Crossing 66º South Latitude: Antarctic Circle

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

A magical voyage to the Antarctic Circle. Our Antarctica cruise departs from Ushuaia and daylight grows longer & the air gets colder as we head south across the Drake Passage, accompanied by soaring albatross. Our first explorations of the White Continent are in the South Shetland Islands, historically important & rich with iconic Antarctic wildlife such as several species of penguin, seabirds and seals. 

On our Antarctic cruise, we next visit the Gerlache Strait where immense glaciers, towering mountains, & blue icebergs form a picture-perfect setting for amazing marine mammal & penguin encounters. We continue south into rarely visited territory, crossing the Antarctic Circle & exploring wherever the wind & ice will allow. Journey on this 114 passenger small ship with the comforts of a luxury hotel onboard. This Antarctic expedition is not only by cruise ship but Zodiac excursion as well, and of course by land with plenty of possibilities to go hiking or get up close to the unique locals. There is even the opportunity to kayak among glistening icebergs and to camp overnight with penguins and seals as company. Our expert team will guide you through all there is to know about this fascinating land.

Viva's Best Bits...

Options for everyone - join the included landings, walks and zodiac cruising, or spend time with the onboard professional photographer, perhaps add on the kayak club or camping excursion.

A dream destination - Opportunity to crossing the Antarctic Circle

“During your cruise try to get up early to experience the morning atmosphere, stand outside on the open decks, quite often you may be the only one there.” Pia, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of our Antarctic expedition! Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary. For the rest of the day, you are free to explore this vibrant port city and adventure hub.

For an introduction to local history and wildlife, the interesting Museo del Fin del Mundo is worth a visit. If you have time to spare, a variety of nature activities can be arranged to suit all interests and fitness levels, from hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park to wildlife viewing in the Beagle Channel. For dinner, Ushuaia offers a wide range of restaurants featuring Patagonian lamb and delectable Fuegian seafood.

Please note: departure is either 14 or 15 days, depending on the date

Day 2
Embarkation in Ushuaia

After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Ushuaia. Explore the delightful waterfront and savor views of the snowcapped Martial Range, the southernmost peaks of the Andes. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship. For lunch, the many cafés, parrillas and gelato shops on Avenida San Martín will be sure to satisfy any appetite.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the luxury expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the scenery and gorgeous evening light as we pass through the Beagle Channel.

Day 3-4
Across the Drake Passage

After passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, we turn south to begin our crossing of the Drake Passage. We watch for humpback and fin whales along the way. The majestic wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks and balconies. We also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. Briefings, bio-security procedures and presentations by our lecture staff prepare you for our arrival in Antarctica. We hope to arrive in the South Shetland Islands on the evening of our second day at sea.

Day 5-11
South Shetland Islands & the Antarctic Peninsula

During the next eight days, we undertake an in-depth exploration of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. This region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and the best wildlife viewing in Antarctica. Sheltered bays and channels sparkle with ice and reflect towering mountain peaks coated in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to huge numbers of marine mammals and seabirds. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large rookeries at special places on land. Here we also find Antarctic research bases of various nationalities, some with gift shops and post offices.

The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first area of exploration. This wildly beautiful island chain contains many landing sites with historical significance and abundant wildlife. We will also explore the supremely picturesque Gerlache Strait area of the Antarctic Peninsula, a pristine wilderness of spectacular white landscapes, colossal icebergs, obliging marine mammals and bustling penguin colonies. We plan to pass through the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the narrow channel reflects the image of sheer snowy mountains.

On this special voyage, we have additional days devoted to pushing even farther south in our attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle. The sublime icescapes in Crystal Sound and beyond are particularly austere, the weather is especially wild, and the waters are full of constantly shifting ice. Very few people have ventured this far south. This is a true expedition.

Throughout the islands and on the mainland, we find nesting colonies of gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, sometimes side by side. It is a dramatic time at the colonies. While some parents remain at the nest to guard against skua attack, others go fishing in seas patrolled by predatory leopard seals and killer whales. Meanwhile, fluffy chicks are starting to explore away from their nests. Also at this time, humpback and minke whales have arrived in great numbers and the feeding frenzy in is full swing. Crabeater and Weddell seals abound in these highly productive waters.

In this rugged yet accessible environment, superb wildlife viewing is best complemented by active adventure. For sea kayakers, the wildlife-rich waters of Antarctica offer many chances to paddle with seals and penguins in some of the world’s most scenic waterways. To make the most of your time on the White Continent, you can also spend a night camping ashore, surrounded by untamed Antarctic nature.

This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our precise route and exploration opportunities will be shaped by weather and ice. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans to take maximum advantage of the conditions in this challenging polar environment. With over 17 hours of daylight per day, we seize every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing and amazing scenery on shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.

Day 12-13
Across the Drake Passage

It is now time to head back across the Drake Passage toward South America, but the adventure is not quite over. Seabirds are our constant companions and there is always the possibility of whale encounters in these wild waters. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow. Finally, as we enter the calm Beagle Channel, we enjoy a night of smooth sailing toward Ushuaia.

Day 14
Ushuaia Depart

After yet another delicious breakfast on board, we bid you a fond farewell in Ushuaia. We provide a group transfer to the airport or to the city center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next polar adventure!

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Shipboard accommodation on the Sea Spirit
  • Included Copy 20 1 pre-voyage night on Day 1 in Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa Hotel
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals on board throughout the voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and Farewell cocktail
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Group arrival & departure transfers
  • Included Copy 20 Schedules landings/excursions (subject to weather conditions)
  • Included Copy 20 Rubber boots for shore landings (to borrow)
  • Included Copy 20 Expedition parka to keep
  • Included Copy 20 Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team
  • Included Copy 20 All port fees
  • Included Copy 20 Pre-departure materials & digital voyage log
  • Included Copy 20 Wi-Fi on board
  • Included Copy 7 Any flights, Gratuities, Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
  • Included Copy 7 Emergency Evacuation Insurance (mandatory)
  • Included Copy 31 Add on camping or kayaking
Transportation
Sea Spirit | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

114 passengers plus 72 crew Passengers

Activities

  • Included Fantastic wildlife opportunities - visit penguin colonies, whale watching, seals and more!
  • Included Landings in the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
  • Included Zodiac expeditions through the icebergs
  • Included Lectures on all things Antarctica history, geology and wildlife
  • Included Learn and practice your photography alongside an experienced professional onboard
  • Included Camping overnight in Antarctica (Additional costs apply)
  • Included Kayaking in Antarctica (Additional costs apply)
  • Included Attempt to cross the Antarctic circle!
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Duration

14 days

Price from

$10,995 $9,895 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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