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The 384-ft M/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov, also known as the Voyager, was built in Finland in 1988 as a research vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The research vessel was later converted to a polar expedition vessel, with a traveler capacity restricted to 92 passengers and is very stable, quiet and comfortable. The Akademik Sergey Vavilov is sister ship to the Akademik Ioffe and has been designed as a setting for passengers interested in an exploratory educational experience on their Antarctica trips, maximizing wildlife observation by spending as much time ashore as possible. The Akademik Sergey Vavilov complies with the latest SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations and flies under the Russian flag. She travels at a maximum speed of 14.5 knots, is ice-strengthened (Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B) with bow and stern thrusters for maneuverability, and a has combination of internal stabilizers and a built-in ballast trimming system for vessel stabilization.

 

Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula Adventure)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina - Embark

Welcome to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right on the Beagle Channel! Enjoy a morning at leisure. You may opt for a cruise on the Beagle Channel, a trek in Tierra del Fuego National Park, or visit a nearby historical estancia and museum. Please contact us for your extension options in Ushuaia. In the late afternoon, head to the port of Ushuaia where you will embark your Antarctic expedition vessel. Once onboard, you’ll check into your cabin and enjoy a welcome briefing as you sail through this scenic waterway. (D)

DAYS 2-3: Drake Passage

The next two days are spent crossing the Drake Passage. Heading south, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, arriving into the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Time onboard is spent attending lectures and observing the scenery and wildlife from the ship. As the journey across the Drake Passage ends, you’ll spot your first icebergs near the South Shetland Islands. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-8: Antarctic Peninsula

For the next five days you will explore the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, making stops in the South Shetlands along the way. Your expedition will make as much time as possible to explore via Zodiac cruising and numerous shore landings in order to marvel up close at the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife. Possible visits over the next few days include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Half Moon Island, and even the southerly Petermann Island. Throughout your journey, you will encounter a multitude of penguins, Skuas and other seabirds, as well as be on the lookout for Weddell, Crabeater, Leopard and Elephant seals. You may also hope to see the gentle Humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to observe Orca, Fin and Minke whales as you go.

In Neko Harbour or Paradise Bay, if the weather is mild enough to allow excursions to shore, you will set foot on the Antarctic Continent. You will be awed by a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level and enjoy the backdrop of alpine peaks during zodiac cruises in Neko Harbour. In Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you will enjoy more zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. When possible, some may wish to camp on shore overnight. After sailing through the spectacular Neumayer Channel, you may be able visit the British research station and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you an insight about the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent. You’ll continue on through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island where you’ll find a very large colony of the comical Adélie penguin. In the South Shetlands, your captain will head for Half Moon Island, where you’ll observe a breeding colony of Chinstrap penguins that share their territory with Fur seals. (B,L,D)

DAYS 9-10: Drake Passage

As the expedition nears its end in the Antarctica Peninsula, you’ll head back to the open sea and sail through the Drake Passage back to Ushuaia. Time onboard is spent attending lectures and reflecting on your journey. As the vessel approaches the southern tip of South America, the captain will sail close to the legendary Cape Horn if conditions permit. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: Ushuaia - Home

You arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark the vessel after breakfast, meeting your driver to transfer you to the Ushuaia Airport. (B)

Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Itinerary (South Georgia in Depth (Fly/Sail))
DAY 1: Punta Arenas, Chile - Stanley, Falkland Islands - Embark

PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 17 days long, and alternatively sail back from Antarctica to disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina. Please inquire for details.

Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. This morning you will gather with your fellow expeditioners at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the scheduled service to Stanley, Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After the short 90-minute flight, you arrive in Stanley and are met on arrival and transferred to the pier to embark your expedition ship. After settling in to your cabins and exploring the ship, you will meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for South Georgia – and the adventure of a lifetime. Please contact us for your extension options in Chile. (D)

DAYS 2-3: At Sea

The next two days will be spent at sea as the vessel heads to South Georgia. These days at sea are never dull. Much of your time will be spent on the bridge or outer decks, scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. Along the way, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, arriving into the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. You will spend plenty of time with the onboard polar experts as they educate you on the wonders of the South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctic eco-systems, with the history of early polar exploration being a popular theme. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from the onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle and soft polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. You will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of the guides and crew. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-11 (or 4-13): South Georgia

These next EIGHT days (TEN Days on 17 DAY itinerary) will be unlike anything you have ever imagined. Majestic snow-covered mountains greet you upon arrival in South Georgia and you will begin your exploration on the southern coastline. The hope is to navigate the ship into the very historic location of King Haakon Bay. It was here that Shackleton and his men made landfall in their small lifeboat –the James Caird, after completing the perilous ocean crossing from Elephant Island, 100 years ago. From here, they set off to cross the mountainous spine of South Georgia – a feat never before attempted. This is a very dramatic place, visited by just a handful of ships each season. From here, you make your way around to the protected waters of the north-eastern coast. Here you will indulge in an in-depth exploration, navigating the ship into the bays and harbors the entire length of the island. Elsehul Bay and Possession Bay are possible landing sites and you may catch a glimpse of the rusting buildings of Prins Olav Station, a former Norwegian whaling location abandoned in the 1930’s. One of the most anticipated sites in South Georgia is Salisbury Plain. The black sand beaches and tussock covered dunes are home to a staggering abundance of King penguin adults and their young. The rookery is believed to have a population of up to 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins. This is just one of several such King penguin rookeries on South Georgia. At the height of breeding season the rookeries are believed to have more wildlife per square foot than any other place on the planet. You have to experience it to believe it. The majestic ‘Kings’ are not the only wildlife on display. Fur seals can be seen poking their heads above the water; the Elephant seals will enjoy lazing about the beach, while the skuas and giant petrels fill the skies above. Meanwhile, the albatross - your constant companion on this journey - is never far away.
 
As you continue our journey further down the coastline of South Georgia you’ll visit several beautiful locations including Prion Island, in the Bay of Isles. This island has been designated as a ‘Specially Protected Area’ by the South Georgia Government, due to the breeding Wandering albatross colonies at this location. Boasting the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), they spend most of their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed. Distances traveled each year are hard to measure, but one bird was recorded traveling 6000 km in just twelve days. It is rare to experience them up close and personal and on land. Being able to attempt a landing here is exceptionally fortunate as, the site is closed to visiting ships between November and mid-January, due to the massive concentration of fur seals on the beaches.
 
