Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- The shortest voyage available combining Antarctica & South Georgia courtesy of timesaving flights at the beginning and end
- Starts and finishes in Punta Arenas, Chile, including a hotel night on your return from Antarctica
- An outstanding itinerary which packs in many highlights in just 17 days
- We like this 146 passenger ship for its superior stability, top ice class rating & large expedition staff
- Optional activities include complimentary hiking, photography workshops & yoga, plus kayaking (additional charge)
- We like this voyage as it offers the loan of a parka jacket, boots, trousers, binoculars, trekking pole and waterproof backpack
Day 1 - Punta Arenas, Chile to The Falkland Islands:
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. (This flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town before ship embarkation. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2 - Sea Lion Island & Bleaker Island:
Overnight we have navigated down the eastern coast of the Falkland Islands. Approaching Sea Lion Island, we first note the very barren and windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage. We launch the Zodiacs and go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found at this location. Three species of penguin including gentoo, Magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the bird species we expect to see. Weather permitting, we may have time to visit neighboring Bleaker Island - another settlement on the exposed southeastern coast of the Falklands - equally rich in wildlife.
Days 3 and 4 - At Sea:
We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join us in the Southern Ocean. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our guides and crew.
Days 5 to 8 - Exploration of South Georgia:
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us.
We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Days 9 to 11 - At Sea:
Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica. As with all of our itinerary planning, our Expedition Leader and Captain will make a decision based on the sea and ice conditions at the time. The South Orkney Island group represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, we hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. Shackleton and his men were encamped here for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. From the tiny beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing is considered one of the greatest in history. If conditions allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island.
Days 12 to 16 - South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula:
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites could include King George Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbour. Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration. After so much anticipation, we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove. Snow covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbors of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that we hope to encounter. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.
We explore by Zodiac boat and on shore where a range of exciting activities await. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide taking pictures of stunning icebergs. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may paddle up to several miles from the ship, offering a truly memorable experience. As our voyage comes to an end we chart a course for King George Island. Tonight we celebrate our voyage with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 17 - King George Islands to Punta Arenas:
This morning we say goodbye to our expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. We walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip where we board our special charter flight. This flight takes a little over two hours and included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport into town is provided.
Please note that this itinerary includes a complimentary post-voyage hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from voyages that conclude at King George Island. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.
Day 18 - Depart from Punta Arenas:
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (We recommend you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your trip with an exploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.
NOTE: 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
Our ship crews were very experienced. They would do their best to have the most excursions.
An & Houmin Xiao (Luo) United States Of America December 2017
Expedition staff were fantastic. Extremely knowledgable and helpful. We loved the zodiac landings when we were free to roam about.
Tish & Obadiah (Natasha) Scolnik United States Of America December 2017
About The Ship
Built in Finland in 1993, few expedition ships are capable of delivering such a well-appointed, comfortable Antarctic experience on board such a safe and ice strengthened vessel. Spacious cabins, modern stabilising and an outstanding expedition staff all help to enhance the adventure.
What really attracts me to this outstanding ship is her large cabins, fast speed and high ice class rating. Few expedition ships can touch her.
Alex Mudd Polar Specialist
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.
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $0 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.
Single Supplement And Child Policy
For those travelling solo and want their own cabin, the single supplement is 1.5 to 2 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 are welcome. 25% young traveller discount up to 17 years and 20% off for those aged 18 - 21. Please contact us for details.
- Flights P. Arenas/Falklands & Antarctica/P. Arenas
- Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- Accommodation & meals during the voyage on full board
- All shore excursions and zodiac activities
- Activities including photo workshops & yoga
- Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
- Loan of rubber boots, waterproof pants & parka jacket
- Loan of rucksack and binoculars
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port taxes and any entry fees to landing sites
- Free access to multimedia room & download stations
- Any flights to/ from voyage start & end points
- Any additional pre/post land services, including meals
- Transfers not specified in the itinerary
- Optional adventure activities (e.g. kayaking)
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Visa, passport and any vaccination expenses
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Personal travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature - laundry, beverages, etc
- Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
- Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)