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Glacier trekking in Antarctica

In Shackleton's Footsteps

Example 18 Day Cruise aboard Polar Pioneer
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On the 100-year anniversary of Shackleton's famous voyage, follow in the explorer's footsteps on this 18-day cruise. Late summer offers the best chance to chart a course through the Weddell Sea’s shifting pack ice and vast tabular bergs, where Shackleton’s ship Endurance was trapped and crushed. Explore fossil-rich islands, historic huts, and set foot on the continent before retracing Shackleton’s heroic journey to save his men – first to Elephant Island, then on through waters where blue, sei, and fin whales roam. South Georgia offers nesting albatross, mating elephant seals, the world’s largest king penguin rookeries, and a visit to Shackleton’s grave.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia | Embark | Beagle Channel
Days 2-3 : Drake Passage
Days 4-6 : Into the Weddell Sea
Day 7 : Elephant Island
Days 8-9 : Scotia Sea
Day 10 : South Georgia
Days 11-15 : South Georgia
Days 16-17 : Scotia Sea
Day 18 : Falkland Islands | Disembark | Fly to Santiago or Punta Arenas


  • Commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Shackleton's South Georgia crossing
  • Sail into ice-filled Weddell Sea to see vast tabular icebergs
  • Visit "The Boss's" grave and Grytviken's whaling museum
  • Cross the Scotia Sea joined by whales, dolphins, and seabirds


Polar Pioneer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Glacier trekking in Antarctica King Penguins A Base camp on Antarctica. Observe beautiful fur seals Zodiac excursion during an Antarctica nature tour

Day 1 Ushuaia | Embark | Beagle Channel

Step aboard the Polar Pioneer in the late afternoon to a warm welcome, introductory briefing, and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel with your shipmates.

Day 2-3 Drake Passage

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As the ship crosses the Drake Passage, keep watch for giant petrels, wandering and black-browed albatross, and your first icebergs. Fur seals and penguins pepper the sea surface as the ship approaches its first landing in the South Shetland Islands.

Day 4-6 Into the Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
An autumn dawn greets you in the spectacular Antarctic Sound where the ship may stop at towering Brown Bluff before pushing on into the Weddell Sea. There’s a strong fossil focus this time of year, as the pack ice movement may allow a continental landing and visits to the world-renowned fossil beds of Seymour, Vega, and James Ross Islands, as well as Nordenskjold’s Hut on Snow Hill Island.

Day 7 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Elephant Island's Cape Wild is so exposed that landings are rare, but your capable crew may make an attempt, if only to pay tribute to the man whose leadership kept Shackleton’s men alive for four months while awaiting rescue. If conditions allow hope to take your Zodiacs as close as possible, perhaps even stepping ashore.

Day 8-9 Scotia Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Retracing James Caird’s epic voyage to South Georgia, traverse some of the most productive waters in the world, keeping watch for fin, sei and possibly even blue whales. Have time to reflect on your journey so far, and learn more about Shackleton’s life-saving crossing to South Georgia.

Day 10 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enter King Haakon Bay and attempt a ceremonial landing at Cave Cove, Shackleton’s first landfall, before continuing up past Peggotty Bluff, where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean set off to cross the island. It is from here where your crossing party alights to tackle the 50km trek.

Day 11-15 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
While negotiating Shackleton’s historic route, immerse yourself in one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. See king penguin rookeries a half-million strong, chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguin colonies, wandering albatross on nests, and beaches thick with elephant and fur seals. Walk the final leg of Shackleton’s epic journey, from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, before visiting “The Boss’s” grave and whaling museum in Grytviken.

Day 16-17 Scotia Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Crossing the Scotia Sea, watch for whales and enjoy entertaining talks by the expedition team as the ship cruises back towards the Falklands Islands/Malvinas. At sea, your final days are a flurry of shared photos, memories and a farewell drink with the Captain.

Day 18 Falkland Islands | Disembark | Fly to Santiago or Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
Dawn greets you in the Falkland Islands/Maldivas capital: Stanley. Here, bid farewell to the Polar Pioneer. Either spend more time exploring the Falkland Islands or continue on to Santiago or Punta Arenas.

Polar Pioneer

Per person starting at
Polar Pioneer's Triple Cabin.
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Triple Shared
Triple Cabins have two lower and one upper berth, a desk, a small washbasin, storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Polar Pioneer's Public Twin Cabin.
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Twin Shared
Twin Shared Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Polar Pioneer's Private Twin Cabin.
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Twin Private
Twin Private Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Two cabins have upper and lower bunks (cabins 402 and 403).
Polar Pioneer's Mini Suite.
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Mini Suite
Mini Suites have a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofa bed in the main room, a desk, video player and TV, windows and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
Polar Pioneer's Captain Suite.
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The Suite features a large lounge area, a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofabed in the main room, a video player and TV, refrigerator, large forward and side facing windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.


Please note that all of Polar Pioneer itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. These itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.

- Rates 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 costs are 1.7 times the twin rate

Voyage Inclusions
• Flight from Stanley to Punta Arenas OR Santiago (no reduced fare for finishing in Punta Arenas)
• Luggage transfer from hotel in Ushuaia to Polar Pioneer on day of boarding
• Transfer from Polar Pioneer to Stanley airport, including tour of Stanley
• Shipboard accommodation with daily cabin   service
• Accommodation during the voyage
• All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage
• All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
• Educational lectures and guiding services from our expert team
• Access to our on board doctor and basic medical services
• Free gumboot hire during the voyage
• Daily cabin service
• A multi-purpose waterproof jacket
• Comprehensive pre-departure information
• Professionally produced voyage journal (one per booking)
• Port taxes and charges
• All entry fees to historic landings sites

Voyage Exclusions
• International or domestic flights to or from ship, unless specified
• Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary 
• Airport arrival or departure taxes
• Visa, passport, and vaccination charges
• Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
• Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
• Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
• Optional activity surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to book any optional activities, such as sea kayaking
• All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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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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