Next your adventure takes you to Fortuna Bay, a majestic three-mile long and one-mile wide fjord. It was named after the ship Fortuna, one of the original vessels of the Norwegian–Argentine whaling expedition which established the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken, further down the coast. In Fortuna Bay you can expect to see King penguins and Elephant seals and you may spot Light-mantled Sooty albatross, which are known to nest in the area. They are spectacular birds with magnificent plumage. History comes into sharp focus as you continue west to Stromness and Grytviken. From 1912 until the 1930’s, Stromness (and nearby Leith and Husvik), operated as whaling stations and the rusted and ghostly remnants of these old stations seem out of place in such a pristine environment. This area is key to the Shackleton story and it was here, in 1916, that Shackleton and his companions, Worsley and Crean arrived after their epic crossing from King Haakon Bay on the south coast. This is after having completed their 800-mile journey by small boat from Elephant Island. If the weather co-operates, you may be able to hike the last few miles across the saddle separating Fortuna Bay from neighboring Stromness, in the footsteps of Shackleton and his men. As you journey further to the southeast you will enter the broad expanse of Cumberland Bay. At the head of the bay lies Grytviken – the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of your landing here is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right hand man, Frank Wild. Frank Wild’s lifelong wish was to be buried beside Shackleton. However his wish never materialized due to the outbreak of WWII, a week after Wild’s passing in South Africa. Your voyage falls exactly four years following the transport of Wild’s ashes to South Georgia aboard your ship, and some 95 years after his last voyage with Shackleton in 1921.
 
The next few days will take you to St Andrew’s Bay and Gold Harbor - places that are teeming with wildlife including Fur seals, Elephant seals and massive colonies of the colorful King penguins. As with all of the landings, you may exercise every opportunity possible to explore on foot, as much or as little as you like. Gold Harbor, an exhilarating location, is so called because the sun's rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening. And at the far eastern extremity of the island, you will visit Drygalski Fjord which has been called one of the most spectacular sites in South Georgia. Your visit to this breathtaking place is a fitting way to complete our journey. Tonight, as you reflect on ten epic days of exploration, you Captain will chart a course for South America and the most southerly city in the world – Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAYS 12-14: At Sea & Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands.

En route to the Falkland Islands, your final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with the photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after almost three weeks of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on the ship provide fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a coffee. The educational presentations continue and you will enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of the return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck - reflecting on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest reaches of the planet. 

Having reached the Falkland Islands overnight, you are now at the far south-eastern end of the archipelago. Here you’ll find remote Sea Lion Island which features a barren and windswept landscape exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage, you will go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found here. Three species of penguin including Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper exist in the vicinity, and Southern Elephant seals and South American sea lions are found hauled out on the beaches. Once ashore, you may also look for King cormorants and Striated caracaras. Weather permitting, there may be time to visit neighboring Bleaker Island, another settlement on the exposed southeastern coast of the Falklands and equally rich in wildlife. As you cruise along the coast of the Falklands, bound for Stanley, you will enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. (B,L,D)

PLEASE NOTE: The 17 Day itinerary does not stop in the Falkland Islands, but instead sets course for Ushuaia, Argentina. 

DAY 15: Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - Disembark - Punta Arenas, Chile

In the early morning, your ship will navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley. After breakfast, a transfer will take you to the airport for your return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It may be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise, you will be transferred to Punta Arenas to enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia. (B)

*PLEASE NOTE: The 17-Day itinerary will alternatively disembark after breakfast in the city of Ushuaia, Argentina. You will then be transported to your hotel or to the airport for your flight home. Please contact us for your extension options in Argentina. (B)

Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Itinerary (Antarctic Deep South - Extended Circle Voyage (Fly/Sail))
DAY 1: Punta Arenas, Chile - King George Island, Antarctica - Embark

PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 13 or 14 days long, spending additional time in Antarctica. Please inquire for details. 

Welcome to Punta Arenas, Chile, the largest and oldest city in Chilean Patagonia, overlooking the Straights of Magellan! This morning you will gather with your fellow expeditioners at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, you embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring your new surroundings, you will meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead. Please contact us for your extension options in Chile. (L, D)

**Please note that weather conditions in Antarctica can prevent the charter flight from departing for King George Island, thereby delaying the start of your trip. In addition to purchasing the required emergency evacuation insurance, Travel Insurance that covers you for an unexpected delay in your trip, and any necessary expenses that you may acquire due to the delay, is imperative.

DAYS 2-6: Antarctic Peninsula

Having crossed the broad expanse of the Bransfield Strait overnight, you will wake to see the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent for the very first time. This is a deeply moving experience for many on board, and as there is much to see and experience as your ship heads south toward the Antarctic Circle over the next FIVE days. The expedition team will be opportunistic, making shore landings in locations that provide great wildlife encounters, or the chance to stretch your legs on a short or long hike. The hope will also be to visit a working scientific base (Vernadsky Station) to learn of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows you to stretch your legs and explore the old British Antarctic Survey hut, Wordie House, situated on the site of Rymill’s BGLE Northern Base from the 1930’s. Petermann Island is home to a substantial Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies, the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north, of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the Lemaire Channel. Nearby Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, in the shallow waters of the Penola Strait, massive icebergs run aground. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you could ever imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the voyage. If the conditions are right, it is somewhere in this vicinity that the expedition team will aim to offer an overnight camping program to all adventurers. All the gear is onboard and an experienced team will make this a night to remember! There is no need to pre-book, you can decide on the day. This activity is included in the price of your voyage. (B,L,D)

DAY 7-9: Antarctic Circle - Detaille Island, Marguerite Bay

As your Captain navigates further south, you will find yourself spending time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery. You will pass through the ice-strewn waters making your way towards the ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, the first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut. ‘Base W’, established in the 1950’s, is in a remarkable state of preservation which provides a glimpse into the harsh life of early Antarctic scientists and researchers. From here, your expedition is  at the mercy of prevailing ice conditions in order to navigate even further south, but years of experience have shown that late February allows for the best chance of reaching Marguerite Bay. Your Captain may navigate through the ‘shortcut’, a narrow channel known as 'the Gullet', if the passage is ice-free. Otherwise, he could navigate around the outside of Adelaide Island, which will take more time, yet bring you to the same destination. Marguerite Bay is home to several important science bases such as Rothera (UK), San Martin (Argentina), Carvajal (Chile), all featuring rich history, and with luck, you will visit at least one of these locations. The British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) of the early 1930's, led by intrepid Australian John Rymill, also established their Southern Base in this area. The BGLE explored and surveyed large areas of the Antarctic Peninsula by airplane, establishing the Antarctic Peninsula as indeed connected to the continental landmass and not just a series of off-shore islands as earlier believed. (B,L,D)

