Visitors who depart from South America on Antarctica tours will have the most opportunities to observe Emperor Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and Adelie penguins if they choose an itinerary that travels to the Weddell Sea, the islands off the Antarctica Peninsula and along the peninsula itself. After arriving at their breeding grounds at the end of October, Chinstraps are laying eggs about the time that Emperor colonies are beginning to head back out to sea with their new brood. The ten to twelve-day Classic Antarctica cruises as well as the eleven to thirteen-day Weddell Sea cruises and the twelve to fourteen-day Crossing the Antarctic Circle cruises visit areas where passengers may see the Emperor and Chinstrap species. The cruises that travel to Antarctica as far as the Weddell Sea spend three days at an Emperor rookery. Depending on the time of the season, some vessels make one or two attempts to sail between James Ross Island and Snow Hill Island to view the 4,000-pair Emperor Penguin rookery that was discovered at Snow Hill Island in the last few years.
Three of the Antarctica travel itineraries that Southern Explorations offers (the Classic Antarctica cruises, the Crossing the Antarctic Circle cruises and the sixteen to twenty-four day Antarctic Explorer cruises) travel to the South Shetland Islands on their way to the Antarctica Peninsula. The South Shetlands are home to Chinstrap Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins and Macaroni penguins.
The Antarctic Explorer trips, our longest itinerary, make the most stops on the way to the peninsula. On these cruises, in addition to the Shetlands, you’ll land at South Georgia Island, home to Gentoos, thousands of King Penguins and millions of Macaronis, and at the Falkland Islands. The Falklands are a special place for penguin-watchers on Antarctica tours because of the many sites and the sheer numbers of penguins found there. Here large colonies of Gentoos, hundreds of thousands of Rockhopper Penguins and a few Macaronis and Kings are found. On these Antarctica tours, you may get to have the unforgettable experience of walking among penguins in the Falklands.