• Overview
  • Photos & Video
  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Cabins
  • Boat Details
  • Trip Reviews
  • FAQ

The 293-ft M/V Plancius was built in 1976 for the Royal Dutch Navy as an oceanographic research vessel, the Hr. Ms. Tydeman. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was then completely rebuilt and converted to a 116 passenger polar expedition vessel in 2009. The ship has been designed as a setting for passengers interested in an exploratory educational experience on their Antarctica vacations, looking to spend as much time on the Antarctic shore as possible rather than in luxury accommodations. The Plancius complies with the latest SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations and travels at a speed of 10-12 knots. She is ice-strengthened with bow and stern thrusters for maneuverability (Ice Class 1D).

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

*PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 10 days long and spend one less day in Antarctica. Please inquire for details.

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. 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

You’ll sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island.

Possible visits over the next few days include Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, where you will find a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. On Danco Island, you can observe Chinstrap Penguins and possibly Weddell and Crabeater Seals. In Neko Harbour you will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level and enjoy the landscape surrounded by alpine peaks during zodiac cruises. In Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you will have another opportunity for a continental landing and more zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area you have good chances to see Humpback and Minke Whales. 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. Close to Port Lockroy, a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags may be in the cards for you!

You’ll continue on through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island where you’ll find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area, there are good chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. 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. Further south you may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where you’ll receive a warm welcome from the station crew. Sailing north through Neumayer Channel you’ll arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. (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. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: Disembark 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 (Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands)
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. As the journey across the Drake Passage ends, you’ll spot your first icebergs near the South Shetland Islands. (B,L,D)
DAY 4-8: Antarctica & South Shetland Islands
You’ll sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. 
 
Possible visits over the next few days include Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, where you will find a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. On Danco Island, you can observe Chinstrap Penguins and possibly Weddell and Crabeater Seals. In Neko Harbour you will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level and enjoy the landscape surrounded by alpine peaks during zodiac cruises. In Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you will have another opportunity for a continental landing and more zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords.
 
You’ll sail through the spectacular Neumayer Channel, to Pleneau and Petermann Island where you can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. 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. Further south you may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where you will receive a warm welcome from the station crew.  Sailing north, you may be able visit the British research station and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, and close to Port Lockroy, a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags may be in the cards for you!
 
Heading further North through the Gerlache Strait you will arrive at the South Shetland Islands! These volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer many subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and Southern Giant Petrels, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas. Your ship will sail to Deception Island and brave its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow. You can hope for a good long walk and kayak trip which will depend on site availability and weather conditions. Deception is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here you will find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station with Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nesting in the ruins, thousands of Cape Pigeons, many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas, and Antarctic Terns. You’ll sail next to Half Moon Island, where we will find a variety of Chinstrap Penguins, and Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals that often haul out on the beach. Your voyage continues through a narrow Strait to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.  (B,L,D)
DAY 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. (B,L,D)
DAY 11: 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 (Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Adventure)
DAY 1: Embark Ushuaia, Argentina

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. 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: Antarctic Peninsula / Basecamp Adventure

You’ll sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. You will sail to the Neumayer Channel, where your captain will position the ship for the multi-activity base camp. The protected waters around Wiencke Island will become your playground for all activities. In this alpine environment, there are great opportunities to scout the region on foot, by zodiac and during kayak trips. Walkers will find opportunities to use snowshoes on hikes near the shore lines and the mountaineers will find their challenge by climbing hills and viewpoints further inland, i.e. Jabet Peak (540 m). All climbs and excursions can only be conducted in good weather conditions.

The plan is to stay two overnights at anchor in order to implement two camp nights and two full activity days. You’ll visit the British research station and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy there is a chance for a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. You will sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island where you can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales.

The second Basecamp night will be erected near the continent, where a camp site is chosen in a suitable location close to the next day’s activity. The mountaineers will hope to reach the summit of Mt. Demaria (640 m) at Waddington Bay. 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. Further south you may have time to visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where you will receive a warm welcome from the station crew.

When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising and kayaking between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area you have good chances to see Humpback and Minke Whales. Hikers, mountaineers and photographers will spend time ashore.

At nearby Neko Harbour you will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers and enjoy the landscape during zodiac cruises, hikes and kayak excursions. A small group of mountaineers may climb up on higher grounds of the glacier. The ship will spend the night at Neko Harbour, or near Paradise Bay, with a camp erected ashore, leaving in the early morning after breaking our last camp. Your ship will then work its way north via the Melchior Islands, again with many opportunities of spotting a great selection of seabirds. (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. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Disembark 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 (Polar Circle - Antarctic Peninsula)
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. As the journey across the Drake Passage ends, you’ll spot your first icebergs near the South Shetland Islands. The Master of your vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait between Robert Island and Greenwich Island or McFarlane Strait between Greenwich Island and Livingston Island, if the conditions are favorable. If so, you might be able to enter Antarctic waters in the late evening of the third day and see Aitcho Island in the South Shetlands. If the conditions do not allow for a maneuver through the English Strait, then you’ll continue sailing South of Livingston. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-9: Antarctic Peninsula & Polar Circle

You’ll start the first day full day in Antarctica waters with a possible landing at Hannah Point in the South Shetlands, where you will find a nice variety of Gentoo Penguins, Chinstraps and southern Giant Petrels, as well as Weddell and Elephant Seals hauling out on the beach. These volcanic islands or the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer many subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna.

