Hebridean Sky

The Hebridean Sky offers both traditional itineraries out of Ushuaia, Argentina and Antarctica fly-cruise departures which run group charter flight(s) between Punta Arenas, Chila and King George Island in Antarctica, where passengers embark and/or disembark the vessel. Charter flights to Antarctic run either round-trip our one-way.The 297-ft (90.6m) M/V Hebridean Sky (formerly Sea Explorer) was built in Italy in 1991, was refurbished in 2005, and underwent an extensive multi-million dollar renov... READ MORE >>
Itinerary
Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula)
DAY 1: Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina
DAY 2: Ushuaia - Embark
DAY 3-4: Drake Passage
DAY 5-9: Antarctica
DAY 10-11: Drake Passage
DAY 12: Ushuaia - Disembark

Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula - In Depth)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2: Ushuaia - Embark
Day 3-4: Drake Passage
Day 5-6: South Shetland Islands
Day 7-9: Antarctic Sound
Day 10-12: Antarctic Peninsula
DAY 13-14: Drake Passage
DAY 15: Ushuaia - Disembark
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Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula)
DAY 1: Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina
PLEASE NOTE: the below is a 12-Day itinerary. 11-DAY departures will spend four days in Antarctica exploring. Please enquire for details. 

Complimentary Pre-Arrival Day: Don’t sweat flight delays or missed connections when you begin your adventure a day early by taking advantage of an optional free pre-arrival night at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Enjoy the spa, wander the trails, or unwind and soak in the surroundings.

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! Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of the complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. After you check into your included hotel, you may choose to explore the trails, take a spa, relax and soak in the surroundings, or head into Ushuaia and browse the Argentinean leather markets and succulent lamb dishes that make Patagonia famous. Other options are a cruise on the Beagle Channel, a trek in Tierra del Fuego National Park, or visit a nearby historical estancia and museum. An optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Please contact us for your extension options in Ushuaia.
DAY 2: Ushuaia - Embark
Your morning is open for exploration of Ushuaia until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Once onboard you will be greeted by your Expedition Team and ship’s officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on the early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies. (B, D)
DAY 3-4: Drake Passage
Awake this morning well into our journey across the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage spans 600 miles from the top of South America to the South Shetland Islands. Sometimes misty and gray, other times calm and clear, crossing the legendary Drake Passage is unforgettable and a milestone in any traveler’s personal travel history. Among the wildlife spotting opportunities as you sail south are the Albatrosses, Prions, and Petrels that frequently follow the ship. Your Expedition Team will be out on deck as well, looking for the Whales and Dolphins that may also be seen in the area. These experts will hold informative and entertaining presentations on the wildlife, history, and geology of Antarctica. Helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety will also be held in the comfortable presentation hall. As you cross the Antarctica convergence, you will notice a significant change in the environment as colder temperatures surround you and the first icebergs come into view, and you will know that the White Continent is approaching. The length of our journey depends on sea conditions but we should approach the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula in the afternoon/evening of Day 4. (B,L,D)
DAY 5-9: Antarctica
The land of superlatives, Antarctica! The Antarctic Peninsula provides exceptional opportunities to discover the unique wildlife and awesome landscapes. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity, directing your ship to a variety of secluded bays and harbors to optimize Zodiac landings and wildlife viewing. While there is always a plan, flexibility is the key to successful expedition cruising. The route will stress the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.
 
The trip may include picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel, as well as a visit at an active scientific base like Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy, and an historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House. As you head south along the Antarctic Peninsula, you’ll understand why the imposing, snow-covered Lemaire Channel is called “Kodak Alley”, and if you stop at Vernadskiy, you might want to sample the throat-burning Gorilka, or Ukrainian pepper vodka, distilled on location. A Zodiac cruise of Paradise Bay, with its many glaciers, offers an experience like no other on the globe, as you cruise by massive icebergs, with cracks and crevices reflecting an amazing spectrum of blue colors. Conditions permitting, you’ll set foot on the actual Antarctic Continent at Hope Bay or perhaps another site. Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the aggressive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors in the late season, and Orca sightings are also common. (B,L,D)
DAY 10-11: Drake Passage
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, the presentation series and wildlife spotting will continue. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you and your fellow travelers will celebrate the conclusion of your expedition with a special slideshow. (B,L,D)
DAY 12: Ushuaia - Disembark
You arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark the vessel after breakfast, meeting your driver to transfer you to the Airport or your stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure . (B)
 
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner
Itinerary (Antarctic Peninsula - In Depth)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
PLEASE NOTE: The below is a 15-Day itinerary. The 14-Day March departure will spend one less day in Antarctica and will be a Whale Science Voyage. Please enquire for details. 

