South of the Polar Circle

Ushuaia to Ushuaia

Venture on this 21-day Deep South Expedition to see parts of Antarctica very few have seen.

Ushuaia to Ushuaia

On board the Silver Explorer
21-day cruise
Antarctic Cruise
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Not only will you join the ranks of the (very) well-travelled by crossing the Drake Passage (twice!) on this voyage, but you will also step foot on the mysterious and enigmatic Antarctic Peninsula. Yet the real joy of this cruise lies in the deep exploration of the frozen continent’s waters; seven consecutive days at sea take you to see parts of Antarctica that are previously uncharted. Join us as we embark on our first ever Deep South Expedition.

Your itinerary

Day 1, AM
Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival at Ushuaia
Welcome to Ushuaia. It's official, you have arrived at the world's most southerly city with the evocative motto "End of the World, Beginning of Everything". Over 50,000 people call Ushuaia home. Its unusual name derives from the language of the Yaghan people, indigenous to the Tierra del Fuego region, and translates as "deep bay". The city was formally founded in 1884 after a small settlement and a prison had been built there in the years before, but by 1893 the population was still less than 150 thanks to a series of epidemics and the remote location. The prison population began to grow as it was used to house dangerous and repeat offenders. In effect, for the first 50 years of the city's existence, the prisoners became forced colonists, helping to build up the town and to secure the Argentine claims to the Tierra del Fuego region. Today, Ushuaia is a busy port and a hub for adventure travel to the Antarctic and South Atlantic. Lying below the lovely snow-capped Martial Mountains, the city has grown in a rather jumbled way, expanding from its sole main street and waterfront thanks to an increase in tourism and travel. If you want to relax before your Antarctic adventure, then a stroll along the waterfront - pausing for a selfie in front of the "end of the world" sign, of course! - is a pleasant way to spend your time. If you're feeling more energetic there are many options for hiking, biking, and boat rides into Beagle Channel. You can even take spectacular helicopter tours! In town, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and a recent boom in craft beers means there are several places now vying for the title of the world's most southerly brewery!
Day 1, PM
Embarking ship
Embark
Boarding usually begins in the afternoon. Everyone will have a safety briefing and demonstration, and then you are free to explore your new floating home and meet your fellow Antarctic explorers! Later, you'll get an expedition overview from your fantastic expedition guides. You'll spend the night on board as your ship begins its journey south.
Day 1, PM
Beagle Channel
Sail the Beagle Channel & Lectures
This 150-mile long channel between Chile and Argentina leads from Ushuaia towards the open Southern Ocean. It's only 3 miles wide at its narrowest point, giving you some spectacular scenery as your ship navigates its way to or from the ocean. You can spot rare local dolphins here, as well as a huge variety of sea and shorebirds.
Day 2, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 3, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 4, AM
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 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, 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
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 6, AM
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 7, 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 7, AM
Astrolabe Island
Astrolabe Island
Astrolabe Island in 3 miles long, and can be found about 14 miles off the Cape Ducorps in the Bransfield Strait on the Trinity Peninsula. It was discovered in 1837 and named after the French expedition ship that found it. There is a wonderful crescent beach on the northern shore which is where you will land. Depending on the time of year you might have to pick your landing spot carefully to avoid the Antarctic fur seals who breed here and can be aggressive if they have very young pups. The main attraction is the chinstrap penguin colony, several thousand strong. On your way in or out of this site, you will no doubt sail close to a group of impressive rocks that stick out of the sea to the northeast, known as the Dragon’s Teeth. Some of our expert Antarctic cruise guides have decided that if your ship sails in between any of the teeth, that means you have “flossed” Astrolabe Island!
Day 7, PM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Brown Bluff
Brown Bluff
Brown Bluff is a great example of a “tuya” - a volcano that has been flattened by erupting through a glacier! These are the rarest of all volcano types and only found in areas which have seen large scale glaciation in the past. Brown Bluff with its distinctive “tabletop” look, lies on the Tabarin Peninsula, in the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula. The landing beach here is made of pebbles and volcanic ash, rising quickly towards steep reddish-brown cliffs. The cliffs are embedded with “volcanic bombs” - large pieces of lava that were thrown out during an eruption, cooling in the air to land as solid spherical or oval shapes. As well as the fascinating geology, the other star of the show is the birdlife. Brown Bluff is home to over 20,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins, as well as a small colony of gentoo penguins. Other breeding residents include storm petrels, Cape petrels, and kelp gulls. Weddell seals often haul out on the beach here, and it’s also common to see Leopard seals hunting in the waters close to the shore.
Day 7, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Devil Island, Vega Island
Devil Island, Vega Island
