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Penguins on the shores of Antarctica

The Antarctic Peninsula and Extreme Weddell Sea

Ushuaia Roundtrip - Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Victory
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Join this 12-day Antarctic Peninsula and Extreme Weddell Sea cruise aboard Ocean Victory roundtrip Ushuaia. Begin by exploring Patagonia or Tierra del Fuego, immersing yourself in the region's rugged beauty. Upon boarding, traverse the Beagle Channel and brave the legendary Drake Passage, where encounters with whales and dolphins await. Enter the realm of the Antarctic Sound, Extreme Weddell Sea, and Peninsula, where colossal icebergs and diverse wildlife abound. Explore historic sites, witness vast penguin colonies, and marvel at breathtaking landscapes. As you venture westward along the Peninsula, the Gerlache Strait offers unparalleled natural wonders, from Zodiac cruises to encounters with humpback whales. Conclude your expedition with a visit to the South Shetland Islands then back to Ushuaia.
Midnight sun over the flat-topped icebergs of the Weddell SeaIncredible mountains and wildlife at the end of the world.UshuaiaHiking in Antarctica is rewarded with spectacular viewsMirror-like waters in Paradise BayPenguins on the shores of Antarctica
Highlights
  • Cross the infamous Drake Passage
  • Explore the volcanic landscape of the South Shetland Islands
  • Set foot on the Antarctic continent with landings on the peninsula
  • Look for seals, whales, penguins, and more spectacular wildlife
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival in Ushuaia | Embark

Upon arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina, the world's southernmost city. Explore Patagonia or opt for a stroll amidst the neighboring forests. For a venture beyond the ordinary, consider a day excursion to the untamed landscapes of Tierra del Fuego. This island offers a haven for avid hikers, with its rugged peaks, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and picturesque meadows teeming with vibrant flora. In the afternoon, board the vessel, waiting to welcome you in port.

Following the essential safety briefing, the expedition commences as you glide through the serene waters of the renowned Beagle Channel, named after Charles Darwin's illustrious vessel. This narrow strait delineates southern Tierra del Fuego, serving as a historic launchpad for countless explorations. Keep a keen eye out for glimpses of majestic whales and playful dolphins as you venture into the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage, charting a course toward the unknown.

Day 2-3: At sea - Crossing the Drake Passage Southbound

Navigating through the renowned Drake Passage, connecting Patagonia with the Antarctic Peninsula, prepare for the legendary turbulence and formidable westerly winds known as the Roaring Fifties. Fortunately, the purpose-built expedition vessels offer a smooth voyage, boasting a stabilizing X-Bow design and robust engines under the guidance of a seasoned crew. Embrace this exhilarating journey, regarded as a mark of distinction by seasoned sailors, as you cross it twice during the expedition.

During the time in the Drake Passage, the attention shifts to readying for the Antarctic arrival. Your Expedition Leader conducts comprehensive safety briefings and provides guidelines to ensure minimal impact on this pristine environment. Supported by the dedicated Expedition Team, assisting in securing your equipment while delivering specialized lectures on Antarctic exploration, wildlife, and beyond.

On the third day, you'll encounter the Antarctic Convergence, marked by a sudden temperature drop as warmer currents yield to Antarctic waters. This transition fosters a flourishing marine ecosystem, promising encounters with petrels, albatrosses, and potentially penguins, seals, and whales. Weather permitting, you aim to land on the South Shetland Islands in the afternoon, initiating your exploration of the Last Continent.

Day 4-6: The Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea

In the forthcoming days, the expedition ventures into the captivating region at the northeastern tip of the continent, the Antarctic Sound, the gateway to the Weddell Sea. This region is confusingly named after the Swedish vessel Antarctic which first sailed the area in 1902. Despite its northern location, the Antarctic Sound experiences harsh cold conditions due to winds and currents from the Weddell Sea. This area boasts some of Antarctica's most striking scenery, from the vast Adelie Penguin colonies at Hope Bay and Devil's Island to the dramatic volcanic cliffs at Brown Bluff.

