Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Spend 5 days in South Georgia, 3 days in Antarctica and 1 day in the Falkland Islands
- Includes the possibility to join Shackleton's 3 day alpine crossing of South Georgia (additional cost and limited spaces)
- Kayaking, snorkelling & mountaineering available on selected departures (additional cost)
- Complimentary pre-embarkation hotel night, parka jacket & post voyage photo book
Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be transferred to our downtown hotel.
Day 2: Embark ship in Ushuaia
This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.
Ushuaia, capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel and it is surrounded by the Martial Range, which offers a unique landscape as a result of the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest. The city tour will visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighbourhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Beban, the Pastoriza, and the Ramos. Head 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. The ride in the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views and of Ushuaia town, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Afterwards, continue to the End of the World Museum with exhibitions explaining the history of Tierra del Fuego.
Transfer to the pier where our expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the vessel at approximately 4.00 pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation). As we pull away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.
Day 3: Drake Passage
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment. Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Day 4: Drake Passage and South Shetland Islands
Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Days 5 to 8: Antarctic Peninsula
Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface; and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions.
A sample of some of the types of places where we may cruise through, land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:
- Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are havens for whales as we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as we explore bays in Zodiacs.
- Wildlife-rich islands where glaciers and mountains dominate the vista and we can see large chinstrap penguin colonies tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens, and where often fur seals and elephant seals are hauled out on the pebble beaches. Harbours home to gentoo penguins, and that regularly host Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbour. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks.
- Lemaire Channel – If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of your vessel quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.
Days 9 & 10: Scotia Sea
En route for South Georgia we’ll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290 km (802 miles) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.
Days 11 to 15: South Georgia
Over the next few days, marvel at South Georgia’s incredible scenes such as enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and learn of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey. On Zodiac-cruises, discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. Challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can truly feel like you’ve really escaped from your normal daily life.
South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds. A mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island.
Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.
As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey. If conditions permit, we plan to follow in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.
A sample of some of the places where we may land in South Georgia include:
Grytviken – originally a Norwegian sealing and whaling station, it was finally closed in 1965. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s body was laid to rest at Grytviken.
St Andrews Bay – the long black sandy beach fronts a broad valley that stretches well back from the sea. This valley shelters the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia.
Godthul – imagine indented bays lined with bleached whale bones, teeming with fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.
Salisbury Plains – Salisbury Plain has one of the largest king penguin colonies on South Georgia. With about 100,000 pairs, the shore and beach can be completely crammed with penguins. Along the beach you will also find fur and elephant seals in the mix.
Fortuna Bay & Stromness – Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers pushing down from the high country to terminate in the open valley that is home to a small king penguin colony. This is where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean descended from the treacherous glaciers of the interior on their way to Stromness whaling station.
Days 16 & 17: At Sea
Between South Georgia and the Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands~Malvinas. Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.
If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
Days 18 & 19: Falklands~Malvinas
Located 477 kilometres/296 miles east of southern Argentina, the Falklands~Malvinas are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life including seabirds and seals.
Our time in the Falkland~Malvinas includes a short walk in historic Stanley town, and Sea Lion Island located in East Falkland’s south, where you can get insight into the unique experience of Sea Lion Island Nature Reserve. You will discover how the raw beauty and solitude of the island makes it a haven for wildlife and visitors alike. In 2009, Sea Lion Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, with no introduced predators living on the island.
Tussac grass covers much of the island providing an ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions that can be found on many of the island’s spectacular beaches. A plethora of birds such as thrushes, finches, tussac birds and Megallenic penguins also inhabit the tussac. Pods of orcas, Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters around the island.
The island’s southern giant petrels, with a wingspan of two metres, act as a welcoming party to ships as they approach Sea Lion Island. Rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins come to Sea Lion Island to breed. Macaroni, king penguins and Striated and Crested Caracaras are also common seen on the island.
Day 20: At Sea
You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture.
Day 21: Disembark Ushuaia
Upon disembarkation, you can choose to transfer to Ushuaia airport to continue on your onward journey for more adventures.
This itinerary is for guidance only as each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.
What our customers think of Discover South Georgia, Antarctica and Falklands
Discover South Georgia, Antarctica and Falklands trips scored 4.3/5 from 13 reviews
There were no words the entire cruise was simply amazing the expedition team over the top the expertise of Howard Waylon got us everywhere we needed to be safely with just spectacular landings. Aurora expeditions their entire corporate culture is fabulous. The ship was beautiful new yet understated.
Travelled: January 2023
definitely arriving in the Antartic peninsula, with the boat driving through sea ice, the ice closing behind us, icebergs everywhere and an enormous blue glacier ahead - extraordinary
Travelled: November 2022
The Cruise was notable for having Greg run the trip. He seemed to know the weather and pointed us in the right direction each day. Most often the landings were great experiences, The staff and food as well as the accomodations were excellent as well. I loved every other aspect of the trip and would have liked a longer trip(in my dreams). If there was one hiccup, it was going to Stanley(staying in town was a waste of time unless you knew or were told to go to a bay to see penguins, etc, but it all was so disorganized at that time, we were not told about that option), I personally would have enjoyed a trip to an albatross colony. Perhaps most important to me was rooming with my grandson and spending the time with him and my daughter who live in Australia. I loved kayaking, the sights we saw, even kayaking in brash ice were real treats, and the support team were all engaged and fun to be with on this journey!
