Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea

From Santiago to Santiago
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Expedition
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

This off the beaten track Antarctica expedition will take you into the heart of the Bellingshausen Sea in search of the elusive Emperor penguin.

Take an extraordinary expedition cruise to the Bellingshausen Sea, this area is most often covered in ice, very difficult to reach, and very seldom explored! A magnificent spectacle, you will explore the mysterious and less frequently visited Charcot and Peter I Islands. Encounter the legendary emperor Penguin, the largest of all penguin species. As the gradual winter gives way to austral spring you will encounter penguin chicks, a truly incredible moment sure to leave a strong emotional impression.

This is truly a unique Antarctic journey on the outstanding new luxury exploration vessel, the Le Commandant-Charcot.

Viva's Best Bits...

"Encounter the legendary Emperor Penguin, the largest of all penguin species. This is the aim of this voyage and it has been designed to almost guarantee sightings!" Tara, Team Viva

Discover the Bellingshausen Sea region, and areas rarely visited by other expeditions, including Peter I Island and Charcot Island.

Visit Stonington, with historic remains of a British research station, this island is now an important breeding ground for Antarctic terns and south polar skuas.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Santiago

Arrive Santiago anytime. We recommend arriving at least 1 or 2 days before departure to allow time for you to enjoy and explore Chile’s capital city and cultural centre.

Dinner is included tonight at your hotel

Overnight in a 5 star hotel in Santiago

Day 2
Fly Santiago to Puerto Montt - Embarkation

A light morning breakfast will be served before leaving for the airport for your Santiago to Puerto Montt flight.

A picturesque stopover in southern Chile, the colourful city of Puerto Montt is the capital of the Lakes District.ᅠ Here, youメll discover reminders of its colonial past at the Plaza de Armas and neoclassical cathedral. The Manuel Montt lookout offers stunning views of the bayメs sapphire beauty. Close to the town, the peaceful banks of Lake Llanquihue are conducive for a relaxing walk and the quaint, traditional villages of Puerto Varas and Frutillar are well worth a visit

A Light Breakfast and Dinner is Included today

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 3-5
At Sea

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant-Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 6
Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Weather permitting, we'll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 7
At Sea

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, as we cruise at sea. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 8-9
Charcot Island

When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 40 miles away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 10-11
Peter Island

You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 12-13
English Coast - In Search of the Emperor Penguins

Along the English Coast, land on the pack ice with your expedition team and head off in search of emperor penguin colonies. If you brave the few kilometres’ walk through the magnificent, quasi-unexplored desert of ice that separates you from these colonies you will be among the lucky few to have observed these majestic penguins from this close and enjoyed this rare, moving and intense experience. Emperor penguins are the largest of all living penguin species and they are champions at adapting to the harsh Antarctic climate. They live inland, where they protect their eggs between their feet and their abdomen and cover long distances in search of food.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 14
Marguerite Bay

The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay, one of the most beautiful regions in the Antarctic. It is delimited in the north by the mountainous Adelaide Island, in the south by George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and in the east by the Fallières Coast. Charcot named it after his wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. In 1909, in the southern summer when the skies are at their clearest, he led an important scientific mission to map and study this region. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 15
Stonington Island and Pourquoi Pas Island

Stonington Island:
In the northeastern part of Marguerite Bay, along Graham Land, you will discover the small island of Stonington. The island was a British research station from 1946 to 1950 and later from 1960 to 1975. Numerous expeditions setting off from this station on dog sledges enabled the mapping of a significant portion of the Antarctic Peninsula. The two-storey steel-framed buildings, whose vestiges are still visible, could accommodate 6 to 17 people. Equipment and facilities from that time can still be found there: the generator, the dog pens, radio equipment and weather instruments, the water reservoir and a storage space. The island is now an important breeding ground for Antarctic terns and south polar skuas.

Pourquoi Pas Island:
Le Commandant Charcot will land on the coast of Pourquoi Pas Island, so named in the 1930s by John Riddoch Rymill in honour of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who discovered it from aboard his ship Le Pourquoi Pas ? during his second expedition to Antarctica between 1908 and 1910. This mountainous island, situated in the north of Marguerite Bay between Graham Land and Adelaide Island, is 28 km long and 14 km large. It is scattered with narrow fjords and snow-covered mountains. You will go to shore in a Zodiac dinghy with your expedition team and you could get the chance to observe Adelie penguins going about their business on the island’s rocky shores

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 16
The Gullet & Detaille Island

The Gullet:
The sumptuous landscapes of this narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land attract all visitors sailing towards Marguerite Bay. It is like an ice palace, its immaculate white walls reflected in the frozen mirror formed by the waters of the Southern Ocean, scattered with icebergs and gleaming blocks of ice. This passage was explored for the first time by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by the British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Cousteau’s four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.

Detaille Island:
Detaille Island is a small island situated off the Loubet Coast in the Crystal Sound, a magnificent region surrounded by snow-covered peaks. A British research station was set up there in 1956, ahead of the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. Like the International Polar Years, organised for the first time in 1882-83, the purpose of this event was to take a coordinated approach to the geophysical research conducted by the different nations. With the island difficult to access, this station was shut down in 1959. The vestiges of the buildings and sledge dog pens that made it possible to map more than 4,000 miles around the island are now maintained by the United Kingdom Heritage Trust.

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 17
At Sea

Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant-Charcot, enjoying the amenities onboard

All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 18-19
Crossing the Drake Passage

Le Commandant-Charcot will cruise the Drake Passage enroute back to Ushuaia.
All meals included

Overnight onboard Le Commandant-Charcot in your selected cabin

Day 20
Disembarkation Ushuaia - Fly to Santiago

Arrival back into Ushuaia this morning, and transfer to the airport for your departing flight to Santiago. Services end upon arrival into Santiago Airport.

We recommend you stay at least 1 night in Santiago post-cruise, as we are unable to confirm the flight times until closer to travel.

Need help with pre or post cruise travel arrangements? Interested in extending your stay to visit other amazing destinations in Latin America. Be sure to ask your travel adviser for more details

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 18 nights onboard Le Commandant-Charcot
  • Included Copy 20 1 night pre-cruise Hotel stay in Santiago
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals whilst on board
  • Included Copy 20 Open bar & room service 24 hours (conditions apply)
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Outings and shore visits in Zodiacs with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
  • Included Copy 20 Parka to keep & boots to Loan while on the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Approach two islands beyond the Antarctic Polar Circle.
  • Included Copy 20 Return charter flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt & Ushuaia to Santiago
  • Included Copy 20 Activities: Kayaking, Zodiacs, Hiking & Snowshoeing, Polar Swim
  • Included Copy 20 Lectures and information sessions hosted by our naturalist-guides
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, Travel Insurance, Gratuities / Tips are not included
  • Included Copy 7 Personal expenses such as laundry, on board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email)
Transportation
Le Commandant Charcot

270 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Opportunity to Kayak in Antarctica
  • Included Wildlife: emperor penguins, humpback whales, gentoo penguins, Weddell seals
  • Included Walking and Hiking opportunities
  • Included Polar Diving *with limited places available, additional costs apply
  • Included Zodiac explorations to explore icebergs, glaciers and more
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

20 days

Price from

$29,274 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

Select Date