Summary : Early summer is an extraordinary time of year in Antarctica. Penguins and seabirds are returning to their breeding colonies, elephant seals are engaging in epic battles, and the thawing of sea ice invites you into an unspoiled polar wilderness. With this special itinerary you can experience the highlights of the South Georgia and the Falkland Islands as well as Antarctica, on a luxury expedition ship for an unbeatable price. On this once-per-season voyage you will explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. Weather and ice conditions permitting, you will also plan to make a continental landing on the Antarctic Peninsula. Each of these destinations is legendary for abundant marine mammals, exceptional sub-Antarctic birdlife, spectacular scenery, and fascinating history.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$12,995 to $27,595
Welcome to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The southernmost capital city in the Americas, Montevideo is often described as a "vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life." Upon your arrival at the airport meet your included transfer to your hotel, which has been arranged by the shipping company and is included in the price of the voyage. For the rest of the day you are free to explore this welcoming seaside city.
In the afternoon, enjoy a group transfer to the pier where you will be welcomed aboard your expedition ship. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Antarctic dreams coming true as you sail toward a true wilderness where wildlife abounds.
Sailing south through the South Atlantic Ocean toward the Falkland Islands, keep a lookout for dolphins and whales. Presentations and workshops by your expert staff, as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas.
The remote and sparsely populated Falkland Islands are a birders’ paradise. You can anticipate visiting one or more of the isolated outer islands where large colonies of penguins and albatross are easily accessible. The Falklands are also a great place to observe marine mammals. Fur seals and elephant seals can be found on sandy beaches while the waters in and around the archipelago are home to various whale and dolphin species. Your route and exploration opportunities are dependent on weather among these windswept islands. You can also plan to visit Stanley, the charmingly British capital of the Falkland Islands. Attractions within pleasant walking distance along the waterfront promenade include the Falkland Islands Museum, the governor’s house, a cathedral with impressive whalebone arch outside, a war memorial, quality gift shops, pubs, and views of shipwrecks in the harbor.
From the Falkland Islands head east toward South Georgia, passing the remote, seabird-covered pinnacles known as Shag Rocks on the way. You will also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. Briefings, bio-security procedures, and lectures from staff prepare you for your arrival in South Georgia.
South Georgia is the premier destination for sub-Antarctic wildlife viewing in a supremely scenic wilderness environment. The islands are said to host upwards of 100 million seabirds, including numerous species of albatross, penguins, prions, petrels, and terns. On beaches such as those at Salisbury Plain and St. Andrews Bay, over 100,000 elephant seals and three million fur seals jostle for space among innumerable penguins including stately king penguins and sprightly macaroni penguins.
The recently completed rat eradication program is sure to make this wilderness even more pristine and rich with birdlife. The bountiful waters surrounding South Georgia are also inhabited by an increasing number of whales. The historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home to the excellent South Georgia Museum managed by the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This is also the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton, the legendary polar explorer. This is expedition cruising at its most authentic.
Your route and exploration opportunities in South Georgia are dependent on the weather conditions you encounter. Your experienced captain and expedition leader will decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to you by nature in this wild and remote corner of the world. Your expedition team will take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this amazing place. Weather permitting, there will be a hiking expedition over part of the famous “Shackleton Walk” from Fortuna Bay to the abandoned whaling station at Stromness. Your days in South Georgia will be filled with meaningful activities, presentations by experts, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After a memorable time in amazing South Georgia proceed southwest toward the Antarctic Peninsula. Pelagic seabirds including the majestic wandering albatross are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks or from exterior stateroom windows and balconies.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. Ice-strewn bays and channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. Antarctic research stations of various nationalities can also be found here. The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites rich with wildlife, fascinating geology, and historical significance. Your first encounter with Antarctica will likely be Elephant Island, where men from Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition spent the winter. You can also hope to visit Deception Island, a flooded but still active volcanic caldera containing the remains of a derelict whaling station. Farther south, the Antarctic Peninsula itself contains sheltered bays, abundant wildlife, and fantastic vistas of mountains and glaciers. Weather and ice permitting, plan to spend a day in the vicinity of the peninsula with the hope of making a landing on the continent of Antarctica. Antarctica is a true wilderness and is subject to unpredictable weather and ever-changing ice conditions, which dictate our route and exploration opportunities. This is a real expedition where you will exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and Zodiac excursions.
From Antarctica head north through the Drake Passage toward South America, always on the lookout for marine mammals and rare seabirds. Finally you will enter the famous Beagle Channel between the Argentine and Chilean sides of Tierra del Fuego.
After breakfast say farewell in the city of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. You will be provided with a group transfer to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
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.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage including medical, evacuation, cancellation and trip interruption. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage 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.
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. You must book your spot before you join the vessel for your voyage. Weather permitting, sea kayakers will have the opportunity to paddle through tranquil waters filled with glittering icebergs and porpoising penguins while surrounded by magnificent glaciers and mountains. Participants must be at least 18 years old, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience.
Learn and practice your photography alongside an experienced professional. An expert Photographer will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
Group transfers from airport to hotel on the day prior to departure; 1 pre-voyage hotel night in Montevideo (if a single traveler reserves a shared cabin aboard the ship, they will automatically receive shared hotel accommodations on the pre-cruise night at the hotel); group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; scheduled landings/excursions; meals on board ship; coffee/tea station 24 hours on ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on ship; a pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings; expedition parka (yours to keep); port fees; pre-departure materials; digital Voyage Log. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees (if applicable); luggage, medical and trip cancellation insurance; excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry, and onboard communications (telephone calls, faxes, and e-mail service); gratuities to shipboard personnel; fuel surcharge may apply; emergency evacuation insurance; pre- or post-cruise travel.
Photos: © Poseidon Expeditions