Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- 8 days off-ship exploring: South Georgia (5) and the Falklands (3)
- Small ship capped at just 96 guests for a more intimate Antarctic adventure
- Purpose-built for polar exploration, with state-of-the-art stabilisers to boost passenger comfort
- Antarctic operational experience since 2003
- A low expedition staff to guest ratio of 1:8
- Experience the Falklands and South Georgia from the tranquillity of the water with the optional kayaking programme (additional cost)
- Wine, beer, juice and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
- Exclusive access to Explorers House – your home-from-home private club & expedition centre while in P. Arenas
Start from Punta Arenas to Antarctica
Landmarks potentially visited on South Georgia & Falklands Wildlife Safari
Day 1: Embarkation
This morning, make your way to Explorers House, located in the southerly Chilean city of Punta Arenas. This exclusive base is the perfect spot to take shelter from the gusty Patagonian weather outside and ensure you have everything ready for your imminent adventure.
A group transfer will take you to the port for a late afternoon embarkation onto your ship. As you set sail along the Strait of Magellan, the knowledgeable expedition team will share immersive stories about this legendary route, which has been traversed for thousands of years.
Please note: We strongly recommend that you arrive into Punta Arenas the night prior, as this allows for any flight delays or schedule changes. Swoop is happy to help with making hotel and transfer arrangements.
Day 2: At sea
As you travel towards the Falkland Islands your team of naturalist guides will continue their fascinating educational programme. This will include talks about many of the iconic species you might spot during your trip, as well as mandatory safety briefings to prepare you for the adventure ahead. There will also be time to ensure all of your kit is biosecure, to avoid the introduction of any invasive species.
This is also the ideal time to get out on deck and test your shutter speed, capturing the graceful flight of the albatross and giant petrels that often shadow the ship. As you approach the Falklands and move between islands, look out for the distinctive splash of dolphins, which occasionally show up to bow ride.
Days 3 & 4: Exploring the Falklands
The Falklands, a 740-strong archipelago of islands where penguins outnumber people, is the first stop. There is no such thing as a fixed itinerary on any expedition trip, but your Captain and Expedition Leader will look for the best opportunities to explore this rugged landscape. As well as spectacular wildlife and scenery, the islands are also a fantastic location to stretch your legs, and the expedition team will often organise various walking options ranging from gentle strolling to faster-paced hiking.
The Falklands offer an incredible juxtaposition, with penguins waddling around Caribbean-like white sand beaches framed by the intense yellow gorse flowers. The strange contrasts continue, with grazing sheep ambling past noisy rockhopper penguin rookeries. Overhead, the huge wingspans of black-browed albatross fill the air – a photographer’s dream as they cruise in to land at their nesting site. Once on terra firma, these affectionate birds are the perfect muse, with their elegant streak of black smoky "eyeliner" and blush-coloured bills.
Birders should be on the lookout for the gorgeous red flash of long-tailed meadowlark and the tiny endemic Cobb’s wren, but may well be distracted by the endless variety of beautiful geese, not to mention the Falklands' flightless steamer duck, Magellanic snipe and black-throated finches.
During your time in the islands you are likely to anchor at the historic capital of Port Stanley. Here, your team may offer a range of options to explore. Those keen to focus on the landscapes may head out to Gipsy Cove where Peale’s Dolphins sometimes pop up in the azure waters.
If you're looking to stock up on mementos, there are some artisan shops dotted along Stanley’s main street – gin enthusiasts can even find a local brew right by the dock. The town museum is an excellent place to read up on the long and complicated history of the Falklands, and don’t miss the archway outside the church, made from the massive jawbones of two blue whales.
Days 5 & 6: At sea
As you set sail for the remote island of South Georgia, the immersive educational programme will continue, with stories of the dramatic human history of sealers, whalers and explorers who have made their mark here. There will also be time to ensure your kit is biosecure after your adventures in the Falklands and learn about the successful rat eradication program helping South Georgia’s delicate ecosystem recover.
Between lectures, head outside – these rich waters can be an excellent place to catch sight of seabirds from the deck. Scan the sky for soaring albatross such as the comically faced light-mantled albatross and curious giant petrels, then check the sea for any spouts of passing whales. This is also the ideal time to immerse yourself in a book from the ship’s reference library, or spend time in the Bridge seeing the team of Officers in action. The wide-open expanse of water between the Falklands and South Georgia can sometimes provide rough seas, but your Expedition Leader will let you know if lively weather is expected.
Days 7-11: Exploring South Georgia
Far from civilization, South Georgia is a wild yet jaw-droppingly beautiful island. Clouds dance across glaciers, whipped into a frenzy by katabatic winds that can rise up from nowhere and rush towards the sea. Combined with the notorious surf and beaches littered with territorial male fur seals awaiting the arrival of females, this can make it challenging to land.The Captain and Expedition Leader will constantly tweak the itinerary based on the extremely changeable conditions throughout your trip, as well as take advantage of impromptu wildlife-spotting opportunities.
