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Giants of the Southern Ocean: Whale Voyage with South Shetlands and the Antarctic Peninsula

Ushuaia Roundtrip - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Victory
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Join this 9-day cruise to the Giants of the Southern Ocean, roundtrip Ushuaia aboard Ocean Victory. Set sail from Ushuaia in Argentina, crossing the Drake Passage and heading towards the South Shetland Islands. With a unique X-BOW design, the ship offers a smoother sailing journey and provides plenty of opportunities to explore isolated Antarctica.
Departing late March, this is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of an abundance of wildlife, including humpback whales, seals, birds, and penguins. Along the way, you make Zodiac landings and set foot on the continent and nearby sub-Antarctic islands. This expedition includes kayaking and hikes to get as close as possible to the magnificent nature and stunning mountain scenery, with the breathtaking sunsets of the Antarctic providing a truly unique experience.
Highlights
  • Witness the plentiful wildlife, such as humpback whales, seals, and more
  • Explore the South Shetland Islands, with Zodiac landings, kayaking, & hikes
  • Experience shore landings, lectures, and whale safaris
  • Enjoy smoother sailing across Drake passage with the patented X-BOW design
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival Ushuaia | 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, you board the ship.
The journey begins as you navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago

Day 2-3: At Sea - Cross Drake Passage | South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sailing onward, you cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 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 Drake Passage a lifetime achievement, and you complete the crossing twice!
In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view. Weather permitting, you catch the first sight of seals and penguins! The area is also well known for its abundance of birds.
With the patented X-BOW design, the ship offer you a smoother sailing across the Drake passage, and due to the speed of the vessel, you might be able to do a first landing or activity in the South Shetland Islands on the afternoon of day 3, weather permitting.

Day 4: South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Over the day, you begin the exciting Antarctic experience your ancestors only dreamed of. Explore the sub-Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes you encounter along the way.
Weather permitting, your projected landfalls include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim; and Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson's storm petrels.
The itinerary and activities depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings can be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings

Day 5-6: Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As the white shimmer of Antarctica looms on the horizon, wildlife abounds along your projected route along the Antarctic Peninsula, with especially Antarctic fur seals, gentoo penguins and humpback whales being active in these wonderful waters.
You aim to take your time at these outings, allowing to deploy kayaks and arrange wonderful hikes in the pristine nature. The late season solitude creates unique memories as the sun sets and as you leave these isolated areas that most probably won’t welcome any visitors until next spring.
The projected landings include: Wilhelmina bay with plenty of humpback whales; Neko harbor with its gentoo penguins and seals; Brown station and Paradise harbor with wonderful views and on your way back north, a wonderful walk at Hannah Point awaits you.
The itinerary and activities over the next days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings can be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.
Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all the passengers and staff. 
For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, the ships offer excellent public areas such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for the passengers to spend their spare time. The ships are staffed by experts in the field who can also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.
Visitors to these far southern reaches in mid to late March/beginning of April experience large amounts of whales, wonderful sunsets, crisp fresh air, dustings of snow and other telltale signs of the seasonal change. Some penguin colonies are near deserted whilst others are very busy. Many say that this is the time to visit the real Antarctic, and have it all for yourselves. It is safe to say that there can be fewer other ships around as you wrap up the season.

Day 7-8: Depart Antarctica - At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You depart Antarctica and spend two days at sea on your way back to the calms of Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. En route, you cross 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 can be arranged on board which 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 9: Back in Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, you arrive back in Ushuaia for the conclusion of your tour, where you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Victory

Ocean Victory ship
Ocean Victory ship
Ocean Victory ship in South Georgia

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,995
Ocean Victory Cat-G
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Category G Single
Single Stateroom (Porthole) 18 m2 Standard single stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located stateroom close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures on the Zodiacs. Single staterooms are normally with a porthole, single bed (200*90), reading light, and a sitting chair.
Ocean Victory Cat-E Cat-F Porthole_Triple
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Category F Triple
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) 22 m2 There are four Triple staterooms on board Ocean Victory featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with a sofa bed and two twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
OceanVictory Cat-E
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Category E
French Balcony Suite 16 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
OceanVictory Cat-D
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Category D
Albatros State Stateroom (Porthole) 22 m2 The standard stateroom on Ocean Victory is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the zodiacs. The staterooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Victory. The standard staterooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and bathroom. The staterooms are located on deck 3 except for 1 which is located on deck 4.
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category C
Balcony State Stateroom 24 m2 The most abundant type of stateroom on Ocean Victory, the Balcony State Staterooms are located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom, and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility under this category.
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) 24 sqm., incl. Balcony
Ocean Victory Cat COcean Victory Cat C
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm., incl. Balcony
Ocean Victory Cat-B2
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Category B
Balcony Suite 35 m2 Ocean Victory has 2 Balcony Suites on board located on Deck 4. The suites feature double or twin beds, a seating area, a bathroom and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Victory Cat-AOcean Victory Cat-A
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Category A
Junior suite 42 m2 The 4 Junior Suites aboard Ocean Victory have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom, and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Victory Cat-D
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Premium Suite
Premium suite 45 m2 – PS The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Victory is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony, and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck. 4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $250/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more.
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Parkas and Boots in assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Special photo workshop
  • Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner (selected labels and brands, served at the a-la-carte dinners)
  • All Zodiac landings and excursions, as per itinerary, guided by the Expedition Team
  • Free tea and coffee available 24 hours
  • Taxes and landing fees
  • Embarkation shuttle transfer to the vessel from Ushuaia city centre
  • Shuttle transfer after disembarkation from the ship to Ushuaia city centre or airport
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.

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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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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