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Semi-Circumnavigation from Antarctica to New Zealand

Antarctica to New Zealand - Example 33 Day Cruise aboard SH Minerva
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As you embark on this 33-day once-in-a-lifetime voyage from South America to New Zealand, escape into a different world by boarding the opulent boutique ice-class ship. The grand semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica, which sails on smooth seas and passes across enormous icebergs, unspoiled landscapes, and incredible wildlife, checks off the world's greatest bucket list. We traverse cold waters to go to the world's most southerly islands, where very few explorers, adventurers, and scientists have gone before. You also get to join a small group of individuals who have visited some of the least-traveled locations on earth when we cross the polar circle.
Chinstrap penguins hopping along the rocksSeal enjoying the sun in Antarctica
Highlights
  • Enjoy the unique experience of a sun that hardly sets as you cross the polar circle
  • Discover rarely-visited islands where the world’s rarest birds live among exceptional flora
  • Follow in the footsteps of the world’s most legendary explorers who reached the South Pole within weeks of each other
  • Observe the colors as they shift from crystalline white to turquoise green
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Buenos Aires

Arrive in Buenos Aires, relax and spend the overnight here preparing for your adventure.

Day 2: Ushuaia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and embark on SH Vega for your Polar adventure.

Ushuaia is the gateway to the White Continent. Found at the southernmost tip of South America in Argentinian Patagonia, the city is often described as “the End of the World”. The city’s mountain backdrop rises above the harbour and entrance to the Beagle Channel. The town itself is walkable and has a few small museums as well as pubs, restaurants and cafes - a good place to try Patagonian lamb cooked over open fire pits.

 

Day 3: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of the on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from the onboard professional photographers.

Day 4-6: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Sound

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
While the South Shetlands’ proximity to Antarctica makes the ice-bound sea impassable during winter (April to November), these are the first islands to see snow melt in spring (March) and the slightly warmer temperature means that the fauna is also different from what you see in Antarctica proper. As you go ashore by Zodiac, notice ferns, grasses, lichens and native flora that have more in common with Patagonia than they do with Antarctica. The Antarctic Sound takes it up a notch with even more impressive bergs and ice cliffs. Possible landing points where you will meet thousands of breeding Adélie penguins include Brown Bluff and Paulet Island.

Day 7-8: Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Among captivating glaciers, majestic icebergs and snowy islands, the Antarctic Peninsula is where most visitors to the White Continent will live out their Antarctica dream. The Antarctic Peninsula, the most accessible area of the continent, hosts several scientific bases and some of the most interesting wildlife scenery, such as the extremely photogenic Lemaire Channel. Shore excursions might include Petermann Island, where among Adelie penguins, blue-eyed shags and skuas, huge, lumbering elephant seals haul out.

Day 9-12: Belinghausen Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Take in the magnitude of translucent bergs silently floating on crystal-clear seas, often broken up by the tail of a fluking whale and leopard seals resting on an ice floe, as we sail via two of the largest islands in the Antarctic - Alexander and Thurston Islands - past Peter I Island. Rarely visited by ships, Peter I is claimed by Norway. This ice-covered volcanic island is home to elephant seals, cape pigeons and southern fulmars.

Day 13-15: Amundsen Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
One of the most remote areas of Antarctica, covered mostly by glacial ice from the Thwaites ice tongue, and part of the Southern Ocean, Amundsen Sea is named for legendary Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen who led the first team to reach the South Pole in 1911. Marie Byrd Land on Antarctica’s western coast is the largest single unclaimed territory on earth where chinstrap penguins and skuas have set up home on the ice-capped Shepard Island.

Day 16-23: Ross Sea

  • Ship
  • 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners
One of the least-visited spots in Antarctica, the on-shore excursions will hopefully take you to Hut Point on Ross Island, site of the US McMurdo research station and New Zealand’s Scott Base. But the big draw is following in the footsteps of the great explorer, Robert Scott. Scott’s cabin is here on the slopes of Mount Erebus, where he set off for the South Pole reaching it on 17 January 1912 five weeks after Amundsen.

