An Antarctica Cruise with Polartours on board the G Expedition

Polar Circle Quest

An epic Antarctic journey all the way to the Polar Circle

Polar Circle Quest

On board the Ushuaia
12-day cruise
Antarctic Cruise
100 Reviews
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Medical Services
24h Doctor Station
Expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, & endeavor to cross the Polar Circle.

Your itinerary

Day 1, PM
Embarking ship
Embark
Boarding usually begins in the afternoon. Everyone will have a safety briefing and demonstration, and then you are free to explore your new floating home and meet your fellow Antarctic explorers! Later, you'll get an expedition overview from your fantastic expedition guides. You'll spend the night on board as your ship begins its journey south.
Day 1, PM
Beagle Channel
Sail the Beagle Channel & Lectures
This 150-mile long channel between Chile and Argentina leads from Ushuaia towards the open Southern Ocean. It's only 3 miles wide at its narrowest point, giving you some spectacular scenery as your ship navigates its way to or from the ocean. You can spot rare local dolphins here, as well as a huge variety of sea and shorebirds.
Day 2, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 3, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 4, AM
Antarctic Peninsula
Sail to the Antarctic Peninsula & Lectures
The weather in the Antarctic can be unpredictable and conditions can change quickly. Your highly experienced captain and bridge crew will skilfully navigate these ice-laden waters, bringing you ever closer to your first landing on the Antarctic continent.
Day 4, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Horseshoe Island
Horseshoe Island
Horseshoe Island is well named. The 3000ft high peaks here are arranged in a crescent shape and were first mapped by air by intrepid British explorers in the 1930s. The island sits in Square Bay, off the coast of Graham Land. You will land at the northwestern tip of Horshoe Island in Sally Cove. From here, it’s a short walk north to the amazingly preserved hut known as “Base Y” or Horseshoe Station. This was established in 1955 as a scientific base and was closed permanently in 1960. Although unused for over 60 years, Base Y is in a remarkable state of preservation and represents a model example of a fully-equipped exploration and scientific base of the time. Inside the hut, you will be able to carefully explore by torchlight as you see artifacts from a bygone age. These include the original base generator, tools, light fixtures, tins and packets of original rations, and more items from the daily lives of the scientists who made Horshoe Island their temporary homes. Although this time-capsule building is the star of the show, it’s not unusual to encounter seals and skuas on or near to the landing site here.
Day 4, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Stonington Island
Stonington Island
For such a tiny, rock island (it’s less than half a mile by a quarter of a mile), Stonington holds a lot of the human history of Antarctica. It’s found in Marguerite Bay off the west of Graham Land. It was home to not one, but two winter expeditions. In 1939, the US Antarctic Service chose it as the location to build what became known as East Base. The buildings and artifacts here are now protected as a monument. Visitors can enter the main hut to experience something of what it would have been like to spend the dark and frozen winters on Stonington. Later in the 1940s, the British chose the same small island for the location of their “Base E”. Again, visitors can enter the main hut and also the generator shed. Like the American base, there are other ancillary buildings that can’t be entered due to their status as protected monuments. There are permanent shutters on the windows of Base E, so your guide should provide you with torches if you venture inside. In a solemn reminder of the harshness of the continent, there is also a gravesite where two expedition members are buried in coffins covered by simple stone cairns. An important breeding site for birds, Stonington Island supports a colony of over 130 pairs of imperial shags, as well as nesting sites for skuas and terns.
Day 5, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- D’Hainaut Island, Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island
D’Hainaut Island, Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island
D’Hainaut Island is a tiny rock island in Mikkelsen Harbour. It’s less than half a square mile in size, and it’s approached through a small bay that’s lined with dramatic cliffs of ice. It was first mapped by a French expedition in 1910. The island often remains snow-covered until very late in the season, and the captain of your Antarctic cruise vessel will expertly navigate through the shallow reefs that are in the bay. This island was used extensively for whaling, and there are artifacts and bones dotted around the island. D’Hainaut is one of the few Antarctic visitor sites where you can roam freely around the whole island, taking care not to disturb any of the artifacts and watching your step on the rocks, of course. There is a small historic refuge here that was built originally by the Argentine Navy in the 1950s, then again in the 1970s, and most recently in 2017. However, the refuge can’t be entered except in emergencies. There is also plenty of evidence of the whaling industry on the island. You can find the wrecks of several boats as well as many whale bones. There is a lively Gentoo penguin colony here, and you can often find Fur Seals basking in the sun.
Day 5, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Portal Point
Portal Point
Portal Point is a narrow, rocky point on the northeast of the Reclus Peninsula off Graham Land. It was named by British explorers as it formed part of the “gateway” for the route to the Antarctic Plateau. In 1956, a refuge hut was established here, known as Cape Reclus Refuge. It was only used for two winters and then abandoned. In 1996, the hut was removed and is now in the Falklands Island Museum. All that’s left of the refuge on the Point are the remains of its foundations, often not visible under the frequent snow cover. Indeed, this year-round snow is why there are no penguin colonies here. However, Portal Point is a popular place for Weddell seals to haul out, and while you are landing you will often see them in good numbers.
