Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet also has many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.
Day 2 — Embarkation Day
As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. On board to ensure your comfort and safety, your team will also help make your wildlife dreams come true.
Day 3 — At Sea
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
Days 4 and 5 — Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this region. The archipelago contains two main islands—East Falkland and West Falkland—which you will explore during Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black- browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Days 6 and 7 — At Sea
Sailing south, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating an abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will be sure to keep you posted when you cross this invisible yet important line.
Days 8 to 11 — South Georgia
This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, a gift shop, a church and a small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife.
One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and symbiotic relationship is something that your Expedition Team will explain to you during your time here.
Days 12 and 13 — At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica.
Days 14 to 17 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to our Zodiacs, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in Antarctic waters!
Days 18 and 19 — Crossing the Drake Passage
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy your final moments mingling with your fellow shipmates. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.
Day 20 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.