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A whale plays near the surface at dusk.

Explorers Cruise: Antarctic Peninsula and the Extreme Weddell Sea

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Victory
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Experience the incredible wildlife in icy waters, stunning mountain scenery and gigantic icebergs during 11 action-packed days aboard the Ocean Victory. Departing Ushuaia in Argentina, cross the mighty Drake Passage on your way to the South Shetland Islands. From here, navigate the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Enjoy the spectacular views as you make landings at penguin rookeries, research stations and fascinating sights. Continuing eastward, explore the Antarctic Sound with its mighty tabular icebergs and enter the Weddell Sea in search for wildlife. On your way back, follow in Ernest Shackleton and rest of the Endurance crews wake as you navigate close to Elephant Island. On no other journey can you experience so much pristine nature and varied wildlife in so few days!
Hauling kayaks out for a paddleHiking to a summit with views of the glaciers belowTravel to Antarctica's icebergsBeautiful UshuaiaMinke whale swimming in the oceanPenguins in the Antarctic landscapeKayaking toward an icebergA whale plays near the surface at dusk.
Highlights
  • Cross the famed Drake Passage
  • Admire the unique Antarctic wildlife
  • Explore the captivating landscapes of South Shetland Islands
  • Discover the dramatic Lemaire Channel
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, board your ship, Ocean Victory.

Your journey begins as you navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.

Day 2-3: At Sea - Crossing the Drake Passage

Sailing onward, cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, called the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard the expedition vessel, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly-qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider the Drake Passage a lifetime achievement, and you will complete the crossing twice!

In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view. Weather permitting, catch the first sight of seals and penguins! The area is also well-known for its abundance of birds.

Day 4-5: Antarctic Peninsula | South Shetland Islands

The next couple of days, you will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain.
 
Landfalls could include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim; and Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson's storm petrels and chinstrap penguins.
 
The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.

Day 6-8: Antarctic Sound | Weddell Sea | Elephant Island

Over the coming days, you will begin the exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the Continent. During these days in the Antarctic Sound, named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic, the captain and the expedition team will keep a watchful eye on the mighty tabular icebergs, born from the floating Larsen Ice Shelf further south. Aim to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.
 
The Weddell Sea takes its name from the early British explorer James Weddell, who by hunting seals through a break in the ice in 1823 got to the southernmost point at his time. As you enter the Weddell Sea of today, you grow accustomed to giant floating icebergs and witness the sheer quantity of sea ice in these waters. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell and elephant seals and seabirds. Humpbacks feed in the nutrient-rich waters (caused by the upwell of cold water from the ocean depths), so there are opportunities to see whales, as well as the Antarctic’s largest predator, the solitary leopard seal.
 
Landfalls could include: Devil Island, where you would experience a large colony of Adélie penguins; Brown bluff; with abundances of wildlife living on the beaches under the basalt cliffsides and Esperanza Base with its year-round Argentinian research station.
 
Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible; your captain and expedition leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the most magnificent opportunities.  This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, and you'll be visiting an area few humans have ever seen.
 
Finalize your Weddell Sea/Antarctic Sound adventure by navigating to Elephant Island, home to elephant seals, maybe even along parts of the same route as Shackleton’s daring lifeboat escape (this route is only possible if conditions allow it!). While a landing is unlikely, hope to see where the Elephant island party waited for rescue boat to reach them at Point Wild. A famous part of expedition history, that seems adequate to end your Antarctic explorations this time around.

Day 9-10: Depart Antarctica - At Sea

Depart Antarctica and spend two days at sea on the way back to the calms of Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. En-route, cross the Drake Passage and cruise past Cape Horn, a legendary maritime landmark and the southern tip of South America.

During the time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged onboard which will provide the perfect opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers equally passionate for discovering the world, enjoy the lectures by the expedition on board, visit the shop or relax at leisure on the ship’s facilities, designed to provide a comfortable, relaxing time.

Day 11: Ushuaia | Disembark

This morning, arrive back in Ushuaia for the conclusion of your voyage, where you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Victory

Ocean Victory ship
Ocean Victory ship
Ocean Victory ship in South Georgia

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Ocean Victory Cat-G
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Category G Single
Single Stateroom (Porthole) 18 m2 Standard single stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located stateroom close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures on the Zodiacs. Single staterooms are normally with a porthole, single bed (200*90), reading light, and a sitting chair.
Ocean Victory Cat-E Cat-F Porthole_Triple
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Category F Triple
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) 22 m2 There are four Triple staterooms on board Ocean Victory featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with a sofa bed and two twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
OceanVictory Cat-E
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Category E
French Balcony Suite 16 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
OceanVictory Cat-D
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Category D
Albatros State Stateroom (Porthole) 22 m2 The standard stateroom on Ocean Victory is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the zodiacs. The staterooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Victory. The standard staterooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and bathroom. The staterooms are located on deck 3 except for 1 which is located on deck 4.
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category C
Balcony State Stateroom 24 m2 The most abundant type of stateroom on Ocean Victory, the Balcony State Staterooms are located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom, and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility under this category.
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) 24 sqm., incl. Balcony
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm., incl. Balcony
Ocean Victory Cat-B2
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Category B
Balcony Suite 35 m2 Ocean Victory has 2 Balcony Suites on board located on Deck 4. The suites feature double or twin beds, a seating area, a bathroom and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Victory Cat-AOcean Victory Cat-A
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Category A
Junior suite 42 m2 The 4 Junior Suites aboard Ocean Victory have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom, and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Victory Cat-D
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Premium Suite
Premium suite 45 m2 – PS The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Victory is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony, and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck. 4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $345/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more.
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Parkas and Boots in assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Special photo workshop
  • Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner (selected labels and brands, served at the a-la-carte dinners)
  • All Zodiac landings and excursions, as per itinerary, guided by the Expedition Team
  • Free tea and coffee available 24 hours
  • Taxes and landing fees
  • Embarkation shuttle transfer to the vessel from Ushuaia city centre
  • Shuttle transfer after disembarkation from the ship to Ushuaia city centre or airport
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.
  • Camping - This should be secured at the time of booking. Limited to 30 participants only and offered on all Nov - Jan voyages if conditions allow.
  • Snowshoeing - Offered on all Nov - Dec trips if conditions allow. (For Svalbard trips, only in June) This be booked onboard only.
  • Kayaking - Offered on all ships and all trips if conditions allow. This can be booked onboard only.

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