Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of our expedition. Upon your arrival at the airport we provide a transfer to your hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage. For the rest of the day you are free to explore the city. Take advantage of souvenir shopping and a variety of dining options in the city center.
Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia
In the afternoon we provide a group transfer to the pier and welcome you aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Antarctic dreams coming true as we slip our moorings and sail toward a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as we sail through the Beagle Channel on our first evening is wonderful and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
Day 3-4: Across the Drake Passage
After transiting the Beagle Channel and passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, we head south across the Drake Passage. Pelagic seabirds including the majestic albatross are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks or from exterior stateroom windows and balconies. On the way we cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. Briefings, orientations, and lectures from our expert staff prepare you for our arrival in Antarctica.
Day 5-9: South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our route and exploration opportunities in Antarctica are heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. We take advantage of long daylight hours to exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities. Some stations have a gift shop and post office.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Deception Island, where the flooded caldera of an active volcano harbors an abandoned whaling station.
Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the vast Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery. Places with names like Paradise Bay are the epitome of everything Antarctic: glaciated mountains, towering icebergs, feeding whales, seals on ice floes, and bustling penguin colonies.
At the southern end of Gerlache Strait is the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the mountainous sides of the narrow channel are reflected in calm waters strewn with icebergs.
Our days in Antarctica are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
Day 10-11: Back across the Drake Passage After our amazing time in Antarctica we cross back north through the bountiful waters of the Drake Passage. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. This is also the time for our End of Voyage ceremonies including slideshow and farewell dinner.
Day 12: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast we say farewell in the city of Ushuaia, where we started. We provide a group transfer to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!