Departing Ushuaia in
Argentina, we cross the mighty Drake Passage en route for the South
Shetland Islands. Here we will make Zodiac landings at penguin
rookeries, research stations and fascinating lookouts. Continuing
southward, we will explore the Antarctic Sound with its mighty tabular
icebergs and enter the Weddell Sea in search for wildlife.
Sailing onwards between Elephant Island and South Georgia offers a
small glimpse into the passage made famous by Shackleton 100 years ago,
when he navigated the 1300 km course through open seas of Drake Passage
in an effort to save his stranded crew. South Georgia is one of
world’s greatest natural wonders. Wildlife-packed beaches,
active research stations, former whaling stations and a visit to
Shackleton’s final resting place are on our agenda.
On our last leg towards Argentina, we will pay a visit to the
fascinating Falkland Islands. The capital of Port Stanley with its
quaint English architecture will be our first call before venturing
further west for Zodiac landings and wildlife observations on pristine
and sheltered beaches.
After leaving the Falklands, the last seadays can be spend bird
watching from the top deck and attending lectures, workshops and photo
re-caps in one of the ship's lounges.
DATES / RATES
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
|Nov 01, 2024||Nov 19, 2024||13,889
|Mar 06, 2025||Mar 24, 2025||14,129
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
|Nov 01, 2024||Nov 19, 2024||13,889
|Mar 06, 2025||Mar 24, 2025||14,129
ARRIVAL AND EMBARKATION
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city.
Explore this vibrant Patagonian city, or stretch your legs in the
surrounding forests. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten
path into the raw nature of Tierra del Fuego. The island of Tierra del
Fuego is a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains,
glaciers, flower-filled meadows and rich boggy wetlands. In the
afternoon, we board our vessel, waiting to welcome us in port.
After our mandatory safety drill, our expedition begins as we navigate
through the calm waters of the famous Beagle Channel (named for Charles
Darwin's ship). This steep-sided strait divides southern Tierra del
Fuego between Chile and Argentina, and has been the jumping-off point
for thousands of expeditions into the unknown. Watch out for whales and
dolphins as we sail off the edge of the map into the tempestuous Drake
NB. Trips that depart in November or December will often have the same
itinerary and spend the same amount of days at each location, but the
route will be inverted - following this plan: Ushuaia, Falkland
Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic peninsula.
AT SEA - CROSSING THE
DRAKE PASSAGE SOUTHBOUND
Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - the body of water
separating Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Drake Passage is
known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, nicknamed
the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can
rest comfortably aboard our expedition vessels, which are purpose-built
with stabilizers, powerful engines and manned by a highly-qualified
crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime
achievement - and you will complete the crossing twice!
Our days in the Drake Passage will be put to good use preparing for our
arrival in Antarctica - your Expedition Leader will brief you
comprehensively on how to stay safe and minimise your impact on this
precious wilderness, as well as briefing you thoroughly on our plans
for our time spent exploring, including hints and tips for wildlife
watching. Our dedicated Expedition Team will assist you to biosecure
your clothing and equipment (a vital process to protect Antarctica's
delicate ecology), as well as sharing tailored lectures on Antarctic
exploration history, wildlife, geology, glaciology and more!
We will cross into the Antarctic Convergence on the third day of our
voyage - watch the mercury plummet as we sail southwards into Antarctic
waters, an abrupt cooling that marks the intersection of Antarctic
waters with the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As
the sea cools, wildlife multiplies; these are some of the most
biologically productive water on Earth, so expect to see petrels,
albatrosses and potentially penguins, seals and whales in abundance.
Weather permitting, we may be able to make landfall in the South
Shetland Islands (a small but spectacular archipelago to the north of
the Antarctic Peninsula) on the afternoon of our second day in the
Drake Passage, marking the start of our exploration on the Last
SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS,
ANTARCTIC PENINSULA, ANTARCTIC SOUND
Over the next days, we will enjoy a safe and exciting Antarctic
experience explorers of yesteryear could only dream of.
Our Antarctic adventure begins in the South Shetland Islands, a chain
of rugged rocks marking the northernmost point of Antarctica. It is
also one of the richest in terms of wildlife, with large Gentoo and
Chinstrap Penguin colonies, and an abundance of large seabirds such as
predatory Giant Petrels. Landing sites which may be visited in the
South Shetland Islands include the black steaming sands and rusting
ruins of Deception Island (an active volcanic crater), the bustling
penguin colonies of Aitcho and Half Moon Islands, or the old sealers'
anchorage of Yankee Harbour.