Complimentary Pre-Arrival Day: Don’t sweat flight delays or missed connections when you begin your adventure a day early by taking advantage of an optional free pre-arrival night at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Enjoy the spa, wander the trails, or unwind and soak in the surroundings.

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! Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of the complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. After you check into your included hotel, you may choose to explore the trails, take a spa, relax and soak in the surroundings, or head into Ushuaia and browse the Argentinean leather markets and succulent lamb dishes that make Patagonia famous. Other options are a cruise on the Beagle Channel, a trek in Tierra del Fuego National Park, or visit a nearby historical estancia and museum. An optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Please contact us for your extension options in Ushuaia.
Day 2: Ushuaia - Embark
Your morning is open for exploration of Ushuaia until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Once onboard you will be greeted by your Expedition Team and ship’s officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on the early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies. (B, D)
Day 3-4: Drake Passage
Awake this morning well into our journey across the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage spans 600 miles from the top of South America to the South Shetland Islands. Sometimes misty and gray, other times calm and clear, crossing the legendary Drake Passage is unforgettable and a milestone in any traveler’s personal travel history. Among the wildlife spotting opportunities as you sail south are the Albatrosses, Prions, and Petrels that frequently follow the ship. Your Expedition Team will be out on deck as well, looking for the Whales and Dolphins that may also be seen in the area. These experts will hold informative and entertaining presentations on the wildlife, history, and geology of Antarctica. Helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety will also be held in the comfortable presentation hall. As you cross the Antarctica convergence, you will notice a significant change in the environment as colder temperatures surround you and the first icebergs come into view, and you will know that the White Continent is approaching. The length of our journey depends on sea conditions but we should approach the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula in the afternoon/evening of Day 4. (B,L,D)
Day 5-6: South Shetland Islands
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, your Expedition Team will plan to take as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory.  Your Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity, with an aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula and stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. Your first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer amazing abundance and beauty. We may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting, visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals. (B,L,D)
Day 7-9: Antarctic Sound
As you head south across the Bransfield Strait, you will sail towards the Antarctic Sound. Located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctic Sound is located within the Weddell Sea. A massive clockwise current pushes cold, ice-filled waters north, making this part of the Antarctic Sound dramatically different from the Western Peninsula. Here you will endeavor to explore an area rich in Heroic Age history and take in the varied ecology found surprisingly this far north. Adelie penguins thrive in these colder, ice filled waters. The ice ultimately directs what adventures you will have in these lesser-travelled waterways, but the opportunity to experience the stark difference in scenery found here is likely to be a major highlight for all on this special departure, with massive tabular icebergs, lots of sea ice, and geology far different from anywhere you will visit this trip. (B,L,D)
Day 10-12: Antarctic Peninsula
Heading Southwest, you enter Gerlache Strait and Trinity Coast. Here you may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, or Wilhelmina Bay, the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House. Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell and Crabeater seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur seal. Minke and Humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common. (B,L,D)
DAY 13-14: Drake Passage
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, the presentation series and wildlife spotting will continue. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you and your fellow travelers will celebrate the conclusion of your expedition with a special slideshow. (B,L,D)
DAY 15: Ushuaia - Disembark
You arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark the vessel after breakfast, meeting your driver to transfer you to the Airport or your stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure. (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 DateTriplePortholeWindowPromenadeDeluxeVerandaPenthouseOwner's
1211/23/2012/3/20$9,995$12,995$14,995$15,495$15,795$16,995$19,595$22,795
           
111/17/201/27/20$8,995$11,495$13,495$13,995$14,295$15,495$16,995$18,995
           
122/4/202/15/20$9,995$12,995$14,995$15,495$15,795$16,995$19,595$22,795

-One-Two Pre-Embarkation hotel night(s) included within the listed rates.
-A single supplement applies for single use of a twin cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a twin or triple cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.
-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Hiking, and Kayaking.
-All prices are PER PERSON.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airport transfers for group charter flights - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers in Ushuaia - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • 1 night's accommodations Buenos Aires - Included for some departures
  • 1 night's accommodations Ushuaia - Included for some departures
  • Wine and beer with dinner onboard Antarctica cruise
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Expedition Parka - Included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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 at additional cost - includes all gear

Antarctic Peninsula - In Depth

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTriplePortholeWindowPromenadeDeluxeVerandaPenthouseOwner's
152/14/202/28/20$10,995$15,495$16,995$17,595$17,995$19,995$22,795$24,995
           
142/27/203/11/20$9,995$14,295$16,295$16,795$17,295$18,795$21,295$22,995

-One-Two Pre-Embarkation hotel night(s) included within the listed rates.
-A single supplement applies for single use of a twin cabin. Please inquire for single supplement pricing. A solo traveler willing to share a twin or triple cabin with another passenger (or passengers) of the same gender can avoid the single supplement.
-Activities offered on all departures are: Zodiac Excursions, Camping, Hiking, and Kayaking.
-All prices are PER PERSON.

