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Antarctica and South Georgia

Antarctica Cruise

Summary : Explore the mythical White Continent. Seeing not only the Antarctic Peninsula but also South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: elephant seals, king penguins, and fur seals. Go ashore at the splendid sites of Gold Harbour or Fortuna Bay, walking amongst the penguins, and spotting elephant seals basking in the southern sun. Explore the ancient whaling station of Deception Island and discover its amazing colony of chinstrap penguins. Visit Port Lockroy's small museum and the most southern post office in the world. Sail the famous Drake Passage and carve through waters often populated by orcas, humpback whales and other cetaceans on this trip of a lifetime!

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Montevideo, Uruguay

Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Embark the vessel this afternoon.

Day 2 – 5
Day 6 – 8
South Georgia

The Grytviken stopover is a highlight of South Georgia Island. This former whaling station, now a ghost town, is set against a serene backdrop of ochre-colored earth. Vestiges of the whaling industry are still very much present, particularly old whale bones and remnants of shipwrecks. Grytviken's other historical point of interest is the grave of famous adventurer Sir Ernest Shackleton. During the legendary Endurance expedition (1914-1917) Shackleton and his men survived against all odds after having been trapped in pack ice for several months. The series of exploits leading to their rescue will remain forever etched in the annals of Antarctic exploration.

Discover Gold Harbour's majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, and pitch-black volcanic sand beaches. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussock grass and framed by snow-capped peaks. On this island where summer days are endless, the wildlife stays up with the sun. Fur seals, elephant seals and king penguins move about the island like tiny black dots along the landscape. Those humans who enter this kaleidoscope of colors and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

Day 9 – 10
Day 11 – 13
Antarctic Peninsula

Situated just above the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island is easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive horseshoe shape. The crater of this former volcano was carved 10,000 years ago and the resulting caldera was flooded, creating a natural harbor. Deception Island still bears traces of its past as a longtime hub of the whaling industry. The vestiges of abandoned sheds that line the black sand of its volcanic beaches share space with the island's spectacular fauna. It is home to the Antarctic Peninsula’s largest colony of chinstrap penguins, as well as numerous elephant seals and fur seals.

Between 1897 and 1899, Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache led an Antarctic expedition aboard the Belgica. There, he discovered a quiet, protected bay which he named in honor of the Dutch queen, Wilhelmina of Orange-Nassau. In this enchanting place, towering mountains reflect off of still waters, offering up a magnificent and colorful feast for the eyes. Yet another source of wonder: humpback whales, majestic and frequent visitors to the bay, feed in the surrounding waters amidst a stunning seascape of ice floes and icebergs.

During your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to stop over at Port Lockroy, a spectacular natural harbor nestled in the very heart of the Antarctic Peninsula on Goudier Island. Discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1903, the site has served over the years as a stopover for whaling ships, a British military base and later a research station. The port is currently one of the most visited sites in the Antarctic, thanks to its tiny museum which allows visitors to experience the base as it was in the 1950s and to take home a souvenir from its gift shop. While you're here, don't miss the chance to send your loved ones a post card from the southernmost post office in the world!

With its spectacular landscapes composed of towering glacial peaks plunging down into the icy waters of the Antarctic, Paradise Bay is true to its name. Discovered and named by whalers in the early 20th century, this protected natural site is currently home to a wide variety of fauna, from Antarctic cormorants and leopard seals to sheathbills and gentoo penguins, who mingle on the long stretch of rocky beaches. With some luck, you'll even be privy to an unforgettable underwater dance between passing humpback whales. During your excursion, head off to discover the old Argentine base Almirante Brown, which is only occupied for a few weeks each year, during the austral summer.

A little corner of paradise in the shadow of a towering glacier, Neko Harbour is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by Belgian navigator Adrien de Gerlache during his 1897-1899 expedition. Mountains, ice, and wildlife combine to form a truly unique landscape. Animals are as abundant as they are exotic. You'll encounter seabirds (gulls, Cape petrels, cormorants) and marine mammals (seals, orcas, and whale). Head out on a Zodiac excursion and get up close to the icebergs, stop near a penguin colony, watch a leopard seal sunbathe between dives and enjoy an impromptu aerial show from passing Antarctic terns.

Day 14 – 15
At Sea

Heading to Ushuaia you'll cross the famous Drake Passage. As you enjoy the ships on board delights, keep an eye out for marine mammals from the upper deck, or inside lounges with panoramic views.

Day 16
Ushuaia, Argentina / Buenos Aires, Argentina

After breakfast, disembark the vessel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires.

Notes

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.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Bilingual Departures: All departures French/English.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase medical evacuation insurance, and a primary health insurance policy. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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.

Included:
One-way flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires in Economy-class; transfer from ship to airport in Ushuaia; meals onboard the ship; captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; luggage transfer between pier and ship; open bar (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands, coffee, juices and soft drinks); crew gratuities; 24-hour room service; butler service is included for guests staying on Deck 6; parka; boot rental. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Any airfare other than that mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned; optional Tierra del Fuego tour; spa charges; beverages other than those mentioned; laundry services, hair salon; personal expenses, medical consultations and drug prescriptions; cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s); fuel surcharge may apply.

Photo Credit: © Lorraine Turci, © Olivier Blaud, © Nathalie Michel, © Ponant

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