Summary : Set sail on an extraordinary expedition ship for the best of the Southern Ocean, exploring epic Antarctica, the majestic Falkland Islands and wildlife-packed South Georgia with its rookeries of king penguins. Meet penguins in person, aim to step foot on the White Continent, and hear the crackle of sea ice on this epic otherworldly adventure! Exploring the modern traveler’s final frontier, you’ll discover the iconic sights and sounds that make Antarctica one of the Earth’s most pristine, unforgettable, and coveted destinations.
Activities : Birding, Camping, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in Ushuaia and transfer from the airport to your included hotel.
Enjoy a group transfer from your hotel to the pier for embarkation.
Once onboard, enjoy your first taste of life at sea and a welcome dinner. The air is likely to be filled with anticipation, as after you leave the Beagle Channel your next view of land will be of Antarctica - the White Continent.
Crossing the Drake is a rite of passage that signifies your journey to the White Continent has begun! As you sail from the southern tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoy time on deck in the cool salt breeze as you spot sea birds gracefully soaring in the wind. Attend engaging presentations, enjoy the ship’s amenities, and get to know your fellow traveling companions as excitement builds in anticipation of your first excursion. The first iceberg will flash into sight as you near the South Shetlands Islands, and you may even see penguins swimming!
As you navigate historic waterways and visit prime sites along the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring South Shetland Islands, the goal is to attempt 1-2 excursions per day. Your Captain and Expedition Leader continually monitor weather and ice conditions, working together to insure you experience the best of Antarctica whether you’re exploring Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, Deception Island, or the many other locations available for landings and Zodiac cruising in the region.
Sailing in the wake of the 19th century’s great explorers—Sir Ernest Shackleton, Adrien de Gerlache, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen (to name just a few)—you’ll photograph the same towering mountain peaks they saw, hear raucous penguin colonies as you go ashore, see dazzling shades of blue and white as you navigate bays with impressive ice sculptures, and gain a new perspective of what it takes for wildlife—from penguins and giant petrels to elephant seals and humpback whales—to thrive in the beauty of this environment.
Leave the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands behind chart a course for historic Elephant Island. If conditions permit, attempt to take the Zodiacs to Point Wild.
Elephant Island has its place firmly etched in polar history, as this is where Shackleton’s crew from the 1914-17 Trans-Antarctic Expedition took refuge when their ship, The Endurance, was crushed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. They set up camp at Point Wild, a harsh and inhospitable place and waited for over four months, whilst Shackleton sailed with 5 other men in the James Laird lifeboat to South Georgia. This is one of history’s most miraculous tales of Antarctic survival and a story revered by explorers and sailors ever since.
With the historic Elephant Island behind, start out tracing of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s route by sailing north toward the Island of South Georgia. Witnessing the rugged seas that Shackleton and his men navigated in wooden tender is a marvel for history buffs. As will be the animated lectures given by your onboard historians, biologists and ornithology experts as a recap of all you've seen, and learn about all that lays ahead on this sub-Antarctic archipelago.
Crossing time will depend on weather conditions.
South Georgia captivates every traveler that steps foot on its shores. Home to the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet, here penguins number in the hundreds of thousands, carpeting beaches as far as the eye can see. Explore this stunningly beautiful island, an island that is not only home to an incredible array of fauna, but one that is steeped in history. South Georgia was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance Expedition and was once the center of a thriving Southern Ocean whaling industry.
South Georgia is home to over 30 million breeding birds, thousands of seals, the introduced Norwegian reindeer, nesting sites of the wandering albatross, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on this planet. If the wildlife is not enough of a draw card – then the spectacular scenery against which it is set can only enhance your visit – emerald green bays, snow-covered peaks and blue glacier ice. Explore by Zodiac and kayak and on foot, with opportunities to learn more about photography from one of your expert guides.
Every day provides a different experience and a different location. Stand in awe amongst tens of thousands of penguins, look out across beaches blanketed with elephant seals, visit the remains of abandoned whaling stations and even the grave of Shackleton himself.
Saying goodbye to the wildlife of South Georgia, head west towards the isolated and sparsely populated Falklands archipelago, where the silence is broken only by the call of birds. Attend lectures and presentations by the Expedition Team, relax and unwind in the sauna and spa and take advantage of all the other amenities onboard.
Have your camera at the ready as you approach the ruggedly beautiful Falklands archipelago to capture not only the abundant wildlife but also the incredible scenery.
Over the next couple of days explore East and West Island by Zodiac and on foot as you make daily shore landings. You might even discover smaller inlets by kayak (extra fee).
Learn about the intriguing and controversial history of the Falkland Islands as you explore the quaint capital of Port Stanley, with its British outpost feel. Near the town you may see Southern giant petrels, the endemic Falkland steamer ducks, kelp gulls and dolphin gulls. There are also black-crowned night herons, red-backed hawks, peregrine falcons and turkey vultures.
Look out for the 5 species of penguins found here, large populations of black-browed albatrosses, elephant and fur seals, Peale’s and Commerson’s dolphins, orcas and a myriad of bird species including the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck, imperial shags and Cobb’s wrens.
After your exploration of the Falkland Islands, set sail on a course west, bound for the city of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).
Disembark the ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; a minimum of $150,000 is advised by the shipping company. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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.
Paddling in small groups, you’ll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife. Previous kayaking experience is required. It is recommended to have been in a kayak at least three times before. You will need to verify your travel and medical insurance prior to commencing kayaking. Kayakers should be aged 14 or over.
Optional Photography Private Workshop:
Includes workshops prior to arrival in Antarctica, critiquing sessions while in Antarctica and editing workshops on the return journey. Some Zodiac excursions will be on forward-facing Zodiacs with your photography guide at your side on landings too.
A true outdoor adventure, experience the sights and sounds during your opportunity to fully immerse yourself when you camp overnight in Antarctica.
A unique way to explore Antarctica. It makes walking up gentle slopes easier, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone.
One pre-cruise hotel night in Ushuaia with breakfast; transfer from Ushuaia airport to hotel on Day 1; transfer from Ushuaia hotel to pier on Day 2; transfer from ship to airport on disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; gear to keep (wind and water resistant jacket); gear on loan (rubber boots, hiking poles); onboard yoga; all meals onboard ship; soft drinks at meal times. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than those mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses if applicable; optional adventure and photography programs and activities; alcohol; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities; excess baggage charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: The Ocean Endeavour Company; ExpeditionTrips