16 Nights Christmas and New Year in Southern Lands

$16,968.00Price

Spend an unforgettable festive season during a 17-day expedition cruise in the Antarctic.  

 

Leaving from Ushuaia, Le Soléal proposes an exceptional circuit into the heart of the 6th continent. From Argentina to the Antarctic Peninsula via the Falkland Islands, let yourself be surprised by the beauty of this land of ice where time appears to be standing still.  

 

First of all, your ship will take you to the Falkland Islands. This archipelago is a wild land of unique panoramas with jagged relief, home to very rich wildlife. 

 

You will then head for South Georgia, with a port of call planned in Grytviken. This former whaling station houses the tomb of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the first British adventurer to have crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the South Pole in 1917. 

 

Further south, you’ll cross the Weddell Sea in the company of penguins, wandering albatrosses and Weddell seals, with sumptuous scenery of tabular icebergs.

 

The arrival on the Antarctic Peninsula will be the highpoint of your voyage, as you visit its most emblematic sites: Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay, Pleneau Island, Port Charcot, Wilhelmina Bay and Deception Island.

 

You’ll then head back to Ushuaia via Drake Passage, to finish this amazing loop through the magic of the Antarctic.

Cabin Type
Departure Date

Day 1 Ushuaia

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

 

Day 2 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

 

Day 3 New Island

This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you'll feel like you've entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you'll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It's the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island.

 

Day 3 The Neck, Saunders Island

The Neck is a narrow stretch of land connecting the two sides of Saunders Island, located on the north-western edge of the Falklands. You'll safely enter these blustery surroundings with the assistance of your naturalist guides. And once there, a reward awaits you: a veritable paradise of endless shoreline lapped by turquoise waters. Several bird species, also attracted to this stunning location, have settled here. At the other end of The Neck, you'll encounter Magellanic penguins, southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and king penguins, all basking in the beauty of their surroundings.

 

Day 4-5 At Sea 

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

 

Day 6 Salisbury Plain

Salisbury Plain is home to one of the most unforgettable natural vistas of South Georgia. Formed by the retreat of Grace Glacier, the same majestic peaks that once awed Shackleton still tower over the surrounding land. The island's bluish landscape exudes the magnificence and beauty of unspoilt nature. At the heart of this wild refuge, on the beaches of the bay, lies a colony of 300,000 king penguins. Amidst this sea of black and orange heads, fur seals and their young can be spotted nosing their way through the crowd. Under the pale austral sunlight that reflects off of the plain, flocks of birds are carried by the winds in a graceful show of nature's wonder.

 

Day 6 Fortuna Bay

Situated at the foot of sharply-rising mountains, Fortuna Bay is a truly dazzling vision to behold. You’ll marvel at a panorama of cliffs rising up from the icy waters and small streams fed by melting mountain snow meandering through vast green plains. The bay itself bows inward to form a perfect crescent, indented by a torrent. During your excursion, you can follow in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton or even encounter the 50,000 king penguin couples who call the island their home and whose densely-packed silhouettes form a remarkable silver swath with a sprinkling of brown and bright orange.

 

Day 6 Stromness

In May 1916 after a perilous two-week journey on the James Caird followed by an hours-long trek across South Georgia, Sir Ernest Shackleton arrived in Stromness. There, at long last, he found the help needed to rescue his men stranded on Elephant Island. A former Norwegian whaling station, Stromness is now off limits to visitors. Crumbling pieces of abandoned buildings can be swept up by the wind, posing a danger for visitors who get too close. From your Zodiac®, however, you'll still get a good glimpse of the island's fur seals, who have completely reclaimed the beach and village.

 

Day 7 St Andrews Bay

Facing out towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, you'll safely disembark along Saint Andrews Bay with the assistance of your naturalist guides. This bay bears a gift that is sure to enchant photographers. From the bay's long grey-sand beach, home to abundant fur seals and elephant seals, you can easily access a vast glacial trough bordered by steep mountainsides and enclosed by Ross Glacier. Here, at the heart of this valley, lies the climax of your visit: the largest colony of king penguins on the South Georgia Islands. You'll be witness to a surreal visual and auditory experience: entire hillsides covered with adult penguins dutifully going back and forth from land to water in order to feed their young.

 

Day 7 Grytviken

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-coloured 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.

 

Day 8 Gold Habour

Majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, pitch-black volcanic sand beaches: these are just a few of the wonders to be found in Gold Harbour's landscape. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussocks 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 colours and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

 

Day 8 Cooper Bay

Take a seat in one of our Zodiac® dinghies and head out to explore Cooper Bay, near Gold Harbour. It was named after the first lieutenant of the famous sailor, Captain James Cook, and the bay offers a quite unexpected sight, with long basalt canyons forming high cliffs that loom over a turquoise-blue water. In the centre of the bay, a magical atmosphere reigns when just a few rays of sunshine pierce the gauzy layer formed by the morning mist. The craggy coastlines are home to colonies of macaroni penguins who pay close attention to the arrival of our tiny crafts.

 

Day 9-10 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

 

Day 11 Weddell Sea

Amidst the eerie stillness of the Weddell Sea, you'll wend your way through a veritable labyrinth of majestic table icebergs. Sweeping ice platforms sculpt a landscape unlike any other, populated by fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and other imposing seabirds. The Weddell seal, king of this realm, will welcome you to his territory with a haunting cry that pierces the surrounding silence. You'll recognise him by his dark grey coat and spotted belly. Weddell seals have the impressive distinction of being able to stay underwater for more than an hour.

 

Day 12 Neko Habour

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: among others, you'll encounter seabirds (gulls, Cape petrels, cormorants) and marine mammals (seals, orcas and other whale species). Head out on a Zodiac® excursion to get up close to the icebergs, stop over near a penguin colony, watch a leopard seal sunbathe between dives and enjoy an impromptu aerial show from passing Antarctic terns.

 

Day 12 Paradise Bay

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.

 

Day 13 Pleneau Island

Named after talented photographer Paul Pléneau, who accompanied Jean-Baptiste Charcot on his 1903 expedition, Pleneau Island has become a refuge for gentoo penguins, elephant seals and fur seals. A ‘fleet’ of imposing ice formations sit like anchored ships along its shores. Like works of art, these unusually-sculpted icebergs range in colour from white to blue and every shade in between. On land, red algae provides a striking contrast against empty swathes of snow that alternate with gentoo penguin nesting sites, strewn all across the island.

 

Day 13 Port Charcot

This cove, a natural harbour located in Salpêtrière Bay, was discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. Named for the explorer's father, famed neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, this tip of Booth Island still holds vestiges of Charcot's 1903-1905 anchoring aboard his ship, Le Français. A brisk walk through the snow will take you to the remains of Charcot's stone cabin where he conducted studies on magnetism. Right nearby, you'll notice a colony of gentoo penguins. If you continue on to the summit, you'll pass by the remnants of a cairn and enjoy an unobstructed view of the vast field of icebergs scattered over the bay like white tombstones—an eerie, mystical site like none other.


Day 13 Wilhelmina Bay

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 honour of the Dutch queen, Wilhelmina of Orange-Nassau. In this enchanting place, towering mountains reflect off of still waters, offering up a magnificent and colourful 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.

 

Day 14 Deception Island

Situated just above the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island is easily recognisable thanks to its distinctive horseshoe shape. The crater of this former volcano caved in 10,000 years ago and the resulting caldera was flooded, creating a natural harbour. 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.

 

Day 15-16 Drake Passage

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

 

Day 17 Ushuaia

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

 

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