Day 5, PM
Cuverville Island
Cuverville Island
This small, steep-sided island is only 1.5 by 1.25 miles and two-thirds of it sits under a permanent ice-cap. On its northern shore is a pebble and boulder beach backed by steep cliffs where you will arrive by zodiac from your Antarctic cruise vessel and come ashore. At both ends of this beach are impressive Gentoo penguin colonies. You will be able to clearly see the trails they use to make their way too and from the water. There are other colonies and nesting sites on the higher ground behind the beach, and throughout the island. You can also see the evidence of the whaling activity that went on here in the early 1900s, including discarded whalebones and the remains of the equipment used to hall them ashore for processing. This small island is carefully protected - only one ship at a time may land passengers here and there are other restrictions to ensure the wildlife is not unnecessarily disturbed. Some areas of the island are closed to visitors, but the rest allows you to roam freely, and your expert guides will show you the resident flora and fauna, as well as explaining the island’s whaling history.
Day 5, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Neko Harbor
Neko Harbour
Neko Harbour is an inlet on Andvord Bay off the coast of Graham Land in the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by a Belgian expedition in the early 1900s. This sheltered inlet was named after The Neko, a Scottish whaling vessel that worked these waters between 1910 and 1925. Neko Harbor has a beach and a rocky outcrop that is surrounded by glaciers and towering cliffs. This is a popular site as the glaciers that surround this bay regularly carve during the season, leading to some stunning photo and video opportunities if you are lucky! There used to be a refuge hut here that was built by Argentina in 1949, and was in irregular use all the way until 2009 when it was destroyed in a severe storm. It has since been cleared from the site, with just a few remains now to be seen. The gentoo penguins that live here and used to surround the refuge hut don’t seem to mind that it has gone! Their noisy cries will great you as you land on the beach. You can often also see Weddell seals here in the sea or hauled out on the beach at Neko Harbour. There are also skuas and kelp gulls seen regularly here.
Day 6, AM
Goudier Island
Goudier Island
Goudier Island is a small, low-lying island of bare, polished rock just 100 yards from Jougla Point in Port Lockroy Harbour. It’s part of the larger Wiencke Island. Often surrounded by sea ice, any snow cover on the island usually melts away by the end of the summer. Goudier is home to “Base A” - established by the British in wartime in 1944 - which was used as a scientific research station until the early 1960s. After falling into disrepair, the station was restored in the 1990s and is now looked after by a Heritage Trust. The base is permanently occupied, and its inhabitants still conduct important survey work on the penguin colony for the British Antarctic Survey. You will usually be briefed by the Base Leader before you land ashore, and only 35 visitors are allowed inside the Base at any time. This is to ensure the artifacts and the fabric of the base are preserved. This “time capsule” gives a fascinating insight into the work and lives of early Antarctic research pioneers and how they lived on Goudier Island. Access to the rest of the island is usually restricted to marked paths, both to protect wildlife and because the surface is uneven and slippery. However, you will be able to observe the resident penguin colony, and can also spot other birds and seals on the shores and in the sea.
Day 6, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Jougla Point
Jougla Point
Found at the western end of Wiencke Island in Port Lockroy, Jougla Point is a very rocky peninsula with many small coves. It was first mapped in 1903 by a French Antarctic expedition and forms the entrance to Alice Creek. The approach to the point is nothing short of dramatic! You will have stunning views of glaciers, snow cornices, and steep, crevassed snowfields as you enter the harbor. Your landing here will be against rocks on the northeastern end of the point. Like many bays and coves in the area, Jougla Point has artifacts and remains from the whaling industry. You will see whale bones at the sites where the carcasses were dragged ashore for processing. Your expert Antarctic guides will take you along Jougla Point to observe the Gentoo penguin colony as well as the blue-eyed shag nesting areas. Other wildlife you can observe are kelp gulls and skuas, with seals also a frequent sight. You will be able to roam freely around the beach area to observe and photograph, with your guides on hand to answer any questions you may have and to ensure visitors keep away from any closed breeding areas.
Day 6, PM
South of the Polar Circle
South of the Polar Circle
The Polar Circles are two imaginary lines in the northern and southern hemispheres that denote where the Arctic and Antarctic begin. For us, everything south of our polar circle is Antarctica. There are actually very few bases or scientific stations inside the southern polar circle as the ice conditions make getting personnel and equipment in and out difficult by ship and treacherous or impossible by air. However, Argentina and the UK do manage to maintain permanent stations in Marguerite Bay, and Chile has a summer station at the bay entrance. This bay is below the polar circle, and your ship will do its best to cross the “line” here by sailing beyond the Biscoe Islands towards the bay if sea and ice conditions permit. It’s a moment to celebrate, and perhaps to reflect on the lives lost in the human endeavor to explore every part of our world and to understand it for the benefit of future generations.
