Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Our great Antarctic adventure starts in Ushuaia, beautifully surrounded by snow-covered mountains, where we stay one night at a centrally located hotel. This little town is also referred to as the “End of the World”.
Day 2: Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Today we visit the southernmost National Park in the world – Tierra del Fuego. We explore this thriving park, filled with dramatic sceneries of forests and mountains. The National Park is home to guanacos, Patagonian foxes and beavers, but also to many bird species such as Magellanic woodpeckers, condors and austral parakeets. In the afternoon, we embark our expedition ship and sail along the Beagle Channel. Our expedition cruise has started and we may see penguins straight away! Keep a lookout for Magellanic penguins swimming in the Beagle Channel.
Day 3: At sea
We spend a day at sea followed by a range of sea birds such as petrels, fulmars and albatrosses that gracefully follow our ship. Whales and dolphins may also be seen in the surrounding waters and our polar experts start their exciting lecture program.
Day 4: West Falkland
Our plan is to explore the western islands of the archipelago, which are isolated and windswept but home to many seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. We hope to land on Carcass Island, to encounter nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent resident. Weather permitting, we go ashore and explore Saunders Island a penguin hotspot that is one of the only places on earth where 4 penguin species nest side by side. Here we can find gentoo, rockhopper, king and Magellanic penguin rookeries as well as nesting black browed albatross. You can sit on the white sand beach watching the penguins come and go while the striated caracaras patrol overhead.
Day 5: Stanley, East Falklands
We visit Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As we wander through the charming streets with small houses and learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the waters of Cape Horn. We also make a stop in Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps.
Day 6 - 7: Southern Ocean
We sail southeast, South Georgia bound. The anticipation grows especially when we cross the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature. Shipboard presentations will continue, featuring the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia. Wildlife will guide us into the island; keep a lookout in the ocean for whales, seals and penguins swimming and diving.
Day 8 - 11: South Georgia
Majestic mountains, mighty glaciers and beaches full of king penguins greet us on the island of South Georgia. We arrive in the beginning of summer when there are few ships in the vicinity and the peaks of the dramatic mountain ranges are still snow-covered. If you are interested in wildlife, South Georgia is a true oasis. Hundreds of thousands of penguins greet us at places like St. Andrew’s Bay and Salisbury Plain. Huge elephant seals lounge on sandy beaches and this time of the year we may see dramatic fights for a position as the king of a harem. The island is also home to several other species of penguin such as macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguin, along with the playful and fiesty fur seals. South Georgia played a significant role in Shackleton’s epic adventure. After his ship Endurance sank, he crossed the treacherous ocean in an open lifeboat to reach the islands. We hope to visit Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, once an active whaling station, which now houses a charming small museum.
Day 12 - 14: At sea
We now set sails towards the world’s most remote continent – Antarctica, faithfully accompanied by many seabirds. Our polar experts continue to fill our minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica. We also keep our eyes open for the first iceberg, which may appear on the horizon at any time now!
Day 15 - 18: The South Shetland Islands & the Antarctic Peninsula
This is a true Antarctic expedition cruise and our exact route the following days is subject to weather and ice conditions. Below are examples of places we may visit.
We hope to go ashore at Elephant Island, where we will learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea more than 100 years ago. Following the loss of their ship the men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a camp at a place they called Point Wild, named after Shackleton’s commander Frank Wild and now the home of nesting chinstrap penguins.
We will spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await us on our excursions to some of the islands including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. Hopefully, we will also have chance to visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. Along the coastline of the South Shetlands we keep our eyes open for humpback whales foraging for krill.
We continue south along the Antarctic Peninsula, where pack ice still covers large parts of the bays, and we watch the experienced officers navigate our ice-strengthened ship. We cruise through labyrinths of icebergs some of which may have resting penguins looking curiously back at us. In good ice conditions, we hope to set foot on the Antarctic continent in Hope Bay or Paradise Harbour. The scenery here, from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet, is truly breath-taking.
Day 19 - 20: Drake Passage
As we leave this magical place, heading across the Drake Passage, time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. As we approach the South American continent its possible to see whales, dolphins and seals. We celebrate the conclusion of our Antarctic expedition with a farewell dinner on board.
Day 21: Ushuaia, Argentina
In the early morning we disembark in Ushuaia and explore this quaint little town on our own.
Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice and weather conditions. The planned itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions. Flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!
Pre and post cruise extension
For those of you who want to experience the bustling city of Buenos Aires we offer a pre and post cruise extension, including two hotel nights, sightseeing, tangoshow and flight Buenos Aires – Ushuaia with return. Please contact us for more information.