DAYS 10-11: Drake Passage

As the expedition nears its end in the Antarctica Peninsula, you’ll head back to the open sea and sail through the Drake Passage back to Ushuaia. Time onboard is spent attending lectures and reflecting on your journey.  As the vessel approaches the southern tip of South America, the captain will sail close to the legendary Cape Horn if conditions permit.  (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Disembark - Ushuaia

You arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark the vessel after breakfast, meeting your driver to transfer you to the Ushuaia Airport. (B)
 
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Itinerary (Antarctica - In Depth, Extended Peninsula Voyage (Fly/Sail))
DAY 1: Ushuaia - Embark

Welcome to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right on the Beagle Channel! Enjoy a morning at leisure. You may opt for a cruise on the Beagle Channel, a trek in Tierra del Fuego National Park, or visit a nearby historical estancia and museum. Please contact us for your extension options in Ushuaia.  In the late afternoon, head to the port of Ushuaia where you will embark your Antarctic expedition vessel.  Once onboard, you’ll check into your cabin and enjoy a welcome briefing as you sail through this scenic waterway. (D)

DAY 2-3: Drake Passage

The next two days are spent crossing the Drake Passage. Heading south, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, arriving into the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Time onboard is spent attending lectures and observing the scenery and wildlife from the ship.  As the journey across the Drake Passage ends, you’ll spot your first icebergs near the South Shetland Islands. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-9: Gerlache Straight & Antarctic Peninsula

You awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of continental Antarctica are laid out before you. Even your experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, will take a moment to pause and reflect on this incredible sight. Take a deep breath, you have arrived – Welcome to Antarctica! You will spend the next SIX days navigating through icy waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Gerlache coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow and the waterways are home to deep bays, pristine coves and inlets and numerous small islands. Rocky outcrops, known as ‘nunataks’, are home to Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap penguin rookeries and the waters are rich in marine life. You will enjoy several off-ship excursions each day, exploring on shore, or cruising in the Zodiacs where you are likely to encounter seals, including the powerful Leopard seal, usually found hauled out on an ice floe, curious Humpback whales and smaller Minke whales and even Orca sightings are not uncommon. The activity program is now in full swing and are encouraged to choose how your adventure unfolds. Every day an exciting range of activities will be planned, including guided hikes on shore (both short and long), visits to wildlife colonies with the expert naturalist guides, as well as Zodiac cruising. The historic huts and science stations located along the peninsula provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice, searching for seals and whales is a memorable activity, meanwhile, those who have booked sea kayaking may range several miles from the ship experiencing Antarctica from an entirely different perspective. The resident photography guide will be on hand to help you with your camera handling and image composition. Maybe what you really want to do is sit on a rock, simply watching the penguins come and go from the water. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the show. Planned excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula may include Cierva Cove or Mikklesen Harbour, Danco Island, the Melchior Islands and Fournier Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the Gentoo penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where playful humpback whales are frequently encountered. Nearby Paradise Harbour is a particular highlight and offers an excellent hiking route to a viewpoint providing expansive views. Andvord Bay and Neko Harbour provide yet another continental landing opportunity. If the conditions are right, it is somewhere in this vicinity that the expedition team will aim to offer an overnight camping program to all adventurers. All the gear is onboard and an experienced team will make this a night to remember! There is no need to pre-book, you can decide on the day. This activity is included in the price of your voyage. (B,L,D)

DAY 10: South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, your Captain will head for the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and, if the weather conditions allow, he will sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures and Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, and the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where one often encounters Weddell seals sunning themselves. This evening you will enjoy a special diner attended by the ship’s Captain, as the ship cruises towards King George Island. Upon arrival at King George Island, the Captain will drop anchor and will be in position for disembarkation in the morning. (B,L,D)

DAYS 11: King Georgia Island, Antarctica - Disembark - Punta Arenas

This morning your ship is anchored off King George Island. After breakfast you will disembark the vessel and transfer ashore by Zodiac, walking from the landing site up towards the airstrip to prepare to board your flight. The two-hour journey from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport to your complimentary hotel in town is provided. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.  (B, L)

DAY 12: Punta Arenas

After a leisurely breakfast and check-out, you will make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. We recommend you book flights after midday. Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park, home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness, and a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. (B)
 
**Please note that weather conditions in Antarctica can prevent the charter flight from departing King George Island. In the event of a delay, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov will continue to accommodate you while you await your departure from Antarctica. We highly recommend that you do not book your homeward flight or international departure from Chile on the same day as your scheduled flight from Antarctica, but instead plan to take advantage of the complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas. 
 
 Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea & Falklands (Fly/Sail))
DAY 1: Punta Arenas, Chile - King George Island - Embark

*PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be combined with the previous ship departure to extend your time in Antarctica. Special rates apply. Please inquire for details. 

Welcome to Punta Arenas, Chile, the largest and oldest city in Chilean Patagonia, overlooking the Straights of Magellan! This morning you will gather with your fellow expeditioners at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, you embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring your new surroundings, you will meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead. Please contact us for your extension options in Chile. (L, D)

DAY 2-4: Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula

Overnight your Captain has navigated across the Bransfield Strait and you awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before you. For the next three days you will have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, you will cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and you can make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House, begs for further investigation. Returning north, you will pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and your Captain may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. The activity program is in full swing by now, and each day you will enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and zodiac cruising among the ice with the expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where pods of Humpback whales are frequently encountered. (B,L,D)

DAYS 5: South Shetland Islands

You are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way the hope will be to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, your Captain will sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures and Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rim of the crater. (B,L,D)

DAYS 6-7: Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea

At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As you sail into the sound, you will look starboard and the vastness of the Antarctic icecap, imagining the sweeping Katabatic (gravity-driven) winds that this region is famous for, and as you sail through the sound and into the Weddell Sea, the only difference discernable will be an increase in the number of large tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents which makes for exciting navigation.

