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 southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. Enjoy talks on regional history, zoology, and geology by knowledgeable onboard guides. 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. Passengers electing to participate can take part in yoga and stretching classes, enjoy healthy meals, a fresh juice bar, indulge in a massage therapy session or take advantage of the sauna or gym in addition to experiencing great daily expedition activities.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
Just-Released Offer Save up to 15% per person
$6,695 to $15,495
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its rich architecture and European heritage, you will independently transfer to your hotel. (See Rate Notes for mandatory transfer package details.)
After breakfast at the hotel, your group will transfer to the airport and board your charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will have a little time to enjoy this quaint port town before heading to the pier.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel 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!
The waters of the Drake Passage are unpredictable, so hope for clear skies and a calm ocean. You’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the sea—spotting and snapping shots of seabirds swooping around the ship—as well as chat with your expedition team and fellow travelers.
Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. On every visit to Antarctica there's something new or unexpected, which means that 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, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and Minke whales, and search for southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.
The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you take optional hikes across snowy pathways to vantage points offering 360-degree views of your surroundings. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and the next you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear. Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles.
Each day will be different, 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 final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your expedition team, and celebrate the experiences shared exploring Antarctica.
Disembark after breakfast and enjoy a short tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park before transferring to the airport for your charter flight back to Buenos Aires.
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.
A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required for you to feel comfortable on the water, and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the paddling excursions described below.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than the full kayaking program, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time, one-hour paddle on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Pre-booking required.
Camping (select departures):
This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in an intimate manner and take your expedition to the next level. A camping safety briefing onboard gets you fully prepped and ready for a night sleeping under the stars. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. This popular camping option has limited availability, so book early. You will need to complete a waiver form before being considered for this Adventure Option.
Cross-Country Skiing (select departures):
The goal is to offer this activity once per voyage, at an ideal landing site during the expedition. With journeys taking a few hours, it is imperative that you be in good physical condition. Ideally, to partake in this activity, you should have cross-country skiing experience; however, exceptions may be made for those deemed physically capable. While the essential gear is provided, you will be responsible for certain extras, such as additional warm clothing and a pair of quality sunglasses.
Mountaineering (select departures):
Geared toward fitness-conscious adventurers, the goal is to offer this once per voyage. Your expert mountaineering guide will work with the expedition leader to select the ideal location for a full-day mountaineering adventure, which can last up to five hours. To participate in this challenging option, you are required to complete a fitness waiver.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (select departures):
Taken in small groups—in calm bays and harbors, in good weather conditions—and accompanied by a Zodiac, can be pre-booked in two consecutive priority groups. After the first two successful outings, it will be offered via sign-up on board the ship on a first-come, first-served basis for any subsequent outings.
Included in cruise rate and weather dependent. Taken in small groups in good weather conditions. Prior experience not required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Shipboard accommodations; snowshoeing; parka to keep; photographic journal; gear on loan: waterproof expedition boots, use of walking poles, use of snowshoes (weather dependent); all meals aboard the ship; daily housekeeping; house wine, non-premium domestic beer during dinner; soft drinks and smoothies at all times aboard the ship; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock; shore landings per the daily program; Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $500,000 USD per person*. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; mandatory transfer package; arrival transfer in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel on Day 1; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore; adventure option supplements (except snowshoeing); mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except those mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, massage and other personal charges; phone and Internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; 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. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.
Photos: © Cindy Miller Hopkins, © Acacia Johnson, © Quark Expeditions