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Quest for Shackleton: South Georgia and Antarctica

In homage to Shackleton, this trip retraces the explorer's legendary journey from the Weddell Sea to Elephant Island and across to South Georgia. A rare, shorter voyage, it skips the Falkland Islands and spends an extra day in Antarctica, maximising your time. Hardy guests can even opt for a 3-day trek through South Georgia's mountains on select departures.

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Quest for Shackleton: South Georgia and Antarctica

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Trip type

Falklands & S. Georgia

Trip length

20 Days

From

$22,595 -$50,695

Ship Comfort

Comfort & Adventure

Quest for Shackleton: South Georgia and Antarctica - 20 Days - $22,595

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • 5 full days in South Georgia and 4 in Antarctica = 18 planned “off ship” excursions 
  • Optional 3-day alpine crossing of South Georgia for trekkers (additional cost, limited spaces and select departures only)
  • Antarctic operational experience since 1992
  • A generous expedition staff to guest ratio of 1:8
  • Kayaking and snorkelling available (extra cost, select departures only)
  • Complimentary pre-embarkation hotel night
  • Drinks with dinner, parka jacket and post-voyage digital photo book included 

Start from Ushuaia and end at Ushuaia

Landmarks potentially visited on Quest for Shackleton: South Georgia and Antarctica

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina 

Upon arrival in Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica at the foot of South America, a representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you alongside your fellow travellers to your included hotel in the city. 

Here, you can confirm participation in tomorrow’s complimentary catamaran cruise to Isla de Los Lobos (Sea Lion Island) and ask any questions about your upcoming voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia.  


Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia

The morning is free for you to explore Ushuaia at your leisure. If you signed up for the complimentary catamaran cruise across the sparkling waters of the Beagle Channel, the afternoon brings panoramic views of the city and its surrounding mountains. Wildlife such as sea lions and cormorants are abundant on Isla de Los Lobos, and you'll hear stories about the region's history and communities from the onboard guides.

Later in the afternoon, step aboard your Antarctic vessel for a warm welcome, introductory briefing and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel with your shipmates.


Days 3 & 4: Crossing the Drake Passage

As you cross the legendary Drake Passage keep an eye out for giant petrels and wandering albatrosses soaring alongside the ship. Alternatively, settle into your comfortable stateroom or explore the onboard gym, wellbeing centre and extensive polar library.  

Important briefings on biosecurity, wildlife-watching guidelines and zodiac safety are held during your days at sea, preparing you for your first Antarctic landings. The expedition team will also be running a comprehensive program of educational presentations exploring Antarctica's history, wildlife and environment. 

South of the Antarctic Convergence, spent time out on the observation decks as you may be rewarded with your first iceberg. The splashes of foraging seals and penguins may begin to pepper the water as – weather, ice and timings permitting – you approach the South Shetland Islands just north of the White Continent. 


Days 5 to 7: The Antarctic Peninsula 

Words can't capture the feeling of seeing your first gloriously sculptural iceberg or breathing in the Earth's purest air. Give yourself time to take in these unique moments as you explore the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula and with your seasoned expedition guides. These veterans of polar travel know this region intimately. They will take you through an action-packed daily itinerary that makes the most of the weather and ice conditions, as well as impromptu wildlife encounters.

Twice a day the plan is to embark on exhilarating excursions, including zodiac cruises past vast crumbling glaciers and towering grounded icebergs, all while keeping a careful eye out for whales and seals. These sturdy ribs will also ferry you to land, where you might visit raucous penguin rookeries, watching these curious creatures waddle to and from the shoreline. 

On land, you’ll stretch your legs on ice-strewn beaches or perhaps hike up snow-covered ridges for soul-stirring panoramas with towering mountains coated in a thick icing of glaciers. Extra activities, such as a polar plunge into the icy Antarctic waters for the truly adventurous, will be offered when conditions allow. 

Beyond zodiac cruises and landings, the ship might navigate narrow, dramatic straits between islands and the mainland or stop in scenic bays so you can admire sculptural icebergs. This is your chance to relax in the observation lounge or, should the Captain allow, visit the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica's grandeur. Listen closely – the creaking and rumbling of glaciers calving in the distance creates a soundtrack you won’t hear anywhere else – and take a moment or two to truly absorb the wonders of the incredible White Continent. 