On Deception Island you may visit Baily Head, home to a colony of ten thousands Chinstrap Penguins (please note this landing is not always guaranteed and is only possible in good weather conditions). Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while your ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here you find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.

On your way further South, you will sail to the Orne Islands with large colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and a beautiful view across the Gerlache Strait, or to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In stunning Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, you’ll have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. You shall have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. You’ll sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island offering Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags, and fair chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. A possible landing at Pleneau Island could offer encounters with Elephant Seals as well!

You’ll continue south along the Argentine Islands to Crystal Sound, south of the Polar Circle. The landscape is very impressive with very high mountains and huge glaciers. At the Fish Islands, an attempt to land will be made amongst one of the southernmost Adelie Penguin and Blue-eyed Shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. At Detaille Island, you’ll reach probably your farthest point south. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, you’ll arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. (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. (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 (Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica)
DAY 1: Embark Ushuaia, Argentina

*PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 21 days long and depart from Puerto Madryn, Argentina, spending an additional day at sea enroute to the Falkland Islands. Alternatively, some departures are 19 days long and spend one day less in Antarctica. Please inquire for details. 

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: At Sea

The day is spent at sea as you sail toward the Falkland Islands. You may see several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels following the ship. (B,L,D)

DAYS 3-4: Falkland Islands

In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) the plan is to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the shore of Carcass Island will give you views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl, night herons and passerines. You’ll head to Saunders where you will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.

In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, you’ll get a glimpse of Falkland culture which is a fusion of South American characteristics and Victorian charm, and you will see a number of stranded clippers from a century ago. You will enjoy some free time to wander around the town on your own. (B,L,D)

DAYS 5-6: At Sea

The next two days will be spent at sea as the vessel heads to South Georgia. Along the way, you will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees Celsius in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence, you will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship including species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas. (B,L,D)

DAYS 7-10: South Georgia

This afternoon, enjoy your first landing site in South Georgia. Possible visits may include the bay of Elsehul, with its very active Fur seal breeding beach, as well as Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord, depending on conditions. This will give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife. Possible encounters include the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins. A particular highlight may be a visit to Prion Island, where you can witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from 20 Nov – 07 January).

You’ll experience some of the history of this area at Fortuna Bay, where you can follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken you’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken you will visit the Whaling History Museum as well as Shackleton´s grave. Depart South Georgia in the afternoon of your last day there. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: At Sea

Today you are at sea, where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At this point, you may begin to encounter sea-ice and it is at the ice-edge where you might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: South Orkney Islands

Today you arrive at the South Orkney Islands where, weather permitting, you will visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base. The friendly base personnel will show you their facilities and you can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers. (B,L,D)

DAY 13: At Sea

Today is the last day at sea before you reach the Antarctica peninsula. (B,L,D)

DAYS 14-17: Antarctic Peninsula

As you sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, you will see huge tabular icebergs announcing your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. At Brown Bluff, you may set foot on the Continent for the first time during your expedition, and in good sailing conditions, an opportunity to extend your time in the Weddell Sea will be possible. The next few days will be spent exploring visitor sites offering a wide variety of landscapes, icescapes, wildlife and historical opportunities.

Possible visits include Paulet Island with a million pairs of Adelie Penguins and the remains of the Nordenskjöld expedition, and Cuverville Island in the Errera Channel, with its large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. You will explore Charlotte Bay, on the mountainous west coast of Graham Land, with its nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs where many seals on ice floes, and occasional, kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins are also on display. In Wilhelmina Bay you will admire the rugged ice coated mountains of the Arctowski Peninsula, and continue on through the spectacular Neumayer Channel, while having chances of seeing Humpback and Minke Whales. Another continental landing is possible at stunning Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay.

In the South Shetlands, your ship will brave the entrance of the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here you’ll find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. From here, you will sail through the Shetland Islands (Half Moon) to the open sea with direction Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAYS 18-19: 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. (B,L,D)

DAY 20: Disembark 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 (Weddell Sea - Antarctic Discoverer)
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. (B,L,D)
DAY 4-9: Weddell Sea & South Shetland Islands
You sail directly into the Weddell Sea through the often ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Weddell Sea is largely covered in sea ice during the year, but the northwestern corner offers great opportunities for exploration in places only the lucky few get to visit.

The sites for your activities may include:
Paulet Island – A huge number of Adélie penguins take residence here.
Brown Bluff – Maybe the most scenic location in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent: sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, beautiful volcanic creations capped with ice. A large Adélie penguin rookery lives here, with Gentoo penguins and nesting Snow petrels also to be found.
Dundee Island – A mostly uninhabited Argentine station , Base petrels, can be seen here, as well as Antarctic fur seals (and Southern Elephant seals) along the coastline.

