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Day 1 Buenos Aires
If you thought romance was dead, you’ve never been to Buenos Aires. The sophisticated yet down-to-earth Argentine capital thrives on its strong traditions: proud soccer fans, a cultured theater scene, and the seductive tango. Wander past French and Italian architecture in Recoleta, finding respite from the summer sun in the sprawling plazas and parks of Palermo, where fleets of parrots and songbirds roost. At night, try a choice cut of steak in San Telmo before heading to a local bar, club, or confitería along Avenida Corrientes for a late night fueled by tango dancing.
Consider arriving a few days early to participate in our Pre-Program and explore the wild land of Patagonia.
Day 2 Buenos Aires/Ushuaia
Estimated time of departure is 7:00 PM
Your plane leaves Buenos Aires for the southern port city of Ushuaia in the early morning. From the plane, you might catch views of Lago Fagnano and the snow-capped Monte Darwin in Alberto de Agostini National Park to the west.
Hybrid electric–powered expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen will be waiting for you to start your adventure on the shores of the Beagle Channel. We are sure you will come to know the ship well, and see it as your home away from home with all of its premium comforts. After boarding, you’ll attend a meeting with the Expedition Team, who will take you through key health and safety principles. Then enjoy the welcome dinner, your first of many delicious meals on board. Finish the day with a stroll on deck, gazing at the stars up above.
Day 3-4 Drake Passage - Crossing continents
The two-day voyage across the Drake Passage will fly by. When you’re not on deck looking for albatross, petrels, humpback, and fin whales, our expert Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures ahead.
The Expedition Team’s lectures will teach you about the history, environments, and challenges of the places we plan to visit. You will learn what it takes to be an Antarctic ambassador and how to safely and sustainably explore the continent’s frozen habitats while observing IAATO regulations. Our precautions include, among many others, special rubber boots for landings. The Expedition Team will also introduce you to the Citizen Science programs that will help you better understand these intricate ecosystems while contributing to current scientific research. Meanwhile, have a chat with our onboard photographer, who will sharing some useful tips on how to improve the quality of your photos.
Included activities such as art classes are also a great way to spend your down time. Or relax in the sauna. Work out in the indoor gym or strap on your running shoes to test the outdoor running track, which is just under one-tenth of a mile. Then enjoy a massage or a facial in the Wellness Area, or grab a healthy snack in one of our three onboard restaurants.
Day 5-9 Antarctica - A world of ice and wildlife
Welcome to Antarctica. This vast continent is covered almost entirely by ice and snow. Enormous ice shelves tower over our ship, flanked by building-sized icebergs. Glaciers cascade down the mountains, crumbling toward the shoreline where they calve into the water. Austral summer is coming to an end when we arrive, and you can expect to see these landscapes beautifully illuminated by breathtaking sunsets. This is also the best time of year to see penguins in their final stage of molting and to spot different whale species as they gorge themselves on krill.
Over five days, we plan to visit several possible sites in the South Shetlands and on the Antarctic Peninsula, depending on when and where conditions are the best. We don’t just waive and sail by. The Expedition Team has big plans for you. They will guide ice-cruises and on-shore landings, bringing you to historic and scenic sites and to penguin colonies (always at a respectful distance). You may even have the opportunity to go kayaking among the icebergs, an optional activity. The Expedition Team will also continue their lecture program and, should you choose to participate, you will find plenty of wildlife to catalog as part of a Citizen Science project.
The itinerary for an expedition cruise is not set in stone, nor should it be. This allows us to be flexible and adapt to our best options throughout the voyage. After sailing these waters for years, we know all the possible landing sites, and maximize the experience by knowing when and where to go.
Day 10-11 The Drake Passage - Northbound
Join the Expedition Team in their ongoing lecture program, which covers topics ranging from the history of great explorers to marine biology, wildlife, oceanography, and climate change. You might also have the opportunity to examine seawater samples taken in Antarctica, allowing you to study its wildlife at the cellular level. Watch for wildlife from the deck, relax in the Explorer Lounge & Bar, or just watch the scenery glide by from an outdoor hot tub or the heated infinity pool. As we approach the Falkland Islands, the ship is usually followed but a number of different bird species, such as gulls, fulmars, petrels, and albatross.
Day 12-14 - Falkland Islands - Pubs and penguins
The barren, white wilderness of Antarctica will seem a world away when we reach the lush green grass, white sands, and farms of the Falkland Islands. Similar to Antarctica, our itinerary will be flexible during our three days here exploring the islands. This allows the captain and Expedition Team to pick the best spots for each day, based on the conditions at the time.
This is a paradise for birds such as ducks, geese, albatross, caracaras, and wrens, not to mention the four different species of penguins found here: the king, rockhopper, Magellanic, and gentoo. The gentoo penguins typically hang out in large colonies around the islands, which you might be able to spot from the ship. If conditions allow, we might even visit a penguin colony during a landing.
Stanley, the archipelago’s capital, lies on East Falkland Island and is easy for the ship to access. Small enough to be explored on foot, it is complete with icon English red buses, inviting restaurants, and pubs full of friendly locals.
Day 15 At sea
As we set out for another day at sea, the Expedition Team will host new lectures and presentations. You can spend some time going through your pictures from Antarctica and the Falklands, or swap stories with your fellow travelers. And if you haven’t already, gazing at the scenery and watching for wildlife from the sauna or one of the hot tubs isn’t a bad way to spend some time! There are so many ways to enjoy a day at sea…
Day 16 Puerto Madryn, Argentina - Docked - Half Day
Welsh immigrants founded Puerto Madryn in 1865, and late austral summer temperatures might even tempt you to visit its inviting beaches. Puerto Madryn is also the gateway to the dramatic Valdes Peninsula, there is an optional excursion here to explore a stunning nature reserve that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site that we highly recommend. You might spot marine mammals such as fur seals, elephant seals, sea lions, and perhaps even a southern right whale, a baleen whale, or an orca. At least 180 species of birds live on the peninsula, so break those binoculars out and find your new favorite birds. No worries if you aren’t into birds. Puerto Madryn is a great place for just walking around, sampling foods, and shopping for local arts and crafts.
Day 17-18 At sea
Your adventurous expedition cruise is coming to an end after a fascinating tour that included Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and Puerto Madryn. The temperature will get warmer as we work our way north, so head out to the deck and soak up some sun by the infinity pool or at the outdoor gym.
Spend a little time chatting with members of the Expedition Team. They are always ready to delight you with their wealth of knowledge, insights, and interesting stories. Enjoy a farewell dinner on the last evening. After, watch the stars mirrored in the water beneath the ship one last time before heading to bed.
Day 19 Buenos Aires - Back to the beginning
Estimated time of arrival is 8:00 AM
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and your expedition cruise is no exception. Given the intensity and number of experiences you’ve had, it may seem like months since you left Buenos Aires, even though it has only been 19 days since you departed. Use this second opportunity to discover this exotic Latin city that pulsates to the rhythm of the tango. If you can stay a few extra days, venture on a Post-Program to the famous Iguazú Falls, one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in the world.
Whether you carry on with your adventure or head home, we bid you a fond farewell and wish you many more adventures in the years to come. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see you on an expedition to another destination we explore, or perhaps Antarctica will tempt you back again!…