Day 8: The Weddell Sea

Heading northeast you'll begin to retrace the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton's daring Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Your journey into the ice-laden waters of the Weddell Sea begins at the northern tip of the Peninsula, a place of stark beauty known as the Antarctic Sound. It’s an area where volcanic peaks pierce the sky, penguin colonies teem with life, and wind-carved icebergs drift through the channels. 

In 1914, 'The Boss' and his 27-strong crew set sail into this body of water with a mission of conquering the first-ever crossing of Antarctica on foot. Yet their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in and crushed by the pack ice as they neared the starting point. While their initial goal was dashed, this unforeseen event became a catalyst for an incredible journey, forever etching Shackleton into polar history. The historic wreck of the Endurance was discovered in a near-pristine state, on March 5th 2022. 

As you explore the Weddell Sea, embrace the spirit of expeditionary exploration. Renowned for its gigantic tabular icebergs and swathes of sea ice attracting a wealth of wildlife, spot crabeater and Weddell seals, along with an impressive array of seabirds. All are drawn to the rich blooms of krill that thrive beneath the floating ice.


Day 9: Elephant Island 

So exposed and battered is Cape Wild on Elephant Island that onshore landings here are extremely rare, but the Captain will try to approach the island to pay tribute to the man whose leadership kept a crew of 22 men alive for months while they awaited rescue.  

Join your expedition team in the morning for an immersive lecture where you’ll hear the awe-inspiring tale of Shackleton and his crew, trapped for nine gruelling months in the Weddell Sea's pack ice. After a desperate six-month journey adrift on the ice floes, they set sail in three open boats. Braving wind, relentless currents and treacherous conditions, they battled for nearly a week at sea. Finally, 497 days after their expedition began, their resilience was rewarded with landfall on Elephant Island.

The journey you're on follows Shackleton's path. You’ll sail past Cape Valentine, aiming to spot the very beach where the men first set foot on land over a century ago. Continuing westward along the coast, you'll reach the exposed site where Shackleton's men persevered through a brutal winter under their makeshift upturned boat shelters. Should the weather and swell allow, your team will see if it is possible to offer a zodiac cruise or landing at Point Wild. Alternatively, should this prove impossible due to unsafe conditions, the Captain will look to offer ship cruising if suitable. 


Day 10: The Scotia Sea

Following an action-packed adventure in Antarctica, unwind during sea days as you journey towards the wildlife mecca of South Georgia. This is the route carved by Shackleton and five crew who sailed from Elephant Island in the hopes of rescue. In an open wooden boat, they spent 17 days sailing across this treacherous part of the ocean. Finishing in King Haakon Bay on South Georgia’s western side coast, surviving against all odds, it’s one of the most awe-inspiring tales of maritime navigation and survival in Antarctic history.

From the superb comfort of your purpose-built expedition ship, learn more about this fascinating destination through informative lectures or spend time out on deck looking for the giant cetaceans that roam these rich waters. Capture photos from the deck as cape petrels gracefully navigate the swells, with albatrosses spreading their huge wings overhead too. Throughout the voyage, the spirit of Shackleton's epic journey remains a constant presence.


Days 12 to 16: South Georgia

As you approach the rugged scenery of South Georgia, recall that Captain James Cook mistook it for a continent when he saw it for the first time in 1775! Though relatively compact at 176km (110 miles) long, this island is impressive. Towering, snow-capped peaks pierce the sky, while the shores thrive with wildlife. From colossal glaciers to the echoes of human history, South Georgia is an explorer's paradise.

Experience unforgettable encounters with the animals in this place known as the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean. Many Swoop travellers have described it as like walking into a nature documentary. Witness some of the world's largest king penguin rookeries, marvel at grumpy fur seals (with proper guidance and distance, of course) or wander through pebbled streams and grassy plains left by retreating glaciers. Visits to the remnants of Grytviken’s whaling station and Sir Ernest Shackleton's final resting place, forever linked to this island's story, will also be on the agenda where possible.

