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Wild Antarctica - Sail/Fly Cruise

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.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrival in Ushuaia
Day 2 : Embarkation Day
Day 3 : Drake Passage Crossing
Day 4 : Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands
Days 5-10 : West Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea
Day 11 : Fly King George Island to Punta Arenas
Day 12 : Punta Arenas

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

Ship

Sylvia Earle

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Easy Active

Trip Snapshots

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Day 1 Arrival in Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your group hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2 Embarkation Day

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
This morning, your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 AM, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 PM to commence a tour of Ushuaia.

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighborhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.

After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before an important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, gather on the deck to commence your adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

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 your first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once you 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, you may attempt your first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Day 5-10 West Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 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 the 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.
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 most 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, where you’re likely to spot humpback, minke and orca whales. With good ice and plenty of luck, you may even get close to a well-known emperor penguin colony. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.

Day 11 Fly King George Island to Punta Arenas

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you approach Frei Base on King George Island, it is time to farewell Antarctica and your amazing adventure before boarding your flight (approximately one-and-a half-hours) to Punta Arenas, Chile. On arrival at the Punta Arenas airport, you will be transferred to your group hotel.

Day 12 Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, bid a fond farewell to your fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.
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Sylvia Earle

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Ushuaia - Hotels

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Deals

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.
Applies to Feb 15, 2022 departure

Per person starting at
$13,595
Select a Date
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
  • Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas on Day 10
  • Transfer to hotel in Punta Arenas on Day 10
  • One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas on Day 10
  • 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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