Farther into the Weddell Sea, the options vary with the ice conditions:
James Clark Ross Island – You can explore a number of rarely visited places here. The imagination is further stirred by suggestive names like Brandy Bay and Whiskey Bay.
Devil Island – A large Adélie penguin rookery as well as stunning views of Erebus and Terror Gulf are seen here.
Snow Hill Island – This location, known for its sedimentary rock, tells tales of the incredible Antarctic explorations of the early 20th century.

Before heading north, your Expedition team will head toward the volcanic South Shetlands islands. These windswept islands are often cloaked in mist, but they do offer subtle pleasures: There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and no small amount of fauna (Gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins, Southern Giant petrels). In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of Cape petrels – along with a number of Kelp gulls, Brown and South Polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s Storm petrels and Black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. As an alternative, you may be able to engage in activities near Half Moon Island. Here Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
DAY 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. (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

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

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
111/9/181/19/18$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,250$10,850$11,850
         
112/7/182/17/18$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,250$10,850$11,850
         
103/19/183/28/18$5,550$6,150$7,050$7,450$7,850$8,600
         
111/28/192/7/19$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,100$10,850$11,700
         
112/7/192/17/19$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,100$10,850$11,700
         
103/22/193/31/2019$5,750$6,400$7,050$7,450$7,950$8,600

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions and Hiking. Kayaking and Camping are offered on all departures except for March departures. 

-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindoTwin DeluxeSuperior
11 11/23/1812/3/18$7,200$8,100$8,800$9,200$9,900$10,650

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions and Hiking/Snowshoeing, Kayaking and Camping. 
-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Adventure

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
1212/18/1712/29/17$8,150$9,150$9,850$10,550$11,100$11,900
         
1212/29/171/9/18$8,150$9,150$9,850$10,550$11,100$11,900
         
122/17/192/28/19$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,100$10,850$11,700

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Camping, Kayaking, Photography and Mountaineering. 

-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Polar Circle - Antarctic Peninsula

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
123/8/183/19/18$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,250$10,850$11,850
         
122/28/193/11/19$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,100$10,850$11,700

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Hiking, Kayaking, and Diving.

-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
2011/29/1712/18/17$13,100$14,300$15,750$16,500$17,500$17,950
         
201/19/182/7/18$14,950$16,500$17,850$18,900$19,950$21,950
         
202/17/183/8/18$14,250$15,650$16,900$17,900$18,900$20,800
         
2111/3/1811/23/18$12,150$13,300$14,550$15,300$16,300$17,550
         
2012/3/1812/22/18$13,100$14,350$15,900$16,650$17,800$19,150
         
1912/22/181/9/19$13,100$14,350$15,900$16,650$17,800$19,150
         
201/9/191/28/19$14,950$16,300$17,950$18,750$20,150$21,500

-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions and Hiking/Snowshoeing. Polar Diving is offered on some departures (supplemental fee) 

-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Weddell Sea - Antarctic Discoverer

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateQuadTripleTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
123/11/193/22/19$7,950$8,950$9,650$10,100$10,850$11,700

-Activities offered are: Zodiac Excursions, Hiking and Diving. 
-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
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Photography Program
  • Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering, and Photo Workshops included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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.)
  • Camping available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Kayaking available on some departures at an additional cost - includes all gear
  • Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Mountaineering available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Diving available on some departures at an additional cost
  • Ski Trekking available on some departures at an additional cost

Antarctic Peninsula

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Monday, January 28, 2019 to Thursday, February 7, 2019
Thursday, February 7, 2019 to Sunday, February 17, 2019
Sunday, February 17, 2019 to Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Friday, November 23, 2018 to Monday, December 3, 2018

Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Adventure

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Sunday, February 17, 2019 to Thursday, February 28, 2019

Polar Circle - Antarctic Peninsula

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Thursday, February 28, 2019 to Monday, March 11, 2019

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Saturday, November 3, 2018 to Friday, November 23, 2018
Monday, December 3, 2018 to Saturday, December 22, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018 to Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 to Monday, January 28, 2019

Weddell Sea - Antarctic Discoverer

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Monday, March 11, 2019 to Friday, March 22, 2019
Cabins


The M/V Plancius accommodates 116 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower facilities. All cabins are outside cabins with a minimum of one porthole or window.

 

  • Quadruple (4) two upper and two lower berths, portholes, 15 square meters
  • Triple (2) two lower and one upper berth, portholes, 15 square meters
  • Twin Porthole (9) two lower berths, portholes, 15 square meters
  • Twin Window (26) two lower berths, windows, 15 square meters
  • Twin Deluxe (2) two lower berths, windows, 15 square meters
  • Superior (10) queen bed, sofa bed, windows, 21 square meter

 

Boat Details

Ship Amenities

  • Restaurant/lecture room on deck three
  • Spacious observation lounge with bar and library on deck five
  • Large windows offer a full panorama view of Antarctica,
  • Large open deck spaces, including one walk-around deck for exercise or strolling
  • Equipped 10 Mark V Zodiacs, including HP 4-stroke outboard engines and two starboard gangways

Ship Crew and Services

  • Manned by a highly experienced 17-member nautical crew\
  • International hotel/catering staff of 19
  • On-board doctor
  • 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guide/lecturers).

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.