Ocean Nova

The M/V Ocean Nova offers Antarctica fly cruises ranging in length from 6 to 10 days. Departures run either one-way or round-trip out of Punta Arenas, Chile with a group charter flight(s) between Punta Arenas and King Georga Island in Antarctica. The 240-ft M/V Ocean Nova was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the icy waters of Greenland, hence her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for exploring Antarctica. Fully refurbished in 2006, she has since benefitted from annual upgrades and imp... READ MORE >>
Itinerary
Itinerary (Classic Antarctica Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 2: Punta Arenas - King George Island - Embark
DAYS 3-6: Antarctic Peninsula
DAY 7: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas
DAY 8: Punta Arenas - Home

Itinerary (Polar Circle Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 2: Punta Arenas - King George Island - Embark
DAYS 3-8: Antarctic Peninsula
DAY 9: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas
DAY 10: Punta Arenas - Home

Itinerary (Antarctica Express Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina - Embark
DAY 2: Cape Horn - Drake Passage
DAY 3: Drake Passage
DAY 4: Drake Passage - South Shetland Islands
DAY 5: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 6: Punta Arenas - Home
Be Inspired

Speak with a Latin American Travel Expert Today
877-784-5400
Itinerary (Classic Antarctica Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 2: Punta Arenas - King George Island - Embark
DAYS 3-6: Antarctic Peninsula
DAY 7: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas
DAY 8: Punta Arenas - Home
Itinerary (Polar Circle Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 2: Punta Arenas - King George Island - Embark
DAYS 3-8: Antarctic Peninsula
DAY 9: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas
DAY 10: Punta Arenas - Home
Itinerary (Antarctica Express Air Cruise)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina - Embark
DAY 2: Cape Horn - Drake Passage
DAY 3: Drake Passage
DAY 4: Drake Passage - South Shetland Islands
DAY 5: Disembark - King George Island - Punta Arenas, Chile
DAY 6: Punta Arenas - Home

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

Classic Antarctica Air Cruise

Pricing

Price Range Per Person (Triple to Twin):  

8 Day Expedition $11,495 - $15,395 per person

-Pre & post Antarctica flight hotel nights included. 
-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. 
-Contact us for details on optional activities available on your particular departure.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/King George Island/Punta Arenas)
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Wine and beer with dinner onboard Antarctica cruise
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles 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
  • 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
  • Snowshoeing available at additional cost - includes all gear

Polar Circle Air Cruise

Pricing

Price Range Per Person (Triple to Twin):  

10 Day Expedition $15,495 - $17,995 per person

-Pre & post Antarctica flight hotel nights included. 
-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. 
-Contact us for details on optional activities available on your particular departure.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/King George Island/Punta Arenas)
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Wine and beer with dinner onboard Antarctica cruise
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles 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
  • 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
  • Snowshoeing available at additional cost - includes all gear

Antarctica Express Air Cruise

Pricing
Price Range Per Person (Triple to Twin):  

6 Day Expedition $4,795 - $5,795 per person

-Post Antarctica flight hotel night included. 
-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. 
-Contact us for details on optional activities available on your particular departure.
Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (Punta Arenas/King George Island/Punta Arenas)
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Wine and beer with dinner onboard Antarctica cruise
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • Trekking poles 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
  • 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
  • Snowshoeing available at additional cost - includes all gear

Classic Antarctica Air Cruise

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Friday, December 17, 2021 to Friday, December 24, 2021
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 to Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Monday, December 27, 2021 to Monday, January 3, 2022
Friday, January 14, 2022 to Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Monday, January 17, 2022 to Monday, January 24, 2022
Saturday, January 22, 2022 to Saturday, January 29, 2022
Thursday, January 27, 2022 to Thursday, February 3, 2022
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 to Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Sunday, February 6, 2022 to Sunday, February 13, 2022
Friday, February 11, 2022 to Friday, February 18, 2022
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 to Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Monday, December 12, 2022 to Monday, December 19, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022 to Saturday, December 24, 2022
Thursday, December 22, 2022 to Thursday, December 29, 2022
Tuesday, December 27, 2022 to Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 to Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Sunday, January 22, 2023 to Sunday, January 29, 2023
Friday, January 27, 2023 to Friday, February 3, 2023
Wednesday, February 1, 2023 to Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Monday, February 6, 2023 to Monday, February 13, 2023

Polar Circle Air Cruise

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Saturday, January 1, 2022 to Monday, January 10, 2022
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 to Friday, February 25, 2022
Sunday, January 1, 2023 to Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Thursday, February 16, 2023 to Saturday, February 25, 2023

Antarctica Express Air Cruise

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Monday, November 29, 2021 to Saturday, December 4, 2021
Friday, January 14, 2022 to Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 to Sunday, December 4, 2022
Saturday, January 14, 2023 to Thursday, January 19, 2023
Punta Arenas
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Cabins


The M/V Ocean Nova accommodates 68 passengers in 37 spacious, outside cabins configured as triples, twins and dedicated singles. All cabins feature a picture window, writing desk, wardrobe, individually controlled heating system and a private bathroom.

Upper Deck

  • Triple (4), two lower and one upper berth, average size 150 sq ft
  • Twin (12), two lower berths, average size 106 sq ft
  • Single (5), lower berth, average size 87 sq ft


Bridge Deck

  • Twin (16), two lower berths, average size 106 sq ft

VIEW DECK PLAN - HERE

 

Boat Details

Ship Amenities

  • A glass enclosed observation lounge/presentation room on the top deck, which makes for wonderful wildlife and landscape watching opportunities from the warmth and comfort of inside. The bridge is open and accessible to all passengers throughout the voyage. In addition, there is plenty of open deck space, a spacious dining room with windows, a library with an additional lounge area on the bridge deck, an infirmary and an exercise room. The décor is modern and uncomplicated.
  • Equipped with adventure gear and seven Zodiacs for shore excursions.

Ship Services

  • Manned by a 26-member nautical crew and 12 expedition staff. The expedition team includes an expedition leader, expedition leader assistant, guides/naturalists/Zodiac drivers and a doctor.
  • Equipped a unique Antarctic vehicle named "Bigfoot", which assists in quick and efficient Antarctic baggage transport and was especially designed and built to adapt to the changeable conditions of the Antarctic Terrain.
  • Transfer to/from the boat by aircraft (BAE-146), a high-wing aircraft with very short runaway requirements which make it particularly suited Antarctic  destinations.
Ocean Nova Deck Plan (click for enlargement)
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.