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 Emperor Penguin Quest Snow Hill

Emperor Penguin Quest - Expedition to Snow Hill

Spend two weeks discovering the beauty of Antarctica aboard the Ultramarine Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Length

14 Days

Ship category

Luxury

Ship type

Large Ship

Capacity

199 Passengers

Emperor Penguin Quest - Snow Hill

5 Reviews

Trip highlights

Humpback whales swimming alongside the ship

Reach the colony of thousands of emperor penguins

Experience the chill of a polar plunge

Cross the drake passage

The Polartours experience

Spend five days in the vicinity of Snow Hill

Custom-designed Weddell Sea experiences

Your trip is 100% carbon offset

Polar experts to answer all your questions

Experience a true polar quest as we journey on our new ship, Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters that will fly guests to the vicinity of this rarely-visited rookery, whereupon they will walk across the thick sea ice to stand within metres of the most coveted penguin species on the planet. Anticipate scenes reminiscent of “March of the Penguins” and BBC’s “Frozen Planet.” Just imagine the penguins tobogganing across the ice towards the sea. Such wildlife moments are too precious for words!

Celebrate Snow Hill’s majestic moments on ice, alongside more than 4,000 pairs of breeding Emperor penguins and their chicks. Revel in the once-in-a-lifetime wonders of the Weddell Sea, and set foot on the seventh continent’s eastern Peninsula. Join us at Snow Hill. Be part of a legendary story, and write one of your own.

Your ship: Ultramarine

Ultramarine
Ultramarine Deck Plan
Ultramarine

Welcome aboard the Ultramarine! One of the newest cruise ships in the Polar fleet, Ultramarine was designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration - to discover new places and immerse you in the best of the region. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, it offers robust adventure activities. It features the category’s most spacious suites, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships of its size. It also features a best-in-class operational range and an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards. … Read more about Ultramarine

Cabins

Ultramarine explorer suite
Explorer Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

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Ultramarine ultra suite
Ultra Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Ultramarine owners suite
Owner's Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Ultramarine deluxe balcony
Deluxe Balcony Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Ultramarine explorer triple
Explorer Triple Cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

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Ultramarine balcony suite
Balcony Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Ultramarine penthouse
Penthouse Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Ultramarine solo panorama
Solo Panorama Cabin

Type:

Single

Max. occupancy:

1

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Ultramarine terrace suite
Terrace Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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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.

Paddling Excursion

0 Days

Paddling Excursion

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Enjoy being out on Polar waters on a two-person inflatable kayak, which enables you to enjoy a more intimate sailing experience in an unforgettable location. The kayaks are stable and comfortable, the perfect vehicle to see the Polar regions from a different perspective. This is a one-time activity, and no prior experience is necessary. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Stand Up Paddleboarding

0 Days

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Combine surfing and kayaking into one fun and unique Antarctic experience. Stand-up paddle boarding is conducted in small adventurous groups, accompanied by a safety Zodiac boat. You’ll paddle around in calm bays and harbors, in good weather conditions only. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Buenos Aires Casa Rosada
Buenos Aires Puerto Madero
Tango in Buenos Aires

Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Morning in Ushuaia

Embark 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.

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.

Ultramarine Quark Expeditions
Snow Hill   Antarctica
Ultramarine Quark Expeditions

Onboard presentations by world-respected experts will enrich your polar quest, conveying what it was like a century ago for the brave polar heroes who embraced the unknown. You’ll also learn more about the ice-dwelling emperor penguins.

Emperor Penguin Quest Snow Hill  Quark Expeditions
Snow Hill   Antarctica
 Emperor Penguin Quest Snow Hill

Paulet Island

Snow Hill Hut

Devil Island, Vega Island

The journey toward Snow Hill Island will put you in explorer mode as the captain and Expedition Leader keep you updated through weather briefings, meteorological and sea ice condition reports. The thickness of ice will determine how close Ultramarine can get to Snow Hill Island, then our twin-engine helicopters will take over.

Like summitting a mountain from base camp, parties will set out from Ultramarine towards the emperor penguin colony. Their adventure begins with an extended helicopter transfer that will reveal a landscape of snow-capped peaks and apartment-building-sized tabular icebergs. The rookery itself is located on the sea ice off the south coast of Snow Hill Island and the landing will be as close to the penguins as possible, yet at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Upon landing, your party will walk across the ice to the fabled emperor penguin colony. The wind. The ice beneath your feet. Walking next to paths in the snow carved by penguins that came before. And then there are the incredible sounds of the penguins in the distance as you march toward one of the rarest wildlife opportunities on the planet: the colony of thousands and thousands of rarely-seen emperor penguins.

