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Antarctic Explorer Express

Ushuaia to Punta Arenas - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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By flying across the Drake Passage in one direction and spending less time in the Antarctic Peninsula, this 9-day Antarctic Explorer Express voyage aboard the Sylvia Earle is ideal for those wanting a fast adventure. Experience the awe-inspiring immensity of Antarctica and immerse yourself in the unimaginable beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula, where vast glaciers tumble into the sea, penguins are dwarfed by soaring peaks, and humpback and minke whales feast on abundant krill. Reduce your time on the high seas by flying at least one way across the Drake Passage.

 
Highlights
  • Skip one or two legs of the Drake Passage to maximize your holiday time on the white continent
  • Zodiac-cruise in search of feeding and breaching whales
  • Chance to spot leopard seals on ice floes from our Zodiacs
Activity Level: Easy Active
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia

Having made your way to Ushuaia, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception. Afterward, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).  

Day 2: Ushuaia | Embarkation

This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labeled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Enjoy free time after check-out, meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 pm to commence a short sightseeing tour of Ushuaia.  

Ushuaia, the 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 a combination of mountains, sea, glaciers, and forests. On this brief 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. 
 
If you choose to not participate in the sightseeing tour, you will need to make your own way to the Prison Museum carpark by 3.45 pm to re-join the group for the transfer to the pier for embarkation. 

After embarkation, you will have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, you will gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.  

Day 3-4: Drake Passage crossing

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you commence the Drake Passage crossing, you make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepares you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and starts our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife, and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as you enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following our vessel. On sea days, you may enjoy the facilities onboard the vessel including the gym, wellness center, or relaxing in one of the observation lounges.  

Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of 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 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. Time and weather permitting, you may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon. 

Day 5-7: Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
It is almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the freshest, 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 you have a host of choices available to us. 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. 

You generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will 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 aim to stretch your legs, wander 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 will have the option to participate in the activity whenever conditions allow, and of course, keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting! The polar plunge can take place at any time during the voyage, so listen out for the announcement from the expedition team and get ready for the most exhilarating dip of your life!  

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 traveling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge (open at the captain’s discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendor. Listen out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of the pristine paradise of the splendid white continent. 

Day 8: King George Island | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
As you approach Frei Base on King George Island, it is time to farewell Antarctica and our amazing adventure before boarding our flight (approximately one hour and forty-five minutes) to Punta Arenas, Chile. There is time for reflection and discussion about what you have seen and experienced. You hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends, and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here. 

At Punta Arenas airport, you will be transferred to our group hotel for an overnight stay.  

Note: King George Island is located at the northern tip 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 possible delays. 

Day 9: Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, bid a fond farewell to your fellow travelers as we continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature (breakfast included). A transfer to the airport is included in the voyage fare.  

Ship/Hotel

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
Sylvia Earle - Sun Deck
Science center

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$11,695
Sylvia Earle Aurora Stateroom Twin
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Aurora Stateroom Twin
215.27 ft2 - 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.
Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
22.67m2 (244ft2) - There are two Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
19.9m2 - 20.8m2(214.2ft2 - 223.9ft2) - 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
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 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
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 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
19.5m² - 28.7m² (209.9ft² - 308.9ft²)- 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
29.2m2 - 35.2m2 (314.3ft2 - 378.9ft2) - 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
Up to 41.6m2 (447.8ft2)- 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
43.8m2 (471.5 ft2) - 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.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Access to Onboard Doctor and Basic Medical Services
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • Charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island or King George Island to Punta Arenas
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service)
  • Wifi

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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