South Shetland Islands

Polar Circle Air Cruise

An adventurous 10-day expedition in hopes to reach the Polar Circle

Polar Circle Air Cruise

On board the Magellan Explorer
10-day cruise
Antarctic Cruise
air cruise
100 Reviews
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Private Flight to Antarctica
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Medical Services
24h Doctor Station
The Polar Circle air-cruise is one of the most adventurous expeditions that we offer. Our main objective on this air-cruise expedition is to try and reach the Antarctic Polar Circle located at approximately 66° south of the equator. The Expedition Team handcrafts every voyage depending on the Antarctic weather and each day of the Polar Circle air-cruise is filled with ample opportunities to explore.

Your itinerary

Day 1, AM
Punta Arenas
Arrival at Punta Arenas
a wind-whipped, fractured land of islands, glacial fjords and mountains, which drop away towards Antarctica. A hardy city, where the temperature hovers in single figures throughout much of the year, Punta Arenas nevertheless offers a warm welcome and refuge, ahead of - and following - epic adventures and expeditions south across the Drake Passage. Captain Scott stopped here in 1904 – testing the postal service sending 400 letters of his successful return - and the city welcomed the rescued Ernest Shackleton and his Endurance crew to these shores in 1916. Punta Arenas is a remote place, but with custom-free status, and more than 120,000 people calling it home it's also surprisingly cosmopolitan. The commercial centre of Magallanes Punta Arenas is fueled by Chilean oil and gas - and establishing itself as a global centre for Antarctic research, with teams from various countries basing themselves here. The town is built around the Plaza de Armas, its central square - be sure to kiss the toe of the Monumento del Indio Patagon statue, said to guarantee you good luck on your return.
Day 2, AM
Business Flight to King George Island
Business Flight to King George Island
Enjoy a 2-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island and back in Business Class Luxury.
Day 2, PM
Silver Explorer
Embark at King George Island
Boarding your expedition ship usually starts in the afternoon. After a safety briefing, you will be able to meet your experienced crew and guides who will give you an overview of your voyage. You'll be able to ask them questions and to start to meet your like-minded fellow travelers. The evening will then be spent sailing to your first of many exciting and remarkable sites.
Day 2, PM
South Shetland Islands
Sail to the South Shetland Islands & Lectures
As you sail towards the South Shetland Islands your expert guides will entertain and educate you with a series of lectures and talks. From natural history to human history, geology to marine biology, there's something for everyone. All of the crew are experts in the field chosen not only for their huge depth of knowledge but also for their passion and enthusiasm. They really make this most remote of the world's regions come alive.
Day 3, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Turret Point
Turret Point
Turret Point is well-named! As you approach this part of King George Island you will see the unmistakable rock “stacks” which made this the obvious name to be chosen when the point was first mapped in 1937 by a British exploration mission. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, and Turret Point is on its south coast. Its remarkable landscape is formed by the glacier that is the backdrop to the gently sloping landing beach here. Its impressively gnarled and crevassed front makes a stunning backdrop to the wildlife activity here. The beach is extremely popular with Antarctic bird species. As well as chinstrap penguins, the area is frequented by giant petrels, blue-eyed shags, and kelp gulls. Elephant seals can often be seen wallowing in the shallows here, and fur seals are frequent visitors, too. You will be able to walk up to the face of the glacier, and your expert guides will lead you along the melt stream bed, to avoid trampling the fragile Antarctic flora that grows here at Turret Point.
Day 3, AM
Penguin Island Map
Penguin Island
Penguin Island was first recorded in 1820 during a British expedition. It was so-named because of the vast numbers of penguins that could be seen along its shoreline from the ship as it passed by. Penguin Island lies just off the south coast of the much bigger King George Island. It’s ice-free and is oval-shaped, some 1 mile long. It’s one of the smaller South Shetland Islands and it’s also known as Georges Island, Île Pingouin, Isla Pingüino, and Penguin Isle in various books and charts. Its standout geological feature is the 560ft tall Deacon Peak - a volcanic cone that is thought to have last been active about 300 years ago. Penguin Island is an internationally-recognized important area for birds. As well as colonies of Adelie and Chinstrap penguins, the island is also home to large breeding colonies of southern giant petrels, Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls. You can often see Weddell seals and sometimes southern elephant seals on the beaches here, too. For those feeling fit, there is a marked path that will take you up to the top of Deacon Peak. This offers unparalleled views over the whole island and beyond across King George Bay. Do note, however, that this part of the Antarctic is known for its quickly changing weather, so if the opportunity to take this walk safely presents itself, take it!
