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Sylvia Earle

Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld

An expedition cruise to Antarctica, the "White Continent". Join us aboard the Sylvia Earle!

Length

14 Days

Ship category

Premium

Ship type

Mid-Sized Ship

Capacity

132 Passengers

Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld

Trip highlights

Penguin rookeries

Leopard Seals on ice floes

Breaching whales

Awe at immense icebergs

The Polartours experience

Fly the Drake Passage

60% fewer fuel emissions on board

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Expedition Jacket

Early Antarctic explorers returned from their voyages to the deep south with tales of a magnificent, ice-covered land teeming with life. Experience the jaw-dropping beauty and immensity of Antarctica and discover the amazing wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula, where giant glaciers tumble into the sea, penguins inhabit below soaring peaks, and humpback and minke whales dine on abundant krill. Bonus: You'll reduce your time on the high seas by flying at least one way across the infamous Drake Passage.

Your ship: Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle Final Exterior
Sylvia Earle deck plan
Sylvia Earle Final Exterior

Welcome aboard the Sylvia Earle, a brand-new cruise ship named after the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National and Atmospheric Administration. Sylvia Earle was also named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. Set to sail in November 2022, this powerful new ship honors Sylvia’s long-standing marine conservation efforts. Built for intense weather conditions, the Sylvia Earle is a pioneer in nautical technology. Sail the Arctic or the Antarctic like never before aboard one of the most modern and elegant cruise ships.

The Sylvia Earle was created for the most rugg … Read more about Sylvia Earle

Cabins

Junior suite sylvia earle
Junior Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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captain's suite sylvia earle
Captain’s Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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balcony stateroom C sylvia earle
Balcony Stateroom C

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Aurora stateroom superior sylvia earle
Aurora Stateroom Superior

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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balcony stateroom A sylvia earle
Balcony Stateroom A

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Aurora stateroom twin sylvia earle
Aurora Stateroom Triple

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

3

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balcony stateroom B sylvia earle
Balcony Stateroom B

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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balcony stateroom superior sylvia earle
Balcony Stateroom Superior

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Junior Suite Douglas Mawson
Junior Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

Sea-Kayaking-What-To-Wear-In-Antarctica

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Sea Kayaking

Embark on an exhilarating sea kayaking adventure in some of the world's most magnificent and biodiverse wilderness areas, including Antarctica and the Arctic. Take in the breathtaking scenery as you navigate through ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. In Antarctica, spend unforgettable moments with penguins, seals and whales, and keep an eye out for the occasional encounter with leopard seals or killer whales. In the Arctic, paddle through bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around huge icebergs. Led by experienced guides, you will join a small group of like-minded adventurers to explore the picturesque coastlines of these wild and remote destinations. Paddling offers an intimate and unique way to experience the beauty of these regions and make the most of your time there. Important: This activity is subject to weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Polar Snorkeling

0 Days

Polar Snorkeling

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Witness active wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll awe at the amazing speed and grace of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and swim through marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs! This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension. This excusrion is led by our expert polar guides, and includes state of the art equipment like drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to comfortably experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle. Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking in the delightful sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions 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 Aurora Expeditions 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.

Assigned accommodation: Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

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.

Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
Beagle Channel

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team will help you prepare for our first landing, introducing you to important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and starting our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our Antarctic wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds often seen soaring around the ship, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following our vessel. On sea days you can enjoy the facilities on board the vessel, including the gym, wellness centre and well-stocked polar library, or take in the sea views from one of the observation lounges.

On day four the excitement is palpable as you near the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, with everyone converging on the observation decks to spot their first iceberg. Now that you’re south of the Antarctic Convergence the ocean takes on a whole new character, as you’re surrounded by porpoising penguins and dramatic icebergs. The memory of your first iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime.

Time and weather permitting, we may attempt our first Antarctic landing in the late afternoon.

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Stepping outside and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience to cherish forever.

Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore.

It was here that Nordenskjold and his team caught their first glimpses of Antarctica and made their first landings, just over one hundred years ago. After making landfall at Harmony Cove and exploring the South Shetland Islands, they continued into the Gerlache and Orleans Straits, creating the first detailed charts of these coastlines from their wooden sailboat, the Antarctic.

Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

While on the Peninsula we generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Make sure you rug up before joining a Zodiac cruise to view spectacular ice cliffs or explore grounded icebergs, keeping an eye out for whales, seals and penguins, which frequently travel and feed in these waters. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic sites and explore some of our favourite spots along the Peninsula.

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship-cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to marvel at sculptural icebergs and photograph spectacular scenery. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge (open at the Captain’s discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they break off, calving into the sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Towards the Weddell Sea

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.

When Captain Carl Anton Larsen skilfully steered the Antarctic through these waters in 1902, the Swedish Antarctic Expedition became the first to transit this now-famed waterway, which is named for their vessel. Unbeknownst to him, their uneventful passage through the Antarctic Sound was a stroke of good fortune: the region has since gained the nickname ‘Iceberg Alley’ and a reputation for being frequently filled with ice driven into the sound by the powerful Weddell Gyre.

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. This part of the Weddell Sea is also a stronghold for Adelie penguins, which flourish in the presence of abundant ice and krill.

This is the natural amphitheater where the grand drama of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (SAE) unfolded, and sites of historical significance are scattered across the eastern shores of the Antarctic Peninsula. As you sail through these historic seas, join your expedition team in the lecture room to hear presentations on the local wildlife and geology, and the stunning story of struggle and survival behind Nordenskjold’s adventure.

One of the great legacies of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition was the discovery of an extensive array of fossils including gastropods, large clams, and ammonites. Nordenskjold, a trained geologist, was inspired to visit the region after Captain Carl Anton Larsen discovered petrified wood on Seymour Island during an earlier Antarctic expedition in 1892. Returning to the same region, Nordenskjold collected the first samples of fossilised penguins, and discovered plant fossils from the Jurassic era. These discoveries led him to theorise that Antarctica may once have been much warmer, and covered by temperate forest with ferns and tropical plants, a view widely accepted today.

We aim to cruise these dramatic coastlines explored by Nordenskjold and his men, and attempt to land at some of the historic locations that provided a backdrop for this incredible story of Antarctic survival.

Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
Beagle Channel

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.

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Ushuaia, located in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, serves as the southernmost city in the world and the starting point for many Antarctic expedition cruises.

The city offers a range of options, from small-ship expeditions to larger vessel tours, providing travelers with an unforgettable experience in the remote and beautiful Antarctic. Many cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands, allowing visitors to see diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.

In addition to the natural beauty, Ushuaia also boasts a rich history and a stunning national park, making it a unique destination worth exploring. Overall, Ushuaia is the perfect base for those seeking adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Antarctic.

Info

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.

What's included

Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1

One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1

City tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 (lunch not included)

Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2

Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas on Day 10. NOTE: Please be advised that the permitted luggage allowance is 20 kilograms of check-in luggage plus one piece of carry-on luggage weighing no more than 7 kilos

Transfer to hotel in Punta Arenas on Day 10

One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas on Day 10

On-board 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 reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages

Free Wi-Fi on board

All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises

Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team

Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)

A 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

What's not included

International or domestic flights, unless specified

Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary

Airport arrival or departure taxes

Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges

Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges

Hotels and meals not included in itinerary

Optional excursions not included in the itinerary

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, additional medical expenses such as medication, gratuities, phone charges

Credit Card charges may apply

A fuel surcharge may apply at a later stage. More info

FAQ

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.

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
  • Kayaking
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld
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