Continuing southward into the Weddell Sea, named after early British Antarctic explorer James Weddell, encounter immense tabular icebergs and the expansive icepack that nurtures Antarctic krill, the foundation of the food chain. The presence of krill attracts a diverse array of wildlife, including penguins, seals, seabirds, and humpback whales, all of which you hopefully get to see while exploring this icy wilderness. 

Navigation through the Weddell Sea presents challenges due to substantial sea ice and massive icebergs. Experienced Captain and Expedition Leader adapt plans to ensure safe exploration, seizing opportunities to delve into this remote and rarely visited wilderness. Aim to come ashore at sites that showcase the majesty of the Antarctic environment and ecosystem, as well as explore on Zodiac cruises. Embrace the wonder of this journey into the unknown, exploring a region few have had the privilege to witness.

Day 7-8: The Antarctic Peninsula

In the days ahead, venture further west along the Antarctic Peninsula into the Gerlache Strait region. This icy expanse requires meticulous planning by the Expedition Leader and Captain, plotting a route to explore a variety of sites highlighting the area's staggering natural beauty.

The Gerlache Strait, consisting of the 'spine' of the Antarctic Peninsula and a large number of mountainous glaciated islands, offers a plethora of iconic Antarctic experiences. From Zodiac cruises in Paradise Bay to witnessing penguins nesting on Cuverville Island, each potential stop promises awe-inspiring encounters. Explore historic huts at Damoy Point, witness humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, and marvel at the jaw-dropping scenery of the Lemaire Channel. Wherever you go on the Antarctic Peninsula, endemic wildlife, tantalizing history and breathtaking natural beauty abound.

While the exact destinations depend on weather and ice conditions, your Expedition Leader ensures guests are informed of the plans through nightly briefings. In the ever-changing Antarctic environment, flexibility is key as you adapt plans to suit the conditions while offering enriching onboard experiences such as lectures, recaps, wine-tasting, and spa treatments.

Day 9: The South Shetland Islands

The Antarctic odyssey culminates amidst the rugged beauty of the South Shetland Islands. This archipelago represents the northernmost tip of Antarctica, standing proud against the relentless force of the Southern Ocean. Despite the furious elements, the islands boast a remarkable richness of wildlife, with numerous colonies of Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins dotting the island shores, accompanied by an array of formidable seabirds like the predatory Giant Petrels.

The ice-capped peaks of Livingstone, Greenwich, and King George Islands offer a stunning backdrop to explore. Experience the eerie landscape of Deception Island, an active volcanic crater with black steaming sands and rusting ruins, or witness the bustling penguin colonies on Aitcho and Half Moon Islands, or immerse yourself in the history of Yankee Harbour, once a vital anchorage for sealers.

As you bid farewell to the South Shetland Islands, you carry the memories of their stark beauty and abundant wildlife, a fitting conclusion to the extraordinary Antarctic expedition.

Day 10-11: At sea - Crossing the Drake Passage Northbound

Eventually depart Antarctica, and spend two days at sea on the way northwards back across the infamous Drake Passage, heading towards the more welcoming shores of the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. During the time at sea, a variety of activities can be arranged on board to provide the guests with the chance to reflect on their voyage. Relax with an expertly crafted cocktail in the Nordic Bar in the company of new friends, soak up the knowledge and passion of the Expedition Team during lectures in the Shackleton Lounge, or simply enjoy the flight of the albatross that accompanies you northwards.

During your last evening onboard, join the Captain and Officers for the Farewell Cocktail Party, followed by a presentation of photos and video by the onboard photographer - the ideal opportunity to re-live your Antarctic adventure. Skål!

Day 12: Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
On the morning of the final day of the voyage, you'll arrive back at the pier of Ushuaia, Argentina. Trees, grass, and a bustling city may seem strange to you after the white wilderness of Antarctica! After a hearty breakfast, it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Crew and Albatros Expedition Team, and descend the gangway back to dry land with memories of the voyage of a lifetime.

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
$11,295 2-3 travelers
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 $345/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
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 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
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

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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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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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