Day 3, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Barrientos Island
Barrientos Island (Aitcho Islands)
Barrientos Island is one of the Aitcho group of islands, a sub-set of the South Shetlands chain. It’s an ice-free island that was used as far back as the early 19th century by sealers and whalers, despite only a mile long, and less than a third of a mile wide. It was given its name in 1949 by a Chilean Antarctic expedition. The northern coast of Barrientos is formed by steep cliffs about 230ft above the sea level. The east and west coasts are made up of black sand and pebble beaches. To the west, you can see impressive columns of basalt rock left over from the tectonic forces involved in the island’s formation. Barrientos is very popular with penguins - and because it is so small sometimes it can feel pretty crowded! Gentoo and chinstrap penguins breed here, and in peak season one colony can end up right next door to the other, making for a seamless vista of penguin nests! Other species that are commonly seen include fur seals, as well as nesting colonies of southern giant petrels. Your expert Antarctic guides will ensure you get close enough for some amazing photos while staying far enough away that you don’t disturb the breeding creatures.
Day 3, PM
Northeast Beach map
Northeast beach of Ardley Island
Ardley Island is a small, rocky island about a mile long. It’s in Maxwell Bay, just off the coast of King George Island. It was first charted in 1935 by a British expedition but was mistaken for a headland. It was not until aerial surveys many years later that it was reclassified as an island. Ardley Island is an active summer research station, and you will often see scientists and researchers at work here. The huts that you can see from the beach are part of the research station and not able to be visited. The landing on the beach is just below the lighthouse, a distinctive feature that you will have spotted from out to sea. This gently sloping cobble beach is the only place that visitors can arrive on Ardley. Visitor numbers are restricted due to the importance of the island as a breeding site for antarctic bird species. During your excursion on the island, you will see a large gentoo penguin colony, as well as lesser numbers of Adelie and chinstrap penguins. You can also see southern giant petrels, Wilson's petrels, black-bellied storm petrels, Cape petrels, skuas, and Antarctic terns. The northeast beach of Ardley Island is a “must-visit” site for bird watchers!
Day 4, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Hannah Point
Hannah Point
Hannah Point is a dramatic peninsula on the south coast of Livingston Island in the South Shetlands. Its ridge forms the sides of two bays - Walker Bay and South Bay. The rocks climb steadily upwards to sheer cliffs and knife-edged ridges more than 160ft above the sea level. There are frequent rock falls, and your guides will point out the vein of jasper - a red mineral - that cuts through the cliffs here. The area was used for hunting by 19th-century sealers, and the British Antarctic Survey has a base camp here known as Station P for the winter of 1957. The Hannah Point area is rich with antarctic wildlife. Elephant seals haul out and travel to a clifftop wallow pool where they can oversee their domain. Antarctic fur seals are also frequent visitors. Gentoo and macaroni penguins love to nest here but are seen all year round. Kelp gulls are almost always wheeling overhead. Other bird species you will encounter are snowy sheathbills, blue-eyed shags, giant petrels, and skuas. There is sometimes such an abundance of wildlife here that you may have to wait for a suitable gap to open on the beach before you can land!
