Antarctica Complete

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • South Georgia & The Falkland Islands
  • Cruising
  • Wildlife
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Tour Description

Cross south of the Antarctic Circle and take the true polar plunge, a place rarely visited by travellers. This intrepid Antarctic cruise takes you to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Antarctic Peninsula and then, conditions permitting, south of the Antarctic Circle. Each destination offers up spectacular scenery, and at this time of year sea and land are alive with abundant life. In the Falkland Islands the hills teem with bird life and the bays are full of marine mammals. At South Georgia the horizon is dominated by imposing mountain ranges and King penguins congregate in their hundreds of thousands. Around the Antarctic Peninsula icebergs drift along glassy waters, a silent icon in a world bustling with penguins, seals, whales and sea birds. 

Throughout your Antarctic cruise, you will explore by Zodiac cruise and on shore excursions, as well as having the option to kayak or even snorkel in the polar depths! The Antarctica cruise ship, Greg Mortimer, is a purpose-built polar vessel fitted to the highest level of comfort, and our experienced crew will guide you throughout every aspect of your Antarctica cruise.

 

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Glide past glittering grounded bergs on your kayaking adventures in Antarctica (additional cost)

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Go snorkelling! This is your chance to don a dry-suit and take the ultimate plunge into the icy waters of Antarctica (additional cost)

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2
Ushuaia

This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.

Ushuaia, capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel and is surrounded by the Martial Range, which offers a unique landscape as a result of the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest. The city tour will visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighbourhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Beban, the Pastoriza, and the Ramos. Head 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. The ride in the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views and of Ushuaia town, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Afterwards, continue to the End of the World Museum with exhibitions explaining the history of Tierra del Fuego.

Transfer to the pier where our expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the Greg Mortimer at approximately 4.00 pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation).

As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.

Day 3
At Sea

As we commence our trip across the South Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands~Malvinas, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about the region’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 4
Falkland Islands

Located 477 kilometres/296 miles east of southern Argentina, the Falklands~Malvinas are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falkland~Malvinas includes a short walk in historic Stanley town, and Sealion Island located in East Falkland’s south, where you can get insight into the unique experience of Sealion Island Nature Reserve. You will discover how the raw beauty and solitude of the island makes it a haven for wildlife and visitors alike. In 2009, Sealion Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, with no introduced predators living on the island.

Tussac grass covers much of the island providing an ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions that can be found on many of the island’s spectacular beaches. A plethora of birds such as thrushes, finches, tussac birds and Magellanic penguins also inhabit the tussac. Pods of orcas, Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters around the island.

The island’s southern giant petrels, with a wingspan of two metres, act as a welcoming party to ships as they approach Sealion Island. Rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins come to Sealion Island to breed. Macaroni, king penguins and Striated and Crested Caracaras are also commonly seen on the island.

Day 5-7
At Sea

Between the Falklands~Malvinas and South Georgia, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our precise arrival time in South Georgia. Our lecture program will continue highlighting all of the incredible sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy observing the sea birds, whale-watching from the observation areas, or simply relaxing with a book.

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.

Day 8-12
South Georgia

Over the next few days, marvel at South Georgia’s incredible scenes such as enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and learn of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey. On Zodiac-cruises, discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. Challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can truly feel like you’ve really escaped from your normal daily life.

South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds. A mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island.

Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.

As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey. If conditions permit, we plan to follow in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.

A sample of some of the places where we may land in South Georgia include:

Grytviken - originally a Norwegian sealing and whaling station, it was finally closed in 1965. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s body was laid to rest at Grytviken.

St Andrews Bay - the long black sandy beach fronts a broad valley that stretches well back from the sea. This valley shelters the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia.

Godthul - imagine indented bays lined with bleached whale bones, teeming with fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.

Salisbury Plains - Salisbury Plain has one of the largest king penguin colonies on South Georgia. With about 100,000 pairs, the shore and beach can be completely crammed with penguins. Along the beach you will also find fur and elephant seals in the mix.

Fortuna Bay & Stromness - Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers pushing down from the high country to terminate in the open valley that is home to a small king penguin colony. This is where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean descended from the treacherous glaciers of the interior on their way to Stromness whaling station.

Day 13-14
At Sea

Attend informative lectures to learn about Antarctica as we sail across the Scotia Sea towards the white continent. Treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre or stay active in the gym; the choice is yours on how you want to enjoy days at sea.

Day 15-20
Antarctic Peninsula

Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface; and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!

There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions.

A sample of some of the types of places where we may cruise through, land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:

Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are havens for whales as we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as we explore bays in Zodiacs.
Wildlife-rich islands where glaciers and mountains dominate the vista and we can see large chinstrap penguin colonies tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens, and where often fur seals and elephant seals are hauled out on the pebble beaches.
Harbours home to gentoo penguins, and that regularly host Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbour. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks.
Lemaire Channel - If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.

Day 21-22
At Sea

As we come to the end of our incredible journey and commence our return sailing to Ushuaia, you may choose to spend the sea days editing photos, stay active in the gym, treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre, or attending an informative lecture; there’s plenty to keep you busy.

Day 23
Ushuaia

During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1
  • Included Copy 20 On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • Included Copy 7 Hotels not included in the itinerary
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Included Copy 20 Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer a
  • Included Copy 7 Meals not included in the itinerary
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1 (preferred flights only)
  • Included Copy 20 Half day city tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 prior to embarkation (lunch not included)
  • Included Copy 20 Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2
  • Included Copy 20 Transfer from pier to downtown Ushuaia or to airport on Day 23
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Included Copy 20 Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Access to our onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Included Copy 20 A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Included Copy 20 A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
  • Included Copy 7 International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
  • Included Copy 7 Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Included Copy 7 Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Included Copy 7 Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Included Copy 7 Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Optional activity surcharges
  • Included Copy 7 All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (ou
Transportation
Greg Mortimer | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

160 (120 in polar regions) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Sea Kayaking (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Photography lectures (free, please ask us for details)
  • Included Snorkelling (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

23 days

Price from

$23,300 USD

Per person, twin share

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