This region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size. Your expedition team will maximize your time onshore, as well as in our zodiac boats, absorbing as much of the wilderness as possible. Weather permitting, excursions may include Paulet Island, Brown Bluff and even the southerly Snow Hill Island, where you may observe Weddell and Elephant seals, Skuas and other seabirds as well as a staggering abundance of penguins. Sailing among the islands of the Weddell Sea, you are in the realm of the Emperor penguin, the largest of the penguins, and everyone will be on deck keeping a lookout. Juvenile Emperors are sometimes sighted riding the ice floes. If the weather allows, you will likely set foot on the continent in this vicinity and, some may choose to camp ashore overnight. The region also features a rich exploration history and the plan will be to visit Nordenskjöld’s winter hut on Snow Hill Island which was built in 1902 and remains intact. The Shackleton story also features strongly as it was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier. As your Captain charts a course north and out of the Weddell Sea, leaving Antarctica behind, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will likely make you pause to consider the bravery and/or foolhardiness of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before you. (B,L,D)

DAY 8: Elephant Island

Today your Captain will approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive Macaroni penguin colony. Gentoo penguins are also known to nest here and there are often sizeable numbers of Antarctic Fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, are notoriously difficult due to the surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. If conditions are right, though, an attempt at a landing here will be made. This is a thrilling location and a major highlight for history buffs. (B,L,D)

DAYS 9-10: At Sea

While sailing across to the Falkland Islands the onboard polar experts will recap on your Weddell Sea adventures and prepare you for the days ahead in the Falkland Islands. Much of your time will be spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds. The spectacular seabirds, including several albatross and petrel species, are your constant companions as they soar above the ship and the friendly onboard experts will continue to fill minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: West Point & Saunders, Falkland Islands

Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, today you will explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falklands archipelago. West Point is known for its sizeable rookeries of Rockhopper penguins and nesting Black Browed albatross. While nearby Saunders Island, with its white sand beaches, features no less than four penguin species including Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper - and the ultimate goal for the Falkland Island visit, the impressive King penguin. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Disembark - Stanley, Falkland Islands - Puntas Arenas

In the early morning, your ship will navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley. After breakfast, a transfer will take you to the airport for your return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It may be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise, you will be transferred to Punta Arenas to enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia. (B)

Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Itinerary (Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Fly Sail))
DAY 1: Punta Arenas, Chile - Stanley, Falkland Islands

*PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be combined with the subsequent ship departure to extend your time in Antarctica. Special rates apply. Please inquire for details.  

Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. This morning you will gather with your fellow expeditioners at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the scheduled service to Stanley, Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After the short 90-minute flight, you arrive in Stanley and are met on arrival and transferred to the pier to embark your expedition ship. After settling in to your cabins and exploring the ship, you will meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for South Georgia – and the adventure of a lifetime. Please contact us for your extension options in Chile. (D)

DAYS 2-3: At Sea

The next two days are spent heading south bound for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. Much of your time will be spent on the bridge or outer decks, scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. Along the way, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, arriving into the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area you may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. You will spend plenty of time with the onboard polar experts as they educate you with a series of presentations on the wonders of the South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctic eco-systems, with the history of early polar exploration being a popular theme. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from the onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle and soft polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. If there are good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, your Captain may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story. It is from here that Shackleton and four of his companions set off on their epic ocean crossing to South Georgia 100 years ago. Shore landings at Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto the rocky beach. Nevertheless this a thrilling place to visit.  (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-5: King George Island & Antarctic Peninsula

This morning your ship will be in position at King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. Southern Giant petrels, Kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon your journey will continue south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Straight and you’ll make your way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife and your expedition team will keep a lookout for whales in the waters surrounding the ship. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and will make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and you’ll likely make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place where one can often encounter sizeable pods of Humpback whales. Next your Captain will navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of Gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks. (B,L,D)

DAYS 6-8: Toward the Antarctic Circle & Gerlache Coastline

As your Captain navigates further south, you will find yourself spending time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery. You will pass through the ice-strewn waters making your way towards the ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, the first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s.This vicinity marks the turnaround point and from now on, you will return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. The hope will be to visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to stretch your legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. If the conditions are right, the expedition team will aim to offer an overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. All the gear is onboard and an experienced team will make this a night to remember! Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies, the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run around in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage. (B,L,D)

DAY 9-10: Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

The aim now is to transit the Lemaire Channel, on route to stunning Paradise Harbour is always a favorite location and may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself, while nearby dramatic Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic viewpoints. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage.  By morning you’ll arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, you Captain will sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around you as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater. On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island is a memorable experience. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where you may encounter Weddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spot for a hike or a zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Island in early evening light, you’ll enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: King George Island - Disembark - Punta Arenas

This morning your ship is anchored off King George Island. After breakfast you will disembark the vessel and transfer ashore by Zodiac, walking from the landing site up towards the airstrip to prepare to board your flight. The two-hour journey from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport to your complimentary hotel in town is provided. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.  (B, L)

 

DAY 12: Punta Arenas
After a leisurely breakfast and check-out, you will make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. We recommend you book flights after midday. Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park, home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness, and a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. (B)
 
**Please note that weather conditions in Antarctica can prevent the charter flight from departing King George Island. In the event of a delay, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov will continue to accommodate you while you await your departure from Antarctica. We highly recommend that you do not book your homeward flight or international departure from Chile on the same day as your scheduled flight from Antarctica, but instead plan to take advantage of the complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas. 
 
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner
Itinerary (Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula (Fly/Sail))
DAY 1 - Punta Arenas - King George Island, Antarctica - Embark

PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 20 days long and alternatively embark in Ushuaia, rather than flying to the ship in Antarctica. Please inquire for details. 

Welcome to Punta Arenas, Chile, the largest and oldest city in Chilean Patagonia, overlooking the Straights of Magellan! This morning you will gather with your fellow expeditioners at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, you embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring your new surroundings, you will meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead. Please contact us for your extension options in Chile. (L, D)

**Please note that weather conditions in Antarctica can prevent the charter flight from departing for King George Island, thereby delaying the start of your trip. In addition to purchasing the required emergency evacuation insurance, Travel Insurance that covers you for an unexpected delay in your trip, and any necessary expenses that you may acquire due to the delay, is imperative.

DAY 2-4: Gerlache Straight & Antarctic Peninsula
Overnight your Captain has navigated across the Bransfield Strait and you awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before you. For the next three days you will have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, you will cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and you can make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House, begs for further investigation. Returning north, you will pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and your Captain may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. The activity program is in full swing by now, and each day you will enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and zodiac cruising among the ice with the expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where pods of humpback whales are frequently encountered. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As you sail into the sound, you will look starboard and the vastness of the Antarctic icecap, imagining the sweeping Katabatic (gravity-driven) winds that this region is famous for, and as you sail through the sound and into the Weddell Sea, the only difference discernable will be an increase in the number of large tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents which makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.
 