With an increasing number of mega icebergs breaking off from Antarctic ice shelves and breaking up in South Georgian waters, the ship will navigate carefully through these hulking ice sculptures, many of which dwarf the vessel and provide endless photographic moments.
You may land at the rusting remains of Grytviken whaling station to visit legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton’s grave – take a moment to toast The Boss with a dram of whisky. The small museum has an excellent, though chilling, account of the station’s bloody past. Those looking for souvenirs are well served at the small museum shop and can also mail postcards home from the charming Post Office – the unique stamps here are a philatelists’ dream!
Of course, South Georgia is best known for its jaw-dropping wildlife, with the sheer density of penguins and seals leading some to dub it the “Serengeti of the South”. Against a backdrop of jagged mountains and lush green tussac grass, the sound of thousands of king penguins calling carries through the air.
As landings can sometimes be complicated here, exploring by zodiac allows you to get spectacular photographic compositions, with huge elephant seal bulls patrolling the foreground, king penguins anxiously trying to make their way through a blubbery battlefield to reach their nesting grounds immediately behind. Giant petrels and skuas are constantly on the prowl, looking for scavenging opportunities and there is so much activity it can be hard to know where to point your lens. Conditions can change rapidly, from glaring sun to driving snow, rain and even fog banks occluding and then revealing the mountains in an instant.
Make sure to bring plenty of memory cards and spare batteries as this is one of the planet's most photogenic locations!
Days 12-14: At sea
Bidding South Georgia farewell, there’s time to start sorting through your thousands of photos. However, your team of naturalist guides will continue to share their knowledge and stories about the region’s rich wildlife and history.
By this point, you are sure to have become well acquainted with the glass-enclosed observation lounge, the ideal place for wildlife spotting in the warmth. Enjoy watching passing seabirds taking advantage of the ship’s thermal updrafts. But to warm up even more, rest weary bones in the sizzling heat of the onboard sauna.
Day 15: Back to the Falkland Islands
You will return to the Falklands for one more day of exploration, and potentially the chance to get your final penguin fix. Keep your eyes peeled for moments to capture the iconic bouncing of rockhopper penguins on the move, and look out for Magellanic penguins burrowing near the beach. This can be a good location to spot imperial cormorants, along with ponds teeming with Chiloe wigeon, steamer ducks, teals and grebes. On the shoreline, the southern sea lions may be arriving to haul out and both Peale’s and Commerson’s dolphins are sometimes sighted.
Days 16-21: At sea
Sailing from Stanley, you will journey back to Punta Arenas. Your expedition team will continue with their absorbing programme of talks and it’s a prime opportunity to check wildlife identifications for any of your photos. There will also be ample time to chat with your fellow travellers about the once-in-a-lifetime trip you have just experienced – as the ship is limited to just 96 passengers, tight-knit friendships are often formed within a group of like-minded wildlife lovers.
Day 21: Disembarkation
This morning, you will disembark in Punta Arenas, waving off your wonderful ship and crew. Take a group transfer to the city centre, where your expedition ends. If you have a later flight, you are welcome to use the facilities at Explorers House for the rest of the day.
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.
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About The Ship
- The first small ship (under 100 passengers) built specifically for Antarctic expedition travel since 2003
- Limited to a maximum of only 76 passengers per fly & cruise departure or just 96 guests per sailing voyage, Antarctic exploration doesn't get much more personal
- Hugely spacious, well appointed suites, many with floor to ceiling windows and outside balconies
- Adventure activities, such as kayaking and snowshoeing, are available to guests (on select departures)
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $9995
Single Supplement And Child Policy
For those travelling solo who want their own cabin, please contact us for details. Certain cabins have an 85% supplement for individual use. There is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin.
Children aged 12 years or older are permitted if accompanied by a responsible adult willing to sign a waiver.
Optional Adventure Activities
Enhance your trip with the following add ons. Limited places per activity.
Get in contact to check availability.
|Optional programme with daily excursions throughout the voyage. Available on all departures, subject to weather and ice conditions. Previous experience and ability to swim are necessary. Price is subject to change. Booking in advance (at the time of confirming your cruise reservation) is strongly recommended due to limited availability of spaces.
- Exclusive access to Explorers House in Punta Arenas pre and post voyage
- Daily buffet breakfast and à la carte lunch and dinner
- Wine, beer, juice and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner
- Coffee, tea, chocolate, water, and snacks on board the ship
- All your shore excursions and zodiac rib cruises
- Loan of waterproof boots for landings
- Landing fees, contingency plan and IAATO passenger fee
- International and domestic flights to/from Chile and Punta Arenas
- Any additional accommodation pre or post cruise outside
- Additional onboard purchases (i.e. alcoholic beverages at the ship’s bar)
- Gratuities for the ship staff
- Personal travel insurance
- Any visas that may be required
- Any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable