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The 278-ft M/V Ushuaia was originally built for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1970, and has been refurbished to accommodate a maximum of 88 passengers on Antarctica expeditions. She is not a luxury vessel, but rather offers simple, yet comfortable accommodation and amenities. The smaller group size allows travelers to take full advantage of Antarctic wildlife observation and exploration. The expert staff are all extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. The Ushuaia complies with the latest SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations, flies under the Union of Comoros flag, is ice-strengthened (INSB Ice class C) and travels at a maximum speed of 14 knots (cruising speed – 12 knots).

 

Itinerary (Classic Antarctica)
DAY 1: Embark Ushuaia, Argentina

*PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 10 or 11 days long and alternatively spend 4 or 5 days exploring 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. 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

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, expert lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in the ship’s wake. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well. The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains will indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage the lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-8: Antarctic Peninsula

The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, as well as Elephant seals, await you at Livingston Island.

The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore the amazing scenery: a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds, you are very likely to see Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals as well as Minke, Orca and Humpback whales at close range. Your ship will cruise some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on ice conditions): the Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel, and the Lemaire Channel, the latter are narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. Your expedition leaders will plan to make at least two landings per day. Possible landing sites may include Paradise Bay and Paulet Island. Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world, where an attempt will be made to land on the continent proper. After negotiating the iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic Sound, the hope will be to visit the bustling Adélie Penguin (over 100,000 pairs breed here) and Blue-eyed Cormorant colonies on Paulet Island. The Nordenskjöld expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins. Further exploration may take you to Melchior Island, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Pléneau Island, and if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins. (B,L,D)

DAYS 9-10: Drake Passage

Your ship will leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Over the next two days, you will join the lecturers and naturalists on deck as they search for seabirds and whales, enjoy some final lectures, and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days as your ship returns to Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: Disembark Ushuaia

In the morning, your ship will arrive in Ushuaia where you will disembark the vessel after breakfast, and transfer to the Ushuaia Airport or head off to your nearby hotel. (B)

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

Itinerary (Polar Circle Quest)
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

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, expert lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in the ship’s wake. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well. The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains will indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage the lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-9: Antarctic Peninsula & Polar Circle

Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds, you are likely to encounter Weddell, Crabeater, Fur and Leopard seals as well as Minke and Orca whales at close range. At this time of year it is also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as Humpback, Finn and Sei whales in the area. Depending on ice conditions, your captain will navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains; Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula and surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs; and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy. As your ship ventures further south of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, you might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky; the former British base Faradey, where the ozone hole was first spotted; the rugged Yalour Islands and, south of the Polar Circle, Detaille Island.

On your way North, the plan will be to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped Half Moon Island, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings. (B,L,D)

DAYS 10-11: Drake Passage

Your ship will leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Over the next two days, you will join the lecturers and naturalists on deck as they search for seabirds and whales, enjoy some final lectures, and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days as your ship returns to Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Disembark Ushuaia

In the morning, your ship will arrive in Ushuaia where you will disembark the vessel after breakfast, and transfer to the Ushuaia Airport or head off to your nearby hotel. (B)

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

Itinerary (Weddell Sea Quest)
DAY 1: Ushuaia, Argentina - Embark

*PLEASE NOTE: Some departures are 11 or 12 days long and alternatively spend 5 or 6 days exploring 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

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, expert lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in the ship’s wake. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well. The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains will indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage the lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals. (B,L,D)

DAYS 4-6: Weddell Sea

This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. The Erebus & Terror Gulf and Weddell Sea are often chock-a-block full with ice, making for exciting ice navigation. Huge tabular bergs break from the Larsen, Ronne, and Filchner ice shelves and combine with one-year-old and multi-year sea ice to produce a floating, undulating panorama of rugged ice scenery. You may decide to get up with the sun and go out on deck - it may be 3:30 in the morning, but the sunrise will be unlike anything you´ve ever seen. All-white Snow Petrels are likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by Pintado Petrels.