Day 4, AM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Pendulum Cove
Pendulum Cove
Pendulum Cove is a small bay on the northern side of the natural harbor formed by the flooded cone of the live volcano that is Deception Island. One of the South Shetland Islands, Deception offers several visitor points, of which Pendulum Cove is definitely worth a visit. The cove came by its unusual name as it was named by the British expedition of Henry Foster in 1829. The site here was used by the explorers to take magnetic measurements as well as studying the movement of pendulums this close to the south pole. It was one of these experiments that gave the cove its name. If setting foot on the other sites on Deception Island doesn’t feel like you are standing on an active volcano, Pendulum Cove will remind you! In places here, water heated by geothermal activity can reach 160F. Your expert Antarctic guide will show you safe areas where hot water mixes with the cold Antarctic seawater to provide a most unusual polar “spa” experience. It’s warm while you are in the water, but you might regret it when it’s time to get out and get dry! There are Gentoo and chinstrap penguins on the beach, and they don’t seem to mind sharing their warm water with human visitors - just remember that in Antarctica, wildlife has the right of way! This part of the volcanic crater was hit hardest by the last eruption in 1969. There is a historic site here, the remains of Chilean research station Base Aguirre Cerda that was overwhelmed. The twisted, rusting fragments of the remains can be viewed from a safe distance. A somber reminder of the forces still at work under your feet. You may well see scientists at work and come across instruments. These are part of the real-time monitoring of seismic activity on Deception Island and Pendulum Cove in particular.
Day 4, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Baily Head, Deception Island
Baily Head on Deception Island
Deception Island one of the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The island is actually the top of the cone (the caldera) of an active shield volcano that last erupted in 1969. This flooded caldera makes a remarkable natural harbor, although Baily Head itself is on the eastern outer flank of the cone. The geography here makes a natural bowl in the landscape, with the long rocky beach leading up to a curving ridge above. To the north is an impressive glacier. As you approach the beach at Baily Head you will begin to hear the amazing noise that a colony of over 200,000 chinstrap penguins can make! During the summer, the glacial melt stream allows them to create a penguin “highway” that the birds follow to and from the sea, hundreds moving back and forth at any time. Your expert Antarctic guides will take you to the edge of the breeding groups, allow you to experience this remarkable sight without disturbing the birds. Other regular visitors to the Head include Antarctic Fur Seals who regularly haul up on to the beach, with crabeater, elephant, Weddell, and leopard seals also sometimes being seen in the surrounding waters. Overhead you will find skuas, petrels, and sheathbills, all of whom also like to nest in the sheltered rocks of Baily Head.
Day 4, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Telefon Bay
Telefon Bay on Deception Island
Deception Island is the eroded cone of an active volcano, that last erupted in 1967. It sits in the Bransfield Strait and is part of the South Shetland Islands. Telefon Bay is on the northwest coast of the volcano and is overlooked by Telefon Ridge. Despite the name, the bay has nothing to do with communications! It was first mapped in 1908 and was named after a Norwegian ship, the SS Telefon, that had been damaged and was put aground here for repairs later that year before being refloated. The backdrop to the beach is dramatic. In the rising land behind it, you will see a number of volcanic craters, some of which are up to 150ft deep - although gradually being filled in with ice and sediments. To the east and west are cliffs made of ash that were the result of activity in the 1967 eruption that impacted Telefon Bay. You will be allowed to roam freely here, provided you stick to the main paths and give any penguins a wide berth! You will often see scientific equipment placed around the bay that is used for monitoring any seismic disturbances - it will be clearly marked to help you avoid it. The shallow beach here is a favorite place for seals to haul out, and you can often encounter both Weddell and fur seals as you come in for a landing.
Day 5, AM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Whaler's Bay
Whalers Bay
Whalers Bay is a small natural harbor on Deception Island, one of the South Shetland Islands. An active volcano, the crater forms a natural sheltered inlet that was historically used by sealers and then whalers from the 1820s. The geography makes it a perfect place for ships to shelter in rough weather, and Whaler’s Bay contains some of the most significant whaling artifacts and remains to be found in the whole of Antarctica. As your ship sails through the narrow “break” in the volcanic caldera known as Neptunes Bellows, the wide, circular beach of Whaler’s Bay is found to the right. The beach runs uninterrupted for one and a quarter miles and was used as a runway in the 1950s and 1960s when the site was the main hub of British Antarctic air movements. The hangar that was built in 1960 can be visited at the northern end of the beach where you can also see a roller that was used to maintain the runway. At the southern end of the beach are large, rusted oil tanks, and behind them are buildings from the period 1906 to 1931. There was a significant whaling industry here, with the sheltered and shallow beach making it an ideal place to land whale carcasses and process them. While you explore all this remarkable human history, please remember that you are standing on an active volcano! The instruments you may see around the beach in the Whalers Bay area are seismic monitors, and the island is monitored for activity 24 hours a day. The last eruption was in 1969, and this was responsible for some of the mudflows and damage to the buildings and metal tanks that you see here. The penguins don’t seem to be worried, though! Chinstraps and Gentoos can always be seen along the beach here, and it’s not unusual to encounter fur seals who have hauled out to rest and watch the humans. There are also plenty of Antarctic seabirds to see, including petrels, skuas, Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls.