The following days will be spent exploring further south on the
Antarctic Peninsula in the Gerlache Strait region. This region is
typically icy, so our exact route will be subject to careful planning
by the Expedition Leader and Captain, and explained to our guests
through regular evening briefings. However we will aim to visit a range
of sites which showcase the best of this staggeringly beautiful region.
Consisting of the 'spine' of the Antarctic Peninsula and a large number
of glaciated and mountainous islands, the Gerlache Strait is what comes
to mind when most people think of Antarctica. Marvel at the massive
icebergs and vast glaciers on a Zodiac cruise in Paradise Bay. Be moved
by penguins tenderly caring for their precious eggs, and fiercely
defending their nests on Cuverville Island. Watch cataracts of ice
tumble into clear blue ocean on a hike over the active glaciers of Neko
Harbour. Experience the Antarctica of old at historic huts such as
Damoy Point, lovingly restored and open to all. Feel the spray of water
from the blow of a humpback whale on a Zodiac safari in Wilhelmina Bay.
Wonder at awe-inspiring scenery on a ship cruise through the Lemaire
Channel. Wherever we go on the Antarctic Peninsula, endemic wildlife,
tantalising history and breathtaking natural beauty abound.
As the vessel heads to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to head for
South Georgia, we may be lucky enough to visit Elephant Island, the
mythically grim island where Shackleton's men sheltered for several
months while the Boss sought rescue - one of the greatest stories of
human survival and endurance ever told.
On Antarctica, all human activity is subject to the whims of Mother
Nature. While we will make every possible effort to maximise
opportunities for exploration off the vessel, the safety of our guests
and crew is our top priority. We therefore ask all our guests to join
the expedition spirit and be flexible - harsh weather offers the
opportunity to expand your knowledge of Antarctica with lectures from
our expert Expedition Team, or to enjoy the superlative comfort of our
vessels, be it wine-tasting, relaxing in the hot tubs, or recharging
with a relaxing massage in our Polar Spa.
SCOTIA SEA - EN ROUTE TO
From Antarctica, we set out again into the mighty Drake Passage, this
time following the furious seas towards South Georgia, mirroring the
route of Sir Ernest Shackleton onboard the James Caird. His voyage took
an agonizing seventeen days in the tiny wooden lifeboat - still
considered one of the greatest ever feats of navigation and seamanship.
Your crossing will benefit from our vessels' powerful engines, and the
stability provided by the specially-designed X-Bow, making the journey
in just two days!
In order to protect the extremely delicate and rich ecosystem of South
Georgia, our dedicated Expedition Team will again assist you to
biosecure your clothing and equipment, while continuing with their
in-depth lecture program, now focussing on the fascinating history,
biology and wildlife of South Georgia. Be sure to wrap up warm and join
your Expedition Team out on deck - this section of the Scotia Sea (of
which the Drake Passage constitutes the western portion) is one of the
most biologically productive on Earth, and is a haven for vast
quantities of wildlife - from whales and albatross to penguins and
seals. Watch the waves carefully - in this region, sub-Antarctic
species (such as fur seal) mingle with true polar species (such as
Adelie Penguins), creating a fascinating ecological mix.
A strip of jagged mountains pierce the brooding clouds of the Southern
Ocean. Icebound peaks loom over storm-washed beaches, while glaciers
peek from the head of deep fjords. First believed to have been landed
on by legendary explorer Captain James Cook, even to modern explorers,
South Georgia presents a forbidding aura. But peer closer, and you will
see greenery among the ice; movement on the beaches; wings in the skies
While it seems hard to believe today, South Georgia was once one of the
most degraded environments on Earth. Hearing of the rich pickings,
sealers flocked to the island after Cook, slaughtering wantonly. Once
the seals had been almost exterminated, visiting ships sought larger
prey, and South Georgia became the world's largest whaling destination,
with several settlements built to carry out this industrialised
slaughter. Whalers from Norway introduced reindeer as game, which soon
destroyed the islands native vegetation, while brown rats (accidentally
introduced by Europeans and their boats) feasted upon seabirds and
their eggs - a horror against which these naive birds had no defence.