The goal of the expedition is to get every guest to the remote rookery once. The Expedition Team and special experts will be close by to answer your questions and ensure you take in everything there is to see. You’ll observe close up how the emperor penguins behave as a tight-knit community, how they care for their young, and how they body surf across the ice in a way that can only be described as quirky yet efficient. The helicopter expedition in search of the emperor colony might just be the adventure of a lifetime

And while at base on Ultramarine with your attentive Expedition Team, you’ll be immersed each day in the polar experience of the Weddell Sea. Daily activities will include Zodiac cruising among the icebergs, adventuring and learning while atop the ice, paddle-on-top kayaking, or working with our team to observe the weather forecasting and ship operations up close.

A particularly enriching component of your voyage will be the bespoke educational programs tailored specifically for this expedition that offer both traditional (lecture format) and hands-on opportunities for learning about this fascinating region. Each day our polar experts, who include penguin scientists, biologists and polar historians, will present on various aspects of emperor penguins and their behaviors, ice formations such as the tabular icebergs which you’ll see from the deck of your ship, and the experiences of polar explorers who braved the Weddell Sea over a century ago. Or you might, on one of these days, decide to take the polar plunge, or test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Then again, maybe you’ll enjoy a little pampering. If so, you can choose from Ultramarine’s excellent onboard amenities, including the spa, sauna and fitness room.

The emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill is the goal of this expedition. However, if weather or ice conditions prevent us from visiting the colony or shorten the duration of our visit, we may explore some of these other sites. Your possible landings in Antarctica will take place on the eastern side of the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic Mountains and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land.

Brown Bluff An immense cliff of volcanic rock, towers 2,225 feet (678 meters) over rookeries of Adélie and gentoo penguins, some of which will be incubating their eggs.

Devil Island The Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04 discovered the narrow island, which is 1 mile (1.6 km) long and has a low summit at each end.

Hope Bay Three members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-04) spent the winter in a hut on the shores of Hope Bay. The hut is located close to the jetty of Esperanza Station, an Argentine research station.

Paulet Island Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. With a volcanic cone that rises 1,158 feet (353 meters), the island reminds you that this was once a very active landscape. In addition to penguins, you may be interested in visiting a historic hut built by members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. A cross marks the gravesite of crew member Ole Wennersgaard.

Seymour Island Northeast of Snow Hill Island is a smaller island that was originally mistaken for a cape. Seymour Island is significant for fossil finds and for the remains of the KT Boundary, which marks the transition between the Cretaceous Period (dinosaurs and reptiles) and the Tertiary Period (mammals) of geological times. This era is known for the mass extinction of many forms of life, including dinosaurs.

Ultramarine Quark Expeditions
South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands

A final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Southern Ocean air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, and celebrate the experiences you've shared getting off the beaten track in the remarkable world of 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.

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a little taste of Patagonia with a Tierra del Fuego National Park tour before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

Dates & Prices

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

15

Nov

2025

28

Nov

2025

Available

From

USD 33,765

15

Nov

2025

28

Nov

2025

Available

From

USD 33,765

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

Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities

All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program

All shore landings as per the daily program

Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping

All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)

Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock

Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled

A photographic journal documenting the expedition

A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions

A parka to keep

Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin

All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program

All luggage handling aboard the ship

Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person

What's not included

International airfare

Passport and applicable visa expenses

Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned

Meals unless otherwise specified

Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended

Excess-baggage fees on international flights and domestic flights

Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned

Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified

Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)

Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew

Additional overnight accommodation

Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated

Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities

Reviews

Majestic Face of Ice from an Iceberg in Torssukatak

Richard

Ultramarine Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Luxury

Possibly the best was the Walrus colony onshore. Life altering was realising the lagoon we were anchored in was 10 years ago a glacier (Copied from Swoop Arctic)

QuarkExpeditions_ Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears

Shari

Ultramarine Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Luxury

Beautiful ship, though my cabin did have an weird odour issue. Dinner at night not fantastic. I felt it had been prepared way too early and had been sitting there and heated at the time . Though I could be wrong . My favourite meal was lunch due to fresh salads (copied from Swoop Arctic)

Quark Expeditions - Weddell Seal

Mlmgallant

Ultramarine Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Luxury

That Quark only does the Arctic regions and that they have a brand new state of the art ship, the Ultramarine, made the choice of expedition cruise line easy. Additionally, the itinerary of following the epic expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton I knew would be very special. Quark exceeded my expectations in every way. The ship’s physical spaces were well designed and comfortable. My penthouse suite had more storage than we needed. Heated bathroom floors, en suite Nespresso machine and the option of room service dining was 5 star! The crew was well trained and gracious. The expedition leaders were outstanding. Shout out to the leader, Solan . The captain made frequent adjustments to maximize our experience. Fitness facilities were very nice. A fully equipped gym, sauna and spa…all with floor to ceiling windows. Finally, the Ship management handled Covid protocols very well. We have had 5 PCR tests and are Covid free! You will have a great experience on the Ultramarine. (Copied from Cruisecritic)

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
Emperor Penguin Quest - Snow Hill

4.6

(5)

Luxury

From

USD 33,765



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