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A group of penguins in the Falkland Islands

Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica - Photographic Special

Puerto Madryn - Ushuaia - Example 21 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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This 21-day Antarctic adventure aboard Ortelius begins in Puerto Madryn. Spot southern right whales in Golfo Nuevo. Explore the Falkland Islands’ wildlife and history, including Steeple Jason’s albatross colony, Carcass Island’s birdlife, and Saunders Island’s penguins. Cross the Antarctic Convergence, experiencing rich marine life. In South Georgia, visit king penguin colonies at Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, and Gold Harbour. Discover Fortuna Bay and Grytviken’s historical whaling stations. Visit the South Orkney Islands and enjoy glacier views. Enter the Weddell Sea, exploring Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. Continue to the South Shetland Islands, visiting Half Moon Island and Deception Island. Sail the western Antarctic Peninsula, encounter glaciers, seals, and whales, and conclude your journey in Ushuaia.
Penguin jump in AntarcticaSeals rest on a floating piece of iceRockhopper penguinsUshuaia in the eveningAlbatros on Saunders IslandAn ocean of icebergs.Penguin and landscapeA colony of king penguins on South GeorgiaKing penguins on South GeorgiaExplore Port Stanley in the Falkland IslandsMidnight sun over the flat-topped icebergs of the Weddell SeaA group of penguins in the Falkland Islands
Highlights
  • Explore the abundance of wildlife in the Falkland Islands
  • Discover the world's largest black-browed albatross colony on Steeple Jason
  • Experience the rodent-free Carcass Island teeming with diverse bird species
  • Sail through the icy Weddell Sea
  • Find breeding colonies of king penguins, elephant seals in South Georgia
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: Puerto Madryn | Embark

Embark from Puerto Madryn in the afternoon and venture towards the captivating Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo, renowned for its southern right whales, offers a thrilling opportunity to spot these majestic creatures as you sail into the vast open sea.

Day 2-3: At Sea

Experience the enchanting company of diverse seabirds on your ocean voyage! Witness the majestic flight of albatrosses, graceful storm petrels, and other captivating species as they accompany the vessel on its southeast route, creating a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere at sea.

Day 4: Falklands

The Falkland Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems and the site of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina. Not only do various species of birds live here, but chances are great that you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.

During this segment of the voyage, you may visit the following sites:

Steeple Jason, home to the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony (roughly 113,000), is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions dictate the journey here.

Carcass Island: Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife and many endemic species. Anything from breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos to numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussocks) lives here.

Saunders Island: On Saunders Island, you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here. 

Day 5: Port Stanley

The capital of the Falklands and center of its culture, Port Stanley has some Victorian-era charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th-century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up until the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Admission to the museum is included.

Day 6-7: At Sea

En route to South Georgia, you now cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.

Day 8-11: South Georgia

Today you arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that the weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program. 

Sites you might visit include:

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, and Gold Harbour: These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, but they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here during the breeding season (December–JJanuary).

Fortuna Bay, a beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier, is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. Here, you may also have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.

Grytviken: In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place, because they basically do. Here, you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

In the afternoon of day 11, and depending on the conditions, we will start sailing southwards in the direction of the South Orkney Islands.

Day 12: Southward Bound

There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice, some south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds trailing the vessel south.

Day 13: South Orkney

Depending on the conditions, you might visit Orcadas Base, an Argentine scientific station on Laurie Island in the South Orkney archipelago. The personnel here will happily show you their facility, where you can enjoy expansive views of the surrounding glaciers. If a visit isn’t possible, you may instead land at Signy Island’s Shingle Cove.

Day 14-15: Antarctic

Enormous icebergs and a fair chance of fin whale sightings ensure there’s never a dull moment on this last sea voyage south. Also, your best chance to spot Antarctic petrels is here. Depending on conditions, we aim to begin activities in the afternoon of day 15.

Day 16-18: Weddell Sea

If the ice conditions permit, you can now sail into the Weddell Sea. Here, colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins, is a possible stop. You might also visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could get the chance to set foot on the Antarctic Continent itself. 

If conditions aren’t favorable to entering the Weddell Sea from the east, the ship will set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait, between the South Shetland Islands's and the Antarctic Peninsula's. 

The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they nonetheless offer many subtle pleasures. A wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, and southern giant petrels) live here.

On Half Moon Island, Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station.

On Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you can find an abandoned whaling station and thousands of cape petrels. A number of kelp gulls, brown skuas, south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns can be spotted too. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. As an alternative, you can take part in activities near Telefon Bay, further inside the caldera.

This extended voyage gives you the chance to sail even farther down the icy coast of the western Antarctic Peninsula. There are several opportunities for great landings where you might set foot on the Antarctic Continent, surrounded by an epic landscape of alpine peaks and mammoth glaciers calving at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here.

The breathtaking scenery continues in the Bransfield Straight and, if conditions allow, further south in the Gerlache Strait. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Day 19-20: Drake Passage

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 21: Ushuaia

  • 1 Breakfast
You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.

Ship/Hotel

Ortelius

m/v Ortelius at Orne Island
m/v Ortelius Reception
m/v Ortelius Reception area

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
M/V Ortelius Quadruple Porthole
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Quadruple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with 2 portholes, 2 upper / lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, Ample storage space.
M/V Ortelius Triple Porthole
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Triple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins). Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
Twin Porthole on the Ortelius
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Twin Porthole
23 twin cabins with 2 portholes, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Twin Window on the Ortelius
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Twin Window
10 twin cabins with 2 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
M/v Ortelius Twin Deluxe
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Twin Deluxe
6 superior cabins with 3 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Small sofa, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
M/V Ortelius Superior Cabin
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Superior
1 suite with 2 windows (minimum), 1 double bed, 1 single (sofa) bed, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, ample storage space.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Children between the ages of 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
Included
  • 20 Breakfasts, 19 Lunches, 20 Dinners
  • 20 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
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
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • Medical travel insurance, including emergency medical attention and evacuation coverage with a minimum of $100,000 of evacuation coverage is required.

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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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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