Day 1 Santiago, Chile
Arrive in Santiago and check in hotel which is included.
Day 2 Ushuaia
Embarkation 16h00 to 17h00
Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…
Day 3-4 Crossing the Drake Passage
Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the Zodiac® outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.
Day 5 South Shetland Islands
On the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, 120 km (70 miles) from the White Continent, the South Shetland Islands offer surreal and mysterious scenery. On these volcanic islands of dark rock, the landscapes alternate between long, jagged and snow-covered coast and large, gently sloping bays. These lunar and wild lands are home to important scientific research stations and a large number of animal species: chinstrap penguins, crabeater seals or Weddell seals, Antarctic terns, giant petrels and elephant seals have taken up residence here.
Day 6 North Antarctic Peninsula
Throughout your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld’s ship, which was trapped by the ice during an important scientific expedition in 1902. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great many leopard seals.
Day 7-8 The Weddell Sea
Amidst the eerie stillness of the Weddell Sea, you'll wend your way through a veritable labyrinth of dense ice floe and 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 9 Southern Thule, South Sandwich Islands
The southernmost island in the Sandwich Islands is a volcano that rises to an altitude of 700 metres. For a long time, this former military base was the source of conflicts between the British and the Argentinians, who finally took possession of the island in 1982 after the Falklands War. While you are there, you may get the chance to observe impressive elephant seals and Adelie or chinstrap penguins.
Day 9 Cook Island, South Sandwich Islands
Cook Island, an uninhabited volcano buried under a thick white coat, seems to float on the surface of the ocean. There is a striking contrast between the imposing and peaceful mass of glistening ice and the brown sheer cliffs that loom over its shores. Its highest peak, Mount Harmer, rises to an altitude of 1,115 metres. This island, the largest in the Southern Thule island group, was discovered by James Cook in 1775, the first explorer to have crossed the Antarctic Circle in search of a new continent. In 1819, the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen christened it as a tribute to this illustrious explorer.
Day 10 Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands
The brown volcanic silhouette of Saunders Island, overlooked by Mount Michael, which rises to an altitude of more than 900 metres, will then come into view on the horizon. The island’s frozen and rugged shores are considered very difficult to access. If you have the good fortune of being able to land in this lunar landscape, you will be able to meet chinstrap and Adelie penguins or attempt to observe the Cape petrels nesting in crevices along the cliff faces. It is one of only eight volcanoes in the world whose summit crater, with a diameter of 700 metres, contains a persistent lava lake. Its most recent eruption was in 2005.
Day 11 Zavodovski Island, South Sandwich Islands
Lying in the north of this archipelago, this majestic volcanic island is often ice-free year round, unlike the islands further south. Different species can be found on either side of this bio-geographic border: Subantarctic species in the north and Antarctic species in the south. Enveloped in the warmth of the volcanic fumeroles, one of the world’s largest colonies of chinstrap penguins (over two million individuals) thrives in this ideal environment. This volcanic island was discovered in 1819 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of his ship’s captain.
Day 12 At Sea
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant-Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.
Day 13-14 South Georgia
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.
Day 15-18 At Sea
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant-Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.
Day 19 Montevideo
Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is a white city, and one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Come and admire the beautiful historical remains dating from Spanish rule; you’ll find the most interesting within the Cuidad Vieja, formerly fortified, its old town dates from the 18th century. The best preserved are the cathedral and the former governmental palace of the Cabildo, both listed historical monuments. In the crook of a vast blue bay, the city is also blessed with beautiful beaches.