Summary : If you desire to ‘do it all’ on your Antarctic adventure, then this is the voyage for you. Not only will you cross the Antarctic Circle and travel further south than traditional Antarctic cruises, you’ll also visit the wildlife playgrounds of the Falklands and South Georgia. Discover the wildlife paradise of South Georgia with four penguin species including hundreds of thousands of king penguins, followed by the Antarctic Peninsula with Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins. This is the journey for anyone who appreciates a wide variety of landscapes, unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities and a healthy mix of historic landing sites.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins, Antarctic Circle
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Begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. Overnight at your included hotel hotel.
The Beagle Channel sets you on your way as the ship sails in the late afternoon. The channel opens up to the vastness of the Southern Ocean, where your next land sighting will be along the Antarctic Peninsula. Named after the famed ship in which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents many great photo opportunities to capture sea birds hovering overhead.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you're at sea. Take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, spend time at the bar chatting to other travelers or out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize you with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which you will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier type feel to them, especially at Port Stanley - the largest settlement on the islands. It’s an interesting British outpost, where you may just as easily wander into a pub as you will a church or museum.
With your camera at hand, your wildlife sightings in the Falklands should include at least three species of penguins and two endemic bird species - Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of a memorable time in the Falklands.
En-route to South Georgia you’ll cross the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica – the Antarctic Convergence. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales.
Evidence of the old whaling and sealing days is still found throughout the island. You’ll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once almost decimated here, but today their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Visiting his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling and research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers to this unforgiving, yet beautiful environment.
While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia will leave you in awe. One day you may see rookeries with a 100,000 pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach; the next you may visit a beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share their knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy some quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team, which will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes them each unique.
The most common reaction to arriving at the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence, and the next you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling each and every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless leopard seal, or come eye–to–eye with a curious minke whale while on a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you’ll try kayaking or take a polar plunge!
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south.
With a toast to the first explorers who ventured here, you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, with potential for some fantastic iceberg sightings.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You'll continue to journey onto land and out by Zodiac twice daily. Your Expedition Team will also be on the lookout for any species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on the journey south.
After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers. Disembark in the morning and transfer to the airport for your homeward bound flights.
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/French
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. 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.
Not included in cruise rate. Must be pre-booked prior to the departure. Taken in small groups of 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Minimum age 16 years. It is recommended you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Group transfer from the airport to the pre-voyage hotel on Day 1; one night pre-voyage hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia; group transfer from hotel to ship on embarkation day; group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; meals on board ship; photographic journal; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation; kayaking; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, except for ones mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, beverage 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. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.