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Beautiful King Penguins

Weddell Sea – In search of the Emperor Penguin, Incl. Helicopters

Roundtrip Ushuaia - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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During this 11-day Antarctic expedition cruise, 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
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.

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.



M/V Ortelius Reception Area
M/V Ortelius at Torellneset, Spitsbergen
The bar and observation lounge aboard the Ortelius.

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$12,100 2-3 travelers
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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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.


- 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.
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 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.
  •  Luggage Transfer from Pick-up Point to the Vessel on the Day of Embarkation in Ushuaia
  • Ship-to-shore Helicopter Transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed)
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
  • 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.
  • Parkas are not provided on your cruise. Please bring your own windproof, waterproof, insulated parka with you. You will want to make sure it is roomy enough to fit warm layers underneath. Click here for information about parka rental.



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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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