Day 5, AM
Antarctic Peninsula
Sail to the Antarctic Peninsula & Lectures
The weather in the Antarctic can be unpredictable and conditions can change quickly. Your highly experienced captain and bridge crew will skilfully navigate these ice-laden waters, bringing you ever closer to your first landing on the Antarctic continent.
Day 5, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Portal Point
Portal Point
Portal Point is a narrow, rocky point on the northeast of the Reclus Peninsula off Graham Land. It was named by British explorers as it formed part of the “gateway” for the route to the Antarctic Plateau. In 1956, a refuge hut was established here, known as Cape Reclus Refuge. It was only used for two winters and then abandoned. In 1996, the hut was removed and is now in the Falklands Island Museum. All that’s left of the refuge on the Point are the remains of its foundations, often not visible under the frequent snow cover. Indeed, this year-round snow is why there are no penguin colonies here. However, Portal Point is a popular place for Weddell seals to haul out, and while you are landing you will often see them in good numbers.
Day 5, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Danco Island
Danco Island, Errera Channel
Danco is a small island in the southern part of the Errera Channel, a body of water that runs between Rongé Island and the coast of Graham Land. Only 1 mile long, Danco’s wide, flat beach rises to a permanently ice-covered hill which gives stunning views over the channel. Visitors often report being able to see Humpback and Minke whales from here as they travel between the islands The backdrop of crevassed glaciers in the surrounding mountains is stunning. The island hosts around 1500 breeding pairs of gentoo penguins. They like to nest away from the beach up the slopes, and so you can always see them making their journeys to and from the sea. Seals are also frequent visitors to the island, as are a variety of Antarctic bird species including skuas, terns, and kelp gulls. Danco was also the site of Base “O”, built by the British Antarctic Survey in 1954 as a base for geological research and exploration. The base was abandoned in 1959 when the expedition ended, and the huts were removed in 2004. On the beach, you can find a plaque with an inscription giving the story of the base.
Day 6, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Orne Harbour
Orne Harbour
Orne Harbour is a mile-wide cove on the west coast of Graham Land, just southwest of Cape Anna. It was first discovered by a Belgian Antarctic survey of the Danco coast in 1898 and was then in regular use by whaling vessels in the early 1900s. The site is popular for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a beautiful location that provides stunning Antarctic views. The exposed rocky shoreline contrasts with the permanent snow patches dotted on the higher ground above it. To the south, there is deep permanent snow and ice. Glaciers ring the harbor and steep peaks rise above. It’s glorious! The other reason to visit Orne Harbour is to see the nesting colony of chinstrap penguins that have made their homes here. There’s a steep but safe hike up from the beach to the colony that sits on higher ground above the beach. As well as the penguins, you will be rewarded with remarkable views of the bay, and the glacier that regularly calves into the waters here.
Day 6, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Orne Islands
Orne Islands
The Orne Islands are a cluster of small, low-lying rocky islands at the entrance to the Errera Channel. The lie just of the northern coast of Ronge Island off Graham Land. The largest Orne island has moderate slopes leading to a rocky central ridge that has permanent snowbanks. There are also three other small islets that make up the group. Your landing will be via a low rock platform on the north-west side of the main island. Once ashore, you can roam freely around the island under the supervision of your expert guides. The Orne Islands are home to Skuas, which nest in the rocky outcrops here, as well as other Antarctic seabirds and penguins. In winter, impressive snow cliffs can form near the landing site. To avoid disturbing the wildlife, numbers on the island are restricted, and during nesting seasons your guides may limit the areas in which you can roam to protect nests.
