Summary : Sail in comfort aboard a luxurious and comfortable ship through the Drake Passage and along the Antarctic Peninsula with the ambition of crossing the Antarctic Circle. In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will spend your days exploring by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Plan to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Matha Strait or Marguerite Bay. Given favorable ice conditions, you will push your exploration even further southward, looking for historic and wildlife sites. At Half Moon Island you will visit a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. Be on the lookout for the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to spot Orca and Minke whales as you go. With camping and kayaking options, this expedition promises to facilitate an unparalleled and intimate encounter with the Great White Continent.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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$10,995 to $24,995
Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today. Enjoy a complimentary stay at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort. Explore the trails, rejuvenate with a spa day, head into town, or simply relax and take in your surroundings. Your optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning.
This morning, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by your expedition team and the ship’s officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on your early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and sea lion colonies.
As you make your way ever closer to the white continent, numerous Polar Experts will prepare you with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in sea bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. You’re likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If you’re lucky, you may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, your expedition team will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Your expedition leader and captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. You will aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
Your first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer amazing abundance and beauty. You may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including chinstrap penguins and southern elephant seals.
As you head south across the Bransfield Strait, you will sail towards the Antarctic Circle. From your most southerly point (south of the Antarctic Circle), you will make your way back north, cruising through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Spectacular waterways such as Crystal Sound, or the living museums of Detaille or Horseshoe Island are some of the less visited places of the Antarctic Peninsula. These waters are significantly further south making sea ice more common. The ice ultimately directs what adventures you will have in these lesser traveled waterways.
Heading north you will enter Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast. Here you may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the humpback whale-favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell and Crabeater seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
Bid farewell to the enchanting icescapes of the Antarctic Peninsula as you make your way north again, heading across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. Continue to enjoy your ship's presentation series and wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you will celebrate the conclusion of your expedition with a special slideshow.
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for your next adventure.
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 passengers are required to carry valid travel insurance. This insurance must contain medical and evacuation coverage. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance are strongly recommended as well. As any potential evacuation from Antarctica can cost up to $200,000, it is recommended that no policy carry less than this amount of coverage. Pre-departure forms will require information as to travel insurance carrier, policy number, and a 24 hour contact number. 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 U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Get a taste of Antarctica as it was experienced by the early explorers. After a delicious dinner onboard, jump back in the Zodiacs and head ashore for a night of camping in Antarctica! Help to set up camp, then enjoy the sounds of the waves, the creaking of the glaciers, and perhaps even the blow of a passing whale. Anyone 12 and older can participate (with additional fee). Included: insulated sleeping bags, rated -20° F, a sleeping bag liner, one dry bag for a pillow and a change of clothes, 4-season mountaineering tents, a limited number of mountaineering bivy sacks, and insulated sleeping pads. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
The Citizen Science program is complimentary and open to anyone onboard who wants to help with real-world scientific research. From penguin surveys to measuring ocean salinity, there are a number of projects you can take part in. Participation availability can vary. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking offers an opportunity to participate in the most intimate Antarctica encounters. Basic paddling experience is highly recommended. Participants should be capable of getting in and out of a kayak, doing a wet exit, and performing forward and back strokes. Maximum participants: 16 passengers per voyage. Included: kayaks (mix of tandems and singles), dry suits, paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and Pogies (neoprene gloves). Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One pre-voyage hotel night at the Arakur Ushuaia Resort and Spa; transfer from the Ushuaia airport to the group hotel (if arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary); transfer from the group hotel to the ship for embarkation; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; scheduled landings and excursions; 24/7 complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; welcome/farewell cocktail; citizen science program; complimentary house beer/wine/soft drink with dinner; Wi-Fi from the public computers in the library; 100-minute Wi-Fi card (for use on your personal device); daily international news service; digital voyage log; gear on loan (a pair of boots); and a waterproof jacket (yours to keep). Owner's Suite, Penthouse, Veranda, Deluxe, and Promenade categories also include: champagne and chocolates on arrival, and a complimentary mini bar. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any airfare or travel expenses associated with arrival in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; transfer from airport to group hotel, unless arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary; pre- or post-voyage expenses in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; laundry and personal expenses incurred on board; alcohol and soft drinks (except as listed in the inclusions); onboard communication charges such as phone calls; Wi-Fi from personal devices in excess of 100 minutes provided; staff gratuities; fuel surcharge (may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases).