Expedition and exploration are the focus of these voyages aboard the MV Plancius. The ship becomes a base camp for these polar voyages. “Base camp” is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts. "Activity modules” are offered which go beyond normal shore programs. The vessel stays for two or three days at specific locations to serve active passengers as a comfortable hub, allowing more time than usual for wide-ranging activities on this exciting Antarctic cruise, including complimentary camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, and a photo workshop. Polar diving (additional fee) is available on select departures.
Day 1 : Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark Ship Days 2-3 : Drake Passage Days 4-9 : Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Plancius Days 10-11 : At Sea Day 12 : Ushuaia | Disembark
Encounter humpback and minke whales near Lemaire Channel
Hike near the shore or trek to hilltops for panoramic views
View Adelie and gentoo penguin colonies
Kayak between icebergs in the polar waters while searching for wildlife
In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel. Sail through the scenic waterway during the afternoon on your way to open sea.
Spend two days sailing across the Drake Passage. When crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, Cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, glimpse the first icebergs.
Sail directly to “High Antarctica,” passing the Melchior Islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. Sail to the Neumayer Channel, where the ship is positioned for the multi-activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island become your playground for all activities. In this alpine environment there are great opportunities to scout the region on foot, per zodiac, and during kayak trips. Walkers can use snowshoes on hikes near the shore lines and the mountaineers find their challenge by climbing hills and viewpoints further inland. All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions.
Plan to stay two overnights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. Visit the old British research station, now a working museum, and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy the ship may land on Jougla Point with gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Look out for leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales.
In good conditions and time allowing sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Booth Island, Pléneau, and Petermann Island and find Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter humpback whales and minke whales. Choose another campsite which is suitable and close to your next day’s activity.
At Neko Harbour have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of a huge glacier and enjoy the landscape during zodiac cruises, walks, and kayak excursions. A small group of glacier walkers may climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. Spend the night at Neko or near Paradise Bay with a camp erected ashore. Leave early morning after breaking your last camp and sail via Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. Have again a chance of seeing many seabirds.
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
- Single occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share twin price
-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 Plancius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
A Basecamp itinerary to the Antarctic Peninsula is illustrated above. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites, and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
- Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes
- Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia
- Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
- During your “Basecamp” departures, all offered activities (including camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshop) as well as standard included shore excursions and zodiac cruises) are free of charge.
- Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights
- Pre- and post land arrangements
- Transfers to the vessel in Ushuaia and Ascension and from the vessel in Ascension and Praia
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes
- Meals ashore
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory)
- Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)
Please Note: It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure, the MV Plancius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $25 per passenger per night.
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.