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. On this once-per-season voyage you'll explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Each of these destinations is legendary for abundant marine mammals, exceptional subantarctic birdlife, spectacular scenery, and fascinating history. In the Falkland Islands, where birdlife abounds, discover easily accessible albatross and penguin rookeries on idyllic island farmsteads. In South Georgia, amidst the dramatic Southern Ocean seascape, find world-famous wildlife beaches thronged with jousting elephant seals, raucous fur seals, and stately king penguins. In the South Shetland Islands, explore a pristine polar wilderness of singular beauty, complete with bustling penguin colonies, dauntless seals, and voracious whales. On this ultimate wildlife expedition, each destination is more amazing than the last.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$12,995 to $28,495
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 a transfer will be provided to your hotel, which is included in the price of the voyage. For the rest of the day you are free to explore this welcoming seaside city.
A group transfer to the pier is provided. You'll be welcomed aboard the ship. Explore 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 the ship slips her moorings and sails 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 as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent.
The remote and sparsely populated Falkland Islands are a birders’ paradise. 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. The route and exploration opportunities are dependent on the weather in these windswept islands.
You may also 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 an 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'll also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. Briefings, bio-security procedures, and lectures will prepare you for arrival in South Georgia.
South Georgia is a 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. A 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. The route and exploration opportunities in South Georgia are heavily dependent on the weather conditions encountered. 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. You will take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this amazing place.
Your days in South Georgia are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After a memorable time in amazing South Georgia you'll 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 may also visit Deception Island, a flooded but still active volcanic caldera containing the remains of a derelict whaling station.
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 the route and exploration opportunities. This is a real expedition—the captain and crew will exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and Zodiac excursions.
From Antarctica you'll head north through the Drake Passage toward South America, always on the lookout for marine mammals and rare seabirds. Finally the ship 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. A group transfer to the airport or the town center is provided. 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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All voyages are conducted in English and German.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to carry valid evacuation and repatriation insurance which must contain medical and evacuation coverage. 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 experience the thrill and tranquility of sea kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage, in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Children who are 16 to 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate if they are accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.
Learn and practice photography skills 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.
One 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 from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to departure; group transfer to the ship on embarkation day; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; scheduled landings/excursions; photography program; digital voyage log; gear to keep (complimentary expedition parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); meals on board ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station on board ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on board ship; port fees. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees (if applicable); luggage, medical, luggage, 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; emergency evacuation insurance; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Poseidon Expeditions