Day 24: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of the on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from the onboard professional photographers.

Day 25: Balleny Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Balleny Islands lie over 2,000 kilometres south of New Zealand, only a couple of hundred kilometres off the coast of Antarctica. The heavily glaciated islands have had few human visitors since their discovery in 1839. The surrounding Ross Sea is one of the most biologically productive regions in the Southern Ocean, with research into the extent of this claim still ongoing. Weather and condition permitting, here you can explore the striking coastal environments in Zodiacs. You’ll be hoping to spot humpback, fin and minke whales along with crabeater, Weddell, elephant and leopard seals. Some of the islands here are also home to large colonies of Adélie and chinstrap penguins.

Day 26-27: At sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of the on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from the onboard professional photographers.

Day 28: Macquarie Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sealers discovered the tiny windswept Macquarie Island (or Macca) in 1810. The southernmost territory of Australia, it is the site for Macquarie Island Station, an Australian Antarctic base, and a Tasmanian natural reserve and world heritage site protecting a pesty tundra ecosystem. Colonies of loudly barking southern elephant seals breed here and you might spot giant petrels and albatross. Four species of penguin make the island home including royal penguins, king, gentoo and southern rockhoppers.

Day 29: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of the on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from the onboard professional photographers.

Day 30: Campbell Island & Auckland Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Renowned for their seafaring and whaling traditions, the principal Māori iwi, Ngāi Tahu considers Auckland Islands (Maungahuka) a place of great spiritual significance. Port Ross at the north end of the main Auckland Island - the largest of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands - is a breeding site for southern right whales. You might also get to spot New Zealand sea lions alongside some of the world’s rarest birds including yellow-eyed penguins, white-capped mollymawk and Gibson’s wandering albatross.

Day 31: Enderby Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The smaller Enderby Island is a treat for birders including the Auckland Island snipe and teal, southern royal and light-mantled sooty albatrosses. The pocket-sized Auckland Island tomtit is a regular visitor and Hooker's sea lion haul out here. Growing on this remote archipelago 465 km south of South Island is an exceptionally rich flora of 200 native species such as pink gentiana, red rata blossoms, white tree daisies and megaherbs including the Campbell Island carrot.

Day 32: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to the library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of the on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from the onboard professional photographers.

Day 33: Dunedin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Your luxury expedition cruise sadly comes to an end in Dunedin, on the South Island, the principal city of the Otago region. Set in a pretty bay that serves as a port and surrounded by bush-covered hills, the town has quirky historic appeal. One of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere, Dunedin is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, and it’s proud of its Celtic connections. Small and eminently walkable, see elaborate civic buildings, New Zealand’s only castles, funky alleyways filled with street art, and picturesque parks. The Toitu Otago Early Settlers Museum and Otago Museum come highly recommended, as well as a visit to the Dunedin Chinese Garden.

Ship/Hotel

SH Minerva

SH Minerva in Arntarctica
Minerva sundeck
Minarva Jacuzzi

Buenos Aires - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$21,931
Minerva Ocean View
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Oceanview D4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Minerva Ocean View
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Oceanview M4
19 m2, Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Minerva BAlconyMinerva Balcony
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Balcony D5
28 m2, Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva BalconyMinerva BAlcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2, Located at the center of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedrooms with a living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva BAlconyMinerva Balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2, Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Minerva Suite
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Suite
44 m2, Our Suites features a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Minerva Premium Suite
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Premium Suite
49 m2, Our grandest suites feature a super king bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, a spacious walk-in wardrobe, and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Included
  • 32 Breakfasts, 30 Lunches, 31 Dinners
  • 32 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Room Service 
  • Wifi
  • Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day.
  • Lecture programs by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions.
  • All transfers between Airport, Hotel and Ship
  • Transfers and Flights: Buenos Aires - Ushuaia - Buenos Aires 
  • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard.
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Buenos Aires Hotel tax (up to $2 per person/night) - paid at checkout
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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