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Day 1 Buenos Aires - Tango, tastes and theatre
You’ll have one summer’s night to spend in the bustling capital of Argentina. This is where passionate tango was born and you can watch, or better yet join in, shows at numerous locations across the city. To fuel your dance moves, there’s plenty of delicious local food to sample, like meaty empanadas, choripán, top-notch Argentinian steak, Malbec red wine and of course creamy dulce de leche for dessert.
If you arrive early enough in the day, take in history and architecture at the splendid Plaza de Mayo or head north to the garden district where you’ll find the largest Japanese gardens in the world outside of Japan itself. We also recommend popping into the impressive El Ateneo Grand Splendid, dubbed the ‘world’s most beautiful bookstore’. Buenos Aires is also the world capital of theatre and has more theatres than any city in the world. Almost every genre is showcased; circuses, musicals, drama, ballet, comedy. You name it, Buenos Aires has it.
Should you, however, have plenty of time on your hand, why not extending your stay with an optional Pre-Programme to explore wild Patagonia?
Day 2 Buenos Aires/Ushuaia - Meeting your ship at the ‘End of the World’
Estimated time of departure is 7:00 PM
A flight takes you to Ushuaia early in the morning. Being at the southern tip of South America’s mainland, this port city seems to proudly call itself the ‘End of the World’. MS Roald Amundsen is here, ready and waiting to begin your journey ever south. Over the next two weeks, you’ll appreciate that, of all the possible places in the world, the winner of the ‘End of the World’ title is without a doubt actually Antarctica.
Once you’ve embarked the ship, there will be a mandatory safety briefing, followed by a welcome ceremony by your Expedition Team. The ship will also launch and set sail into the Beagle Channel. After you’ve had some time to relax and unpack in your cabin, a dinner will be held to welcome everyone on board and toast to a great expedition together.
Day 3-4 Drake Passage - Closing in on Antarctica
Not long now until you are in Antarctica, but first, it’s time to earn your sea legs as we cross the Drake Passage, named after famous English seaman, Sir Francis Drake. However, Drake only discovered these waters by accident when strong winds blew one of his ships off course. The first actual recorded voyage took place 40 years later when Dutch navigator William Schouten successfully sailed the route in 1616.
During the two days spent at sea, the Expedition Team will prepare you for your stay in the pristine wilderness. Want to know how to make your visit safe for the environment? The Expedition Team will teach you all you need to know, introducing you to important IAATO regulations that are there to protect you and these fragile habitats. After that, they will start their inspiring lecture programme in the Science Center. Topics are delivered by a range of experts, equipping you with key information about Antarctica’s explorer history from Shackleton to Scott to Amundsen, the continent’s diverse wildlife and its rapidly changing landscapes. They will also show you how you can get involved in Citizen Science projects to carefully observe wildlife in Antarctica and help collect data for current scientific research.
There’ll be time to enjoy a range of tastebud-tickling meals in the ship’s three onboard restaurants. Our guests, past and present, often have rave reviews about the food we serve on board. And don’t worry, you can always burn off the extra calories in the indoor or outdoor gym, infinity pool or sauna. Meanwhile, joggers can keep up on their kilometres on the outdoor track while racing against the seabirds that sometimes follow the ship.
Day 5-15 Antarctica - Exploring south of the Antarctic Circle
Antarctica certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is a place of pure wonder and joy. You’ll gaze across waters full of intricate icebergs as a never-ending horizon of brilliant white ice edges and snow-coated mountains stretch out in front of you. In the skies above and shores below, the likes of shearwaters, sandpipers, fulmars, prions and many other seabirds can be seen. With all this to enjoy, even the ten days we spend here may not seem enough.
Perhaps even more thrilling will be your first encounter with the huge colonies of penguins during one of our many landings ashore. Or how about watching whales swim freely in their natural habitat from the ship, or if you are really lucky, while being out with the small explorer boats or in a kayak as part of an optional activity.
Whatever wildlife encounters we might be fortunate enough to experience, we are careful to follow clear IAATO guidelines at all times. You’ll see that we live and breathe sustainability and are proud to have the lowest possible CO2 footprint of all expedition cruises to Antarctica.
During the Antarctic summer, new routes through the sea ice further south and below the Antarctic Circle often become possible. We’ll be hoping for just that. MS Roald Amundsen and its strengthened PC6 ice-hull will attempt to aim for Marguerite Bay and to explore islands along the way. First discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot in the early 20th century, the ol’ romantic named the bay after his wife. As long as the weather and sea ice are favourable, there might be the possibility to visit one of the few research stations, as well as Adélie penguin colonies which aren’t usually seen in the northern parts of the peninsula. Wherever we are and whenever possible, the Expedition Team will give you key information on the wildlife and the landscape to make your experience even more vivid. And of course, there will be both included landings and ice-cruising, as well as other optional activities.
Day 16-17 - Drake Passage - Returning to warmer waters
Your exhilarating exploration of Antarctica had to come to an end sometime. Even after ten days, you’ll only have scratched the surface of all there is to discover. And yes, let’s say it, it really is just the tip of the iceberg!
Your head will likely still be a swirling kaleidoscope of special memories and new knowledge. You might even hanker for Antarctic scenery again and start to sift through your countless photos and videos just to recapture a sense of its magnitude. Likewise, without the landings you’ve grown accustomed to, you might need to defuse any added adrenaline you have by hitting the gym and sauna. If it’s still tough to switch off, a few relaxing treatments in the Wellness Spa are sure to cure you of that.
Day 18 Ushuaia/Buenos Aires - Ambassadors for Antarctica
Estimated time of arrival is 8:00 AM
It can be a bittersweet moment as we arrive back in Ushuaia. You’ll have experienced a journey that most can only dream of. But the time has come to leave Antarctica, the ship, the crew, and the Expedition Team behind, and part company with fellow explorers who have felt like family during this adventure together.
After you disembark the ship, a transfer brings you to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. From there, you’ll either return home, head on elsewhere, or extend your stay in the city of tango to take in more of the beautiful culture and sites you didn’t get a chance to at the start of the expedition. We also offer an optional Post-Programme to the magnificent Iguazu waterfalls from here, if you are in no real hurry to get home.
Whatever you decide to do next, we hope your expedition with us has forever changed how you view sustainable exploration. Your personal experiences of Antarctica and the scientific insights you’ve gained are invaluable tools in helping all of us do what we can to protect it. Antarctica needs ambassadors. It needs you!