Included in tour cost
  • Antarctica cruise accommodations
  • All meals onboard Antarctica cruise
  • Airport transfers for group charter flights - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers in Ushuaia - Included for some departures
  • Airport transfers in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • Airfare (King George Island/Punta Arenas) - Included for some departures
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Punta Arenas - Included for some departures
  • 1 night's accommodations Buenos Aires - Included for some departures
  • 1 night's accommodations Ushuaia - Included for some departures
  • Wine and beer with dinner onboard Antarctica cruise
  • All shore excursions throughout voyage by zodiac
  • Expedition Parka - Included on some departures
  • Rubber boots available onboard – must be pre-reserved
  • 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 at additional cost - includes all gear

Antarctic Peninsula

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 to Saturday, January 18, 2020
Friday, January 17, 2020 to Monday, January 27, 2020
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 to Saturday, February 15, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020 to Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Saturday, February 6, 2021 to Thursday, February 18, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 to Sunday, February 28, 2021

Antarctic Peninsula - In Depth

Trip Dates
Friday, February 14, 2020 to Friday, February 28, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020 to Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 to Thursday, January 21, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021 to Friday, March 12, 2021
Punta Arenas
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Cabins

The M/V Hebridean Sky accommodates a maximum 71 or115 passengers, depending on departure date, in 48-60 deluxe and spacious, suites which are configured as twins triples and singles, all with premium appointments throughout. Each suite features a sitting area, a private bathroom, a picture window, and two twin beds that, on request, can be joined to form a queen-size bed. Several Suites include private balconies accessed via a sliding door.

  • Triple Suite (1-2) two twin or one queen bed, two windows, separate sitting area with sofa bed, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (225 ft² / 21 m²)
  • Porthole Suite (0-10) two twin or one queen bed, portholes, separate sitting area with sofa, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (240 ft² / 22 m²)
  • Window Suite (4-17) two twin or one queen bed, windows, separate sitting area with sofa, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (225 ft² / 21 m²)
  • Single Suite (2) one queen bed, window, separate sitting area with sofa, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (118 ft² / 11 m² or **Fly-Cruise: 240 ft² / 22 m²)
  • Promenade Suite (13) two twin or one queen bed, window, separate sitting area with sofa, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (220 ft² / 20.4 m²)
  • Deluxe Suite (2) two twin or one queen bed, two windows (bow & side), separate sitting area with sofa, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (240 ft² / 22 m²)
  • Veranda Suite (8)  two twin or one queen bed, private veranda, separate sitting area with sofa, walk-in wardrobe, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (260 ft² / 24 m², including a 40 ft² /3.7 m² Balcony)
  • Penthouse Suite (4) two twin or one queen bed, sofa, window, private veranda, separate sitting area, two wardrobes, private facilities, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (325 ft² / 30 m², included a 80 ft² /7.4 m² Balcony)
  • Owner’s Suite (1) Two rooms:  bedroom with two twin or one queen bed, vanity table, window, private facilities and walk-in closet, and a separate sitting area, with sofa, table w/four chairs, wardrobe, window, private large veranda, mini-bar, safe, telephone, AC, Flat-screen TV & DVD player, (385ft² / 34 m², included a 110 ft² /10.2 m² Balcony)

VIEW FLY-CRUISE ITINERARY DECK PLAN - HERE

VIEW CRUISE ITINERARY DECK PLAN - HERE
 

Boat Details

Ship Amenities

  • The M/V Hebridean Sky offers a variety of spacious open decks, comfortable observation lounges and public spaces including “The Club” (panorama lounge and bar), a library, a lounge with audio-visual facilities, a wraparound sun deck, a medical clinic, an elevator serving all passenger decks and the bridge which is open and accessible to all passengers throughout the voyage. The ship's two dining options include the main dining room and the outdoor café, either option capable of seating all passengers in one sitting, and serve an excellent international cuisine accompanied by premium wines.
  • The vessel is equipped with adventure gear, 10 Zodiacs and a Zodiac platform to facilitate shore excursions.

Ship Services

  • Manned by a 71-member nautical crew and 14 expedition staff. The expedition team includes an expedition leader, expedition leader assistant, guides/naturalists/Zodiac drivers and a doctor.

Fly-Cruise Itineraries:
  • Equipped with 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 M/V Hebridean Sky in Antarctica is provided by aircraft (BAE-146), a high-wing aircraft with very short runaway requirements which make it particularly suited for these kind of destinations.

VIEW AIRCRAFT DETAILS - HERE


VIEW FLY-CRUISE ITINERARY DECK PLAN - HERE

VIEW CRUISE ITINERARY DECK PLAN - HERE


 

Hebridean Sky 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.