Thankfully, extensive conservation (including a painstaking eradication
of reindeer and rats) has restored this magnificent island to its
former glory - and glory it truly is. Beaches throng with hundreds of
thousands of King Penguins, arguably some of Earth's most elegant
animals. They must vie for space with the abundant Antarctic fur seals,
all desperately defending territories and competing furiously for mates
- and they themselves must avoid the southern elephant seals, Earth's
largest seals (weighing up to a staggering four tonnes). Tiny South
Georgia Pippits and Pintail Ducks (once almost extinct) are now
abundant, and petrels, albatross and shags nest on the steep hillsides
and wheel in the air above. In the sea, leopard seals stalk for their
next penguin meal, fur seal pups play in the shallows, and offshore, a
huge variety of whale species gorge on krill. Nowhere else on Earth can
boast such a diversity of wildlife, or in such quantities; South
Georgia truly has to be experienced to be believed.
As in Antarctica, our exact itinerary will be dictated by weather and
sea conditions, but especially by the wind and swell - nevertheless,
our experienced Expedition Team and Captain will work their hardest to
maximise opportunities to explore. Options include visiting the vast
penguin colonies of Salisbury Plain and St Andrew's Bay, seeing the
former whaling stations of Lieth and Stromness, drinking in the scenery
and seal colonies of Gold Harbour, or exploring this island's
fascinating exploration heritage at Grytviken (where Sir Ernest
Shackleton is buried). South Georgia is one of those locations which
grabs hold of the senses and never lets go; even long after departure,
the jewel of the South Atlantic will captivate visitors for years to
AT SEA, EN ROUTE TO THE
Leaving the icy peaks of South Georgia behind, we continue onwards
towards the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). While South Georgia and the
Falklands are separate British Overseas Territories, the two are
intimately linked - South Georgia was administered from the Falklands
for most of its history, and continues to be supported logistically
entirely by the Falklands. Unlike South Georgia (which only hosts
visiting government officials and scientists), the Falklands has its
own unique system of government, society and culture.
While the indigenous Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego may have visited
the islands, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) had no indigenous
population when Europeans arrived in the early 16th Century. The
islands' sovereignty has been contested ever since, with historical
Spanish, French, British and Argentine claims; the islands were
established politically as a British colony in 1840. Tensions resulted
in a conflict over the islands between Britain and Argentina in 1982.
The conflict left a lasting impact on the islands - while it spurred
much-needed development assistance from the United Kingdom, the
conflict also left much of the islands heavily mined. Since the
conflict however, the islands have flourished, selling lucrative
fishing rights to their rich waters. The de-mining operation was
completed in 2020, celebrated by a football match on the last patch of
de-mined ground between the islands' Governer and the Zimbabwean
de-mining team who have made the Falklands their home.
The waters between South Georgia and the Falklands are some of the
richest in the world, with huge whale, seal and penguin populations
feeding where cold Antarctic waters meet the warmer waters of the South
Atlantic, so keep binoculars at the ready as we sail across the
Antarctic convergence (especially around Shag Rocks). Otherwise, join
your Expedition Team lecturers to hear about these islands' fascinating
history, biology and unique 'Kelper' (as the locals call themselves)
STANLEY AND THE FALKLAND
During the morning we approach the Falkland Islands and our vessel will
cast anchor in the sheltered natural harbor of Port Stanley in the
early afternoon. Utilizing our Zodiacs, we will land in the centre of
this small city. Stanley is the only settlement on the islands of any
size, with a population of around two thousand people. Behind the
colourful buildings in neat rows, look closer and you will notice a
very distinctly British feel to Stanley - Victorian houses which could
be on any swanky London terrace line the harbourfront; red telephone
and post boxes stand by the jetty; whitewashed pubs serve fish and
chips alongside foaming pints of ale. The Falkland Islanders are proud
of their unique homeland and capital, and Stanley is a great place to
explore and soak up the local vibe. Highlights in the city include
Christchurch Cathedral, the southernmost Anglican cathedral on Earth,
as well as excellent shops selling local products (watch out for high
quality woollen good in particular!), cafes and pubs offering a warm
welcome, and several excellent museums; visitors are spoiled for
choice! A short drive or a pleasant walk from the city are several
stunning beaches; formerly heavily mined, these are now open, and
locals and foreigners alike often visit to see the abundant penguins
and spectacular gold-white sands.