Day 7, AM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Detaille
Detaille Island
Detaille Island is a small island in the Lallemand Fjord, part of the Arrowsmith Peninsula in Graham Land. It’s not much more than a rocky outcrop with gravel beaches, but it contains one of the best-preserved historic monuments in the Antarctic. Detaille was home to “Base W” of the British Antarctic Survey. It was constructed in 1956 and was in use until 1959 when it was closed. Due to bad weather, the supply ship that was sent to take the men and equipment off the island couldn’t get any closer than 30 miles away. This meant that the men had to leave very quickly and with only the personal belongings that they could carry so the ship could depart as quickly as possible. Because of these circumstances, Base W is almost completely intact. As you look around the hut you will be greeted with the eerie sight of tables still set out with condiments, shelves neatly stacked with tin and jars, and everyday equipment like washing machines, tools, and even coats, longjohns, and bottles of gin and whisky (empty!). Preserved by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, this is a remarkable insight into the early post-war scientific explorations of this amazing continent, and it makes Detaille Island and Base W a “must-visit” on any Antarctic itinerary.
Day 7, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Yalour Islands
Yalour Islands
The Yalour Islands (also sometimes called Jalour Islands) are a 1.5-mile long group of small islands and protruding rocks off Cape Tuxen in Graham Land. The islands were discovered and named in 1903 by the French Antarctic expedition led by Charcot. Most of the Yalour Islands are steep-sided or unsuitable for landing due to sea conditions, but the largest island has some cobbled beaches where you can put ashore. Visitors come here to make the short climb up from the beach to the Adelie penguin breeding colonies. There are thought to be around 8,000 breeding pairs of Adelies in the Yalour Islands, and they have nested on every bit of rock they can find that’s not snow-covered. It makes for an amazing sight as you come in to land on the beach! Photographic opportunities here are excellent. The high mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula form a stunning backdrop to shots of the Adelie nest sites. Your expert guides will lead you around, showing you the best sites, and answering all your questions about the penguins and their lives.
Day 7, PM
South Shetland Islands
Sail to the South Shetland Islands & Lectures
As you sail towards the South Shetland Islands your expert guides will entertain and educate you with a series of lectures and talks. From natural history to human history, geology to marine biology, there's something for everyone. All of the crew are experts in the field chosen not only for their huge depth of knowledge but also for their passion and enthusiasm. They really make this most remote of the world's regions come alive.
Day 8, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Telefon Bay
Telefon Bay on Deception Island
Deception Island is the eroded cone of an active volcano, that last erupted in 1967. It sits in the Bransfield Strait and is part of the South Shetland Islands. Telefon Bay is on the northwest coast of the volcano and is overlooked by Telefon Ridge. Despite the name, the bay has nothing to do with communications! It was first mapped in 1908 and was named after a Norwegian ship, the SS Telefon, that had been damaged and was put aground here for repairs later that year before being refloated. The backdrop to the beach is dramatic. In the rising land behind it, you will see a number of volcanic craters, some of which are up to 150ft deep - although gradually being filled in with ice and sediments. To the east and west are cliffs made of ash that were the result of activity in the 1967 eruption that impacted Telefon Bay. You will be allowed to roam freely here, provided you stick to the main paths and give any penguins a wide berth! You will often see scientific equipment placed around the bay that is used for monitoring any seismic disturbances - it will be clearly marked to help you avoid it. The shallow beach here is a favorite place for seals to haul out, and you can often encounter both Weddell and fur seals as you come in for a landing.
Day 8, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Baily Head, Deception Island
Baily Head on Deception Island
Deception Island one of the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The island is actually the top of the cone (the caldera) of an active shield volcano that last erupted in 1969. This flooded caldera makes a remarkable natural harbor, although Baily Head itself is on the eastern outer flank of the cone. The geography here makes a natural bowl in the landscape, with the long rocky beach leading up to a curving ridge above. To the north is an impressive glacier. As you approach the beach at Baily Head you will begin to hear the amazing noise that a colony of over 200,000 chinstrap penguins can make! During the summer, the glacial melt stream allows them to create a penguin “highway” that the birds follow to and from the sea, hundreds moving back and forth at any time. Your expert Antarctic guides will take you to the edge of the breeding groups, allow you to experience this remarkable sight without disturbing the birds. Other regular visitors to the Head include Antarctic Fur Seals who regularly haul up on to the beach, with crabeater, elephant, Weddell, and leopard seals also sometimes being seen in the surrounding waters. Overhead you will find skuas, petrels, and sheathbills, all of whom also like to nest in the sheltered rocks of Baily Head.
Day 8, PM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Pendulum Cove
Pendulum Cove