Devil Island is well-named! This narrow, rocky island has a low valley in the middle, with two peaks at either end. This gives it an uncanny “devil’s horns” look! It’s found in the James Ross Island group of the Antarctic Peninsula. Its location in a small cove makes it popular with Antarctic wildlife. Devil Island gives an opportunity for you to photograph some breathtaking views. From the landing site, you are greeted by some spectacular volcanic formations. From here, you can hike to the top of one of the peaks, which overlooks an Adelie penguin colony nestling below in a natural bowl formation. But the star of the show here is the remarkable 360-degree viewpoint you get from the top. From the high vantage point, you might spot fur seals, crabeater seals, and a variety of seabirds. It really makes the short, but steep climb worth it. Your expert Antarctic guides will show you the way and point out any wildlife you may have missed. Devil Island offers some stunning antarctic vistas that you don’t want to miss, so ensure your camera batteries are charged and spare memory cards are ready!
Day 8, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Paulet Island
Paulet Island
Paulet Island is a striking sight. This circular rock is only 1 mile in diameter, yet it has a volcanic cone that rises to over 1100 feet at its center. It’s found about 3 miles from Dundee Island at the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. First mapped in 1839, Paulet Island is home to a huge penguin colony. Some 100,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins live here, a truly remarkable sight and sound! You will also see other sea birds on your visit, including shags, snow petrels, and kelp gulls. Another fascinating aspect of Paulet Island is the historic shelter that dates back to 1903. A Swedish ship was crushed by the ice pack nearby, and survivors of the wreck built a stone hut to shelter them from the harsh winter conditions. There is also a cairn built on the highest point of the island that they used to attract attention for any rescue. There is also a grave marker for one expedition member who sadly did not survive. Because Paulet Island is so densely packed with wildlife, visitors will be escorted in small groups by experienced Antarctic guides. This ensures that the breeding birds are disturbed as little as possible and that the shelter site is protected. Fur seals are often also seen on the shores here. In the peak breeding season, you may find that some of the walking trails around the island are closed due to the sheer numbers of wonderful creatures that choose to raise their young here.
Day 8, AM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Detaille
Detaille Island
Detaille Island is a small island in the Lallemand Fjord, part of the Arrowsmith Peninsula in Graham Land. It’s not much more than a rocky outcrop with gravel beaches, but it contains one of the best-preserved historic monuments in the Antarctic. Detaille was home to “Base W” of the British Antarctic Survey. It was constructed in 1956 and was in use until 1959 when it was closed. Due to bad weather, the supply ship that was sent to take the men and equipment off the island couldn’t get any closer than 30 miles away. This meant that the men had to leave very quickly and with only the personal belongings that they could carry so the ship could depart as quickly as possible. Because of these circumstances, Base W is almost completely intact. As you look around the hut you will be greeted with the eerie sight of tables still set out with condiments, shelves neatly stacked with tin and jars, and everyday equipment like washing machines, tools, and even coats, longjohns, and bottles of gin and whisky (empty!). Preserved by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, this is a remarkable insight into the early post-war scientific explorations of this amazing continent, and it makes Detaille Island and Base W a “must-visit” on any Antarctic itinerary.
Day 8, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Horseshoe Island
Horseshoe Island
Horseshoe Island is well named. The 3000ft high peaks here are arranged in a crescent shape and were first mapped by air by intrepid British explorers in the 1930s. The island sits in Square Bay, off the coast of Graham Land. You will land at the northwestern tip of Horshoe Island in Sally Cove. From here, it’s a short walk north to the amazingly preserved hut known as “Base Y” or Horseshoe Station. This was established in 1955 as a scientific base and was closed permanently in 1960. Although unused for over 60 years, Base Y is in a remarkable state of preservation and represents a model example of a fully-equipped exploration and scientific base of the time. Inside the hut, you will be able to carefully explore by torchlight as you see artifacts from a bygone age. These include the original base generator, tools, light fixtures, tins and packets of original rations, and more items from the daily lives of the scientists who made Horshoe Island their temporary homes. Although this time-capsule building is the star of the show, it’s not unusual to encounter seals and skuas on or near to the landing site here.
Day 8, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Stonington Island
Stonington Island
For such a tiny, rock island (it’s less than half a mile by a quarter of a mile), Stonington holds a lot of the human history of Antarctica. It’s found in Marguerite Bay off the west of Graham Land. It was home to not one, but two winter expeditions. In 1939, the US Antarctic Service chose it as the location to build what became known as East Base. The buildings and artifacts here are now protected as a monument. Visitors can enter the main hut to experience something of what it would have been like to spend the dark and frozen winters on Stonington. Later in the 1940s, the British chose the same small island for the location of their “Base E”. Again, visitors can enter the main hut and also the generator shed. Like the American base, there are other ancillary buildings that can’t be entered due to their status as protected monuments. There are permanent shutters on the windows of Base E, so your guide should provide you with torches if you venture inside. In a solemn reminder of the harshness of the continent, there is also a gravesite where two expedition members are buried in coffins covered by simple stone cairns. An important breeding site for birds, Stonington Island supports a colony of over 130 pairs of imperial shags, as well as nesting sites for skuas and terns.
