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Greg Mortimer Antarctica

In Shackleton's Footsteps

An unforgettable polar experience aboard the Sylvie Earle Antarctica and Arctic Cruises

Length

20 Days

Ship category

Premium

Ship type

Mid-Sized Ship

Capacity

132 Passengers

In Shackleton's Footsteps

Trip highlights

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 booking contributes to our Conservation Project

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.

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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balcony stateroom superior sylvia earle
Balcony Stateroom Superior

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

More about this cabin

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

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.

Polar snowshoeing

0 Days

Polar Snowshoeing

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow easy and fun, allowing you to visit places others struggle to reach in boots alone. You’ll have your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, and the expert guides will provide you with all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to summit to some of Antarctica’s best viewpoints, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica! The minimum age for this activity is 14. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

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

0 Days

5.0

(1)

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

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Arrival at 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.

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Morning in Ushuaia

Embark in Ushuaia

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

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.

Antarctic Peninsula
Before and After Antarctic Peninsula
South Georgia

Cuverville Island

Georges Point, Rongé Island

Neko Harbour

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Goudier Island

Danco Island, Errera Channel

Damoy Point

Jougla Point

Astrolabe Island

Orne Harbour

D’Hainaut & Trinity Island

Orne Islands

Portal Point

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.

Greg Mortimer
 Greg Mortimer Antarctica
Greg Mortimer

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.

Elephant Island
Elephant Island
Scotia Sea

Elephant Island

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.

Scotia Sea
Scotia Sea
Scotia Sea

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.

Albatros Expeditions Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica
Oceanwide Expeditions Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica
Oceanwide Expeditions Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica

South Georgia and Scotia Sea

Gold Harbour

Elsehul Bay

St. Andrew's Bay

Grytviken, Fortuna Bay

Cooper Bay

Ocean Harbour

Prion Island

Salisbury Plain

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.

Oceanwide expeditions South Georgia Special
Albatros Expeditions Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica
Albatros Expeditions Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica

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.

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

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

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

1

Nov

2025

20

Nov

2025

Available

From

EUR 18,780

EUR 23,475

1

Nov

2025

20

Nov

2025

Available

From

EUR 18,780

EUR 23,475

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

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

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.

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
In Shackleton's Footsteps
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From

EUR 18,780



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