Should conditions on the trail allow, a once-in-a-lifetime day hike awaits for the more adventurous guests on board. Follow in the footsteps of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean on the final leg of their arduous trek across South Georgia. Your expedition team will help you navigate the spectacular alpine plateau up from Fortuna Bay and descend to the outskirts of the crumbling remnants of Stromness whaling station. 

Optional: On select departures there is the option to join a unique 3 day hike across South Georgia. Advance reservation is required and this is only suitable for experienced alpine trekkers/mountaineers. Please see below for additional details. 


Days 17 to 19: At Sea

As you depart South Georgia, the dance of seabirds will continue overhead. Watch as they effortlessly glide on top of the air currents created by the ship.

Weather permitting, you might make a close pass by Shag Rocks, a cluster of jagged islets that rise theatrically from the sea near South Georgia.

As you sail back to Ushuaia, make the most of your final moments at sea. Survey the views out from the deck, indulge in the onboard facilities or attend the final lectures. There's ample time to cherish the magic of the Southern Ocean, share drinks with newfound friends and reminisce about your adventures so far.

On your final night, celebrate your unforgettable voyage with a special Captain's farewell dinner – a chance to raise a toast with your travel companions.


Day 20: Disembarking in Ushuaia

Your adventure culminates with a scenic cruise up the Beagle Channel before arriving in Ushuaia after breakfast to disembark. Bid farewell to the expedition team and your fellow travellers.

Expeditioners with flights before 12:30pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport. For those with later flights, there is time to explore the city independently, or perhaps rest after your epic adventure and before an afternoon airport transfer.


PLEASE 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.

Why our customers love Swoop

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Our team has visited Antarctica over 150 times and has 100 collective years of polar experience, so from which trip is right for you to what shoes to bring - there’s no question we can’t answer.

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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.

2025

Porthole Stateroom Triple Superior Twin Balcony Stateroom Superior Balcony Junior Suite Captain's Suite
March 2025 Save up to 9%
16-Mar-2025 Full Save 9%
$22,595
$20,595
*
Save 9%
$23,195
$21,195
Save 8%
$25,195
$23,195
Save 6%
$31,195
$29,195
Save 5%
$39,095
$37,095
Save 4%
$46,395
$44,395
Enquire
November 2025
1-Nov-2025 Full $24,695 $26,795 $27,595 $34,095 $42,795 $50,695 Enquire

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $22595

Additional Notes

Please note that this itinerary does not visit the Falkland Islands. 

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. There is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin. 

Children aged 8 years old or over are permitted on this trip. There is no 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.

Activity Cost Additional Information
Add on icon Kayaking Kayaking $1,745 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. Please note that there may be fewer kayaking opportunities in South Georgia due to the challenging swell often present. Booking in advance is essential.
Add on icon Paddling Paddling $640 Available on select departures. Booking in advance is essential. 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. Please note that there may be fewer kayaking opportunities in South Georgia due to the challenging swell often present.
Add on icon Polar snorkelling Polar snorkelling $835 Available on select departures.
Add on icon Shackleton multi-day crossing Shackleton multi-day crossing $2,200 Follow in the footsteps of Shackleton for a special extended crossing of South Georgia on foot. This trip is only suitable for those with a high level of fitness and alpine trekking or mountaineering experience as it traverses glaciated and mountainous terrain. The distance covered will be between 22-31 miles (35-50 kilometres). Guests will generally camp on South Georgia for one night, with the second night onboard the ship before completing the final section of the hike. In good weather, the crossing could take only two days, but three days are allowed in case of bad weather. Available on select departures.

Includes

  • One pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia 
  • Pre-voyage afternoon catamaran cruise in Ushuaia 
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation & meals during the voyage on full board
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
  • All shore excursions and zodiac activities
  • Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
  • Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Complimentary 3-in-1 waterproof parka jacket
  • Complimentary WIFI
  • Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
  • A digital photo book produced with photos and ship logs from your voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port taxes & any entry fees to landing sites

Excludes

  • Any flights to & from points of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Any additional pre/post land services, including meals
  • Transfers not specified in the itinerary
  • Optional non-complimentary adventure activities (e.g. kayaking, snorkelling, Shackleton 3 day crossing)
  • Visa, passport and any vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. laundry, beverages & communication
  • Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
  • Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)

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