Pendulum Cove is a small bay on the northern side of the natural harbor formed by the flooded cone of the live volcano that is Deception Island. One of the South Shetland Islands, Deception offers several visitor points, of which Pendulum Cove is definitely worth a visit. The cove came by its unusual name as it was named by the British expedition of Henry Foster in 1829. The site here was used by the explorers to take magnetic measurements as well as studying the movement of pendulums this close to the south pole. It was one of these experiments that gave the cove its name. If setting foot on the other sites on Deception Island doesn’t feel like you are standing on an active volcano, Pendulum Cove will remind you! In places here, water heated by geothermal activity can reach 160F. Your expert Antarctic guide will show you safe areas where hot water mixes with the cold Antarctic seawater to provide a most unusual polar “spa” experience. It’s warm while you are in the water, but you might regret it when it’s time to get out and get dry! There are Gentoo and chinstrap penguins on the beach, and they don’t seem to mind sharing their warm water with human visitors - just remember that in Antarctica, wildlife has the right of way! This part of the volcanic crater was hit hardest by the last eruption in 1969. There is a historic site here, the remains of Chilean research station Base Aguirre Cerda that was overwhelmed. The twisted, rusting fragments of the remains can be viewed from a safe distance. A somber reminder of the forces still at work under your feet. You may well see scientists at work and come across instruments. These are part of the real-time monitoring of seismic activity on Deception Island and Pendulum Cove in particular.
Day 8, PM
Antarctica- Visitor Site Whaler's Bay
Whalers Bay
Whalers Bay is a small natural harbor on Deception Island, one of the South Shetland Islands. An active volcano, the crater forms a natural sheltered inlet that was historically used by sealers and then whalers from the 1820s. The geography makes it a perfect place for ships to shelter in rough weather, and Whaler’s Bay contains some of the most significant whaling artifacts and remains to be found in the whole of Antarctica. As your ship sails through the narrow “break” in the volcanic caldera known as Neptunes Bellows, the wide, circular beach of Whaler’s Bay is found to the right. The beach runs uninterrupted for one and a quarter miles and was used as a runway in the 1950s and 1960s when the site was the main hub of British Antarctic air movements. The hangar that was built in 1960 can be visited at the northern end of the beach where you can also see a roller that was used to maintain the runway. At the southern end of the beach are large, rusted oil tanks, and behind them are buildings from the period 1906 to 1931. There was a significant whaling industry here, with the sheltered and shallow beach making it an ideal place to land whale carcasses and process them. While you explore all this remarkable human history, please remember that you are standing on an active volcano! The instruments you may see around the beach in the Whalers Bay area are seismic monitors, and the island is monitored for activity 24 hours a day. The last eruption was in 1969, and this was responsible for some of the mudflows and damage to the buildings and metal tanks that you see here. The penguins don’t seem to be worried, though! Chinstraps and Gentoos can always be seen along the beach here, and it’s not unusual to encounter fur seals who have hauled out to rest and watch the humans. There are also plenty of Antarctic seabirds to see, including petrels, skuas, Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls.
Day 9, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Hannah Point
Hannah Point
Hannah Point is a dramatic peninsula on the south coast of Livingston Island in the South Shetlands. Its ridge forms the sides of two bays - Walker Bay and South Bay. The rocks climb steadily upwards to sheer cliffs and knife-edged ridges more than 160ft above the sea level. There are frequent rock falls, and your guides will point out the vein of jasper - a red mineral - that cuts through the cliffs here. The area was used for hunting by 19th-century sealers, and the British Antarctic Survey has a base camp here known as Station P for the winter of 1957. The Hannah Point area is rich with antarctic wildlife. Elephant seals haul out and travel to a clifftop wallow pool where they can oversee their domain. Antarctic fur seals are also frequent visitors. Gentoo and macaroni penguins love to nest here but are seen all year round. Kelp gulls are almost always wheeling overhead. Other bird species you will encounter are snowy sheathbills, blue-eyed shags, giant petrels, and skuas. There is sometimes such an abundance of wildlife here that you may have to wait for a suitable gap to open on the beach before you can land!
Day 9, AM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Barrientos Island
Barrientos Island (Aitcho Islands)
Barrientos Island is one of the Aitcho group of islands, a sub-set of the South Shetlands chain. It’s an ice-free island that was used as far back as the early 19th century by sealers and whalers, despite only a mile long, and less than a third of a mile wide. It was given its name in 1949 by a Chilean Antarctic expedition. The northern coast of Barrientos is formed by steep cliffs about 230ft above the sea level. The east and west coasts are made up of black sand and pebble beaches. To the west, you can see impressive columns of basalt rock left over from the tectonic forces involved in the island’s formation. Barrientos is very popular with penguins - and because it is so small sometimes it can feel pretty crowded! Gentoo and chinstrap penguins breed here, and in peak season one colony can end up right next door to the other, making for a seamless vista of penguin nests! Other species that are commonly seen include fur seals, as well as nesting colonies of southern giant petrels. Your expert Antarctic guides will ensure you get close enough for some amazing photos while staying far enough away that you don’t disturb the breeding creatures.
Day 9, PM
Northeast Beach map
Northeast beach of Ardley Island