This region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far.  Your expedition team will maximize your time onshore, as well as in our zodiac boats, absorbing as much of the wilderness as possible. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island, and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which your Captain will navigate the ship. Sailing among the islands of the Weddell Sea, you are in the realm of the Emperor penguin, the largest of the penguins, and everyone will be on deck keeping a lookout. Juvenile Emperors are sometimes sighted riding the ice floes. The region also features a rich exploration history and Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition also has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier.  As your Captain charts a course north and out of the Weddell Sea, leaving Antarctica behind, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will likely make you pause to consider the bravery and/or foolhardiness of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before you. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: Elephant Island
Today your Captain will approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive Macaroni penguin colony. Gentoo penguins are also known to nest here and there are often sizeable numbers of Antarctic Fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, are notoriously difficult due to the surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. If conditions are right, though, an attempt at a landing here will be made. This is a thrilling location and a major highlight for history buffs. (B,L,D)  
DAY 7-8: Scotia Sea
Departing Elephant Island, one cannot help but ponder the journey made by Shackleton and his four companions – as they attempted the near impossible by navigating 800 nautical miles in a 30 foot converted lifeboat across the tempestuous Scotia Sea to South Georgia. Along the way, onboard experts will keep you busy with fascinating presentations and lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep you company,  as you are likely to experience excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. Anticipation builds as the mountainous peaks appear on the horizon, marking your arrival at South Georgia. (B,L,D)
DAY 9-12: South Georgia
Rounding the remote southeastern end of South Georgia, you spend the next four days thoroughly exploring the coastline. Dark sand beaches, tussock covered hinterland and a backdrop of towering peaks and glaciers are a feast for all the senses. South Georgia has often been called the most staggering wildlife show on earth. Seals cover the beaches, seabirds fill the skies and living in rookeries of immense size, live the majestic King penguins. The aim is to visit a number of these huge colonies, where naturalists estimate that more than 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins live in close proximity. Locations you can hope to visit include Gold Harbour, Royal Bay, St Andrews Bay and Salisbury Plain. Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here you will find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great polar explorer is a highlight of the trip. You will continue your journey along the coastline, hoping to visit Stromness, another former whaling station. This is a fitting location to celebrate Christmas and the team of chefs onboard will prepare a wonderful dinner with all of the trimmings! (B,L,D)
DAY 13-15: At Sea
Your final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with the photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after almost three weeks of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on the ship provide fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a coffee. The educational presentations continue and you will enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of the return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck - reflecting on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest reaches of the planet. (B,L,D)
DAY 16: Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
Having cruised down the eastern coastline of the Falkland Islands overnight, you are now at the far south-eastern end of the archipelago. Here you’ll find remote Sea Lion Island which features a barren and windswept landscape exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage, you will go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found here. Three species of penguin including Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper exist in the vicinity, and Southern Elephant seals and South American sea lions are found hauled out on the beaches. Once ashore, you may also look for King cormorants and Striated caracaras. Weather permitting, there may be time to visit neighboring Bleaker Island, another settlement on the exposed southeastern coast of the Falklands and equally rich in wildlife. As you cruise along the coast of the Falklands, bound for Stanley, you will enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. (B,L,D)
DAY 17: Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - Disembark - Punta Arenas, Chile
In the early morning, your ship will navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley. After breakfast, a transfer will take you to the airport for your return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It may be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise, you will be transferred to Punta Arenas to enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia. (B)
 
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Antarctica is known as the “coldest, highest, driest, windiest place on earth”. However, please keep in mind that you will not be venturing into the interior of the continent and you will be visiting during the Southern Hemisphere summer (November through March). That said, weather in Antarctica can vary dramatically from day to day, even from moment to moment. With summer temperatures ranging from 20-40° F, you may experience snow, rain, high winds, and bright warm sun all in the same day. It is best to approach an Antarctica expedition with a sense of adventure, as the climate is unpredictable. Weather may be a bit cooler early in the season (November) and late in the season (March), but there will not be a dramatic difference in temperatures throughout the tourism season. If you are used to winter in places like the northern United States, Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia, you will be more than prepared for summer temperatures at teh Antarctic Peninsula.


You may also wish to schedule your trip according to what wildlife activities you are likely to observe at different points during the season, details below:
 
o    Late October and November: The early part of the season showcases a number of highlights. Landing sites are at their most pristine. The possibility of seeing sea ice is present early on, before it breaks up later on in the season. Late October to early November sees Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo adult penguins and Antarctic-breeding seabirds starting to come ashore to their breeding sites where they commence courtship rituals and nest building. Shortly thereafter eggs are laid and incubated. Emperor penguins can be seen on the frozen Weddell Sea (visited occasionally by ice-strengthened expedition ships on special itineraries).

Spring flowers begin blooming in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and elephant seals are actively courting in South Georgia. South Georgia's female king penguins lay their eggs in November and the parents can be seen "carrying" eggs on their feet so that the parent can shuffle around the colony while the other adult goes out to sea to feed. "Oakum Boys" — king penguin chicks from the previous season — can also be seen in the rookeries. Fur seals litter the beaches in South Georgia with the males aggressive and ready to mate.
 
o    December and January: The increased number of daylight hours brings exceptional opportunities for photographers and non-photographers alike, and the expeditions make the most of the summer weather and continuous hours of daylight. Research activity in the Peninsula at the scientific bases is at its peak. Penguin chicks begin hatching in the Falklands (Islas Malvinas); followed by hatchings in mid- to late-December at sites in the Antarctic Peninsula. Some 30 days after hatching, penguin chicks can be found in "crèches," resembling a nursery of sorts, which leaves both adults free to replenish their food supply. An exciting time of this part of the season is when the parent returns with food and the hungry chicks are persistent in being fed, running after the parent (or any adult penguin with food) in a "feeding chase." Whale sightings of baleen and toothed whales escalate in the Peninsula area. Seal pups can be seen on the beaches in South Georgia. Sea ice is also beginning to break up which allows for the possibility to begin to access to rarely visited sites in the Weddell Sea, Ross Sea and within the Antarctic Circle.
 
o    February and March: Sightings of whales are at their peak in the Peninsula and an increasing number of fur seals can be found along the Peninsula and offshore islands. Young fur seals are also quite playful in South Georgia. Penguin colonies are very active with the penguin chicks beginning their molt - losing their fuzzy down and developing their adult plumage. During this timeframe, the parents will abandoned their chicks, and return out to sea to feed and fatten up for their own molting stage. Most colonies (Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo) are nearly vacated by the end of February to early March. Blooming snow algae is prevalent and receding pack ice has reached its peak for the season, allowing for easier exploration within the Weddell Sea, Ross Sea and Antarctic Circle.