Day 9, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 10, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 11, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 12, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 13, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 14, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 15, AM
Antarctica Expedition Deep South
Get ready to venture as far south as ice conditions permit. Here we witness stunning landscapes, sizable Adelie penguin rookeries and large flat-topped tabular icebergs that drift north from the Bellingshausen Sea.
Day 16, 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 16, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Yalour Islands
Yalour Islands
The Yalour Islands (also sometimes called Jalour Islands) are a 1.5-mile long group of small islands and protruding rocks off Cape Tuxen in Graham Land. The islands were discovered and named in 1903 by the French Antarctic expedition led by Charcot. Most of the Yalour Islands are steep-sided or unsuitable for landing due to sea conditions, but the largest island has some cobbled beaches where you can put ashore. Visitors come here to make the short climb up from the beach to the Adelie penguin breeding colonies. There are thought to be around 8,000 breeding pairs of Adelies in the Yalour Islands, and they have nested on every bit of rock they can find that’s not snow-covered. It makes for an amazing sight as you come in to land on the beach! Photographic opportunities here are excellent. The high mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula form a stunning backdrop to shots of the Adelie nest sites. Your expert guides will lead you around, showing you the best sites, and answering all your questions about the penguins and their lives.
Day 16, PM
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 16, 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 17, 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 17, 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 17, 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 17, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- D’Hainaut Island, Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island
D’Hainaut Island, Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island
D’Hainaut Island is a tiny rock island in Mikkelsen Harbour. It’s less than half a square mile in size, and it’s approached through a small bay that’s lined with dramatic cliffs of ice. It was first mapped by a French expedition in 1910. The island often remains snow-covered until very late in the season, and the captain of your Antarctic cruise vessel will expertly navigate through the shallow reefs that are in the bay. This island was used extensively for whaling, and there are artifacts and bones dotted around the island. D’Hainaut is one of the few Antarctic visitor sites where you can roam freely around the whole island, taking care not to disturb any of the artifacts and watching your step on the rocks, of course. There is a small historic refuge here that was built originally by the Argentine Navy in the 1950s, then again in the 1970s, and most recently in 2017. However, the refuge can’t be entered except in emergencies. There is also plenty of evidence of the whaling industry on the island. You can find the wrecks of several boats as well as many whale bones. There is a lively Gentoo penguin colony here, and you can often find Fur Seals basking in the sun.
Day 17, 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 18, AM
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 18, AM
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 18, PM
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 18, PM
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 19, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 20, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 21, AM
Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival at Ushuaia
Welcome to Ushuaia. It's official, you have arrived at the world's most southerly city with the evocative motto "End of the World, Beginning of Everything". Over 50,000 people call Ushuaia home. Its unusual name derives from the language of the Yaghan people, indigenous to the Tierra del Fuego region, and translates as "deep bay". The city was formally founded in 1884 after a small settlement and a prison had been built there in the years before, but by 1893 the population was still less than 150 thanks to a series of epidemics and the remote location. The prison population began to grow as it was used to house dangerous and repeat offenders. In effect, for the first 50 years of the city's existence, the prisoners became forced colonists, helping to build up the town and to secure the Argentine claims to the Tierra del Fuego region. Today, Ushuaia is a busy port and a hub for adventure travel to the Antarctic and South Atlantic. Lying below the lovely snow-capped Martial Mountains, the city has grown in a rather jumbled way, expanding from its sole main street and waterfront thanks to an increase in tourism and travel. If you want to relax before your Antarctic adventure, then a stroll along the waterfront - pausing for a selfie in front of the "end of the world" sign, of course! - is a pleasant way to spend your time. If you're feeling more energetic there are many options for hiking, biking, and boat rides into Beagle Channel. You can even take spectacular helicopter tours! In town, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and a recent boom in craft beers means there are several places now vying for the title of the world's most southerly brewery!
Day 21, AM
Disembark & goodbyes
Disembark in Ushuaia
After a remarkable adventure, it's time to leave your expedition ship and bid a fond farewell to your amazing crew and to the new friends you will have made.

