Summary : A massive rookery of penguins shuffles across a frozen shore; a pod of whales glides through frigid waters; dramatic landscapes float off in the distance—welcome to Antarctica. Join a voyage of discovery to the planet’s last frontier: a mysterious and virtually pristine paradise. The ice-strengthened Expedition is ideally suited to cruising this icy wilderness, and her knowledgeable staff are on hand to ensure a full appreciation for all the majesty you'll encounter. Sail the Drake Passage past the South Shetland Islands, then explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other; more like a private expedition than a traditional cruise.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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$9,499 to $17,199
Arrive in Ushuaia at any time. Arrival transfer included. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the world's most southerly city.
Enjoy a free morning in Ushuaia. Do any last-minute shopping, explore the town, or visit the surrounding countryside. Embarkation on the Expedition begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. Enjoy the evening sailing through the Beagle Channel.
The adventure begins with a 497-mile crossing of the passage named in honor of 16th-century English sea captain and privateer, Sir Francis Drake. Take in daily lectures from the expedition team and keep an eye out for icebergs, whales, and albatrosses following in the Expedition's wake.
As the Expedition crosses the passage there will be time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library, and lecture hall where you meet your guides, ship’s crew, and expedition staff.
Begin lectures and information sessions to learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
Encounter some of the region's unique wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery while setting foot on the Antarctic continent. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather permitting) and encounter gentoo, chinstrap, and Adélie penguin rookeries; Weddell, crabeater, and leopard seals; and orca, humpback, and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters.
This is what you've been waiting for: a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the next four days the Expedition will navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and on to the Antarctic Peninsula.
The goal is to attempt two excursions per day while navigating through the area but the itinerary and daily schedule will be based on local weather and ice conditions.
The peninsula also has a remarkable human history; during the voyage, learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world.
With a close eye on weather conditions, continue southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguins, push on with this goal in mind: crossing the Antarctic Polar Circle. Few travelers have ventured this far south.
Turn north for the first time in your adventure and continue exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Keep a close eye out for wildlife. There might be opportunities to do some whale watching or even go for a polar plunge in the Southern waters.
Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching, whale watching, and enjoying some final lectures by the expedition staff, this is a chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia.
Remember, the best way to experience the wildlife of the Drake Passage is on deck, scouting for albatrosses, prions, and whales!
Begin the journey to your home port of Ushuaia. Review the highlights of your Antarctic experience with your lecturers and staff, and keep your eyes open on the observation deck for some last-minute whale sightings.
Disembark the Expedition after breakfast.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation with this shipping company, all passengers must purchase travel insurance with a minimum medical, evacuation, and repatriation coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury and emergency medical expenses. Passengers must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. Passengers are responsible for advising their insurer of the type of travel, destination(s), and activities included in their booking so that the insurer may provide appropriate coverage. It is the passenger's responsibility to ensure that they have sufficient coverage and comply with the terms of the applicable insurance plans. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that all passengers also purchase comprehensive travel protection that includes cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Camping: (All departures except 3/1/2020 and 3/1/2021)
Overnight camping is an opportunity for passengers to participate in a unique adventure while on their Antarctic trip. No prior experience needed. Spend one night sleeping onshore with a group of up to 60 fellow campers to experience the sights, sounds, and isolation of the coldest, driest, windiest continent on the planet. A mandatory waiver must be signed by participants, indicating that they are aware of and accept the increased risks that are associated with being off the ship overnight. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: (All departures)
Limited availability; advance booking is highly recommended. Restricted to 20 kayakers and two guides per outing. Venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters on small group kayaking excursions led by expert kayaking guides. Passengers who participate in the sea kayak program should have a working knowledge of sea kayaking strokes, entries, and exits (including a “wet exit”). Outings last approximately 2-4 hours and are guided and supervised by professional kayak guides who have experience in cold-water regions paddling near ice and marine mammals. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Tierra del Fuego National Park:
Explore this stunning coastal national park extending 391 square miles. Pass Valle Rio Pipo on the way to Austral Fueguino train station. Opt to take the End of the World train before visiting Lago Roca and Bahía Lapataia. Keep an eye out for a variety of birdlife and observe spectacular colors in the fall. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and to book in advance.
One pre-expedition hotel night in Ushuaia; arrival and departure transfers; shipboard accommodations; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of the Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; gear to keep (expedition parka); gear on loan (waterproof boots supplied for US sizes 4-16); all meals onboard the ship; coffee, tea, and water. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; mandatory travel insurance; passport and visa fees; discretionary gratuities; items of a personal nature including laundry, Wi-Fi, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except coffee, tea and water; optional excursions such as Tierra del Fuego National Park; camping; kayaking; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Daniel Sendecki (Penguin, Iceberg, Ship Bow, Swimming Penguins); © Paul Teolis (Leopard Seal); © G Adventures (Camping, Kayakers, Sunset)