Maps

Antarctic Peninsula Adventure

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTriple Twin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
113/3/183/13/18$8,295$10,295$11,295$12,295$13,395$15,295
         
113/23/184/2/18$8,295$10,295$11,295$12,295$13,395$15,295
         
113/3/193/13/19$8,695$10,795$11,795$12,795$13,995$15,895
         
113/23/194/2/19$8,695$10,795$11,795$12,795$13,995$15,895

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Kayaking, Hiking and Photography. Camping is offered as a possibility, weather and conditions dependent. 
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

South Georgia in Depth (Fly/Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleTwin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
1511/3/1911/17/19$9,895$11,995$13,195$14,095$15,995$17,695
         
1711/17/1911/3/19$10,595$12,895$14,195$15,095$17,095$18,995

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Kayaking, Hiking/Showshoeing and Photography. 
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Antarctic Deep South - Extended Circle Voyage (Fly/Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTriple Twin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
1202/20/1803/03/18$11,495$13,695$15,295$16,195$17,895$19,495
         
141/8/191/21/19$14,195$16,895$18,795$19,995$21,995$23,995
         
132/19/193/3/19$13,095$15,595$17,395$18,395$20,295$22,195

-Activities offered are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Kayaking, Hiking, Snowshoeing and Photography.
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Antarctica - In Depth, Extended Peninsula Voyage (Fly/Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleTwin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
1212/3/1812/14/18$9,695$11,995$12,695$13,395$14,695$15,995

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Kayaking, Hiking and Photography. 
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea & Falklands (Fly/Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTriple Twin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
121/9/18*1/20/18$11,495$13,695$15,295$16,195$17,895$19,495
         
121/30/18*2/10/18$11,495$13,695$15,295$16,195$17,895$19,495

*PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be combined with the previous ship departure to extend your time in Antarctica. Special rates apply. Please inquire for details.

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Kayaking, Hiking and Photography. 
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Fly Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTriple Twin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
12*12/30/171/10/18$10,695$12,695$13,695$14,395$15,795$17,395
         
12*1/20/181/31/18$10,695$12,695$13,695$14,395$15,795$17,395
         
12*12/29/181/9/19$11,195$13,195$14,295$14,995$16,495$18,095
         
12*1/9/191/20/19$11,195$13,195$14,295$14,995$16,495$18,095

*PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be combined with the subsequent ship departure to extend your time in Antarctica. Special rates apply. Please inquire for details.  

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Kayaking, Hiking and Photography.
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula (Fly/Sail)

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleTwin SemiTwin PrivateSuperiorShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
1712/13/1812/29/18$15,995$18,195$20,295$21,695$23,395$25,295
         
201/21/192/9/19$19,095$22,595$24,795$26,195$27,895$29,095

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Kayaking, Snowshoeing, Hiking and Photography. Camping is offered as a possibility, weather and conditions dependent. 
-All prices are PER PERSON.
-A single supplement applies to a solo traveler in a private cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airfare (Falklands/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/Puerto Williams) - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers Punta Arenas, King George Island, Falklands - Included for some departures
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Access to special programs onboard (such as hiking & photography)
  • Camping - all gear included
  • Use of multimedia room onboard
  • Wet weather gear available onboard - must be pre-reserved
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles available onboard
  • Snowshoes available onboard
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to/from Argentina and/or Chile
  • Hotel accommodations in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Ground transportation in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Meals in Argentina and/or Chile - unless otherwise noted
  • Medical evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Expedition parka and other personal gear
  • Personal expenses (gratuities, alcoholic beverages, telecommunication charges, laundry, airport taxes, etc.)
  • Kayaking available at additional cost - includes all gear
  • Domestic airfare within South America

Antarctic Peninsula Adventure

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Saturday, March 3, 2018 to Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Friday, March 23, 2018 to Monday, April 2, 2018
Sunday, March 3, 2019 to Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Saturday, March 23, 2019 to Tuesday, April 2, 2019

South Georgia in Depth (Fly/Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Sunday, November 3, 2019 to Sunday, November 17, 2019
Sunday, November 17, 2019 to Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Antarctic Deep South - Extended Circle Voyage (Fly/Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 to Saturday, March 3, 2018
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 to Monday, January 21, 2019
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 to Sunday, March 3, 2019

Antarctica - In Depth, Extended Peninsula Voyage (Fly/Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Monday, December 3, 2018 to Friday, December 14, 2018

Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea & Falklands (Fly/Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018 to Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 to Saturday, February 10, 2018

Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Fly Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Saturday, December 30, 2017 to Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018 to Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018 to Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Saturday, February 9, 2019 to Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula (Fly/Sail)

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Thursday, December 13, 2018 to Saturday, December 29, 2018
Cabins


The M/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov accommodates 92 passengers in 43 passenger cabins with shared, semi-private or private toilet and shower facilities. All cabins are outside cabins with exterior views from windows or portholes.
 

  • Triple (2) two lower and one upper berth, en-suite washbasin, shared facilities, porthole, 8-10 square meters
  • Twin Semi Private (12) two lower berths, semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins), window, 11 square meters
  • Twin Private (20) two lower berths, private facilities, window, 13 square meters
  • Superior (3) two lower berths + sofa, private facilities, porthole, 14 – 18 square meters
  • Shackleton Suite (5) double bed + sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, refrigerator, private facilities, upgraded en-suite amenities, windows, 19 square meters
  • One Ocean Suite (1) double bed + sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, refrigerator, private facilities with bathtub, upgraded en-suite amenities, windows, 28 square meters


 

 

 

 

 

Boat Details

Ship Amenities

  • The M/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov offers many open deck spaces, including a bar/lounge on deck six offering 180 degree views through expansive windows and a top deck with 360 degree views around the ship. The bridge is also located on deck six, and is accessible to travelers throughout their journey. She has comfortable staterooms, a restaurant with portholes, a library with wonderful forward facing views, a theater-style lecture room, a multi-media room, a sauna, hot water spa, salt water plunge pool, fitness and massage room, an elevator servicing decks 1-5 and a mudroom!
  • Well-equipped for a range of adventure activities, the vessel is equipped with 10-11 zodiacs for shore excursions.

