Summary : Celebrate the holidays among penguins, whales, and icebergs – an unforgettable experience in the wilderness of Antarctica. Starting in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, make your way south to Ushuaia before embarking on an Antarctic Peninsula expedition filled with highlights like the Gentoo penguins of Yankee Harbor and the humpback whales of Wilhelmina Bay. Experience the breathtaking, diverse landscapes of Half Moon Island and opt to hike on Deception Island – a distinctive ring-shaped volcanic caldera. Your expedition experience will be enhanced by onboard programming for the whole family – including photography workshops, science lectures, and a special Young Explorers club, and optional activities like kayaking and snowshoeing.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
NEW – Pre-Bookable Kayaking!
$12,005 to $31,545
Your expedition starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Join an optional city tour or spend time exploring the 'Paris of South America' on your own. Enjoy an included hotel night in Buenos Aires.
Board an early morning flight to Ushuaia, where your ship awaits. Once on board, kick off your journey with a welcome dinner.
Prepare yourself for Antarctica as you cross the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship's educational program is designed to bring polar exploration to all ages and learning levels. Children can participate in ´Young Explorers Antarctica´ classes - but everyone is welcome. There will also be several lectures on the environment and films about Antarctica. The Explorer Room will be buzzing with activity. This will be the heart of the expedition community, where you gather for talks, recaps and spontaneous events, mingle, and share stories. Take it all in through the ship's two-story panorama lounge over the bow, with wall-to-wall windows that bathe the room in natural light and provide extraordinary views.
You are now in one of the most remote areas on Earth! There have been spectacular photo opportunities so far, but Antarctica itself is in a whole different category. Go ashore to explore the breathtaking Antarctic scenery and get close to penguins and seals. You will feel like a real explorer from the moment you set foot on the endless expanse of snow and ice. From the deck there will be ample opportunities to sight whales. Enjoy close encounters with wildlife and glaciers, old whaling stations, and relics. Every second of this journey has something new to offer.
One of the highlights of the South Shetlands is Deception Island. When you sail into the natural harbor of this volcanic island, you will see an abandoned whaling station known as Hektor and a derelict British base. Enjoy a visit to Half Moon Island, a staggeringly photogenic island with some of the most beautiful Antarctic scenery imaginable, or Yankee Harbor with its large colony of Gentoo penguins estimated to be 4,000 breeding pairs.
Cuverville Island is home to another of the largest known colonies of Gentoo penguins. Neko Harbor is beautifully located in the innermost part of Andvord Bay. Paradise Harbor got its descriptive name from the whalers during the last century. Wilhelmina Bay has stunning scenery and is often called ´Whale-mina Bay´ because of the large number of humpback whales spotted there in December.
Plenty of activities have been planned for you to experience Antarctica in the best way. One day you might go ashore to see penguins and hear the crackling noise of glaciers. The next day, you might feel the salt and wind as you cruise between the sea ice, looking for leopard seals taking a snooze on ice floes. Or opt to navigate by kayak or explore the shore on a guided hike.
Back onboard you will have a range of activities to choose from. Take the opportunity to learn expedition photography basics from the ship's photographer or join gatherings where various members of the expedition team recount the day’s activities. Younger guests will enjoy youth-specific activities as part of the included Young Explorers Program. This program is a scientific introduction to biology, history, wildlife, and learning more about navigation with lectures, field trips, and visits to the science center. Join gatherings where the expedition team recounts the day’s activities, makes presentations, and discusses the next day’s plan. These gatherings are great opportunities for sharing and mingling with your fellow explorers and the expedition community. No two expedition days in Antarctica are ever the same – and all of them are filled with dynamic experiences designed to fully experience the awe-inspiring white wilderness of Antarctica.
Christmas Day will be a unique mix of exciting activities among the ice and penguins combined with traditional Norwegian celebrations on board. You might enjoy a special lunch followed by a walk to the top of a snow-covered hill set within a glaciated bay. Or your Christmas gift may be a cruise among icebergs followed by a visit from a certain white-bearded gentleman.
After exploring this exhilarating continent, you'll set course back to civilization. Spend the time at sea recapping your experiences, having fun in the Explorer Room or just relaxing on deck.
