- Polar Pioneer
- Research Ship
- 54 Capacity
- 20 Days
- Price from
Summary : Celebrating one of the greatest survival stories in Antarctic exploration, this voyage takes you into the wild Weddell Sea, where Ernest Shackleton planned to start a daring feat – the first crossing of Antarctica. Follow in his wake, albeit in comfort and safety, to Elephant Island and South Georgia, shining a light on his heroic voyage. The Weddell Sea offers huge glaciers that pour down between the mountains from the polar plateau, and plates of ice the size of city blocks cover the ocean’s surface. Attempt to visit fossil-rich islands, wildlife havens, remnants of historic explorers’ huts, and even land on the Antarctic continent itself. On South Georgia's windswept islands, see some of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. Famed for its abandoned whaling stations and Shackleton’s epic journey across the island's center, South Georgia is home to millions of fur seals and penguins, wallows of elephant seals, herds of reindeer and nesting albatross.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking
$999,999,999 to $0
Step aboard in the late afternoon to a cordial welcome, introductory briefing and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel. Settle into your homely cabin, explore the ship and enjoy a drink with your shipmates.
Tune into the Southern Ocean as you cross Drake Passage. The naturalists and historian inform about Antarctica and the weeks ahead. Safety and environmental briefings prepare you for landings, while the outer decks and flying bridge offer the best vantage points for photography and wildlife viewing.
The temperature plummets as you cross the biological boundary of the Antarctic Convergence. Cormorants, penguins and seals mark the approach to the South Shetland Islands, where you may well land.
Sail through Antarctic Sound with its spectacular iceberg parade, and into the Weddell Sea. Along the way, you may set foot on the Antarctic continent, watch for whales and seals in a sea of abundance, and visit magnificent penguins rookeries at the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern end. In the Weddell Sea, begin to trace Shackleton’s path.
Approaching the steep slopes of Elephant Island, home to 22 of Shackleton’s men for four months, hope for a clear view of the spot where the men wintered beneath upturned boats. With luck, go ashore to pay tribute to these hardy souls.
Following in Shackleton’s wake, sail across the Scotia Sea, detouring to the remote, mountainous South Orkney Islands. Zodiac cruise through a maze of icebergs, landing at a beach decorated with autumnal-hued lichen-encrusted boulders.
Enjoy time to reflect on all you’ve seen and learned, to prepare for the next phase of the journey as you continue across the Scotia Sea.
Enter King Haakon Bay on South Georgia’s southern coast and may make a ceremonial landing at Cave Cove, Shackleton’s first landfall after his epic open boat voyage. Say farewell to the alpine crossing party here as they begin their own adventurous journey through the crevassed terrain of the island’s interior.
While the alpine party crosses the mountains and passes of South Georgia, the shipboard party explores the bays and promontories, reveling in the island’s extraordinary diversity of wildlife. You are spoiled for choice of landings: the world’s largest penguin rookeries, wandering albatross on nests, beaches of elephant and fur seals, and Grytviken’s whaling museum vie for your attention. You may choose to hike from Fortuna to Stromness, whose whaling station marked the ending of Shackleton’s arduous island crossing.
Return to the Scotia Sea for a relaxing interlude. Continue your Antarctic education and wildlife watching en route to the Falkland Islands.
Sea Lion Island offers a welcome opportunity to stretch your legs. Amongst a treasure trove of birdlife, Falkland Island steamer ducks and Magellanic penguins enliven walks through the tussock. There are clifftops to explore, birds and southern sea lions to watch.
Prions, petrels and albatross accompany you on the last leg of the voyage, as you swap photos and stories and reflect on shared adventures.
In the wee hours, sail up the Beagle Channel to dock in Ushuaia. A hearty breakfast and fond farewell prepare all for the next leg of each traveler's respective journeys.
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, including coverage for emergency medical evacuation. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The policy provider, policy number and emergency contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Alpine Crossing Option: $850 per person (3/5/2013 only)
In up to three days, those who wish to participate will attempt to repeat the crossing of South Georgia that Sir Ernest Shackleton completed in 1916. The expedition will be self-contained, each member responsible for personal clothing, sleeping and climbing gear, and a share of the food, fuel and tents. The crossing distance is 35 to 50 kilometres depending on the route, and involves crossing large, heavily crevassed glaciers and alpine passes. Experience in crevassed alpine terrain is essential.
Sea Kayaking Option: $1,250 per person (3/5/2013). Traveling in these sturdy, easy-handling, reliable kayaks is an exciting, low impact way to explore the stunning bays and wildlife breeding grounds along the Peninsula. If you wish to take this option, please advise us when you make your booking as numbers are limited. Please note, some sea kayaking experience is necessary.
Diving and Snorkeling Option: All Departures
Diving and snorkeling can be offered on Polar Pioneer voyages with a minimum of 8 participants. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Cabin accommodations on the ship; all meals onboard; all shore excursions; lectures and guide services; medical services (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board); boots (for loan onboard); port taxes and port charges.
International airfare; accommodation or transfers before or after the cruise; visa, passport, and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes; travel insurance; meals not included in ship cruise itinerary; items of a personal nature; gratuities to the ship's crew are left to the discretion of the passenger; alpine crossing option; sea kayaking option.