Ship Services

  • The M/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov is manned by a highly experienced, 50 member marine crew, including an international catering/hotel staff, and an expedition staff of about 14 (comprised of an expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, six guides/lecturers, four adventure concierges, a photographer in residence and a doctor).


antarctica travelMarisa, we've been back a week and I'm writing to say how wonderful our trip was. Thanks you for all your guidance and planning. Buenos Aires was so interesting. Our tour guide, Alejandro, was top notch-- and very funny. The hotel was in a good location and the all-day tour in Ushuaia was memorable. The ship was well-run and the food was both interesting and plentiful. The crew was professional. The expedition leaders were kind, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.  I can't give you credit for the fantastic weather and incredible scenery but it was an amazing trip. Thank you. - Susan Ogden/Rose Marie Wilson (Akademik Ioffe) 


The trip was fantastic of course! South Georgia is an amazing place! After docking at Ushuaia, the driver was waiting there on the pier and coordinated well with the ship and the port officials, provided me with useful materials and delivered me to the Alto Andino. I liked the Alto Andino. It was quiet, clean and has a nice secure luggage store, which I used when I arrived, as it was too early to check in. They did let me check in early, shortly after lunch, when a room became available. And, when I came back to the hotel after dinner with friends, there was a message from my driver about the pickup time for departing to the airport. The transfer at BA went without a hitch, nice driver and nice car, and being Saturday, light traffic as well! Anyway, thank you! Your planning and support is greatly appreciate and I will be sure to let my friends know about your great company! - Philip H. Walters (South Georgia In Depth onboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov)

Carrie and Jonathan, we arrived back from Antarctica over the weekend.   I just wanted to thank both of you for arranging such an outstanding trip!  The guides, hotels, and logistics were all excellent—and we thoroughly enjoyed it all.  Fortunately, despite my foot injury, I was able to fully partake in all the sightseeing and activities and didn’t feel that I had to curtail anything I wanted to do.  We’ll be sure to contact you for future trips in South America.  - Nancy Voye (Antarctic Peninsula onboard NG Explorer)

Carrie and Justin, I just wanted to send the two of you a message to thank you for all your help putting together our trip to the Antarctic.  The trip was absolutely fantastic – definitely the best trip we have ever taken! I would strongly recommend the Akademik Ioffe team to anyone that asks. The places we visited and the excursions we were able to participate in were definitely first-rate, and I would credit the staff for making this happen.  They selected great places to visit, and really made each zodiac or on-shore excursion a special experience. The Antarctic is just mind-blowing.  We did get south of the Circle – which sounds like it was a bit of an accomplishment – and had really great weather for the entire trip.  So again, thanks for making a totally fabulous trip a reality for us. -Ron & Bonnie Milzer (Antarctic Circle Voyage onboard Akademik Ioffe)
Antarctica - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: Antarctica is the trip of a lifetime, offering abundant wildlife and unique landscapes. Travelling to the end of the world is an unparalleled experience. It’s hard to go wrong with any option but for those with specific interests we recommend reviewing our guide to Antarctica Cruises found here or contacting an Adventure Travel Coordinator.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Antarctica cruise itineraries are set and cannot be changed, but you can certainly add pre/post cruise services (hotels, tours, transfers, flights, etc.) in Argentina and Chile. Southern Explorations is happy to assist with any additional services you require.
Q: When is the best time to go to Antarctica?
A: Travel to Antarctica occurs during the Austral Summer with cruise expeditions departing from late October through March. You may wish to schedule your trip according to what wildlife activities you’d like to observe, or any specific adventure activities you would like to do, such as snowshoeing, skiing, mountaineering, whale watching, and more, which are only offered on certain departures.
Q: When is the most affordable time of year to travel to Antarctica? What’s the best way to get a deal on an Antarctica cruise?
A: It is a popular misconception that the best way to obtain a deal on an Antarctica cruise is to wait until the last possible moment to book. While this works out sometimes, this scenario is rarer and rarer as Antarctica’s popularity as a tourist destination increases. A few years ago, operators had trouble filling their boats with paying passengers, so last-minute deals were common. Now, most Antarctica cruise departures sell out far in advance, so there is no reason for operators to offer last-minute deals. Currently the best way to obtain a deal on an Antarctica cruise is to book early, as many operators offer early booking discounts.
 
Generally, it is a good idea to confirm your cruise at least eight months to one year in advance. The time period around the holidays (Christmas/New Year's) tends to sell out further in advance. Fly cruises, during which you fly over the Drake Passage rather than crossing it onboard the vessel, also tend to sell out early, so it is a good idea to book more than one year in advance if you choose this type of cruise.
 
Prices are higher for travel in late December, January, and early February, as this is high season. Prices are lower early season (November/early December) and late season (late February/March).
Q: What can I expect to see at different points during the season?
A:
  • Late October and November: The early part of the season showcases a number of highlights. Landing sites are at their most pristine. The possibility of seeing sea ice is present early on, before it breaks up later in the season. Late October to early November sees Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo adult penguins and Antarctic-breeding seabirds starting to come ashore to their breeding sites where they commence courtship rituals and nest building. Shortly thereafter eggs are laid and incubated. Emperor penguins can be seen on the frozen Weddell Sea (visited via helicopter on special Emperor penguin voyages).

    Spring flowers begin blooming in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and elephant seals are actively courting in South Georgia. South Georgia's female king penguins lay their eggs in November and the parents can be seen "carrying" eggs on their feet so that the parent can shuffle around the colony while the other adult goes out to sea to feed. "Oakum Boys" — king penguin chicks from the previous season — can also be seen in the rookeries. Fur seals litter the beaches in South Georgia with the males aggressive and ready to mate.
 
  • December and January: The increased number of daylight hours brings exceptional opportunities for photographers and non-photographers alike, and the expeditions make the most of the summer weather and continuous hours of daylight. Research activity in the Peninsula at the scientific bases is at its peak. Penguin chicks begin hatching in the Falklands (Islas Malvinas); followed by hatchings in mid- to late-December at sites in the Antarctic Peninsula. Some 30 days after hatching, penguin chicks can be found in "crèches," resembling a nursery of sorts, which leaves both adults free to replenish their food supply. An exciting time of this part of the season is when the parent returns with food and the hungry chicks are persistent in being fed, running after the parent (or any adult penguin with food) in a "feeding chase." Whale sightings of baleen and toothed whales escalate in the Peninsula area. Seal pups can be seen on the beaches in South Georgia. Sea ice is also beginning to break up, which allows for the possibility to begin to access to rarely visited sites in the Weddell Sea, Ross Sea and within the Antarctic Circle.
 
