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Beautiful King Penguins

Weddell Sea - Emperor Penguin Voyage

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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During this 11-day Antarctic voyage, explore the areas in or between the Antarctic Sounds and James Ross Island in attempts to observe magnificent scenery and emperor penguins on their way to the open water. Scenic flights and helicopter landings on tabular icebergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season are offered if conditions permit.
An old icebergA contemplative Chinstrap penguinKing Penguins exploring their territoryA young Elephant SealBeautiful King Penguins
  • Hike towards a viewpoint above Neptune's Window on Deception Island
  • Watch emperor penguins as they make their way to open water
  • Take a walk on the pack ice, in between icebergs and penguins
  • View seabirds following the ship through the Drake Passage
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina | Embark

In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel. After settling in, spend the rest of the evening sailing through this scenic waterway.

Day 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
During these two days sail across the Drake Passage. After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. In this area you may meet 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.

Day 4-7: Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary is determined by the Expedition Leader on board.

Sail into the Weddell Sea, and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not allow to sail further, you might see the huge tabular icebergs that announce your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The use of helicopters has a great advantage and if the conditions are favorable, you may be able to see emperor penguins from the helicopter. Scenic flights and helicopter landings on tabular icebergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season are offered if conditions permit.

Possible landing sites include Brown Bluff - one of the most scenic spots in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent with steep canyon walls and tumbled boulders, an ice-cap looming above, beautiful volcanic creations, and thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins nesting on the slopes. Or visit the west side of the Antarctic Sound, an area usually only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea, icebergs and pack-ice as far as the eye can see, and diverse bird life.

A beautiful helicopter flight over huge blue icebergs and fast ice can also be made close to View Point in Duse Bay. Land on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay and walk over beautiful frost-shattered rock, almost entirely covered with the most fascinating lichen of all shapes and colors. If the ice-situation allows, visit Devil Island and Vega Island with a large colony of Adélie penguins and a magnificent view for those hikers who can make it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes provides spectacular waterfalls from the cliffs close to point ‘Well-Met’. Further south, perhaps visit Seymour Island, where many fossils can be found.

Heading north through the Antarctic Sound, pay a visit to the Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent. Look out for emperor penguins on the ice-floes. In the afternoon visit Gourdin Island, with chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie penguins.

Day 5-6 Alternative Program
If the route to Snow Hill is free of multi-year pack-ice you can spend this two days in the Emperor Penguin rookery. The helicopter operation takes a full day and the flight duration takes approximately 15 minutes. Once you land you must continue your expedition on foot. After a walk of approx. 45 minutes, you can experience an amazing rendezvous with the magnificent Emperor Penguins.

Day 8: Half Moon Island & Deception Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning plan to visit Half Moon Island, where you can see chinstrap and gentoo penguins, various other bird species, and southern elephant seals and Weddell seals. Early in the afternoon sail to Deception Island and enjoy the last voyage landing at Pendulum Cove or Whaler's Bay.

Day 9-10: Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
In the Drake Passage have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and take advantage of the knowledge of your lecture team.

Day 11: Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.



The Ortelius
Dining area aboard the Ortelius.
Ortelius' dining area.

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
Twin porthole cabin
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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.
Twin porthole cabin
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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.
Twin Deluxe on the Ortelius
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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.
Superior Suite on the Ortelius
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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.


Helicopter Exploration:
An emperor penguin rookery is situated south of Snow Hill Island. The captain of the vessel will do his utmost to position the vessel close enough to Snow Hill Island in order to enable travelers to experience ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to approx. 45 minutes walking distance from the emperor penguin rookeries. If successful, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience that would happen on days 5 and 6 of the trip (less than 50% chance).

During this voyage three days will be reserved to visit the emperor rookeries by helicopters. If succeeded the first two days, it may be decided to offer an alternative landing in the Weddell Sea on the third day, such as Paulet Island where travelers can visit a fantastic Adelie penguin colony with approximately 1 million breeding pairs.

Fares include:
  • Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
  • Free use of rubber boots aboard the Ortelius
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
Not included:
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post land arrangements
  • Tansfers 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
  • 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 $120 USD per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure the Ortelius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of $25 USD per passenger per night.

A typical itinerary to the Weddell Sea 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.



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