In Shackleton's Footsteps
An unforgettable polar experience aboard the Greg Mortimer Antarctica and Arctic Cruises
In Shackleton's Footsteps
Walk among enormous king penguin colonies
Explore Elephant Island
Observe Polar wildlife in their natural habitat
Whale watching from your Zodiac
The Polartours experience
Experience the chill of a polar plunge
Hike from Fortuna Bay to Stromness
Your trip is 100% carbon offset
Expedition Parka to take home
This voyage was created as a celebration of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s odyssey, as we try to retrace his steps, but in much more style and comfort! From the northern tip of the Peninsula, we endeavour to dip into the Weddell Sea and onward to Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew spent many months. Finally, we sail across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia, where Shackleton, Worsely and Crean found many new challenges on land. Our expert expedition team will be on hand to provide fascinating facts, stories and show you points of interest from that epic adventure.
We compensate all 5.46 tons of CO2 that this trip will cause.
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).
Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.
Adventure options during the cruise
Your incredible Antarctic adventure starts in Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred with your fellow expeditioners to your assigned pre-voyage hotel. If you are already in Ushuaia, we ask you to make your way to your hotel. Check-in is from 3.00 pm. This afternoon, visit the hospitality desk in the lobby at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, Luis Fernando Martial 1650, between 8.00 am and 12.00 pm, or 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm, to collect your luggage tags, and confirm if you wish to join our Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise (sea lion island) tomorrow. Our team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information on where to dine or purchase last minute items.
Expeditioners arriving after 7.00 pm will find a welcome pack waiting for them at check-in. We ask you to visit our hospitality desk tomorrow between 8.00 am – 10.00 am.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
Embark on your new home, the Greg Mortimer
This morning, enjoy breakfast and check-out. Please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Take your cabin luggage to hotel reception, prior to, or at check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, to be placed in your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Your morning is at leisure to explore Ushuaia.
Those wishing to join our afternoon catamaran cruise, meet back at the hotel lobby at 12.45 pm ready to transfer to the port at 1.00 pm. Here we board our catamaran and sail the Beagle Channel, towards the city’s iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Crossing the Bridges Archipelago we’ll slow down to watch colonies of sea lions and imperial cormorants sun themselves on the rocky outcrops, while gulls, rock cormorants, skuas, petrels, albatrosses and cauquenes are often sighted. Our cruise offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountain range, in addition to hearing tales of the people and communities of the region.
Alternatively, enjoy your day at leisure and meet at your hotel lobby at 3.45 pm to be transferred to the pier for embarkation.
Once onboard, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
This evening get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
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.
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.
The famed Weddell Sea is central to the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which we are here to retrace. In the summer of 1914 Shackleton and his crew of 27 men sailed into the Weddell Sea to attempt the first overland crossing of Antarctica. As they approached their starting point, their ship the Endurance became trapped in sea ice, sinking any hopes they may have had of completing their objective. Little did they know, this was the beginning of a completely unexpected and remarkable journey. The incredible series of events that followed have made Shackleton’s voyage one of the most celebrated in polar history.
Remote and inaccessible, entry into the Weddell Sea is highly prized among polar adventurers. Your passage begins at the northernmost extreme of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the beautifully barren Antarctic Sound. In this seldom-visited part of the Peninsula volcanic peaks tower above penguin colonies, and wave-sculpted icebergs parade through the deep channels leading to the Weddell Sea.
Continuing further east, embrace the expedition spirit as you forge your way as far as possible into the Weddell Sea. The Weddell Sea is renowned for its breathtaking tabular icebergs and expansive sea ice, which attracts an abundance of wildlife, including crabeater seals, Weddell seals and an array of seabirds. Take some time out on deck to observe the flight of storm petrels, prions and Antarctic cormorants drawn here by the rich blooms of Antarctic krill that flourish in the shelter of this ice-covered sea.
As you travel, take a moment to reflect on the truly historic seas you’re sailing. It wasn’t so far from here that the wreck of the Endurance was discovered, mostly intact, on March 5, 2022. Researchers aboard the polar research vessel S.A. Agulhas II were astonished to find the well-preserved vessel only 6.4km (4 miles) south of the position calculated by Captain Worsley in 1915, when he last laid eyes on his ship.
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.
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.
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.
As we sail from South Georgia, you will be enthralled by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow the vessel, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
As we sail on towards Ushuaia you may choose to spend your final precious moments at sea soaking up the views on deck, enjoying the onboard facilities, or attending final lectures. There is plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean, have a drink with newfound friends and reflect on the voyage you’ve shared.
On the final night, celebrate your unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.
We hope you will become ambassadors for the Antarctic region, telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, and advocating for its conservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.
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.
Dates & Prices
Preferred date unavailable? Contact us
Single Cabin Supplement
When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.
All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Ushuaia on Day 1.
Half-day excursion in Ushuaia on Day 2.
Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
Comprehensive pre-departure information.
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
Gratuities for ship’s crew.
What's not included
International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
Airport arrival or departure taxes.
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.
Should I Cross the Drake Passage by Ship or Fly to Antarctica?
When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:
Flying to Antarctica:
Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.
Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.
Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:
Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.
Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.
In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.
What activities can I expect on a Polar Cruise?
All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:
- Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
- Bird Watching
- Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
- Dinghy rides
- Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
- Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.
All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.
How to choose the right ship?
Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:
- Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
- Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
- Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
- Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
- Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
- Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.
In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.
What is the booking process for a Polartours Cruise?
We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!
Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.
Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.
Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.
Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.
Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.
*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.
When is the best time to book?
An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.
Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.
Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.
What can i do to avoid seasickness?
If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.
Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.
Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.
In Shackleton's Footsteps
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