The usual passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound, which is 30 miles (48 km) long and 7-12 miles (11-19 km) wide and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza, are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula´s Adélie Penguin population. Devil Island, Paulet Island and the already mentioned sites, might give us ample proof of this. The numbers of penguins are breathtaking. Sometimes juvenile Emperor Penguins have been sighted, riding ice floes but are by no means regular in the area. This region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Four visitor sites have links to this expedition: Hope Bay, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, and Cape Well-Met on Vega Island. The expedition staff will be pleased to share this exciting story with you. Nordenskjöld´s expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area. (B,L,D)

DAYS 7-9: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore the amazing scenery: a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds, you are likely to encounter Weddell, Crabeater, Fur and Leopard seals as well as Minke and Orca whales at close range. Depending on ice conditions, your captain will navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains; Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula and surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs; and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy.

Further exploration will lead us to the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped Half Moon Island, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings

There might also be a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world. (B,L,D)

DAYS 10-11: Drake Passage

Your ship will leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Over the next two days, you will join the lecturers and naturalists on deck as they search for seabirds and whales, enjoy some final lectures, and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days as your ship returns to Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Disembark Ushuaia

In the morning, your ship will arrive in Ushuaia where you will disembark the vessel after breakfast, and transfer to the Ushuaia Airport or head off to your nearby hotel. (B)

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

Itinerary (Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica)
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)

DAY 2: At Sea

Today is spent at sea as your ship heads for the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). These waters are also home to an interesting group of seabirds, such as albatrosses and petrels, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship. You will join the expedition staff and naturalists on deck and search for seabirds and other local wildlife, such as Orcas and dolphins. The Ushuaia’s open bridge policy allows you to also join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. An interesting selection of lectures will help you to prepare for your first excursions in the Falkland Islands. (B,L,D)

DAYS 3-4: Falkland Islands

Over the next two days you will explore the Falklands Islands. On your first day, some of the sites you may visit are: West Point Island, which lies off the most north-westerly point of mainland West Falkland. On the eastern side of the Island The attractive settlement sits on the edge of a small harbor, in the lee of Black Bog Hill and Michael´s Mount. The valley between these two peaks rolls over the center of the island to the dramatic Devil´s Nose, one of the Island´s main attractions. From here visitors are treated to splendid views of Cliff Mountain, the Island´s highest point at 1,250ft (381 m), and the highest cliffs in the Falklands. This is where you will encounter a vast colony of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browed Albatrosses nesting together in close vicinity. On Carcass Island, which lies to the north-west of the Falkland archipelago, a mature tussac plantation covers much of the lower ground below Jason Hill to the east. The availability of abundant cover and the absence of cats, rats and mice throughout the island have made for a spectacularly large population of small birds, which is one of Carcass Island´s most delightful features. Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins also nest here, and Peale´s and Commerson´s dolphins come frequently close to the shoreline to get a glimpse of the visitors as well.

Overnight you will sail around the northern islands of the archipelago in an easterly direction to reach the capital, Stanley. In the morning hours you will have time to explore the quaint little town of Stanley and its wonderful Museum, souvenir shops and pubs. The town was established in the early 1840´s with isolation and weather conditions making life hard, but progress was gradual and punctuated by involvement in two world wars. For those who are more interested in the outstanding wildlife the Islands have to offer, you do not even have to leave town to enjoy it. Southern Giant Petrels often fly close to the shoreline. The endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks abound on the shorelines as well, while Kelp Gulls can often be seen flying together with Dolphin Gulls. The less obvious but frequent visitors to Stanley are Black-crowned Night Herons, Red-backed Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. Turkey Vultures are regularly seen on top of any prominent building and many pairs of Upland Geese frequent the park. In the early afternoon, you will say farewell to the Falklands and set sail for South Georgia. (B,L,D)

DAYS 5-6: At Sea

The next two days are spent at sea as you head for South Georgia, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet. An extensive lecture program will be offered during the days at sea where expert naturalists will share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems you will encounter throughout your voyage. (B,L,D)

DAYS 7-12: South Georgia Island
Today South Georgia will come in sight, and you will have six days to explore this extremely isolated island with its amazing scenery ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grasslands. The exact itinerary will depend on local land and sea conditions but destinations you are likely to explore are:
 
Situated at the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of Parydian Peninsula, Elsehul is a beautiful little harbor. It is the only visitor site on the islan, where colonies of Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses can be viewed from zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters.
 