Ardley Island is a small, rocky island about a mile long. It’s in Maxwell Bay, just off the coast of King George Island. It was first charted in 1935 by a British expedition but was mistaken for a headland. It was not until aerial surveys many years later that it was reclassified as an island. Ardley Island is an active summer research station, and you will often see scientists and researchers at work here. The huts that you can see from the beach are part of the research station and not able to be visited. The landing on the beach is just below the lighthouse, a distinctive feature that you will have spotted from out to sea. This gently sloping cobble beach is the only place that visitors can arrive on Ardley. Visitor numbers are restricted due to the importance of the island as a breeding site for antarctic bird species. During your excursion on the island, you will see a large gentoo penguin colony, as well as lesser numbers of Adelie and chinstrap penguins. You can also see southern giant petrels, Wilson's petrels, black-bellied storm petrels, Cape petrels, skuas, and Antarctic terns. The northeast beach of Ardley Island is a “must-visit” site for bird watchers!
Day 9, PM
Antarctica Visitor Site- Turret Point
Turret Point
Turret Point is well-named! As you approach this part of King George Island you will see the unmistakable rock “stacks” which made this the obvious name to be chosen when the point was first mapped in 1937 by a British exploration mission. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, and Turret Point is on its south coast. Its remarkable landscape is formed by the glacier that is the backdrop to the gently sloping landing beach here. Its impressively gnarled and crevassed front makes a stunning backdrop to the wildlife activity here. The beach is extremely popular with Antarctic bird species. As well as chinstrap penguins, the area is frequented by giant petrels, blue-eyed shags, and kelp gulls. Elephant seals can often be seen wallowing in the shallows here, and fur seals are frequent visitors, too. You will be able to walk up to the face of the glacier, and your expert guides will lead you along the melt stream bed, to avoid trampling the fragile Antarctic flora that grows here at Turret Point.
Day 9, PM
Penguin Island Map
Penguin Island
Penguin Island was first recorded in 1820 during a British expedition. It was so-named because of the vast numbers of penguins that could be seen along its shoreline from the ship as it passed by. Penguin Island lies just off the south coast of the much bigger King George Island. It’s ice-free and is oval-shaped, some 1 mile long. It’s one of the smaller South Shetland Islands and it’s also known as Georges Island, Île Pingouin, Isla Pingüino, and Penguin Isle in various books and charts. Its standout geological feature is the 560ft tall Deacon Peak - a volcanic cone that is thought to have last been active about 300 years ago. Penguin Island is an internationally-recognized important area for birds. As well as colonies of Adelie and Chinstrap penguins, the island is also home to large breeding colonies of southern giant petrels, Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls. You can often see Weddell seals and sometimes southern elephant seals on the beaches here, too. For those feeling fit, there is a marked path that will take you up to the top of Deacon Peak. This offers unparalleled views over the whole island and beyond across King George Bay. Do note, however, that this part of the Antarctic is known for its quickly changing weather, so if the opportunity to take this walk safely presents itself, take it!
Day 10, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 11, AM
Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
An 800 km body of water that connects Cape Horn in Chile to the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other land mass. The crossing takes about 48 hours. At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. During the long voyage across the Drake Passage, Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The exceptional crew aboard your Antarctic cruise consists of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure. There is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes.
Day 12, AM
Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival at Ushuaia
Welcome to Ushuaia. It's official, you have arrived at the world's most southerly city with the evocative motto "End of the World, Beginning of Everything". Over 50,000 people call Ushuaia home. Its unusual name derives from the language of the Yaghan people, indigenous to the Tierra del Fuego region, and translates as "deep bay". The city was formally founded in 1884 after a small settlement and a prison had been built there in the years before, but by 1893 the population was still less than 150 thanks to a series of epidemics and the remote location. The prison population began to grow as it was used to house dangerous and repeat offenders. In effect, for the first 50 years of the city's existence, the prisoners became forced colonists, helping to build up the town and to secure the Argentine claims to the Tierra del Fuego region. Today, Ushuaia is a busy port and a hub for adventure travel to the Antarctic and South Atlantic. Lying below the lovely snow-capped Martial Mountains, the city has grown in a rather jumbled way, expanding from its sole main street and waterfront thanks to an increase in tourism and travel. If you want to relax before your Antarctic adventure, then a stroll along the waterfront - pausing for a selfie in front of the "end of the world" sign, of course! - is a pleasant way to spend your time. If you're feeling more energetic there are many options for hiking, biking, and boat rides into Beagle Channel. You can even take spectacular helicopter tours! In town, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and a recent boom in craft beers means there are several places now vying for the title of the world's most southerly brewery!
Day 12, AM
Disembark & goodbyes
Disembark in Ushuaia
After a remarkable adventure, it's time to leave your expedition ship and bid a fond farewell to your amazing crew and to the new friends you will have made.