Sadly, every adventure must come to an end. Say goodbye to the crew and all your new friends when you reach Ushuaia. An included transfer will take you to the airport for your included flight back to Buenos Aires. If you haven't had enough adventure, you may choose to extend your stay with a variety of optional post-expedition programs. For example, celebrate the New Year by spending a few extra days in stylish Buenos Aires.
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.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Medical Declaration Form:
All travelers must complete a confidential medical declaration form, signed by a doctor, stating that they are fit to travel. This form will be available in advance of travel, and must be filled out, brought on board, and personally delivered to the doctor upon embarkation. Boarding may denied if this form is not presented at the time of embarkation.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Basic Kayaking Certification Program:
Learn how to effectively maneuver a kayak and perform simple, practical kayaking exercises and drills, as well as basic kayaking safety procedures. This course is up to 16 hours in duration over two non-consecutive days. Kayaking excursions on the water will be 2-4 hours in length. Graduates of the class will receive a basic kayaking certification from the Norwegian Paddle Association: Norsk Padleforbunds. The program is led by two professional kayaking guides, with a maximum of 8 participants. No previous paddling experience is necessary. The program is conducted in English. All equipment, including a dry suit, is provided for participants. Good physical fitness is essential. Children 13 years and older may participate on request. Please Note: This program is not combinable with the Explorer Photography School program. Pre-bookable (recommended) or bookable onboard, subject to availability. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
Explorer Photography School:
Participate in three photography workshops: Workshop #1: Basic Image Editing (2 hours, divided into two sessions or more); Workshop #2: Wildlife and Landscape Photography; Workshop #3: DSLR Video Instruction. The program is taught by two professional photographers, with a maximum of 10 participants. It is conducted in English and intended for advanced beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated workstation with photo editing software, priority access to the photo and optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens Cleaning kit. Please Note: This program is not combinable with the Basic Kayak Certification program. Pre-bookable (recommended) or bookable onboard, subject to availability. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. The duration of the hike depends on the tour. Hiking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: Pre-bookable, please inquire
Embark on a 2-4 hour kayaking excursion accompanied by expert guides in a stable double kayak. Included: head-to-toe kayaking gear, including a dry suit; snack and/or lunchbox as needed. Outings are subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to pre-book kayaking.
Photography Program: Included
Join onboard photography lectures about still photography, video photography, and wildlife photography. Lectures are included in the price of the voyage. Those interested in a more in-depth photography expedition are encouraged to consider to optional, pre-bookable Explorer Photography School program. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Science Center: Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for snowshoeing during the voyage. Due to popular demand, snowshoers are chosen by lottery as there is a set limit to the number of guests allowed to go onshore at one time. Snowshoeing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Young Explorers Program: Included
Designed for children traveling with adults to magnificent destinations where the focus is on education, fun, and participation. A dedicated staff member will lead age-appropriate lectures and field research with your Young Explorer on topics ranging from science, polar history, photography, and navigation. Activities and learning are designed for children between the ages of 7-13 (although all ages can join in!)
Optional activities for this trip are subject to change without notice. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Round-trip economy flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia; one pre-cruise hotel night in Buenos Aires, including breakfast; pre-cruise transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires; pre-cruise transfer from the airport to the ship in Ushuaia; post-cruise transfer from the ship to the airport in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; Young Explorers program for children; onboard photography lectures; onboard science center; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); a wind- and water-resistant parka; all meals onboard the ship; complimentary tea and coffee. Expedition Suites (Q, M, MG, MX) include a separate check-in; welcome package with sparkling wine on embarkation day; suite breakfast; soft drink and wine packages; fleece blanket/throw; cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles; espresso maker; Wi-Fi; turn-down service; and laundry service. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare not detailed in the inclusions; transfers not detailed in the inclusions; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; luggage handling; alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as mentioned; mini bar replenishment; optional excursions and gratuities; items of a personal nature such as laundry; walking sticks and binoculars can be rented for an additional charge; fuel surcharge may apply.
SELECT PHOTOS: © Andrea Kalvig Anderson