  • February and March: Sightings of whales are at their peak in the Peninsula and an increasing number of fur seals can be found along the Peninsula and offshore islands. Young fur seals are also quite playful in South Georgia. Penguin colonies are very active with the penguin chicks beginning their molt - losing their fuzzy down and developing their adult plumage. During this timeframe, the parents will abandoned their chicks, and return out to sea to feed and fatten up for their own molting stage. Most colonies (Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo) are nearly vacated by the end of February to early March. Blooming snow algae is prevalent and receding pack ice has reached its peak for the season, allowing for easier exploration within the Weddell Sea, Ross Sea and Antarctic Circle.
Q: What is the weather like in Antarctica?
A: Antarctica is the highest, driest, windiest, coldest place on earth, but keep in mind that all tourism trips occur during Austral summer. The average summer temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula area is around 25 to 32°F (-4 to 0°C), although sometimes it will feel substantially colder due to the wind chill factor and water splashing up while riding in zodiacs. You can expect to encounter varied conditions including rain, snow, high winds, bright sun, and fog.
Q: What is a typical day like in Antarctica? 
A: All three meals are eaten on board the ship. After breakfast, you will head out for your morning excursion for 2 to 5 hours, then get back on board to eat lunch while the ship navigates to the next landing site. Here you will once again disembark on land for 2 to 5 hours before dinner.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Antarctica? 
A: You do not need to be extremely physically fit to travel to Antarctica, but should be comfortable walking short distances over uneven terrain, including snow, ice, and rock. Most ships also have a steep metal gangway that you must descend and ascend to embark/disembark the small zodiac boats that ferry passengers to shore. Your guides will always be there to assist you.
Q: While in Antarctica, will I get to get off the ship and walk around on land?
A: Yes! You will make landings every day you are in Antarctica, and the cruise staff will ensure you spend as much time on land as possible. This is true of every Antarctica cruise we offer. There is no cruise during which you stay onboard the ship the entire time.
Q: How much time do I need to visit Antarctica?
A: Standard Antarctic Peninsula cruise itineraries are 10 to 12 days long. The shortest Antarctica voyage we offer is 6 days long, with our longest being 32 days. Please inquire for details about specific voyages.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: All Antarctica cruises have different deposit policies, with the deposit amount typically ranging from $1500 per person to 25% of the total trip costs. Final payment is usually due between 100 days and 120 days prior to travel.
 
Antarctica cruise cancelation policies vary widely from ship to ship. The cancelation penalty from the time of booking up until 90 or 120 days prior to departure can be as little as $500 per person or as much as $5000+ per person. Generally, all cruises will have a 100% cancelation penalty within 90 days of departure. Please inquire for details about cancelation penalties for specific ships. 
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: Accommodations and amenities on board Antarctica cruises vary from simple 3-star to luxury 5-star. Please inquire for details.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Most Antarctica cruises do not include any airfare, though some include roundtrip flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, and “fly cruises” include flights from Punta Arenas, Chile to Antarctica or to the Falkland Islands. Southern Explorations is happy to arrange any flights you require within Argentina or Chile. Please inquire about airfare inclusions for specific cruises.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: The Antarctica cruise ships we offer range in size from a capacity of 54 to 200 passengers. “Mega ships” with thousands of passengers on board are not allowed to make landings in Antarctica, so all vessels are relatively small. 
Q: Do I need travel insurance, what all do I need, and how much does it cost?
A: All Antarctica cruises require that passengers purchase travel insurance covering emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. The cost of medical evacuation transport from Antarctica is high, and as it is the responsibility of the traveler, this coverage is imperative. Though trip cancellation insurance is not required, it is highly recommended. The cost of travel insurance varies from individual to individual and depends on many factors, such as cost of trip covered, age of traveler, where you live, etc. We recommend contacting Berkshire Hathaway or Travel Guard, or click here to compare other trip insurance companies.
Q: Where do Antarctica cruises begin and end?
A: Most Antarctica cruises begin/end in either Ushuaia, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile. Occasionally cruises depart directly from Buenos Aires, Montevideo, or other port cities, but this is rare. When departing from Ushuaia, you board the cruise at the pier in town and cross the Drake Passage onboard the vessel. Trips departing from Punta Arenas are "fly/cruise" programs that fly you (one-way or both-ways) by small aircraft to the South Shetland Islands, just off the Antarctic Peninsula to embark your expedition ship there. There are also some cruises that start with a flight from Punta Arenas to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Please check your itinerary for any inclusions, or needed additions, such as pre- or post-trip hotel nights and domestic flights to your embarkation cities. Southern Explorations can book any needed pre- or post-trip hotels, domestic flights, tours and transfers, and include them within your trip costs.
Q: What can I expect while crossing the Drake Passage? Will I get seasick?
A: The Drake Passage is the body of water between Cape Horn (the southernmost tip of South America) and the Antarctic Peninsula. On most Antarctica cruise ships it will take a full two days to cross the Drake Passage.  This passage has some of the roughest recorded sea conditions in the world (the “Drake Shake”), but it can also be pristinely calm (the “Drake Lake”). Conditions in this waterway can vary at any time of year depending on weather, and it is impossible to predict how rough it will be in advance. Some passengers experience seasickness, and others do not. It is advisable to come prepared by packing motion sickness remedies. All ships also have doctors onboard, and these medical professionals are extremely adept at assisting passengers with any seasickness concerns. Once in Antarctica, sheltered waters are normally encountered with little problem for rough seas. NOTE: There are also options to do what is called a "fly/cruise" program where you fly by small aircraft to the South Shetland Islands, just off the Antarctic Peninsula and then join up with your expedition cruise ship there, thus avoiding crossing the Drake Passage onboard the vessel.
Q: Can I bring my photographic drone to Antarctica?
A: The governing body of Antarctic tourism is called the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and Southern Explorations is a member of this organization. IAATO members have agreed that they will not allow the recreational use of UAVs (drones) in the unique, and often wildlife rich, coastal areas of Antarctica. Through the unique global partnership that is the Antarctic Treaty system, the entire continent is formally designated as a 'natural reserve, devoted to peace and science'. Antarctica is regarded as the last great wilderness on our planet, still pristine with wildlife and landscapes that show little evidence of direct human activity. Visiting and operating in an environment like this comes with a responsibility to do so carefully and with minimal impact. UAVs are a relatively new phenomenon and IAATO Is therefore taking a cautionary approach, as it is possible they could have a negative impact on the environment. Also, as you can imagine, many drones flying over a penguin colony would not only be potentially detrimental to the birds (adult penguins are distracted by drones, which allows a Skua to swoop in and eat their eggs or swipe one of their chicks), but will also greatly diminish the experience of other passengers seeking to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the Seventh Continent. So, please, leave the drones at home!
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking, you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.