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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
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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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

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
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

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,990
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Category G Single
Five single cabins located on deck 3. 16 m², cabins have porthole window.
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Category F Triple
Four triple cabins located on deck 3. 22 m², cabins have porthole windows.
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Category E
Nine cabins located on deck 7. 16 m², cabins have a french balcony.
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Category D
Seven cabins located on deck 3 or 4. 22 m², cabins have porthole windows.
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Category C
57 cabins located on deck 4 or 6. 24 m², cabins include a balcony.
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Category B Triple
Four triple/family cabins located on deck 4 or 5. 28 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Category B
Two cabins located on deck 4. 35 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Category A
Four cabins located on deck 7. 42 m², cabins include a balcony. Include VIP services
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Premium Suite
One two-bedroom cabin located on deck 4. 45 m², the cabin includes a balcony. Include VIP services

Notes

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • 11-day cruise with accommodation in a shared outside double stateroom with private facilities
    • All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
    • Expedition parka
    • Rubber boot rentals
    • Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
    • Special Photo Workshop
    • English-speaking expedition team
    • Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!
    • Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks
    • Free tea and coffee 24 hours’ daily
    • Welcome and farewell cocktails
    • Taxes
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
    • Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
    • Meals not on board the ship
    • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
    • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 13.5 per person per day)
    • Personal expenses
    • Transfer to/from the ship
    • Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’
  • Required Emergency Evacuation Insurance of at least $200,000. Please let us know if you need help arranging this.

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