Travelled: March 2023
viewing the mountain peaks and glaciers on the antarctic peninsula
Travelled: April 2023
Adelies at Brown Buff...doing the penguin march all along the beach, thousands all marching in the same direction.....something i will never forget. they were all so busy with their days work. the ice in in Lindliad Cove and the leopard seal
Travelled: January 2023
Where to begin - it was all so amazing!! But, it would have to be the moment we landed on Gold Harbour with 50,000 King penguins. They wandered around us, curious but timid. I cried tears of joy.
Travelled: April 2023
The first day on South Georgia. The abundance of life totally unfazed by humans.
Travelled: January 2023
Going on land and observing the seals and penguins .
Travelled: January 2023
Walking alone in Fortuna bay to the foot of the glacier.
Travelled: January 2023
Kayaking with Seals and Penguins
Travelled: January 2023
King penguins and icebergs
Travelled: March 2023
Arriving into South Georgia and especially the arrival and landfall onto Antarctica.
Travelled: November 2022
The trip was incredible and the Greg Mortimer and the team extremely knowledgable and amazing!
Travelled: December 2022
About The Ship
- With its sleek X-bow lines and ground breaking design, few new Polar ships have created such excitement.
- Zodiac platforms specially designed for quick boardings and more time exploring
- State-of-the-art stabiliser system and polar code 6 ice rating
- Large comfortable cabins
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.
* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $22595
The 17-Jan-2024, 19-Jan-2024 and 02-Dec-2024 departures operate in reverse, heading to the Falkland Islands first, then South Georgia, then Antarctica.
The 17-Jan-2024 and 02-Jan-2025 departures are 20 days long and return from King George Island via a flight to Punta Arenas.
The 19-Jan-2024 departure is 24 days long and includes a visit to the South Sandwich islands.
All other departures are 21 days long.
Please note that the following departures deviate from the above day-by-day itinerary:
24-Oct-2024 and 18-Dec-2024: These departures spend 5 days (Days 5 to 9) exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. They then continue up to South Georgia and spend 4 days there (1 fewer than the itinerary above). Finally, they sail on to the Falklands and spend 2 days exploring there, before returning to Ushuaia on Day 21.
The 16-Mar-2025 departure follows a significantly different itinerary and is 20 days in length. This trip spends an additional day in Antarctica, travelling through the Antarctic Sound to the spectacular Weddell Sea. From here you will head north via Elephant Island to South Georgia and spend 5 days (as per the above itinerary). However, you will then sail directly from South Georgia back to Ushuaia (3 sea days), so please note that you do not visit the Falklands with this itinerary.
Single Supplement And Child Policy
For those travelling solo who would like their own cabin, the single supplement is 1.5 times the cost of a single berth, please contact us for details. However, there is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin.
Children aged 8 years old or over are welcome. There isn't any concession on pricing. Please contact us for details.
Optional Adventure Activities
Enhance your trip with the following add ons. Limited places per activity.
Get in contact to check availability.
|Kayaking||$1,695||An immersive full sea kayaking program for those who want to kayak multiple times (as often as weather and ice conditions allow). Prior kayaking experience to at least intermediate level is required and you must be able to do a wet exit to participate. Subject to weather and ice conditions. Booking in advance is essential. Available on select departures. Cost varies from USD $1695-1745.|
|Polar snorkelling||$740||Available on select departures. Cost varies from USD $740-835. No experience required. Dry suit provided.|
|Skiing||$1,260||Available on select departures. Cost varies from USD $1260-2220.|
|Snowshoeing||$370||Available on select departures. Cost varies from USD $370 - 440|
|Mountaineering||$2,200||Follow in the footsteps of Shackleton for a special crossing of South Georgia on foot. Available on select departures.|
|Camping||$150||Available on select departures. Cost varies from USD $150-165|
|Paddling||$640||Available on select departures. A gentler option staying closer to shore and using inflatable kayaks, in a group of maximum 6 participants. Includes multiple outings, subject to suitable weather and ice conditions. Suitable for novices and only offered in calm conditions. Booking in advance is essential.|
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- Accommodation during the voyage on full board basis
- Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks reception
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- All shore excursions and zodiac activities
- Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
- Complimentary WiFi
- Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
- Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port taxes and any entry fees to historic landing sites
- A digital photo book produced with photos and ship logs from your voyage
- Flights to and from points of embarkation/disembarkation
- Any additional services before and after your voyage
- Transfers not specific to the itinerary
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Optional adventure activities
- Optional activity surcharges
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Items of a personal nature: laundry, beverages, etc
- Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)
- Gratuities for ship crew