Summary : Skip the Drake Passage on this fly-cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and beyond on an expedition below the Antarctic Circle. This special journey will take you further south than most. By flying to King George Island in Antarctica at the start of the voyage, you will save two days on the ocean crossing. The time you save by flying south will allow for a more substantial exploration below the Antarctic Circle. Here you will witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adélie penguin rookeries, and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea. Navigate the glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing through the Argentine Fish and Yalour Island archipelagos on your way to the Gerlache Strait region. There are several important scientific stations here and a number of significant historic sites you will hopefully be able to explore. You will then aim to cross 66 degrees, 33 minutes south latitude, which officially marks the position of the Antarctic Circle on global maps. With favorable weather and ice conditions you will hopefully reach Marguerite Bay. This is a spectacular location visited by just a handful of ships each season. Every day you will explore off the ship in the company of knowledgeable local guides, enjoying shore visits and Zodiac cruises that may last up to three to four hours at a time. This trip is ideal for those who love the excitement and spontaneity of exploration travel.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctica Air-Cruise, Antarctic Circle
$13,095 to $22,195
Your journey commences in Punta Arenas, located in southern Chile, where you will board a two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Upon arrival at King George Island in Antarctica, you will embark your ship via Zodiac inflatable crafts.
Having crossed the broad expanse of the Bransfield Strait overnight, you will wake to see the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent for the very first time. For the next five days, you will have a varied itinerary as you push southwards with much to see and do. The expedition will be opportunistic, making shore landings in locations while navigating to your ultimate objective: below the Antarctic Circle. Planned visits might include Port Charcot; several locations in the Fish and Argentine Island archipelagos which allow for Zodiac cruising and potential shore landings; a hike on Winter Island to explore the old British Antarctic Suvey Hut, Wordie House; Petermann Island; and a cruise through Lemaire Channel if ice allows. Along the way, the captain and crew will attempt a visit to Pleneau Island.
Given optimal ice conditions, you will sail south of the Antarctic Circle. A favored landing site there is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut, providing a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic scientists and researchers. The expedition is at the mercy of prevailing ice conditions navigating even further south. Late February offers the best chance of reaching Marguerite Bay. You may take the ‘shortcut’ through a narrow channel known as 'the Gullet' if the passage is ice-free. Otherwise, the ship could navigate around the outside of Adelaide Island. On this voyage, you'll have an additional day to explore the region below the Antarctic Circle.
You leave this magical place and chart a course north back to South America, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence. If weather conditions allow, the ship hopes to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. You'll celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition with a special dinner.
In the early morning, arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance which must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter) and personal liability. 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. The expedition team reserves the right to cancel or suspend your participation on a trip or in certain activities that comprise part of a trip, at any time, including after the commencement of your tour, with no right of refund, if you are unable to provide proof of insurance when requested. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
No pre-booking required but please notify ExpeditionTrips of your interest at time of booking. If conditions are suitable and you choose to camp on the continent, all the required gear such as bivy sacs and sleeping bags (no tents), will be provided. This excursion is managed with strict environmental regulations. If weather and ice conditions permit and you are near a suitable location, your expedition leaders will make their best effort to facilitate this activity. Please inquire.
No pre-booking required. Trekking poles are available onboard for passenger use and instep crampons will be provided if necessary to improve traction on slick surfaces. Sturdy hiking boots and warm hiking socks are needed to join this activity. Hikes will be 2-3 hours in duration and will involve negotiating challenging terrain without the assistance of trails. Antarctica hiking rewards with images of snow, ice, mountains, and glaciers.
Pre-booked option for up to 16 guests. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. All intending kayakers must complete a questionnaire outlining their prior paddling experience. You must also attend several compulsory onboard meetings prior to the first kayak excursion. Provided equipment includes full Gore-Tex drysuits, kayak specific PFDs, neoprene booties, a waterproof deck bag, pogies, and a single or double kayak. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
An onboard photographer is available to work with you throughout the voyage to help you improve your photography and encourage you to look at scenes or events in a different way in order to capture them digitally. Also available is an onboard multimedia download studio with computers, cables, and hard-drives for back-up storage and for creating DVDs of your images. Select departures host an enhanced photography program, where in addition to the photographer in residence, a professional photographer will serve as one of the expedition guides. This expands the opportunities and bandwidth for those passengers looking to learn more and get more out of their images. Also available is an onboard multimedia download studio with computers, cables, and hard-drives for back-up storage and for creating DVDs of your images.
Charter flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica; transfer from a central meeting point in Punta Arenas to the airport on Day 1 and from Ushuaia to the airport (or a downtown hotel) on arrival back from Antarctica on Day 13; camping (gear provided); cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; daily afternoon tea; 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge and in-cabin coffee and tea-making facilities; experienced expedition leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides, and photographers; daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings; guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities; visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty, and community visits; educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians, etc.); resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up, and management; emergency-trained onboard physician; dedicated hospitality team, including hotel manager, four chefs, professional bar staff, and adventure concierge staff; fitness and yoga; access to wellness area (Finnish sauna, plunge pool filled with sea water, hot tub); natural essential oil amenities; access to a well-stocked library of polar reference; end-of-voyage video, photos, and take-home USB; port fees; all permits to access visited areas; gear on loan (waterproof jacket, water-resistant pants, insulated rubber boots, binoculars, trekking poles, and a waterproof backpack). Subject to change without notice.
Airfare except flights explictly stated in the inclusions; visa and passport fees; airport departure taxes; pre-cruise or post-cruise meals, transfers, and hotel accommodation; personal laundry charges; postage; telephone calls; drinks; medical expenses; trip interruption and cancellation insurance; travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (required); gratuities to staff and crew; private fitness sessions; massage therapy; fee for optional programs; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Amanda Zeissett, Boomer Jerritt, Ira Meyer, Paula Zizka, Renato Granieri