Day 1 – Ushuaia
Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). It has a dramatic setting, surrounded by mountains to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south, making it a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic adventure.
On arrival at Ushuaia Airport, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to contact them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.
Your cruise itinerary begins with an overnight stay in Ushuaia. If you arrive into Ushuaia early enough, the day is yours to explore. Avenida San Martin and the surrounding streets are where most hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes and tourist services are located.
The Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia (Maritime & the Prison of Ushuaia Museum) is well worth a visit. Located in the former prison of Ushuaia, the prison buildings now house four museums - the Maritime Museum, the Prison Museum, the Antarctic Museum and the Marine Museum of Art. The buildings date back to 1906 when convicts were transferred from Isla de los Estados to Ushuaia to build this national prison. Construction was completed in 1920 and the cells that were designed for 380 inmates, held up to 800 prisoners before closing in 1947.
Tierra del Fuego National Park is a short bus ride from Ushuaia and was the first shoreline national park established in Argentina. It is a rugged, mountainous park with great views of Lapataia Bay and dramatic scenery of waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and lakes. There are many hiking trails within the park including the Coastal Path (Senda Costera) that connects Ensenada Bay to Lapataia Bay on Lago Roca. The park is home to many species of animal including the guanaco, Andean fox, North American beaver, European rabbit and muskrat. There are also many species of birds including the torrent duck, kelp goose, austral parakeet, Andean condor and the Magellanic oystercatcher.
The Fin del Mundo Train (End of the World Train) is a steam train that runs from Ushuaia to Tierra del Fuego National Park, providing an alternative way to get to the park.
Day 2 - Embarkation in Ushuaia
This morning is free for you to explore Ushuaia, giving you time to wander the streets of this quaint port town, or discover Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Transfer to the pier of Ushuaia for embarkation in the late afternoon and you will be welcomed on board the Ocean Endeavour by the Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers.
This evening we set sail through the Beagle Channel that was named after the British ship the HMS Beagle. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and is rich in wildlife. Keep a look out for Magellanic penguins, rock cormorants, petrels and black-browed albatross from the deck as well as sea lion colonies.
Enjoy your first taste of life at sea and a welcome dinner. The air is likely to be filled with anticipation, as your next view of land will be of Antarctica - the White Continent.
Day 3-4 At Sea
As we leave the Beagle Channel, prepare yourself for potentially rough seas as we enter the legendary Drake Passage. This infamous and unpredictable channel of water separates the southernmost tip of South America from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. It was named after the English explorer, Sir Frances Drake.
Day 5-7 South Shetlands and Peninsula
For the following days we explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, that is famed for its majestic mountains, glaciers, imposing icebergs, ice-strewn waters and abundance of wildlife. The scenery, wildlife and serene silence of Antarctica will enchant and enthral and you will soon realise why this region has captivated the attention of explorers and travellers for centuries.
Your days on the Antarctic Peninsula will form the core of your adventure. Every day will be different as we cruise by Zodiac amongst the beautifully sculpted icebergs and take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. Unpredictable weather and ice conditions mean that the itinerary will be flexible, but will make the most of wildlife sightings, as we aim to explore penguin rookeries, seal and bird colonies, whale feeding areas as well as visiting sites of historic and scientific interest and climbing to vantage points for panoramic views. There is always something new or unexpected to see, with opportunities for kayaking, snowshoeing and photography with an expert, which means that your expedition will be a unique and personal experience and unlike any other. Enjoy the antics of thousands of curious penguins as you sit on a pebbled beach, scout for whales and seals as you cruise by Zodiac, visit a research base, listen out for the mighty crack of a calving glacier and maybe brave a polar plunge in the icy waters!
As we cruise through the Peninsula, the lecture programme continues and sightseeing is at its most spectacular off the ship’s outer decks. Enjoy the Ocean Endeavour’s newly designed health and fitness features, with facilities that include a spa, His and Hers saunas, saltwater pool and gym plus yoga sessions.
DAY 8: Elephant Island & At Sea
Early this morning we leave the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands behind, we chart a course for historic Elephant Island. The crew of Shackleton’s Trans Antarctic Expedition (1914-17) took refuge on Elephant Island following the loss of their ship. The Endurance was crushed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. They camped at Point Wild and waited there whilst Shackleton sailed with 5 other men in the James Laird lifeboat to South Georgia. The legendary rescue took four and a half months, and must be one of the most incredible adventure stories and most heroic survival stories of all times.