Day 6, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Neko Harbor
Neko Harbour
Neko Harbour is an inlet on Andvord Bay off the coast of Graham Land in the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by a Belgian expedition in the early 1900s. This sheltered inlet was named after The Neko, a Scottish whaling vessel that worked these waters between 1910 and 1925. Neko Harbor has a beach and a rocky outcrop that is surrounded by glaciers and towering cliffs. This is a popular site as the glaciers that surround this bay regularly carve during the season, leading to some stunning photo and video opportunities if you are lucky! There used to be a refuge hut here that was built by Argentina in 1949, and was in irregular use all the way until 2009 when it was destroyed in a severe storm. It has since been cleared from the site, with just a few remains now to be seen. The gentoo penguins that live here and used to surround the refuge hut don’t seem to mind that it has gone! Their noisy cries will great you as you land on the beach. You can often also see Weddell seals here in the sea or hauled out on the beach at Neko Harbour. There are also skuas and kelp gulls seen regularly here.
Day 6, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Jougla Point
Jougla Point
Found at the western end of Wiencke Island in Port Lockroy, Jougla Point is a very rocky peninsula with many small coves. It was first mapped in 1903 by a French Antarctic expedition and forms the entrance to Alice Creek. The approach to the point is nothing short of dramatic! You will have stunning views of glaciers, snow cornices, and steep, crevassed snowfields as you enter the harbor. Your landing here will be against rocks on the northeastern end of the point. Like many bays and coves in the area, Jougla Point has artifacts and remains from the whaling industry. You will see whale bones at the sites where the carcasses were dragged ashore for processing. Your expert Antarctic guides will take you along Jougla Point to observe the Gentoo penguin colony as well as the blue-eyed shag nesting areas. Other wildlife you can observe are kelp gulls and skuas, with seals also a frequent sight. You will be able to roam freely around the beach area to observe and photograph, with your guides on hand to answer any questions you may have and to ensure visitors keep away from any closed breeding areas.
Day 7, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Damoy Point
Damoy Point
Damoy Point is a rocky headland on the west coast of Wiencke Island, near the northern entrance to the natural harbor at Port Lockroy. It was discovered and mapped by the French Antarctic expedition of 1903 led by Charcot. The point is rather unassuming and at first glance doesn’t warrant a visit. However, it has a couple of hidden gems - two very well preserved expedition huts. The first, known as Damoy Hut, was built in 1973 and was used by the British Antarctic Survey as a summer air facility and a personnel transfer station, but hasn’t been used since 1993. The interior is in excellent condition and almost looks as if it could be put back into use straight away. There are even tin cups hanging on the kitchen wall as if ready to give travel-weary scientists a restoring cup of tea! Just outside Damoy Hut is a refuge built by Argentina in the 1950s. This is not open to visitors and is still in use as an emergency refuge should the need ever arise. Apart from these historic buildings, visitors will see a small colony of Gentoo penguins who breed here, as well as plenty of seals and sea birds.
Day 7, AM
Goudier Island
Goudier Island
Goudier Island is a small, low-lying island of bare, polished rock just 100 yards from Jougla Point in Port Lockroy Harbour. It’s part of the larger Wiencke Island. Often surrounded by sea ice, any snow cover on the island usually melts away by the end of the summer. Goudier is home to “Base A” - established by the British in wartime in 1944 - which was used as a scientific research station until the early 1960s. After falling into disrepair, the station was restored in the 1990s and is now looked after by a Heritage Trust. The base is permanently occupied, and its inhabitants still conduct important survey work on the penguin colony for the British Antarctic Survey. You will usually be briefed by the Base Leader before you land ashore, and only 35 visitors are allowed inside the Base at any time. This is to ensure the artifacts and the fabric of the base are preserved. This “time capsule” gives a fascinating insight into the work and lives of early Antarctic research pioneers and how they lived on Goudier Island. Access to the rest of the island is usually restricted to marked paths, both to protect wildlife and because the surface is uneven and slippery. However, you will be able to observe the resident penguin colony, and can also spot other birds and seals on the shores and in the sea.
