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Antarctica - Beyond the Polar Circle - Wilkins Ice Shelf

Example 16 Day Cruise aboard MV Hondius
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Discover a variety of historically significant Antarctic regions, including the rarely seen Bellingshausen Sea, Marguerite Bay, and Alexander Island. This 16-day expedition cruise concentrates on the locations discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during his Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897–1899) and Jean-Baptiste Charcot on his French Antarctic Expedition (1904–07).
Albatross cruising the Drake Passage to AntarcticaA specatular iceberg off the coast of AntarcticaCrabeater sealAntarctic sunsetAn ocean of icebergs.Lone kayaker
Highlights
  • Explore Porquoi Pas and Horseshoe Islands
  • Cruise through one of Antarctica's most impressive narrow channels, The Gullet.
  • Discover the rarely seen Antarctic ice shelves, the George IV and Wilkins
  • View orcas, humpbacks, and minke whales in Crystal Sound
  • Hike Leonie Island for stunning views of Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia | Embark

The voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Day 2-3: Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage,  enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas –  in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does marine life change, but avian life also changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds to see.

Day 4: Pendleton Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.
In the afternoon we sail to the Fish Islands and encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Spending the night in the area of Crystal Sound the scenery will leave you staying up until the small hours, there is a chance to see Orca, Humpback and Minke Whale in this area.

Day 5: Detaille Island and The Gullet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Detaille Island – Make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty position and imposing glaciers scenery.
Sail through The Gullet, one of the most impressive narrow channels in the Antarctic, with towering mountains on either side, birds following the ship, and playful penguins and seals frolicking in the water as we sail through this very special part of the journey. If ice conditions allow we will also carry out a landing or cruise in the afternoon.

Day 6: Porquoi Pas and Horseshoe Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discovered and charted by the famous explorer Charcot, Pourquoi Pas offers a pleasant landing on a rocky beach against the backdrop of the mighty Moider Glacier. A gentle walk from the landing site provides an impressive view, while Antarctic furs and seals relaxing behind the beach are a nice addition to the wildlife we’ve encountered on this voyage.
After lunch, head toward Horseshoe Island, named for its distinctive shape. An abandoned research station provides an insight into the early days of scientific research, and original artifacts show how different life was in those pioneering days. The hut is set among some of the most beautiful scenery in Antarctica, with views over the mountains and snow of Pourquoi Pas Island as well as Horseshoe Island’s mountain range. This is a photographic landing in many senses. Two old wooden boats even remain at the landing site as if waiting for their final launch.

Day 7-10: George IV and Wilkins Ice Shelf

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Provided ice and weather conditions allow, head toward Antarctica’s ice shelves (the George IV and Wilkins). Here we hope to show you the scale of these vast cliffs and expanses of ice that will dwarf us and our ship. A range of Antarctic wildlife like humpback whales, fur seals, Adélie penguins, and maybe even one or more Ross’ seals may appear.

Day 11: Jenny and Leonie Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Jenny Island will give another aspect to your Antarctic experience, offering raised beaches, hanging glaciers, and moss carpets. The island is also popular with wildlife: Terns, skuas, elephant seals, leopard seals, and Adélie penguins are all regular visitors.
A landing at Leonie Island will take your breath away. There is also the possibility to take a hike to the peak of the island, giving you a dramatic panorama of Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island.

Day 12: Lagoon and Mikkelsen Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lagoon island is the most northern island of the Leonie Islands group, also discovered and charted by Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This low laying island will provide a stark contrast to the previous days with its gently sloped beaches and flat areas to explore. The wildlife here will varies depending on snow cover. If there is little snow the ground is almost desert-like in appearance.
The Mikkelsen Islands offer a spectacular Zodiac cruise where we hope to encounter up to five Antarctic seal species. We may also see some beautiful birdlife, such as giant petrels and Adélie penguins.

Day 13-15: Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
While crossing the Drake, be greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. 

Day 16: Ushuaia | Disembark

It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Ship/Hotel

MV Hondius

MV Hondius
MV Hondius
MV Hondius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,400
MV Hondius
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Quadruple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 upper & lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Triple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 1 upper berth & 2 lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Window
Located on deck 4. Approximately 129 to 151 sq. ft. 1 window, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin deluxe
Located on deck 6. Approximately 205 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 2 single beds, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Superior
Located on deck 6. Approximately 215 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Junior Suite
Located on deck 7. Approximately 205 to 215 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Grand Suite with balcony
Located on deck 7. Approximately 291 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
Included
  • 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners
  • 15 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Comprehensive Pre- and Post-voyage Information Materials
     
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
     
  • Snowshoes Available on Loan for Shore Excursions on Designated Voyages
  •  Luggage Transfer from Pick-up Point to the Vessel on the Day of Embarkation in Ushuaia
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • 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
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements

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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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