South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey
An unforgettable polar experience aboard the Greg Mortimer Antarctica and Arctic Cruises
From: USD 17,916
A 21-day expedition cruise
The Trip Highlights
Walk among enormous king penguin colonies
Explore Elephant Island
Observe Polar wildlife in their natural habitat
Whale watching from your Zodiac
Your Polartours 'Plus' Experience
Experience the chill of a polar plunge
Learn from Polar experts
Your trip is 100% carbon offset
Expedition Parka to take home
Experience a polar experience few people get in their lifetime as we set foot on the 7th continent! Discover polar wildlife as we set sail on the comfortable and spacious Greg Mortimer to venture south to South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. Observe ice formations, whales and playful seals swimming alongside the ship, polar birds flying overhead and walk among the continent's penguins. Take a polar plunge and make the most of your cruise experience with a wide range of activities available on your Zodiac.
Your ship: Greg Mortimer
Welcome aboard the Greg Mortimer, a cruise ship built for expeditions to the most remote places on earth. The first passenger cruise ship to feature the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW®, allowing the ship to cross polar oceans more comfortably and efficiently. A Greg Mortimer polar cruise is designed for rugged remote areas. The ship accommodates roughly 126 passengers per voyage, and with an expansive observation deck, the ship brings you closer to the incredible secluded environment the Arctic and Antarctic have to offer. With unsurpassed environmental credentials and a perfect base camp for far … Read more about Greg Mortimer
Food & Drinks
One can argue the most important part of any trip is the food! A Greg Mortimer polar cruise offers hearty delicious cuisine with a variety of options and courses for each meal. Mealtimes are a great way to get to know your fellow travelers in the open-seating dining room. Tea, coffee, and various snacks are available 24 hours a day. Enjoy a wide range of house wines, beers, and soft drinks included with dinner, perfect after a long day of exploration.
Every passenger is also invited to join the cruise ship captain and expedition team for Welcome and Farewell drinks, which include complimentary cocktails and appetizers. The bars and lounges aboard the Greg Mortimer are a tasteful, yet inviting place to gather with new friends. Enjoy the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning views. The friendly bartenders aboard the ship will quench your thirst and entertain you with tales of previous adventures.
All of our seafood onboard is sustainably sourced in accordance with the Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. We also cater to vegetarian and vegan diets (please mention this when booking).
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Adventure Options during your cruise
Day 1 • Your incredible Antarctic adventure starts in Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
At approximately 6.00 pm this evening, meet your fellow expeditioners at a voyage briefing. Afterwards, there’s free time to enjoy the local cuisine at one of Ushuaia’s many restaurants. (Dinner not included).
Accommodation: Las Hayas Hotel (or similar)
Day 2 • Embark on your new home, the Greg Mortimer
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Please take your cabin luggage down to hotel reception by 8.00 am. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 am, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 pm to commence a short sightseeing tour of Ushuaia. Alternatively, enjoy time at leisure and make your own way to the Prison Museum carpark by 3.45 pm to re-join the group to be transferred to the pier for embarkation.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this brief introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 pm.
Day 3-4 • Cross the infamous Drake Passage
The Drake Passage is the name given to the infamous stretch of open ocean between the tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
It usually takes 2 or 3 days to cross the Drake Passage, and this is a great time to learn from your expert Antarctic naturalist guides. Through a series of fascinating talks and lectures, you'll begin to learn more about the remarkable wildlife and awe-inspiring geology of the Antarctic continent.
Your guides are always on hand to help you identify the sea bird species that always follow the ships, as well as spotting whales and other cetaceans that can be seen en route to the Antarctic Peninsula or the South Shetland Islands.
Day 5-7 • Set foot on the Antarctic Continent
The North-West portion of the Antarctic Peninsula is the most frequently visited by expedition cruises and is home to many of the most popular landing sites. The Gerlache Strait is renowned for the stunning scenery with the snow covered mountains, as if covered in icing sugar, with numerous glaciers tumbling down to the sea.
Being the most northerly part of the whole continent, the Peninsula enjoys the mildest Antarctic condition, with temperatures in winter averaging a balmy -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F)! In the summer, things warm up to an average of just above freezing. Large areas of this part of the peninsula are ice-free in the early season, being important breeding and feeding grounds for many iconic Antarctic species.
It's here that many of the historic Antarctic expeditions began, and where early military and scientific bases were first established, some of which you will be able to visit if conditions allow. These remarkable artefacts have been left as time capsules, their contents showing remarkable levels of preservation thanks to the dry and cold climate.
Day 8 • Explore Elephant Island (if weather permits)
Today, if weather permits, we set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. We’ll learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before him and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14 April, 1916.
We plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; we hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents. If weather permits, we’ll attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild, Elephant Island.
Day 9-10 • At sea towards South Georgia Island
En route for South Georgia we'll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290 km (802 miles) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.
Day 11-15 • Explore South Georgia
This remote and mountainous island might seem to be barren at first, given that it has no trees and is snow-covered for much of the year. However, appearances can be deceptive, and South Georgia is teeming with life!
Not only is it home to important breeding grounds for fur seals, elephant seals, and king penguins, it is also the only known habitat of the South Georgia Pipit - the Antarctic's only songbird - and the South Georgia Pintail duck.
High, rugged mountains and stunning coastal fjords make cruising the coast of South Georgia a spectacle you will remember.
Used as a base for early-20th century sealers, there are relics of this industry at various places around the island - a reminder of the human history of exploitation of Antarctica and its natural resources.
Day 16-18 • At sea towards the Falkland Islands
The passage to South Georgia to or from the Falklands or South America is usually a 2-day sailing. On your way to the magnificent yet remote South Georgia, your expert guides will enthrall you with a range of talks and lectures all about the remarkable concentrations of Antarctic wildlife that can be found on the island.
As well as the huge numbers of breeding birds and sea mammals, you'll also learn about the geology and human history of the island, and its importance in the exploration (and exploitation) of the Southern Ocean.
On deck, your guides will help you to identify the bird species that frequently follow the ships, as well as spotting cetaceans and other marine life you can spot en route.
Day 19 • Explore the Falkland Islands
Lying 300 miles off the Patagonian coast, and 750 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands (also known as Islas Malvinas in Spanish) is a far-flung British overseas territory.
Consisting of two major islands and over 770 smaller islands and islets, they are home to a hardy resident population of about 3,400 islanders. With a chequered history of disputed sovereignty, the islands were uninhabited until the 1700s.
With an economy that was traditionally driven by whaling, then fishing and farming, the islands have more recently diversified into sustainable tourism. With an abundance of wildlife, particularly birds - including some species found nowhere else - the islanders have been restoring natural habitats previously lost to grazing, as well as farming in ways that are more environmentally friendly.
There are a variety of sites to visit where you can see endemic and migrant birds, as well as several colonies of penguins and seals. Whales and dolphins are frequently spotted in the Sound and off the shoreline around the islands.
You will also see the historic capital, Stanley, which visitors often remark reminds them of how England used to be 50 years or more ago…
Day 20 • At sea towards Ushuaia
The Falklands Passage is the name given to the stretch of the Southern Ocean between mainland South America and the Falkland Islands. This is usually a 2-day sailing.
During this time, your naturalist guides will hold a series of informative and exciting talks and lectures about the wildlife and the geology that makes the Falklands and the Southern Ocean so remarkable.
Your guides will also be available to help you spot the various species of seabirds you will encounter, as well as using their expert eye to spot whales and other cetaceans in the water as you make your way to your next destination.
Day 21 • Your unforgettable Antarctic cruise comes to an end in Ushuaia
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare.
Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.