Summary : Explore King George Island and the Antarctic Peninsula – no Drake Passage crossings required! With a spectacular aerial view, included charter flights between Punta Arenas and Antarctica have you experiencing the majesty of the 7th continent before transferring you to your ship in no time. Keep your camera ready as you cruise in a Zodiac in search of whales, seabirds, and astounding icebergs. Beaches dotted with leopard seals and penguins give way to icy plateaus, with snow-capped mountain peaks looming behind. You'll find yourself thankful for the near-constant sunlight by which you can continue to take it all in. Take advantage of inclusions like domestic flights, gratuities, and drinks aboard an all-suites ship with onboard lectures and educational presentations from polar specialists.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins, Air Cruise (Antarctica)
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Your adventure begins with an included flights from international gateway Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in Patagonia. In the afternoon, an expedition representative will meet you at the group hotel, where you will enjoy a welcome dinner and briefing from your upcoming voyage.
Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctic will have you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship will approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctic landscape will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs and spend time exploring the island before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula.
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As your ship approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes. As your captain and expedition team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you'll be alerted to any new sightings. Your team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history, and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your daily land excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you'll never forget! Walking up to a beach dotted with penguins and seals is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.
Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won't be long before you can tell the difference between an Adelie, gentoo, or chinstrap penguin.
You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs around Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier at Neko Harbor to the thrill of watching a leopard seal as it hunts a penguin, you'll wake early and welcome each day with a sense of excitement and a desire to explore that which is unrivaled by any other travel experience.
After your week of exploration, you'll say goodbye to your expedition team and disembark at King George Island. Your three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your adventure to an end. After your transfer from the airport to the hotel, you are free to explore and enjoy one final dinner to reminisce about the sights and sounds of Antarctica.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Punta Arenas airport for your included return flight to Santiago.
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:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Luggage Weight Restrictions:
Due to the limited capacity of the aircraft, participants can only bring 15kg/33lb of checked luggage and 5kg/11lb of carry-on luggage. Weight limits are subject to change.
Charter Flight Contingency Plan:
In the rare instance where on the final day for flight attempts the flight was still not successfully completed, the shipping company has the right to cancel the trip. The shipping company reserves the right to extend the final attempt day if weather conditions are improving. If the trip is cancelled: THE SHIPPING COMPANY WILL PROVIDE A FULL REFUND FOR THE FULL CRUISE FARE AND ANY UNUSED ADVENTURE OPTIONS. No refund will be provided if the flight is successfully completed regardless of which day of the itinerary it was executed. International airfare, domestic airfare, any additional services purchased or change fees, will not be refunded by the shipping company. The shipping company will provide a trip interruption letter to be submitted by the passenger to their insurance company. The shipping company strongly recommends that all guests purchase changeable airline tickets and a travel insurance policy which includes trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance with airfare coverage. The shipping company will issue the cruise fare refund back in the same form/medium in which payment was received.
The shipping company reserves the right to send passengers on the charter plane the evening prior to the scheduled day. This may happen when they see a weather system that could cause a delay on subsequent days. For this reason, all passengers should arrive in Punta Arenas no later than 3:00pm on Day 1 for Antarctica trips.
For each day of the itinerary after Day 1, if there is a delay, all guests will be briefed by the shipping company ground staff on the flight status as you are waiting for a weather window to depart and could be required to leave with very little notice. All guests and staff will be on stand-by until approximately 14:00 hrs. During the stand-by period you must be at the airport, or at another location designated by the ground staff to be ready to go if and when a suitably long weather window becomes available. If by 14:00 hrs the flight remains delayed, you will be returned back to your respective hotels or you may choose to join additional excursions for the afternoon compliments of the shipping company which may include guided tours to sites of historic, cultural or wildlife interest. On these days, the shipping company will provide additional night(s) hotel accommodation and meals. If the trip is cancelled, the shipping company will provide a final single night of hotel accommodation. Any additional hotel nights and meals will be the responsibility of the guest. The shipping company reserves the right to make exceptions to these timing guidelines. Subject to change without notice.
Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; daily housekeeping; complimentary house wine, beer, and spirits on board the ship; shore landings per the daily program; a photographic journal documenting the expedition; expedition boots on loan; expedition parka to keep; coffee, tea, and cocoa available 24/7; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; gratuities for shipboard staff and crew; emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of $500,000* per person; flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas; group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the pre-expedition hotel on Day 1; one night's pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas, with breakfast; a briefing dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas; pre-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the hotel to the airport; flights to and from Antarctica; post-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the hotel; one night's post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas, with breakfast; group transfer from the Punta Arenas hotel to the airport on the final day of the expedition; flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation, interruption, or medical travel insurance; excess-baggage fees on international flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, and other personal charges unless specified as included; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.