Summary : This cruise offers you the ideal introduction to Antarctica visiting prime sites along the Antarctic Peninsula and the neighboring South Shetland Islands. Take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels, and landing sites each day. With wildlife viewing always a priority, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. Landing on the continent itself is a memorable highlight, where you’ll explore the iconic sights that make this one of the world’s most pristine, exotic, and unforgettable natural environments.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which you will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your expedition team—they will prepare you for the wildlife and geology you'll experience and explain the history of the area. Between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched, unique, and enduring as Antarctica. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Each time someone visits Antarctica, they witness something new or unexpected. Your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels, and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of your guides' minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. Your expedition team will take care of you at each landing, whether you're hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier. Every day will be unique, having been carefully crafted by your expedition team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your expedition team, and celebrate the experiences you've shared exploring Antarctica.
Disembark in Ushuaia in the morning and continue your adventure or catch your flight home.
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:
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 U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Experience Antarctica in an intimate manner and take your expedition to the next level by sleeping on the continent under the stars. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. This popular camping option has limited availability, so book early.
Limited availability; pre-booking required. A small group of kayakers will attempt multiple outings per voyage in lieu of shore landings. The number of opportunities is weather dependent; kayaking will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior experience is required. Participants must be capable of a wet exit in order to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the Paddling Excursion described below.
If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something less in-depth than kayaking, consider a Paddling Excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddle using a stable, unencumbered sit-on-top kayak—perfect for anyone with little to no kayaking experience. Rotating groups will venture out on calm days with expert guides to connect with the sea. Space is limited. Pre-booking required.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Small groups explore calm waters in good weather conditions accompanied by a Zodiac. Stand up paddleboarding can be booked in advance (limited availability), and will be also be offered via sign-up onboard the ship on a first-come, first-served basis.
One pre-voyage hotel night with breakfast in Ushuaia; group transfer from the airport to the pre-voyage hotel on Day 1; group transfer from hotel to ship on embarkation day; group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from ship to local airport or luggage storage facility; shipboard accommodations; all luggage handling aboard the ship; Zodiac transfers, cruising, and shore landings as per the daily program; Emergency Evacuation Insurance* to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person; photographic journal; gear to keep (parka); gear on loan (walking poles, waterproof expedition boots); all meals and snacks onboard the ship; daily housekeeping; house wine and non-premium domestic beer with dinner onboard ship; soft drinks and juices onboard ship; coffee, tea, and cocoa around the clock; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned; meals ashore unless specified; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except for those included; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage fees; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, massage services or other personal charges, unless specified; phone and Internet charges; gratuities; additional overnight accommodation; arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated; Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities; 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. This shipping company strongly advises that all passengers purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.
PHOTOS: © Cindy Miller Hopkins, © Acacia Johnson, © Quark Expeditions