Antarctic Peninsula and the Extreme Weddell Sea

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
  • Expedition
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Tour Description

A once in a lifetime expedition voyage to the Weddell Sea and the seventh continent of Antarctica. Enjoy 11 action packed days of exploration - experience fascinating wildlife, stunning polar scenery and witness gigantic icebergs!

Board the Ocean Victory, an ultra modern vessel designed with polar adventures in mind. With the patented X-BOW design, she will make cruising the mighty Drake Passage smoother, with the aim to reach the South Shetland Island by day 3, allowing you to make the most of your valuable time! With only a maximum capacity of 186 guests onboard, this ice-classed expedition vessel will see you exploring the coastlines, bays and ice berg filled channels of Antarctica up close.

We traverse the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, which allows for a real adventure as the giant ice shelves often dictate the routes.  For keen explorers the rewards are great, as the pristine waters and krill rich environment invite many penguins and whales. We plan to follow in Ernest Shackleton and rest of the Endurance crews wake as we navigate close to Elephant Island.

There is time to navigate the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula as well, where we make shore landings and take zodiac cruises. Visit research stations, penguin rookeries and perhaps even take a polar plunge!

Make sure you reserve your place on this fantastic journey in good time, as we only cruise this route once during the season.

Viva's Best Bits...

Voyage to Antarctica in comfort on the Ocean Victory with her special X-Bow, providing high stability in rough weather and allowing for a smooth cruise.

Visit an area few humans have ever seen - the Antarctica Peninsula, and then navigate into an even more remote area - the Weddell Sea, full of gigantic icebergs. Trace the footstep of Ernest Shackleton and navigate close to legendary Elephant Island.

"I felt so privileged to be able to sit and safely watch Antarctica wildlife in their natural habit, penguins building their nests, seals sunbathing on the ice and whales feeding". Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia embarkation

Arrive and embark in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon we embark the ship Ocean Victory, our home for the coming days.

Our journey begins as we navigate through the calm waters of the Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.

Day 2-3
Crossing the Drake Passage Arriving to the South Shetland Islands

Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Drake Passage is known for strong westerly winds, heavy sea and its nickname ‘The Roaring Fifties’. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself!

In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses.

Having crossed the Drake, we will start exploring the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.

With the patented X-BOW design, the Ocean Victory will offer you a smoother sailing across the Drake passage, and due to the speed of the vessel, we might be able to do a first landing or activity in the South Shetland Islands on the afternoon of day 3, weather permitting.

Day 4-5
Antarctica Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

The next couple of days we will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain.

Landfalls could include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim; and Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson's storm petrels and chinstrap penguins.

The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.

Day 6-8
Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea & Elephant Island

Over the coming days, we will begin the exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the Continent. During these days in the Antarctic Sound, named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic, the captain and the expedition team will keep a watchful eye on the mighty tabular icebergs, born from the floating Larsen Ice Shelf further south. We aim to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.

The Weddell Sea takes its name from the early British explorer James Weddell, who by hunting seals through a break in the ice in 1823 got to the southernmost point at his time. As we enter the Weddell Sea of today, we grow accustomed to giant floating icebergs and witness the sheer quantity of sea ice in these waters. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell and Elephant seals and seabirds. Humpbacks feed in the nutrient-rich waters (caused by the upwell of cold water from the ocean depths), so there are opportunities to see whales, as well as the Antarctic’s largest predator, the solitary Leopard seal.

Landfalls could include: Devil Island, where we would experience a large colony of Adélie penguins; Brown bluff; with abundances of wildlife living on the beaches under the basalt cliffsides and Esperanza Base with its year-round Argentinian research station.

Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible; your captain and expedition leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the most magnificent opportunities. This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, and you'll be visiting an area few humans have ever seen.

We plan to finalize our Weddell Sea/Antarctic Sound adventure by navigating to Elephant Island, home to Elephant seals, maybe even along parts of the same route as Shackleton’s daring lifeboat escape (this route is only possible if conditions allow it!). While a landing is unlikely, we hope to see where the Elephant island party waited for rescue boat to reach them at Point Wild. A famous part of expedition history, that seems adequate to end our Antarctic explorations this time around.

Day 9-10
Depart Antarctica At Sea

We depart Antarctica and spend two days at sea on our way back to the calms of Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. En-route we will cross Drake Passage and cruise past Cape Horn, a legendary maritime landmark and the southern tip of South America.

During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board which will provide the perfect opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers equally passionate for discovering the world, enjoy the lectures by our expedition team on board, visit our shop, unwind in the spa or enjoy the ship’s facilities designed to provide a comfortable relaxing time.

Day 11
Disembarkation in Ushuaia

This morning, we arrive back in Ushuaia for the conclusion of our expedition cruise, where you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 11-day cruise with accommodation in a shared outside double stateroom with private facilities
  • Included Copy 31 Stateroom upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
  • Included Copy 20 Free tea and coffee 24 hours daily
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and farewell cocktails
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Expedition parka
  • Included Copy 20 Rubber boot rentals
  • Included Copy 20 Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
  • Included Copy 20 Special Photo Workshop
  • Included Copy 20 English-speaking expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!
  • Included Copy 20 Taxes
  • Included Copy 7 Domestic and International Airfares & Travel insurance
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities for the crew (recommended US$14pp per day), personal expenses eg laundry
  • Included Copy 31 Optional kayaking , snowshoeing, camping (Nov-Jan only) - to be booked onboard
Transportation
Ocean Victory

186 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Shore landings in Antarctica - set foot on the white continent!
  • Included Be amazed by giant tabular icebergs and glaciated mountains.
  • Included Navigate into as much of the Weddell Sea's remote nature as possible.
  • Included Many exciting Zodiac excursions and landings.
  • Included Unique wildlife destination with penguins, seals, whales and birdlife.
  • Included Onboard photographer to host workshops, enjoy lessons from expert guides and lecturers.
Tour on Special!
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Exclusive! Save 20% off C cabins and above for the 23/24 season Book by 31 August 2022, T&Cs apply
Duration

11 days

Price from

$8,790 USD

Per person, twin share

Based on a triple cabin

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