Summary : This voyage combines the comfortable adventure cruises of Classic Antarctica with the spectacular South Georgia. Many of the wildlife (penguins, whales, seabirds, and seals) and scenic highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are included as well as the best of South Georgia's wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic island—over 100,000 king penguins! These expeditions are designed to include as much wildlife viewing as possible, but also try to include a visit to a scientific research station and allow plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, and icebergs.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$13,995 to $24,395
Arrive in Ushuaia, a small town at the "end of the world" surrounded by rugged peaks and glaciers, and transfer with your group to your included hotel. The following day, in the afternoon, the Expedition Team gets you settled aboard the ship as you sail into the Beagle Channel to start your Antarctic expedition.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
The first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to photograph these rocks rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here. After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, head toward its numerable beaches to find a protected bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites on South Georgia are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites you visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth. This is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that South Georgia is a paradise for bird lovers, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.
You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.
One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between activities, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, your first official stop in Antarctica.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched, unique and endearing as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional kayaking excursion (extra cost) or going for a plunge in Antarctic waters!
After days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, to spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer with your group to the airport.
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.
NOTE: This ship is NEW for the 2018-2019 Antarctica season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
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.
A small group of kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required for you to feel comfortable on the water, and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the Paddling Excursion described below.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than kayaking, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a Paddling Excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddle on sit-on-top kayaks, which are stable and unencumbered—perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. Passengers are taken out in rotating groups on calm days with expert guides to connect with the sea. Space is limited. Pre-booking required.
Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Taken in small groups—on calm bays and harbors in good weather conditions—and accompanied by a Zodiac, your paddleboarding adventure can be booked in advance (limited availability), and will be also be offered via sign-up onboard the ship on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 airport; shipboard accommodation; meals onboard ship; house wine, non-premium domestic beer during dinner aboard ship; soft drinks aboard the ship; use of walking poles; photographic journal; boots on loan; parka to keep; coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock onboard ship; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; emergency Evacuation Insurance* to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; adventure option supplements; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages except those mentioned as included; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; mandatory waterproof pants; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, massage and other personal charges; phone and Internet charges; gratuities; 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.