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Wild Antarctica - Punta Arenas to Ushuaia

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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Famed for its tremendous tabular icebergs, year-round sea ice, fascinating fossils and the pivotal role it played in Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, the Weddell Sea offers unsurpassed opportunities for exploration. Embark on a true Antarctic expedition as you not only explore the west Antarctic Peninsula, but also attempt to venture east towards the icy perimeter of the Weddell Sea, often guarded by impenetrable pack ice and home to awe-inspiring tabular icebergs.
Highlights
  • Be awed by the array of wildlife who play and hunt in the Antarctic Sound
  • Marvel at enormous tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea
  • Learn about the incredible fossil-rich volcanic islands from our onboard paleontologist
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Easy Active
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Punta Arenas

Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. 

Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world's most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great mix of cultures, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors, and it remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile's rich history.

At approximately 6.00 pm this evening, meet your fellow expeditioners at a voyage briefing. Afterwards, there’s free time to enjoy the local cuisine at one of Punta Arenas’s many restaurants. (Dinner not included). 

Accommodation: Hotel Cabo de Hornos (or similar)

Day 2: Fly Punta Arenas to King George Island

This morning we will be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for our charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica (weather permitting). The flight will take approximately one-and-a-half hours.

On arrival into King George Island our expedition team is on hand to greet you for your Zodiac transfer to board the vessel. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. 

Note: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required for safe take-off and landing. We apologize in advance for any delays. 

Day 3-9: Weddell Sea & Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 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 we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we 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.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions 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 our favorite spots along the peninsula. 

While ashore we aim to stretch our 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, we 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 splendor. 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.

Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley, many large tabular bergs escape the Weddell Sea through the Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone. 
Be spoiled for wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of the Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac cruises or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. 

Day 10-11: Drake Passage crossing

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Our landings come to an end as we enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America. With lectures and film presentations to complete our 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 we have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on our attitude to life.

As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

Day 12: Disembark Ushuaia

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to the airport or to your hotel is included in the cost of the voyage. 

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Ship/Hotel

Sylvia Earle

Greg Mortimer Expedition Cruise
Greg Mortimer- On-Board Entertainment
Greg Mortimer- Comfortable Dining

Ushuaia - Hotels

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$15,595
Sylvia Earle Aurora Stateroom Twin
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Aurora Stateroom Twin
There are two 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. May be converted into a Triple Share cabin with additional bed on request.
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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.
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
  • All airport transfers
  • One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas on day 1
  • 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
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • 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 
  • Gratuities for ship crew

Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights to or within South America, 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, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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