Day 7, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Port Charcot, Booth Island
Port Charcot, Booth Island
Port Charcot is a small bay at the north end of Booth Island. Booth Island is a rocky and rugged Y-shaped island off the Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land. It was first mapped in 1904 when the French Antarctic expedition led by Jean-Baptise Charcot over-wintered here. After building a few rudimentary shelters and the cairn that can still be seen at the top of the hill, the expedition used Port Charcot as its base for exploring the area. There is a wooden pillar with a plaque here where you can still make out the names of the first expedition members who wrote them almost 120 years ago. The walk to the cairn is delightful, although you’ll be carefully led by guides as wandering off the path can be treacherous, with loose rocks and crevasses. Visitors can also walk to the east where there is a noisy Gentoo penguin colony. Chinstraps and Adelies can also often be seen on the beaches here.
Day 7, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Petermann Island
Petermann Island
Petermann Island marks the extremes for two Antarctic species - not bad for a small rock less than a mile long! This rocky outcrop that rises 500ft above the sea has a permanent covering of ice. The island is just south of Booth Island in the Lemaire Channel. Petermann Island is volcanic in origin, and it has a permanent icecap covering more than half of its surface. It’s home to the northernmost colony of Adelie penguins, but also the southernmost colony of Gentoo penguins. First mapped by a French expedition in 1909, Petermann Island is also home to breeding colonies of skuas and Wilson’s storm petrels. There’s also a good chance to observe Weddell, crabeater, and fur seals. Visitors can hike up to the highest point of the island, where a cross and cairn remembers three members of the British Antarctic Survey who died in 1982 attempting to cross the sea ice from Petermann Island to Vernadsky station. There is also a refuge hut built by an Argentian expedition in 1955 - its red metal walls make a fantastic contrast against the snow and ice.
Day 8, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Wordie House
Wordie House, Winter Island
Nestled onto the only flat part of Winter Island, Wordie House is a hut built in 1947. It was named by a British Antarctic expedition of the time after James Wordie, who was the chief scientist on Shackleton’s famous 1914 Antarctic exploration. Winter Island is less than 1,000 yards long and is one of the Argentine Islands off the coast of Graham Land. Before it closed in 1954, the hut was used to take meteorological readings using instruments stored inside special screens, one of which still stands today. These readings were among the most important and longest set of weather data ever recorded about the Antarctic and helped scientists gain a greater understanding of the meteorology of the continent. Wordie House was made a “Historic Site and Monument” in 1995 and has been looked after by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust since 2009. There are almost 500 original artifacts still on the site, including original cans of coffee, records, pots and pans, plates, and many more £everyday” items. This makes Wordie House a true time capsule from the golden age of Antarctic exploration and scientific research. The hut is now fully weathertight, and work continues on preserving this unique station. Visits to Winter Island and Wordie House are managed by the nearby Ukrainian station Vernadsky, and you may well be briefed by the Base Commander or other official before you board your boats for the landing. Uniquely for such a historic site, visitors are allowed to roam freely under the supervision of their expert Antarctic guides. They will answer all your questions about the history of the hut, as well as the artifacts that you can find here. Visitors to Winter Island can also expect to see seabirds such as skuas and kelp gulls, as well as seals and penguins.
Day 8, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Pleneau Island
Pleneau Island
Pleneau Island is one of the less-visited Antarctic visitor sites but is well worth it. First mapped in 1903 by the French Charcot expedition, it’s a beautiful location that overlooks what’s known as an “iceberg graveyard”. Whether viewed from the island itself or from a Zodiac, there are always stunning ‘bergs to photograph here. The island itself is less than a mile long and lies just off Hovgaard Island in the Wilhelm Archipelago. Pleneau is home to terns, and your expert Antarctic guides will make sure that you avoid disturbing them in the breeding season. The permanent ice cap at the top of the island looks stunning, but it’s riddled with crevasses and not safe to walk on. The northern end of the island hosts a breeding colony of blue-eyed shags, and you will almost certainly see penguins and seals among the stunning icebergs.
