Emperor Penguin Voyage – Weddell Sea

Antarctica Cruise

  • Ortelius
  • Research Ship
  • 116 Capacity
  • 11 Days
  • 2015 View Departure>
    • 2015
    • Nov 26 Thu
    • Dec 6 Sun
  • Price from
  • $11,300

Summary : Experience a voyage with 3 days reserved to attempt to visit the Emperor Penguin rookeries of Snow Hill joined by knowledgeable guides aboard a sturdy research vessel with helicopter. 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 to enable ship-to-shore helicopter transfers followed by an approximately 45 minute walk to the Emperor Penguin rookeries. Observe huge tabular icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea and look for Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, various other bird-species and Southern Elephant Seals and Weddell Seals around Half Moon Island.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking


Prices from
$11,300 to $16,150

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Day 1
Ushuaia, Argentina

Embark the vessel in the afternoon and sail through the scenic Beagle Channel.

Day 2 – 3
Drake Passage

Sail across the Drake Passage and cross the Antarctic Convergence. Arrive in the Antarctic upwelling zone. You may encounter 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
Weddell Sea

A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.

Sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not prevent sailing further, see the huge tabular icebergs that announce your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Attempt an Antarctic Continent landing at Brown Bluff.

Day 5 – 7
Snow Hill Island / Devil & Vega Island

The use of helicopters has a great advantage to help reach the Emperor Penguin colony, but the itinerary is ultimately ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. If the conditions are favorable, spend the first two days in the Emperor Penguin rookery. The helicopter flight duration is approximately 15 minutes and accommodates 6 passengers per flight. The landing point of the helicopters will be carefully chosen to make sure that the Emperors are not disturbed or stressed by helicopter noise. Therefore, after arrival, you continue the expedition on foot for approximately 45 minutes. Upon arrival, experience one of the greatest moments of your life, an encounter with magnificent Emperor Penguins.

If conditions were favorable on both day 5 and 6 and you have successfully visited the Emperor Penguins, a visit to Devil Island, Vega Island or Hope Bay may be arranged. If you have not reached the Emperor Penguin colony on one or two of the previous days, a third attempt will be made offering ship-to-shore helicopter flights to Snow Hill Island.

Day 8
Half Moon Island

In the morning, 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 where you have the last landing of your voyage at Pendulum Cove.

Day 9 – 10
Drake Passage

Heading north, you’ll again be followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the infamous Drake Passage.

Day 11
Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia, disembark and transfer to the airport.


Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.

Helicopter Flights:
The vessel will be equipped with a minimum of two helicopters. The use of helicopters helps to try to reach scheduled landing sites that otherwise are inaccessible. However, every passenger who participates understands and accepts that no guarantees can be given in regards to reaching the penguins or specific amount of helicopter time.

All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; free use of rubber boots on loan; ship-to-shore helicopter transfers; group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); shore excursions by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not Included:
Any airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for the ship's crew; fuel surcharge may apply.