Summary : Set sail on an extraordinary luxury expedition ship for the best of the Southern Ocean, exploring epic Antarctica, the colorful Falkland Islands and wildlife-packed South Georgia with its rookeries of king penguins. Gain a deep understanding of the region with enriching lectures by award-winning experts, including scientists, historians and those awarded the coveted Polar Medal. Learn about the fascinating life of one of Antarctica's greatest explorers, Ernest Shackleton, when you visit his gravesite in Grytviken. Set off for exciting shore excursions in swift Zodiacs (sturdy inflatable boats), where closer views of the land and wildlife reveal the remarkable biodiversity of the Southern Ocean.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
Save $4,000 per person
NEW in 2018 - Butler service in Suites.
$21,995 to $52,995
Arrive in Argentina’s capital city, where immediate check-in has been arranged. With its wide boulevards and classical buildings, romantic Buenos Aires boasts an energy all its own. Relax before this afternoon’s tour of the city’s highlights, including the Plaza de Mayo, the stately Casa Rosada, the Cabildo and the Metropolitan Cathedral. You may drive past the colorful La Boca District or San Telmo, the birthplace of tango. Get to know your fellow guests this evening at a welcome cocktail party.
Fly to the port city of Ushuaia, located at the southern tip of South America (flight not included). On arrival, enjoy lunch at the Arakur resort and, time and weather permitting, take a guided trek in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve or simply relax with a latte and enjoy the views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. Later, board ‘Le Lyrial’ and settle into your cabin, where you can take in views right from your own private balcony. Walk the decks and explore the common spaces as you familiarize yourself with the luxury cruiser, your home for the next 15 nights at sea. You may even want to toast to your journey in the bar with your fellow guests.
As you sail east toward the Falkland Islands, your expert lecturers begin their informal series of enlightening, daily discussions on the flora, fauna, geology and history of the region. In the past, lectures have covered diverse topics such as seabirds and penguins of the Southern Ocean, the formation of sea ice over thousands of years, and personal accounts of living and working in Antarctica. A professional photography enrichment coach is also on hand to assist with any questions. The cool waters in these parts are rich in krill, making them a favorite with local wildlife searching for food. Alongside your naturalist guides, spot various species of whales and seabirds from the ship's deck.
Arrive at the remote Falkland Islands. Disembark to visit Port Stanley, the tiny, quaint capital with its small shops, brightly painted houses and friendly locals. Choose from one of several sightseeing excursions of Stanley, including a city highlights tour, a nature trek or an excursion by 4x4 vehicles to visit a gentoo penguin colony. History buffs may prefer a tour that visits some of the Falkland battlefields as well as the memorials to those who lost their lives in the conflict between Britain and Argentina in 1982.
As you approach South Georgia, deck-side sightings of whales and other wildlife become more frequent. Time spent cruising is once again filled with informative lectures and casual talks with your guides. Scan the seas to spot marine mammals and seabirds, as the ship cruises the nutrient-rich waters past the islands of Shag Rocks.
South Georgia is a nearly submerged continuation of the Andes mountain range, and your days here are spent exploring its glacier-carved coves and rugged shores. While weather and ice conditions determine the schedule, stops may include Eleshul Bay to see nesting, wandering albatrosses as well as Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour, all three of which are home to vast colonies of king penguins and Southern elephant seals. You may also visit Ernest Shackleton’s gravesite in Grytviken alongside your onboard historian, an expert on the great explorer’s life.
During your time cruising the Scotia Sea — rich with marine mammals and fish — your expert lecturers recap your adventures in South Georgia. They also share more enriching lectures, revealing more of what is to come on the Seventh Continent, from the terrain to the hardy wildlife that inhabits this dramatic environment.
The ship’s itinerary calls for landings on the Antarctic Peninsula and a number of South Shetland Islands, which may include Half Moon, Penguin and Deception. Other possible island visits may include Cuverville, Paulet and Goudier. There are also plans to sail through Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel, the latter often referred to as “Kodak Alley” for its breathtaking, picture-perfect beauty. Further adventures may include a visit to Wilhelmina Bay, noted for its prolific humpback whale activity. As you cruise along Antarctica, scan the seas daily for these gentle giants, all from the comfort of your private balcony and the outer decks of your ship.
Bid farewell to Antarctica as you cruise back to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage, where you find more opportunities to observe marine and birdlife. Reflect on your incredible journey with fellow guests and new friends.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires (flight not included).
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 at a minimum coverage of $50,000. 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.
Family Holiday Departure: 12/22/2018
Features a Young Explorers Guide with special pricing available for children 7-18. Full curriculum based exploratory program. A fantastic learning experience for kids delivering exciting and engaging programs based on age. Photography, art and more.
Photographic Expedition: 1/16/2019
Join onboard resident photo coach, Richard Harker, who will help take your photos to the next level. Richard is a professional photographer whose work has appeared in countless publications. Designed for all levels of skill and equipment preferences, enjoy a comprehensive and structured photography program led by Richard and joined by an additional wildlife photographer. Together these polar experts will teach you to shoot like a pro with workshops and hands-on tutorials, both onboard and in the field!
One night pre-cruise hotel in Buenos Aires; accommodation and meals on the ship; arrival transfer to the starting hotel; transfer to the airport on the day of debarkation; complimentary standard bar drinks, beer, house wine, soft drinks, coffee drinks, juices and bottled water (excluding premium wines, spirits, liquors and Champagnes) while on board; hotel taxes; butler service in Suites; on loan: boots, walking poles and pants; parka and backpack to keep; and onboard gratuities for the ship’s crew and Expedition Staff. Subject to change without notice.
International airfare; round-trip charter flight between Buenos Aires/Ushuaia; passport and visa expenses; laundry; meals not specified as included; premium wines, spirits, liquors and champagnes; communication charges and internet access; all items of a personal nature; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © A&K Image Library