Right Whale Bay is a bay 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, entered between Craigie Point and Nameless Point along the north coast of South Georgia. The name dates back to at least 1922, when South Georgia was still a centre for commercial whaling. Here you are likely to encounter a small colony of King Penguins, along with Giant Petrels, gulls and breeding elephant seals on the black ashen beach.
 
Salisbury Plain, which is sometimes called the “Serengeti of the South”, and is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of King Penguins that nest in the tussac grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as you visit the colony, where you are literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant and Fur seals also abound, as well as Southern Giant Petrels and the occasional wandering Gentoo Penguin. Prepare yourself for an awe-inspiring experience, as the elephant seals are giving birth on the beaches! On top of Prion Island, with its beautiful tussac-grass covered islet, you may be lucky and get the opportunity to see a breeding colony of Wandering Albatross. You can also climb to the summit on a wooden boardwalk, which takes you close to their nests and offers comfortable viewing platforms.
 
Prion Island is a beautiful tussac-grass covered islet. If you are lucky you will get the opportunity to see a breeding colony of Wandering Albatross at the pinnacle of the island. You will climb to
the summit on a wooden boardwalk, taking you close to albatross nests and offering comfortable viewing platforms.
 
A visit to Grytviken will reveal scenery that is exceptionally beautiful even by South Georgia standards. The glaciers and snow covered peaks of the Allardyce Range – Mt. Sugartop, Mt. Paget, Mt. Roots, Nordenskjöld Peak, Mt. Kling and Mt. Brooker – form a magnificent backdrop to the cove, and the views from King Edward Point in particular, must be among the finest on earth. The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove, backed by steep hills and mountains. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does Sir Ernest Shackleton´s grave in the nearby whaler´s cemetery and his memorial cross on Hope Point. On the eastern shores of Barff Peninsula, Godthul is a 3km long inlet that lies between Cape George and Long Point where Gentoo Penguins are abundant on the tussac plateau and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses echo off the natural cliff amphitheater that encircles the harbor. A floating factory ship serviced by two whale catchers was stationed here each summer between 1908 and 1929 and you will find fascinating relics of the whaling era here, as well as the impressive collection of whale and elephant seal bones scattered along the beach.
 
Situated 5.6 miles (9 km) east of Cumberland East Bay on the eastern shores of Barff Peninsula, Godthul is a 1.8-mile (3-km) long inlet that lies between Cape George and Long Point. Gentoo Penguins are abundant on the tussac plateau and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses echo off the natural cliff amphitheater that encircles the harbor. A floating factory ship serviced by two whale catchers was stationed here each summer between 1908 and 1929. A small shore depot supporting the whaling operations was established close by the stream in the southeast corner of the harbor, and the rusting barrels, wooden shed and boats are fascinating relics of the whaling era, as is the impressive collection of whale and elephant seal bones scattered along the beach.
 
The surf beaten coastline of St. Andrews Bay runs north-south in a 1.86 mile (3 km) long uninterrupted sweep of fine dark sand, covered in penguins and seals and bound in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers. The bay hosts the biggest colony of King Penguins on South Georgia and this early in the season, the beach is also carpeted with Fur and Elephant seals. Such a large assemblage of wildlife attracts an entourage of persistent and voracious scavengers: Sheathbills dart in and around the penguin colony; Cape Petrels nest in a small number on the cliffs to the north; Leopard seals patrol the rocks at this end of the beach, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds; a few White-chinned Petrels and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses nest on the tussac slopes; and Brown Skuas and Antarctic Terns breed on the outwash plain and scree slopes at the north end of the beach, defending their nest sites with their characteristic noise and vigor.
 
At the southeast extremity of South Georgia, you’ll find Cooper Bay where there is a wealth of wildlife in a spectacular setting. Chinstrap, Gentoo and maybe one or two Macaroni Penguins dot the tussac slopes, and there are plenty of fur seals on the beaches. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, which makes for a thrilling zodiac cruise to watch wildlife from the waterfront. Also located in the far south east of the island is Drygalski Fjord. The glaciers found in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they still remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, you might see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg from on board the ship.
 
