Summary : This voyage combines the comfortable adventure cruises of Classic Antarctica with visits to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and spectacular South Georgia. Join professional photographer Paul Nicklen and learn some tips of the trade for capturing the surreal beauty of the White Continent. Many of the wildlife (penguins, whales, seabirds and seals) and scenic highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are included as well as the best of these two wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands. These expeditions are designed to include as much wildlife viewing as possible, but also include visits to scientific bases and allow plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, and icebergs.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
$999,999,999 to $0
Due to the size of the continent, Antarctica’s diversity is best appreciated on longer voyages, where greater distances can be covered. This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Peninsula. Overnight at a hotel in Ushuaia.
Prior to the afternoon embarkation in Ushuaia, visitors can explore the southernmost city in the world. The former prison for hardened criminals and political dissidents has been converted to a museum. The shops and cafés will be open for last-minute purchases or for a moment of relaxation.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team. They will prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising that is to come.
Renowned for its amazing wildlife, the archipelago highlights include Flightless Steamer Ducks, Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins and a colony of the rare Black-crowned Night Herons. Peale's and Commerson's dolphins are often seen along the coast. Nearby New Island boasts fantastic Rockhopper Penguin rookeries, along with Black-browed Albatrosses and Blue-eyed Shags. You may also explore Stanley, the charming capital of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Don't miss the chance to visit the small, but interesting museum.
Continuing east, marine mammals and seabirds lure you to the decks as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar waters sink beneath the warmer waters of the more temperate zones. Keep your eye out for whales and seals.
Sharing many of the biological characteristics of Antarctica, South Georgia has awe-inspiring scenery with towering, 7,000-foot mountains and mighty glaciers, but also low-lying, grassy areas, deep fjords and beaches. First sighted by Captain James Cook in 1775, the island attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife and is viewed by many as one of the most inspiring places on earth.
Thousands of King Penguins greet you at Salisbury Plain. Wandering Albatrosses nest at Prion Island, where luxurious tussock grass provides a habitat for a variety of seabirds - and camouflage for thousands of breeding fur seals. Huge elephant seals, King and Gentoo penguins crowd the beaches along the coast at places such as Gold Harbor, while Light-mantled and Sooty albatrosses nest in the cliffs behind. The island also played a significant role in the story of Shackleton's epic journey after the sinking of his ship, the 'Endurance.' It was here, at the whaling station of Stromness that he finally arrived after a harrowing voyage in a small boat from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea and over the never-before-climbed mountain range of South Georgia. Visit his grave at Grytviken, a once-active whaling station.
Two days at sea to relax, as well as to review your adventures in South Georgia. The first icebergs appear on the horizon as you head south to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Approaching the rugged South Shetland Islands, your first landfall could be Elephant Island where Shackleton's men found refuge during the epic 'Endurance' expedition. Places such as King George Island and Livingston Island support huge numbers of nesting penguins while seabirds nest in the cliffs and elephant seals wallow along the shores.
Deception Island is still considered an active volcano and sailing through the narrow passage into its huge, flooded caldera if possible with be a thrilling experience. Sailing around the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, you navigate the Antarctic Sound, often referred to as ‘iceberg alley.’ Huge tabular icebergs drift north from the Antarctic continent.
Your plans may also include a landing at Port Lockroy where bleached whale bones commemorate its time as a favorite anchorage of the whalers. Sail into Paradise Harbor on the Danco Coast where a series of huge glaciers flow into quiet waters. Zodiacs take you along rugged cliffs with nesting Cape Petrels, Blue-eyed Shags and Kelp Gulls. Keep watch for humpback whales and groups of crabeater seals on the ice and you may land at Almirante Brown, an Argentine research station located on the continent. Lemaire Channel is another narrow passage between towering rock faces and stunning glaciers. This channel is one of the highlights of a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula, but it can be choked with icebergs and pack ice.
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, which will complete your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.
After breakfast aboard, you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.
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.
Paul Nicklen, Expert in Residence:
Join Paul Nicklen, a Canadian marine biologist, who has been working for National Geographic Magazine for over a decade. Focusing on the delicate relationship between healthy ecosystems and marine wildlife, he was recently named one of the World’s 40 Most Influential Outdoor Photographers by BBC Magazine. Learn from his adventures in Polar photography and receive some tips of the trade throughout the voyage.
Sea Kayaking Option:
Not included in cruise rate. See rates page for price. Minimum age 16 years. This is a pre-booked option for kayakers with some experience. Places are strictly limited so please advise at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Included in cruise rate. Anyone can take part, no previous experience necessary. Snowshoes available free of charge for excursions when conditions permit.
Group transfers in Ushuaia from the airport to local hotel for passengers arriving on Day 1 of the program or one day prior only; one night pre-expedition hotel accommodation at a four-star hotel with breakfast, as indicated in the itinerary (The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available), five-star hotel for guests in Deluxe, Premium and Owner's suites; group transfers from a designated location in Ushuaia to the ship on embarkation day; group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport only for passengers with departing flights before noon; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage, “open bar” offering unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (please inform of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.); leadership throughout the voyage by your experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities; formal and informal presentations by your Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled; Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; an official parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; a 10 Mb card for access to the ship’s wireless internet connection; comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person*.
Any airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes, Argentina's Reciprocity Fee; any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, massage and other personal charges; telecommunications charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; supplements for adventure options; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only to travel between the first and last day of the expedition purchased. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition 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.