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Your ship: Ushuaia

Welcome aboard the Ushuaia, a charming expedition cruise ship built for an unforgettable adventure in the Antarctic. This intimate cruise ship comfortably accommodates 90 passengers. Originally made for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the Ushuaia is a class 1C polar vessel, constructed with expedition in mind. This cruise ship offers plenty of deck space and a unique open bridge policy, where the Ushuaia officers encourage each passenger to observe the navigational operations of the ship. During your Ushuaia Antarctic cruise, a specialist team of international expedition leaders guide you through each excursion with knowledge, passion, and great care for the environment. Take advantage of the amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery on an Ushuaia Antarctic cruise. The Ushaia cabins are comfortable and roomy, equipped with ample storage space. Your friendly stewardess will make your cabin every morning with your preferences in mind. With the options of suite, premier twin and standard cabins, the Ushuaia is built to suit a range of comfort levels. The public areas abroad the Ushuaia feature a large dining room that seats all 90 passengers, an inviting observation lounge, a lecture theater with modern multimedia equipment, a fully-stocked bar, and a library which features a great selection of international titles, with an emphasis on reference material essential to your Antarctic voyage. A variety of games, including playing cards and board games, are also at your disposal. To guarantee an eventful cruise aboard the Ushuaia, your trip will be directed by a crew of Expedition Leaders, staff assistants, zodiac drivers, and lecturers. These hand-picked knowledgeable crew members will accompany you throughout the duration of your Ushuaia Antarctic expedition. They are responsible for leading safe and exciting shore excursions and giving interesting lectures on the incredible Antarctic flora and fauna. The Ushuaia Expedition Team will brief you daily about the following day’s expedition during an informal cocktail hour. The Ushuaia carries a full fleet of zodiacs, that can accommodate up to 12 passengers, allowing you to explore some of Antarctica’s most unique and otherwise inaccessible regions. Get ready for numerous wildlife sighting opportunities!

Amenities

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Gift Shop
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Observation Lounge
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Library
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Zodiac Fleet

Sustainability

All CO2 emissions of your trip (e.g. local transport, hotel) will be 100% compensated for you by a Gold Standard climate protection project.

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