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Antarctic Explorer Express - Sail/Fly

Ushuaia - Punta Arenas - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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The 9-day Antarctic Explorer Express Cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas aboard the Greg Mortimer is an excellent option for those seeking a quick adventure to the Antarctic Peninsula. By flying over the Drake Passage in one direction and spending less time in the area, you can experience Antarctica and immerse yourself in its beauty. Witness enormous glaciers tumbling into the sea, see penguins in landscapes, and watch humpback and minke whales feed on krill. Flying at least one way across the Drake Passage will reduce your time on the open water.
Highlights
  • Fly over the Drake Passage for a quicker and smoother journey
  • Zodiac-cruise in search of feeding and breaching whales
  • Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • See penguins in their natural habitat
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. 

This afternoon, visit the hospitality desk in the lobby between 8.00 am and 12.00 pm, or 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm, to collect your luggage tags, and confirm if you wish to join the Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise (sea lion island) tomorrow. The team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information on where to dine or purchase last-minute items.   

The remainder of your time is at leisure. 

Assigned accommodation: Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel 

Day 2: Ushuaia | Embarkation

This morning, enjoy breakfast and check out. Ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labeled with your name and cabin number. Take your cabin luggage to the hotel reception, before, or at check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, to be placed in your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.  

Your morning is at leisure to explore Ushuaia. 

Those wishing to join the afternoon catamaran cruise, meet back at the hotel lobby at 12.45 pm ready to transfer to the port at 1.00 pm. Here you board your catamaran and sail the Beagle Channel, towards the city’s iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Crossing the Bridges Archipelago you’ll slow down to watch colonies of sea lions and imperial cormorants sun themselves on the rocky outcrops, while gulls, rock cormorants, skuas, petrels, albatrosses, and cauquenes are often sighted. The cruise offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountain range, in addition to hearing tales of the people and communities of the region. 

Alternatively, enjoy your day at leisure and meet at your hotel lobby at 3.45 pm to be transferred to the pier for embarkation. 

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

This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica. 

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. A transfer to the airport is included in the voyage fare.  

Note: Should your flight not proceed due to local conditions; you will remain on the ship until it is deemed achievable to return to Punta Arenas. Refer to the terms and conditions for further details. 
 

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

Kayak in Antarctica
Greg Mortimer- Comfortable Dining
Greg Mortimer

Ushuaia - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$13,595
Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
Greg Mortimer
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Aurora Stateroom Twin Share
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, 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.
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony Stateroom
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony StateroomGreg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
Greg Mortimer
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - 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
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • 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.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • Charter flight King George Island to Punta Arenas on Day 8
  • One night's hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Punta Arenas on Day 8
  • One night's hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Ushuaia on Day 1
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
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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