Day 8, PM
Antarctic Sound
Antarctic Sound
A gateway to the ultimate adventure that only a few will be lucky enough to experience. The 30-mile long Antarctic Sound will be your first encounter with the rugged beauty of this continent Located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Sound is a remarkable onslaught for the senses as you come face-to-face with monstrous slabs of ice, now floating free as enormous icebergs, that broke away from the Larsen Ice shelf. Treacherous to early explorers, the first vessel to successfully navigate the Sound was The Antarctic, the vessel of a Swedish Expedition of 1903. Unfortunately, she was trapped here by ice the following year and crushed - one of several vessels to have that fate over the decade. Fortunately, modern polar cruising vessels have no such worries with their strengthened hulls and modern navigation technology. As you enter the monochromatic beauty of white ice and grey sea you will know that that you are soon going to experience some of the remarkable sights and encounter the wonderful wildlife that makes its home in these islands of snow, ice, and rock.
Day 9, AM
King George Island
King George Island
King George Island is widely known as the “Gateway to the Antarctic”. More than 10 different nations have permanent scientific bases here, and that’s reflected in the different names the island is known as: “Isla 25 de Mayo” in Argentina, “Isla Rey Jorge” in Chile, and “Ватерло́о Vaterloo” in Russia. King George has the only airport in the South Shetland Islands, and its strategic location just 75 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula makes it the most important staging and connection hub in the region. By maintaining a base here, a nation is granted membership of the Antarctic Treaty, and hence there is a cosmopolitan population of scientists in residence most of the time. This might explain why there’s a Russian Orthodox church here (one of the very few permanent buildings in the whole of Antarctica) with a priest always in residence! All this is even more impressive when you realize that more than 90% of the 59 miles long by 16 miles wide island is permanently covered with ice and snow. This suits the native wildlife just fine, and King George Island is home to many different species including Weddell, leopard, and elephant seals, gentoo, chinstrap, and Adelie penguins, and many seabirds such as skuas and southern giant petrels.
Day 9, PM
A21 Magellan Explorer
Return Flight to Punta Arenas
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding your flight back to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival from the 7th continent, transfer to your hotel for the night and enjoy an evening at your own leisure.
Day 10, AM
End of Air Cruise
After a peaceful night in your hotel, you will board the transfer vehicle to Punta Arenas airport for your flight home.

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Your ship: Magellan Explorer

Welcome aboard the Magellan Explorer, an ultra-modern expedition cruise ship built for the Antarctic. An Antarctic trip aboard the Magellan Explorer is unlike the rest. Instead of boarding your cruise ship right away and spending long days crossing the Drake Passage to get to the Antarctica, you’ll take a two-hour plane ride from Punta Arenas straight to the continent itself. This flight will save you time, and you’ll be able to head straight to the Antarctic action. A Magellan Explorer is a pioneer air-cruise is designed for adventure and with your comfort in mind. To manage environmental impact, the Antarctic Treaty limits the numbers of visitors on shore to maximum 100 at one time. A Magellan Explorer air-cruise comfortably accommodates only 73 guests so everyone can go ashore at the same time. This means that you will spend more time ashore, rather than waiting your turn to disembark the ship. The Magellan Explorer cruise ship offers 7 different categories of accommodation, including dedicated single cabins. All cabins except for the Porthole cabins have a private balcony for your enjoyment. All cabins feature a wardrobe, an individually controlled heating system, a private bathroom, a sitting area, and heated floors. The Magellan Explorer cruise ship also features a beautiful glass-enclosed observation lounge deck for guests to awe over the incredible Antarctic views. Guests are welcome to take part in the polar discussions in the presentation room with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. The polar cruise ship also offers a library, a boutique gym built by the professionals at Anytime Fitness, a sauna, and a medial clinic. The Magellan Explorer comes equipped with a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats, perfectly suited for an Antarctic adventure and a closer look at the flora and fauna. The observation deck aboard the cruise ship also leads to the bow of the ship where guests and crew can better spot marine wildlife. A Magellan Explorer air-cruise is the most modern way to explore the amazing Antarctic region. Time-saving, comfortable, and intimate, this air-cruise rethinks polar exploration for those who have a limited amount of travel time.


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Observation Lounge
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Conference Room
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Fitness Center
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Zodiac Fleet


All CO2 emissions of your trip (e.g. local transport, hotel) will be 100% compensated for you by a Gold Standard climate protection project.

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