Day 1 – Depart Ushuaia (or Punta Arenas)
Step aboard Polar Pioneer in Ushuaia and settle in to your comfortable cabin. There is time to greet fellow passengers and explore the ship before evening cruise down the Beagle Channel. NOTE: Some departures will start with a flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island and will sail back to Ushuaia.
Day 2 – Drake Passage
We cross the Drake Passage, accompanied by albatross, petrels, fulmars and prions. Our polar experts speak about Antarctica’s unique wildlife and history, and prepare us for landings with environmental and Zodiac briefings.
Day 3 – Antarctic Peninsula
All eyes are peeled for first iceberg, first penguin and first glimpse of land, the mercurial sea stacks outlying the South Shetland Islands. If conditions allow, we go ashore this afternoon.
Days 4 to 9 – Antarctic Peninsula
We explore the Peninsula’s west coast, with the frenzied activities of penguin parents and chicks as the summer days begin to shorten. Cormorant chicks bravely making their first flights from sea cliffs. Zodiac cruise amongst ice floes replete with basking Weddell and leopard seals and revel in unparalleled beauty of Antarctica’s landscape. We make a continental landing, possibly hiking up for spectacular views. As we continue south, ice conditions govern our movements. Whether we cross the Circle via the 'inner route' or the Bellingshausen Sea, we celebrate in style. With luck we reach magnificent Crystal Sound, pass through the Gullet and steam on to Marguerite Bay. Orcas, humpbacks and minkes feed in the channels. If ice conditions allow, we may visit historical Stonington, Pourquoi Pas and Detaille islands before turning north to warmer climes.
Day 10 – King George Island
We arrive at mountainous King George Island. If time and weather permit we explore penguin and seal-rich waters of Fildes Bay and visit the surprising Trinity Church at Bellingshausen Station, before catching our charter flight back to Punta Arenas in Chile, where we transfer to our overnight accommodation.
Day 11 – Punta Arenas (or Ushuaia)
After breakfast bid farewell to fellow expeditioners before continuing on with your own arrangements.