Drygalski Fjord is also located in the far southeast of the island. The glaciers found in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they still remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, you might see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg from on board the ship. (B,L,D)
DAYS 13-14: At Sea

The next two days are spent crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula, offering opportunities to be out on deck, catch up on some reading, check through and edit our photos, or simply reflect on the magical experiences of the last few days on South Georgia. Lectures and other activities will be offered throughout these days. (B,L,D)

DAY 15: Antarctica (Elephant Island)

Today, pending weather and ice conditions, you may have a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world. (B,L,D)

DAY 16: At Sea

Today you make your final approach to the Antarctic Peninsula as the expedition team prepares you for your upcoming adventures with lectures and time spent on deck. (B,L,D)

DAY 17: Antarctica (South Shetland Islands)
Depending on ice conditions, today you will land at either Deception Island or Half Moon Island. Deception Island is the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point at Neptune’s Window.
 
Small crescent-shaped Half Moon island, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands, is home to a large colony of Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings. Weddell and Crabeater seals are also often found here. And if you’re lucky, you will spot one lonely Macaroni penguin amongst the Chinstraps, far from its usual home on South Georgia. (B, L, D)
DAYS 18-19: Drake Passage

Your ship will leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. Over the next two days, you will join the lecturers and naturalists on deck as they search for seabirds and whales, enjoy some final lectures, and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days as your ship returns to Ushuaia. (B,L,D)

DAY 20: Disembark Ushuaia

In the morning, your ship will arrive in Ushuaia where you will disembark the vessel after breakfast, and transfer to the Ushuaia Airport or head off to your nearby hotel. (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

ANTARPPLY EXPEDITIONS by Enrique Lopez Tapia

Classic Antarctica

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleStandardStandard PlusPremierSuperiorSuiteDedicated Premier Single 
1012/22/1712/31/17$6,540$6,990$8,470$10,110$10,680$11,220$12,130
          
1112/31/171/10/18$7,270$7,770$9,410$11,230$11,870$12,470$13,480
          
101/21/181/30/18$6,540$6,990$8,470$10,110$10,680$11,220$12,130
          
111/30/182/9/18$7,270$7,770$9,410$11,230$11,870$12,470$13,480
          
113/1/183/11/18$5,780$6,990$7,870$9,350$9,900$10,410$11,210
          
113/11/183/21/18$5,780$6,990$7,870$9,350$9,900$10,410$11,210
          
113/21/183/31/18$5,780$6,990$7,870$9,350$9,900$10,410$11,210
          
1011/5/1811/14/18$4,770$5,110$6,510$7,740$8,190$8,610$9,280
          
1011/14/1811/23/18$5,460$5,840$7,430$8,840$9,360$9,840$10,590
          
1111/23/1812/3/18$6,070$6,490$8,260$9,820$10,400$10,930$11,770
          
1012/13/1812/22/18$6,870$7,340$8,890$10,610$11,210$11,780$12,740
          
1012/22/1812/31/18$6,870$7,340$8,890$10,610$11,210$11,780$12,740
          
101/19/191/28/19$6,870$7,340$8,890$10,610$11,210$11,780$12,740
          
101/28/192/6/19$6,870$7,340$8,890$10,610$11,210$11,780$12,740
          
102/16/192/25/19$6,870$7,340$8,890$10,610$11,210$11,780$12,740
          
103/8/193/17/19$5,460$5,840$7,430$8,840$9,360$9,840$10,590
          
103/17/193/26/19$5,460$5,840$7,430$8,840$9,360$9,840$10,590
          
103/26/194/4/19$5,460$5,840$7,430$8,840$9,360$9,840$10,590

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

-All prices are PER PERSON.

-Please inquire for single supplement pricing in alternate cabin categories beyond the Dedicated Premier Single. 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
  • 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.)

