarctic sunset

The Weddell Sea & the South Sandwich Islands

Example 18 Day Cruise aboard Le Commandant Charcot
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From Patagonia to the Antarctic peninsula, via South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, this 18-day cruise will take you into the heart of the Scotia Arc. This volcanic archipelago at the junction of the Andes cordillera and the Antarctandes will be revealed to you in all its riches and splendor. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals mingle on the beautiful dark sand beaches. This cruise will also be an opportunity to discover four very different ecosystems, from the wooded heights of the Tierra del Fuego and the tabletop icebergs of the Weddell Sea to the glacier-covered mountains of the South Sandwich Islands and the snow-capped summits of South Georgia.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Day 4 : South Shetland Islands
Day 5 : North Antarctic Peninsula
Day 6 : Weddell Sea
Day 7 : Southern Thule, Sandwich Islands
Day 8 : Cook Island
Day 9 : Saunders Island
Day 10 : Zavodovski Island
Day 11 : At Sea
Days 12-13 : South Georgia
Days 14-17 : At Sea
Day 18 : Montevideo, Uruguay | Disembark

Highlights

  • Sail along the Scotia Arc, between the Atlantic and Southern Oceans
  • Admire the volcanic mountains on the South Sandwich Islands
  • Discover the table top icebergs in the Weddell, glaciers & ice floes
  • Observe unique Antarctic wildlife including: king penguins & elephant seals

Ship

Le Commandant Charcot

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Antarctic sunset Nights in Ushuaia Seals in Antarctica with zodiac in background Lone kayaker Photographing penguins Plaza Independencia in Montevideo
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Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

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 2-3 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the Zodiac® outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

Day 4 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 5 North Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Throughout your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld’s ship, which was trapped by the ice during an important scientific expedition in 1902. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great many leopard seals.

Day 6 Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Amidst the eerie stillness of the Weddell Sea, you'll wend your way through a veritable labyrinth of the dense ice floe and majestic table icebergs. Sweeping ice platforms sculpt a landscape unlike any other, populated by fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and other imposing seabirds. The Weddell seal, king of this realm, will welcome you to his territory with a haunting cry that pierces the surrounding silence. You'll recognize him by his dark grey coat and spotted belly. Weddell seals have the impressive distinction of being able to stay underwater for more than an hour.

Day 7 Southern Thule, Sandwich Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The southernmost island in the Sandwich Islands is a volcano that rises to an altitude of 700 meters. For a long time, this former military base was the source of conflicts between the British and the Argentinians, who finally took possession of the island in 1982 after the Falklands War. While you are there, you may get the chance to observe impressive elephant seals and Adelie or chinstrap penguins.

Day 8 Cook Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cook Island, an uninhabited volcano buried under a thick white coat, seems to float on the surface of the ocean. There is a striking contrast between the imposing and peaceful mass of glistening ice and the brown sheer cliffs that loom over its shores. Its highest peak, Mount Harmer, rises to an altitude of 1,115 meters. This island, the largest in the Southern Thule island group, was discovered by James Cook in 1775, the first explorer to have crossed the Antarctic Circle in search of a new continent. In 1819, the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen christened it as a tribute to this illustrious explorer.

Day 9 Saunders Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The brown volcanic silhouette of Saunders Island, overlooked by Mount Michael, which rises to an altitude of more than 900 meters, will then come into view on the horizon. The island’s frozen and rugged shores are considered very difficult to access. If you have the good fortune of being able to land in this lunar landscape, you will be able to meet chinstrap and Adelie penguins or attempt to observe the Cape petrels nesting in crevices along with the cliff faces. It is one of only eight volcanoes in the world whose summit crater, with a diameter of 700 meters, contains a persistent lava lake. Its most recent eruption was in 2005.

Day 10 Zavodovski Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lying in the north of this archipelago, this majestic volcanic island is often ice-free year-round, unlike the islands further south. Different species can be found on either side of this bio-geographic border: Subantarctic species in the north and Antarctic species in the south. Enveloped in the warmth of the volcanic fumaroles, one of the world’s largest colonies of chinstrap penguins (over two million individuals) thrives in this ideal environment. This volcanic island was discovered in 1819 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honor of his ship’s captain.

Day 11 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant-Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the onboard lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles.

Day 12-13 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 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 will recognize by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.

Day 14-17 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant-Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the onboard lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles.

Day 18 Montevideo, Uruguay | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is a white city, and one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Come and admire the beautiful historical remains dating from Spanish rule; you’ll find the most interesting within the Cuidad Vieja, formerly fortified, its old town dates from the 18th century. The best-preserved are the cathedral and the former governmental palace of the Cabildo, both listed historical monuments. In the crook of a vast blue bay, the city is also blessed with beautiful beaches.

Disembark after breakfast
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Le Commandant Charcot

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Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
20m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 7
20m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 8
20m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Privilege Stateroom Deck 6
28m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Privilege Stateroom Deck 7
28m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Privilege Stateroom Deck 8
28m² and a 5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 7
40m² and a 10m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with two showers, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Prestige Suite Deck 8
40m² and a 10m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with two showers, dressing table with hairdryer, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
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Privilege Suite Deck 6
48m² and a 12.5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub, dressing table with hairdryer, butler service, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
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Privilege Suite Deck 8
48m² and a 12.5m² private balcony, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub, dressing table with hairdryer, butler service, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
Le Commandant Charcot cabin
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Suite Duplex
48m² and a 26m² private balcony with jacuzzi, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub, dressing table with hairdryer, butler service, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe
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Owner's Suite
114m² and a 186m² private balcony with jacuzzi, king-sized bed or two twin beds, private bathroom with shower and Balneo bathtub, dressing table with hairdryer, butler service, flat screen tv, wifi, minibar and safe

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and are subject to change without notice.

Your program includes:
  • Transfer from the airport upon flight arrival or from your chosen pick-up location within a 50-kilometer range from Santiago city center.
  • 1-night accommodation in a 5* hotel the night before embarkation.
Your hotel will be confirmed a few weeks before your cruise.
  • Early check-in available from late morning.
  • Hospitality desk at the hotel in Santiago.
  • Outbound flight Santiago/Ushuaia selected in economy class.
Seats in business class may be available, please contact your travel agent.
  • Meals as mentioned in the program and beverage package.
  • Transfer as mentioned in the program.
Your program does not include:
  • Tips for the local guide.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Other meals and services not mentioned in the program.
  • Kayaking Discovery: $490 per person (one outing lasting approximately 1.5 hours) Kayaking Exploration: $990 per person (3 outings lasting approximately 1.5 hours each) Kayaking options must be pre-booked.
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