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Your ship: Silver Explorer

Welcome aboard the Silver Explorer, an expedition cruise ship intricately designed to navigate the remote waters of the Antarctic regions. The Silver Explorer is equipped with an 1A ice-class strengthened hull and can push through ice with ease. With a maximum passenger capacity of 144 and a crew of 118, the Silver Explorer is the smallest cruise ship in the Silversea fleet, offering a more intimate cruise experience. The 12 Zodiac boats aboard the cruise ship allow its passengers to visit the most off-the-beaten path locations, while the expert Expedition Team offers valuable knowledge to each exciting Antarctic cruise excursion. The award-winning itineraries make the Silver Explorer the ideal combination of unforgettable adventure and exceptional service. The Silver Explorer strives to provide comfort, scenic charm, and impeccable service during your stay. All suites aboard the cruise ship offer ocean views and butler service. The Silver Explorer offers 20 suites with French balconies, where you can enjoy your morning coffee with the picturesque view of the Antarctic horizons. The largest suite aboard, the Owner’s Suite, is an impressive 782sq feet (ca. 73 m²). Upon arrival, all passengers are greeted with flowers, a fresh fruit basket, and a fully-stocked cabinet with your preferences. Other suite amenities include binoculars, a personal safe, complimentary movies and documentaries, Wi-Fi, marble bathrooms, and your preference of toiletries to name a few. Gratuities are also included on your Antarctic cruise. No other tips are necessary, nor does the crew expect them. The Silver Explorer is rightly named. This ship was built with the spirit of exploration in mind. Its itinerary program consists of luxury adventure Antarctic cruises anywhere from 10 to 21 days long. The Silver Explorer is equipped with an Expedition Team of specialists who are passionate about the amazing Antarctic and experts at spotting wildlife. You may even receive a 2am wake-up call if there’s an orca whale nearby. Head over to The Theater during your voyage for expert presentations, where you will hear tales of adventure or learn about endemic flora, fauna, and wildlife. When passengers are not enjoying the exciting included excursions, the Silver Explorer offers plenty of entertainment, relaxation and fitness options. Your Antarctic cruise is not complete without martini or wine tasting, culinary demonstrations, or afternoon outdoor tea parties. The lounges also offer a variety of board games. Passengers can also take advantage of the Internet Café, which offers web-surfing stations and complimentary black and white printing. Relax in the Connoisseur Lounge, and sip on the finest cognac and vintage wines while enjoying a cigar. Or get pampered aboard at the luxury Zagara Beauty Spa and Salon. The spa is fully equipped with a sauna, steam room, and treatment room. An absolutely perfect way to wind down after a hike. If you’d like more physical activity during your cruise, head over to the small gym or jogging track aboard the Explorer.

Amenities

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Bar
Fitness Center Icon
Fitness Center
Connoisseur's Corner Icon
Connoisseur's Corner
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Library
Observation Lounge Icon
Observation Lounge
Gift Shop Icon
Gift Shop
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Spa
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Zodiac Fleet
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Mudroom

Sustainability

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

Food & Drinks

The Silver Explorer takes pride in its international cuisine, offering contemporary fare with exceptional service and sophistication. The menus feature regional specialties, unique to the cruise destinations. You can expect the freshest seafood aboard your Antarctic cruise. During days at sea, passengers can savor a line of signature dishes called La Collection du Monde, prepared by the renowned Chefs of Relais & Chateaux. At The Restaurant, guests can enjoy smart-casual open-seating dining. For a more interactive culinary experience, The Grill invites passengers to prepare their own food directly at the table using grill stone. Not only is every bite cooked to perfection, but it is also one of the healthiest meal options available aboard the Silver Explorer. During the day, The Grill is transformed into a rotisserie and gourmet burger and salad bar. A plethora of options for all tastes and preferences.

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