Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld
An expedition cruise to Antarctica, the "White Continent". Join us aboard the Sylvia Earle!
Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld
Leopard Seals on ice floes
Awe at immense icebergs
The Polartours experience
Fly the Drake Passage
60% fewer fuel emissions on board
Your trip is 100% carbon offset
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.
We compensate all 2.86 tons of CO2 that this trip will cause.
Your ship: Sylvia Earle
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
Citizen Science Laboratory
Food & Drinks
Arguably the most important part of any trip- The food! A Sylvia Earle 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 wine, 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 Sylvia Earle 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.
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
Arrive in Ushuaia
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
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.
Crossing the Drake
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.
Weddell Sea Region & Antarctic Peninsula
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 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.
Disembark in Ushuaia
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.
Dates & Prices
- No solo supplement and/or 2000 USD Off
No solo supplement and/or 2000 USD Off
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Why is insurance mandatory on all Polar cruises?
There is no doubt the Arctic and Antarctic are some of the world's most remote destinations. In order to visit with complete piece of mind, your safety MUST be taken into consideration.
A Polar expedition is one of the most singular travel experiences you could ever have. Its isolated location comes with a unique set of health-and-safety-related requirements. It is mandatory to be reasonably fit and in possession of a comprehensive travel insurance policy that’ll cover medical and evacuation expenses. We know Polar expedition cruises can be quite expensive, which is why we also strongly recommend Trip Cancellation Coverage in addition to your medical policy.
All Polar tour operators insist you purchase Travel Insurance covering emergency Medical evacuation and repatriation. This is mandatory for all Polar trips! An emergency evacuation from an Antarctic cruise expedition can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without this coverage, tour operators will refuse your boarding. While the chances of you using this are very slim to none, it is better be safe than sorry.
What should you look for when choosing travel insurance for Arctic/Antarctica expeditions?
A good, reliable insurance company should offer comprehensive Antarctica-specific insurance with a minimum 1 million USD evacuation coverage and medical fees.
Most tour operators in the Arctic require cover of $200,000 for evacuation or repatriation.
If you are an EU resident, please inquire about insurance packages from our partner by clicking here.
What is a fuel surcharge?
Global oil prices are extremely unpredictable. With that in mind, ship operators who operate in the polar regions are at liberty to implement a fuel surcharge as they see fit. In addition to the fuel pricing changes, all vessels visiting Antarctica are required to use much higher-grade and expensive fuel under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty.
While the charge itself will depend on the ship and duration of the cruise, it is possible that a surchage will be added to your final invoice. If this is the case, you will receive a formal e-mail from your travel specialist with an explanation and your new cruise total added to your final invoice.
We appreciate your understanding and are grateful for your trust and business.
Deep Weddell following Nordenskjöld
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