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Spirit of Antarctica

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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Embrace the spirit of polar exploration on this classic expedition to the coveted white continent. Sail across the famed Drake Passage, admiring spectacular seabirds and approaching the ice as the explorers of old did: by sea. With a chance to Zodiac-cruise through pack ice, set foot on the continent, choose from a range of adventure options and even perhaps camp under pastel polar skies, this is the quintessential Antarctic voyage for adventure lovers.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrival in Ushuaia
Day 2 : Ushuaia | Embark
Day 3 : Drake Passage Crossing
Day 4 : Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands
Days 5-9 : Antarctic Peninsula
Days 10-11 : Drake Passage crossing
Day 12 : Disembark in Ushuaia

Highlights

  • Hone your ice and wildlife photography skills
  • Search for orcas and minke whales in the icy bays
  • Observe busy penguin colonies building their nests

Ship

Sylvia Earle

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

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Day 1 Arrival in Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, renowned for its exquisite chocolates and breathtaking scenery. After transferring to your downtown hotel, the rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day 2 Ushuaia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
After checking out of the hotel, explore Ushuaia and its surroundings. Mid-afternoon, settle into the Sylvia Earle for an early evening departure down the Beagle Channel.

Day 3 Drake Passage Crossing

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you commence the Drake Passage crossing, make the most of your time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. The expedition team prepare you for your first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start your lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Your wildlife experiences begin as you enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in your wake. They rise and fall skillfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 4 Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Day 5-9 Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are yours to explore, and you have a host of choices available. Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Generally, landings or Zodiac excursions happen twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of your favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore, aim to stretch your legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, you may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Day 10-11 Drake Passage crossing

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Today, landings come to an end as you enter the Drake Passage for your return journey to South America. With lectures and film presentations to complete your Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what you have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on your attitude to life.
As you approach the tip of South America, the Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

Day 12 Disembark in Ushuaia

  • 1 Breakfast
Cruise up the Beagle Channel early this morning before slipping into to dock in Ushuaia, where your voyage concludes after breakfast.
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Sylvia Earle

Ushuaia - Hotels

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Deals

Save 20%
Special Savings - Book now and save 20% per person. Select departures only. Valid for all cabin types, except Aurora Stateroom Superior and Captain's Suite. For new bookings after January 6, 2020. Contact us for details.
Applies to Dec 7, 2021 departure

Save 25%
Special Savings - Book now and save 25% per person. Select departures only. Valid for all cabin types, except Aurora Stateroom Triple, Aurora Stateroom Twin and Aurora Stateroom Superior. For new bookings after January 6, 2020. Contact us for details.
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Per person starting at
$12,295
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
4 Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
Greg Mortimer
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Aurora Stateroom Twin
3 Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
Located on Deck 7, the Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony Stateroom
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Balcony Stateroom C
11 Balcony Stateroom C cabins - most economical, fitted with all the necessities and comfortable for up to 2 people. These cabins are scattered throughout Deck 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom B
17 Balcony Stateroom B Cabins - standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups. These cabins are located at the fore and aft of Deck 4 and 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
23 Balcony Stateroom A cabins - premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions on Deck 4 and 6 which provides easy access between Decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
Located on Deck 4 and 6, the Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Greg Mortimer- Junior Suite
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Junior Suite
4 Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer-Captain's Suite
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Captain’s Suite
Captain's Suite - the largest of all our rooms, will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you'll need to get in early to secure this suite.

Notes

Inclusions
  • Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1
  • One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1
  • City tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 (lunch not included)
  • Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2
  • Transfer from pier to downtown Ushuaia or to airport on Day 12
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Free access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees

Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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