On our second day in the Falklands we will venture to some of the outer
islands - 'Camp', as the locals call the area outside Stanley. The
outer islands of the Falklands are much wilder and more remote than the
mainland, and host the majority of the islands' wildlife. Islands such
as West Point, Carcass and Saunders are well known for their
spectacular wildlife. Southern Rockhopper Penguins, Black-Browed
Albatross and King Cormorants commonly nest together in vast cliffside
colonies; penguins nurture their eggs and chicks in clefts between
large cylindrical nests where cormorants and albatross nest. Be sure to
look out above to see the bast albatross coming in to land (often less
than gracefully). The islands are home to a vast number of other bird
species such as the endearingly cheeky Striated Caracara (watch all
unattended possessions!), and in the water a number of species new to
us such as commerson's dolphins and South American sealions can be seen
AT SEA TOWARD SOUTH
We are now into the last leg of this adventurous voyage, heading back
towards Ushuaia, Argentina.
During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on
board to provide our guests with the chance to reflect on their voyage.
Relax with an expertly crafted cocktail in the Nordic Bar in the
company of new friends, soak up the knowledge and passion of our
Expedition Team during lectures in the Shackleton Lounge, or simply
enjoy the flight of the albatross which accompany us westward.
During your last evening onboard, join the Captain and Senior Officers
for the Farewell Cocktail Party, followed by a presentation of photos
and video by our onboard photographer - the ideal opportunity to
re-live your Antarctic adventure. Skål!
DISEMBARKATION IN USHUAIA
On the morning of the final day of our voyage, we will arrive back at
the pier of Ushuaia, Argentina. Trees, grass and a busy city may seem
strange to you after the white wilderness of Antarctica! After a hearty
breakfast, it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Crew and Albatros
Expedition Team, and descend the gangway back to dry land with memories
of the voyage of a lifetime.
Ocean Victory (Luxury Expedition, 184-guests)
With the highest Polar code 6 and Ice class 1A, Ocean Victory is the ideal vessel for small-ship cruising due to her sturdy construction.
With a total of 93 comfortable cabins for our guests, almost all with a view of the ocean, we ensure absolute comfort and sustainability for our guests.
(Click image to view Ship details)
- 19-day cruise with accommodation in a shared double
stateroom featuring en suite facilities
- All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
- Expedition parka
- Rubberboots provided for entire voyage
- Guiding and lectures by our experienced expedition leader
- English-speaking expedition team
- Free photo workshop from experienced photographer onboard
- Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
- Free tea and coffee 24 hours daily
- Welcome and farewell drinks
- Online visual journal access after your voyage with photos,
species list, log and more!
- Taxes and port fees
- Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the
- Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
- Meals not on board the ship
- Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
- Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
- Personal expenses
- Anything not mentioned under
Glide through the waters and take in the royal grace of the icebergs,
see the varied birds and seals, and maybe even the whales in their
natural habitat under the supervision of experienced kayak guides, who
will ensure your safety during each outing.
Our primary focus is knowledge, and we apply this to every aspect of a
journey. From the staff that forms our expedition team, to the routes
our ship follows, and of course, the program onboard.
This allows us to provide comprehensive voyages, for our guests to not
only enjoy breathtaking landscapes and amazing wildlife, but to also
get a better understanding of each location and everything they see;
From the flora and fauna they come upon during each landing, to the
culture and history of each place being visited. This adds to the
overall experience, and becomes a memory our guests will cherish back
We always have a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document
the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and
during landings and zodiac cruises.
The Polar Regions are filled with mesmerizing landscapes and amazing
wildlife; and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate
your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical
moments of your voyage.
One of the greatest pleasures of our expeditions, is being able to
experience the Polar regions' wildlife from a safe distance,
respectfully enjoying their beauty in their natural habitat.
Depending on which voyage you've chosen to embark on, there's certainty
you will have the opportunity to spot a great variety of species, from
seabirds to mammals distinctive of the Polar regions, and other more
Essential for expedition cruises, Zodiacs are robust boats that can go
up on a beach, a rocky outcrop, a river bank or even an ice floe push
through bergy bits of ice floating in the water. This is definitely one
on the assets that distinguishes this way of exploring from more