Summary : Early season is a time of intense activity in Antarctica. Wildlife migrations have commenced and the sea ice is receding, allowing access to locations that have been ice-choked since winter. Be one the first to visit many well-known sites this season. What makes this journey special is the enhanced program of off-ship activities offered on this departure such as snowshoeing, sea kayaking, camping, and backcountry ski touring. Excursions are complemented by a photography program, wellness program, and a fascinating series of onboard presentations, led by adventurers, marine biologists, naturalists, glaciologists, historians, and an onboard photographer.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$11,295 to $17,795
Depart Santiago this morning on a special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands (see Additional Costs). Upon arrival, transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides your first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds.
Make your way to the port and embark the RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into your cabin and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a 'welcome' cocktail and the ship casts off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.
Crossing the Drake is a rite of passage that signifies your journey to the White Continent has begun! As you sail from the southern tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoy time on deck in the cool salt breeze as you spot sea birds gracefully soaring in the wind. Attend engaging presentations, enjoy the ship’s amenities, and get to know your fellow traveling companions as excitement builds in anticipation of your first excursion.
Your days are spent exploring on and off the ship. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with expert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and science stations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice is always a memorable activity.
Based on site characteristics, the ski-touring group may set off to explore the pristine terrain and range several miles inland with experienced mountaineering guides. What a unique thrill it is to carve ‘fresh tracks’ in the virgin snow of Antarctica. The expedition snowshoe group may follow in the tracks of the skiers, climbing to high points which afford breathtaking views. If you are not up to the more strenuous snowshoeing program, you will be able to try this unique activity at a landing site.
Expedition sea kayakers will head out on excursions which may last all day. An overnight kayak/camping excursion is available to the more adventurous in the group. Everyone aboard will have an opportunity to camp onshore for the night in Antarctica if the weather conditions cooperate. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the chance to spend an entire day with the expedition photographer on an all-day field workshop.
Sailing in the wake of the 19th century’s great explorers—Sir Ernest Shackleton, Adrien de Gerlache, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen (to name just a few)—you’ll photograph the same towering mountain peaks they saw, hear raucous penguin colonies as you go ashore, see dazzling shades of blue and white as you navigate bays with impressive ice sculptures, and gain a new perspective of what it takes for wildlife—from penguins and giant petrels to elephant seals and humpback whales—to thrive in the beauty of this environment.
Your adventure is not over—an additional day of exploration is planned in the South Shetlands. Prevailing weather conditions will dictate landing locations. Aitcho Island is a possibility and is a great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. There are several other landing sites in the South Shetlands including Half Moon Island or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbor, where you might encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another wonderful spot for a hike. Hannah Point, with it's elephant seal colony and nesting Antarctic petrels, is another possible visit. In the evening, the ship will navigate north and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
The forecast for conditions across the Drake Passage will determine when you’ll say a fond farewell to Antarctica and sail back to South America. Enjoy the ship’s amenities as the coastline drifts out of view, take time for bird watching and searching the horizon for whales, and enjoy final presentations by the expedition staff as you relax and reflect upon your Antarctic adventure.
This morning find yourself back in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to the crew and, after some free time in town, make your way to the airport for the return charter flight to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, your journey comes to an end.
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 on this expedition, all passengers must obtain a valid and enforceable policy of travel and baggage insurance including full coverage for medical, dental, accident, repatriation/evacuation (including helicopter) and baggage, together with (for all insurances) any coverage extensions required for the region and activities of the travel. The policy must also cover injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, personal effects and personal liability. Passengers must be able to provide evidence of insurance to the shipping company upon request. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for polar trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed, and returned no later than 90 days prior to departure.
Important Voyage Logistics:
This trip commences in Santiago, Chile. It is recommended that you arrive in Santiago at least one day prior to the scheduled departure as a buffer in the event of unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. From Santiago you will fly via a special charter flight to Stanley, Falkland Islands (see Additional Costs). At the conclusion of the voyage, you will fly from Stanley back to Santiago. It is advised that you book your outward flight from late afternoon/early evening onward—or consider spending a night in Santiago—to avoid missed connections.
Luggage Limits: Different luggage limits apply to the special charter flights between Stanley and Santiago. Please observe a limit of 20-kg / 44-lb for checked baggage and 5-kg / 11-lb for carry-on baggage. There is no facility to purchase excess luggage on this flight. Excess baggage can be stored for the duration of your voyage for a small fee. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Backcountry Ski Touring: $750 per person
Pre-booked option for up to 12 guests. Backcountry ski experience is essential and participation in this option is dependent upon guide approval once onboard. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for a required gear list prior to departure.
Camping: Included (highly weather dependent activity)
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. 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. Hiking in Antarctica rewards participants with stunning landscapes of snow, ice, mountains, and glaciers.
Kayaking: $795 per person
Limited to 30 guests. Pre-booking required. Must have prior sea kayaking experience. All intending kayakers must complete a questionnaire outlining their paddling experience and 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.
Overnight Kayaking Supplement: $300 per person
Limited to 6 guests (4 guest minimum required). Pre-booking required. The overnight kayaking adventure with camping is available for those already enrolled in the standard kayaking program. Participation is dependent upon guide approval once onboard.
An onboard photographer is available throughout the voyage to help you improve your photography skills. Attend presentations, receive hands-on tips and advice, and use the onboard multimedia studio to edit your images.
No pre-booking required. Snowshoes and trekking poles provided. Offered on several occasions over the duration of the voyage.
Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; camping (gear provided); snowshoeing; experienced expedition leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, and adventure guides; dedicated hospitality team and adventure concierge staff; assistance of resident photography guide; off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat; guided hikes and walks onshore; visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty, and science stations; educational presentations and talks; access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up, and management; emergency-trained physician on every voyage; use of onboard library, Finnish sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness center; end of voyage video, photos and take-home USB; gear on loan (waterproof/windproof jacket, bib pants, insulated rubber boots, binoculars, and trekking poles); all meals onboard the ship; daily housekeeping; daily afternoon tea; 24-hour tea, coffee, and hot chocolate in the lounge and in all cabins (replenished daily); port fees and all permits to access visited areas. Subject to change without notice.
Additional Inclusions for Suites:
Exclusive check-in service on day of embarkation; deluxe welcome package (wine, fruit basket, natural snacks); single brew coffee machine; mini-stereo; private in-room One Ocean Adventure Concierge service; in-room dining menu; early morning in-room café service; evening après dinner drink service; premium in-room mini bar replenished daily (including spirits); complimentary 1-hour massage/spa experience. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Charter flights; any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary; visa and passport expenses; pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodations unless otherwise specific in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); pre- or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); meals and transfers in arrival/departure cities; personal laundry charges; personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges, laundry expenses or spa services such as massages; telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone); baggage, cancellation, or medical travel insurance-related expenses (mandatory); gratuities. Fuel surcharge may apply. Subject to change without notice.
PHOTOS: © Amanda Zeisset; © Boomer Jerritt; © Ira Meyer; © Paul Zizka, © One Ocean Expeditions