Polar Circle Quest

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleStandardStandard PlusPremierSuperiorSuiteDedicated Premier Single
122/18/183/1/18$7,990$8,550$10,350$12,350$13,060$13,720$14,830
          
122/25/193/8/19$7,150$7,640$9,570$11,390$12,060$12,670$13,660

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

-All prices are PER PERSON.

-Please inquire for single supplement pricing in alternate cabin categories beyond the Dedicated Premier Single. 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
  • 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.)

Weddell Sea Quest

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleStandardStandard PlusPremierSuperiorSuiteDedicated Premier Single
121/10/181/21/18$7,990$8,550$10,350$12,350$13,060$13,720$14,830
          
112/6/192/16/19$7,630$8,160$9,880$11,790$12,460$13,090$14,150

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

-All prices are PER PERSON.

-Please inquire for single supplement pricing in alternate cabin categories beyond the Dedicated Premier Single. 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
  • 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.)

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Pricing
DaysStart DateEnd DateTripleStandardStandard PlusPremierSuperiorSuiteDedicated Premier Single
2010/17/1811/5/18$8,910$9,560$12,180$14,480$15,310$16,090$17,390

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

-All prices are PER PERSON.

-Please inquire for single supplement pricing in alternate cabin categories beyond the Dedicated Premier Single. 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
  • 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.)

Classic Antarctica

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Friday, December 22, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Sunday, December 31, 2017 to Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Sunday, January 21, 2018 to Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 to Friday, February 9, 2018
Thursday, March 1, 2018 to Sunday, March 11, 2018
Sunday, March 11, 2018 to Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 to Saturday, March 31, 2018
Monday, November 5, 2018 to Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 to Friday, November 23, 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018 to Monday, December 3, 2018
Thursday, December 13, 2018 to Saturday, December 22, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Saturday, January 19, 2019 to Monday, January 28, 2019
Monday, January 28, 2019 to Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Saturday, February 16, 2019 to Monday, February 25, 2019
Friday, March 8, 2019 to Sunday, March 17, 2019
Sunday, March 17, 2019 to Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 to Thursday, April 4, 2019

Polar Circle Quest

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Sunday, February 18, 2018 to Thursday, March 1, 2018
Monday, February 25, 2019 to Friday, March 8, 2019

Weddell Sea Quest

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 to Sunday, January 21, 2018
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 to Saturday, February 16, 2019

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Trip Dates
Availability changes constantly on Antarctica cruises. Please contact us for the most up-to-date availability.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 to Monday, November 5, 2018
Cabins


The M/V Ushuaia accommodates 88 passengers in 44 comfortable outside cabins and suites configured as single, twin and triple cabins with porthole or window and private or semi-private bathroom facilities. The suites have private facilities and windows.

Deck E

  • Standard (10): twin upper/lower berth, semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins), en-suite washbasin, portholes, 9-10 square meters
  • Standard Plus (11): two lower berths, private facilities, portholes or windows, 9-10 square meters
  • Standard Plus Triple (2): three lower berths, private facilities, portholes or windows, 11-13 square meters

Deck G

  • Premier (6): two lower berths, private facilities, windows, 9-13 square meters
  • Premier Single (2): single lower berth, private facilities, portholes, 8 square meters
  • Superior (8): two lower berths, private facilities, one or two windows, 9-15 square meters
  • Suite (4): lower berths (single beds, double beds and sofa beds), lounge, private facilities, refrigerator, TV/DVD, windows. 16-22 square meters

 


 

Boat Details

Ship Amenities

  • The M/V Ushuaia is well appointed with ample deck space and an open bridge policy. Public areas include an observation lounge and bar, a panoramic deck, a lecture room with modern media equipment, an extensive library and a small infirmary and changing room. A large dining room accommodates all passengers in one sitting.
  • The vessel is equipped with seven inflatable crafts (Zodiacs and RIBs) for shore excursions.

Ship Services

  • The M/V Ushuaia is manned by a 38-member nautical crew, five expedition staff and a doctor. English and Spanish are the languages used and spoken by all officers and crew (although some crew members may only speak Spanish). All announcements and lectures are given in both languages. The expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature. The international expedition team includes an expedition leader, an expedition leader assistant, and three Zodiac drivers/guides & 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.