Summary : A massive rookery of penguins shuffles across a frozen shore; a pod of whales glides through frigid waters; dramatic landscapes float off in the distance – welcome to Antarctica. Join a voyage of discovery to the planet’s last frontier – a mysterious and virtually pristine paradise. The ice-strengthened expedition ship is ideally suited to cruising this icy wilderness, and her knowledgeable staff are on hand to ensure you’ll fully appreciate all the majesty you encounter. Sail the Drake Passage past the South Shetland Islands, then explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other – more like a private expedition than a traditional cruise.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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$9,499 to $16,499
Arrive in Ushuaia at any time. Arrival transfer included. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the world's most southerly city.
Enjoy a free morning in Ushuaia. Do any last minute shopping, explore the town, or visit the surrounding countryside. Embarkation on the Expedition begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. Enjoy the evening sailing through the Beagle Channel.
The adventure begins with a 497-mile crossing of the passage named in honor of 16th-century English sea captain and privateer, Sir Francis Drake. Take in daily lectures from the expedition team, and keep an eye out for icebergs, whales, and albatross following in the Expedition's wake.
As the Expedition crosses the passage there will be time to become acquainted with the ship and frequent the common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library and lecture hall where you meet your guides, ship’s crew, and expedition staff.
Begin lectures and information sessions to learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
Encounter some of the region's unique wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery while setting foot on the Antarctic continent. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather permitting) and encounter gentoo, chinstrap, and Adélie penguin rookeries; Weddell, crabeater, and leopard seals; and orca, humpback, and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters.
This is what you've been waiting for: a chance to step foot on the Great White Continent! Over the next four days the Expedition will navigate southwards making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula.
The goal is to attempt two excursions per day while navigating through the area but the itinerary and daily schedule will be based on local weather and ice conditions.
The peninsula also has a remarkable human history; during the voyage, learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world.
With a close eye on weather conditions, continue southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguins, push on with the goal in mind - crossing the Antarctic Polar Circle. Few travelers have ventured this far south, but with a fully equipped ice-strengthened vessel and favorable sea conditions, the Expedition can access many remote locations other ships just can't reach.
Turn north for the first time to continue exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.
Continue an exploration of the peninsula and then into the South Shetlands while moving North again. Keep a close eye out for wildlife. There might be opportunities to do some whale watching or even go for a polar plunge in the Southern waters.
Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching and whale watching and enjoying some final lectures by the expedition staff, this is a chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia.
Remember, the best way to experience the wildlife of the Drake Passage is to be on deck keeping a look out for albatross, prions and whales!
Begin the journey to your home port of Ushuaia. Review the highlights of your Antarctic experience with your lecturers and staff, and keep your eyes open on the observation deck for some last-minute whale sightings.
Disembark the Expedition after breakfast.
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:
As a requirement of participation on the Expedition, all passengers must purchase medical and emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum medical coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, and evacuation expenses. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Clients must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Overnight camping is an opportunity for passengers to participate in a unique adventure while on their Antarctic trip without needing any prior experience. The adventure is spending one night sleeping onshore with a group of up to 60 fellow campers to experience the sights and sounds, cold and isolation of the coldest, driest, windiest continent on the planet. A mandatory waiver must be signed by participants, indicating that they are aware of and accept the increased risks that are associated with being off the ship overnight. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters on small group kayaking excursions led by expert kayaking guides. The number of participants is restricted to a maximum of 20 passengers and 2 guides per outing in Antarctica. Passengers who participate in the sea kayak program should have a working knowledge of sea kayaking strokes, entries, exits, including a “wet exit.” Normal duration of an outing is approximately 2-4 hours, and is guided and supervised by professional kayak guides with experience in cold-water regions paddling near ice and marine mammals. The sea kayaking guide will also have previous experience in Antarctica, and be certified in advanced wilderness first aid, and is responsible for accompanying and supervising all kayak operations. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Tierra del Fuego National Park:
Explore this stunning coastal national park extending 391 sq miles. Pass Valle Rio Pipo on the way to Austral Fueguino train station, opt to take the End of the World train before visiting Lago Roca and Bahía Lapataia. Keep an eye out for a variety of birdlife and spectacular colors in the fall. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and to book in advance.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Ushuaia; arrival and departure transfers; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; coffee, tea, and water; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of the Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots for US sizes 6-16); parka. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; gratuities are at your discretion; items of a personal nature including laundry, Wi-Fi, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions such as Tierra del Fuego Nationa park; camping; kayaking; fuel surcharge may apply.