If conditions prevents a landing here, we will attempt to get within viewing distance of Point Wild to see the Endurance Memorial Site and then set sail for South Georgia immediately after.
Day 9-11. At Sea
As we voyage northeast towards South Georgia, watch for whales from the ship's bridge, listen to engaging talks by the Expedition Team, take in the expansive views from the observation lounge, or maybe treat yourself to a spa. If weather conditions are favourable, we hope to make landfall on South Georgia by late evening on day 11.
Day 12-13 South Georgia
The next days are spent exploring the incredibly beautiful island of South Georgia with its emerald green bays, snow-covered peaks and blue glacier ice, where you will be exposed to one of the world’s greatest wildlife areas. Known as the ‘Galapagos of the South’, South Georgia is home to over 30 million breeding birds, thousands of seals, the introduced Norwegian reindeer, nesting sites of the wandering albatross, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on this planet.
The island is also steeped in history. It was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance Expedition and was once the centre of the whaling industry.
We will explore by Zodiac, kayak and on foot, standing in awe amongst tens of thousands of penguins, looking out across beaches littered with elephant seals, visiting the remains of abandoned whaling stations and the grave of Shackleton. Sites that we may visit include Prion Island, Fortuna Bay, Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Grytviken and Stromness Bay.
Day 14-16 At Sea
Leaving South Georgia in our wake, we head west towards the isolated, ruggedly beautiful and sparsely populated archipelago of the Falkland Islands. Attend lectures and presentation by our on-board experts, unwind in the sauna and spa and take advantage of all the other amenities on board.
Day 17-18 Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is an archipelago that lies 490 kilometres east of Patagonia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by decades of controversy, the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas as they are known in Argentina) have been settled and claimed by France, Spain, Britain and Argentina.
The Falkland Islands are largely unknown gems that offer an abundance of wildlife - they are a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. Although often primarily remembered for the Falklands War between the UK and Argentina in 1982, the archipelago is a haven for wildlife. There are 5 species of penguin found here as well as vast populations of black-browed albatrosses, large colonies of elephant and fur seals, Peale’s and Commerson’s dolphins, orcas and a myriad of bird species.
Our itinerary will be dictated by the weather but we will make daily excursions and shore landings, exploring by Zodiac, hiking and maybe even kayaking. We may visit Carcass Island that abounds with birdlife or Saunders Island, home to the black-browed albatross, breeding imperial shags, and 4 species of penguin (rockhopper, king, Magellanic and gentoo). West Point Island also hosts a large black-browed albatross population and rockhopper penguins. On Pebble Island there are opportunities to see colonies of 4 species of penguin, king and rock shags, giant petrels, striated caracaras, black-necked swans and ground nesting birds plus an aircraft wreckage from the 1982 conflict. At Grave Cove there are excellent hiking opportunities and a nesting gentoo penguin colony. Volunteer Point is home to the largest king penguin rookery on the Falklands and Sea Lion Island is home to the largest breeding colony of southern elephant seals in the archipelago, with up to 2,000 individuals on the northern beaches. Orcas and Commerson’s dolphins can often be seen from the shoreline.
We will visit Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, a quaint town with colourful houses, waterfront promenade and English-style pubs. The town was established in the early 1840’s and attractions include the Falkland Islands Museum, the governor’s house, a cathedral with impressive whalebone arch, a war memorial, quality gift shops and views of shipwrecks in the harbour. Southern giant petrels often fly close to the shore, the endemic Falkland steamer ducks abound on the shorelines while kelp gulls and dolphin gulls can often be seen flying overhead. Other frequent visitors to the Stanley area include black-crowned night herons, red-backed hawks and peregrine falcons. Turkey vultures are regularly seen on top of any prominent building.
Day 19-20. At Sea
This morning we depart from the Falklands in the morning, we set our course for Puerto Madryn. Our final day at sea gives us one last chance to view the marine life of these southern waters. Golfo Nuevo is renowned for its visiting southern right whales, so there is a good chance of spotting one as we sail towards Puerto Madryn.
We will toast the end of our epic voyage at a farewell dinner tonight on board the ship.
Day 21. Disembarkation
We are scheduled to arrive into Puerto Madryn early this morning, disembarking after a final breakfast aboard the Ocean Endeavour.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight, or maybe spend a few days in Puerto Madryn, the gateway to the Valdez Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its abundance of wildlife.
Please Note: You are advised not to book a flight out of Puerto Madryn before midday on disembarkation day, in case of delays caused by unfavourable weather conditions. Cruise itinerary is subject to change depending on weather conditions, ice conditions and other factors.