In the footsteps of Shackleton & the Endurance

From Santiago to Montevideo
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • South Georgia & The Falkland Islands
  • Luxury Antarctica
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

In the wake of the legendary Endurance Odyssey led by the famous Sir Ernest Shackleton, embark on a polar exploration to the Weddell Sea, between the archipelagos composing the Scotia Arc. In the comfort of Le Commandant Charcot, an exceptional ship designed to sail through ice-covered waters, set off on a timeless journey to the heart of wild and pristine nature; a territory of the seals, whales and king penguins.

After crossing the often-rough waters of the Drake Passage, you will sail on to the remote waters of the Weddell Sea. The ice floe that stretches to the horizon and the tabular icebergs – among the largest ever observed – drift around you. They come from the calving of this famous ice shelf, real walls of ice along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula that extend the ice sheet into the sea. It is right near here that Endurance sank, only to be found in 2022, almost a century after this mythical expedition. History takes shape before your very eyes.

Set a course northward through the frozen Southern Ocean, to reach the shores of the Antarctic Peninsula. There, with ice and shades of white all around you, an intense feeling of serenity and freedom will envelope you. Icebergs, glaciers, mountains and frozen sea compose a landscape with an unparalleled power of attraction. The South Shetland Islands soon reveal themselves. There, you will explore from the sea another place made famous by Shackleton’s expedition: Elephant Island. After getting shipwrecked in the middle of the arid desert of the White Continent, it is here that the crew arrived from the Weddell Sea to await help.

Next you will sail to the South Orkney archipelago, islands with an alpine relief where impressive glaciers overlook a pristine, almost inaccessible landscape. A rare privilege few will experience.

Your ship will take to the seas once again to follow the extraordinary adventure of Shackleton, who set out in a rowing boat in an attempt to save his crew stranded on Elephant Island. On the horizon, the mountainous relief of South Georgia slowly comes into view. This is where the legendary explorer miraculously ran aground, in the middle of the black-sand beaches dominated by snow-covered mountains. The emotion is palpable as the feat becomes imaginable. You will almost feel like you’ve travelled back in time to (re)discover both this fabulous saga and life at this little-known time in history.

Viva's Best Bits...

Zodiac excursions, hike, snowshoe, kayak or polar plunge along with stunning wildlife - king penguins, Adelie penguins, fur seals, elephant seals, whales, sea birds.

Landscapes: volcanic mountains on the South Sandwich Islands, table top icebergs in the Weddell, glaciers, ice floes.

Le Commandant Charcot is the world’s 1st PC2 luxury hybrid-electric polar exploration ship. Explore remote destinations in complete luxury never before seen in polar exploration.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Santiago

Arrive Santiago at any time. Today is free for you to explore Santiago at leisure.

Transfer from airport to hotel. Meet and greet at the hotel by our local representative. Check-in from late morning.

Lunch on your own and time at leisure in the afternoon.

Dinner.

Overnight in Santiago

Day 2
Santiago Ushuaia

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…

Day 3-4
Crossing the Drake

Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the zodiac outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

Day 5-6
The Weddell Sea Exploration

Impassable, extreme and captivating: this is the best way to describe the Weddell Sea, much of which is covered by a layer of thick, densely packed ice. It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon this sea. Your exploration of this vast polar expanse, a real labyrinth frequented by majestic tabular icebergs, will plunge you into the heart of an extraordinary and enchanting silence. These ice giants come from the calving of the legendary Larsen Ice Shelf which looms in the southern part of this mythical sea. It was in this zone that the ship Endurance, commanded by Ernest Shackleton, was crushed and swallowed by the ice. “What the ice gets, the ice keeps” he said. Not exactly, though, since the famous wreck was miraculously found in 2022... While polar expeditions are no longer the same as they were a century ago, the adventure continues. Humpback whales, orcas, colonies of Adelie penguins, and giant petrels are all to be found here, yet the lord of the kingdom is no other than the Weddell seal. On these lands, only the throbbing of its cries breaks the surrounding tranquillity. A record-breaker (it can remain underwater for more than an hour), you will recognise it by its dark grey pelage and spotted belly.

Day 7
North Antarctica Peninsula

Throughout your time in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. You will sail through the Antarctic Sound, named after Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjöld’s ship, which was trapped by the ice during an important scientific expedition in 1902. The gateway to the Weddell Sea, this sound is filled with gigantic tabular icebergs and plates of sea ice drifting northward from the coastal areas of this vast sea. It is home to Adelie penguins and a great many leopard seals.

Day 8
South Shetland Islands

On the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, 120 km (70 miles) from the White Continent, the South Shetland Islands offer surreal and mysterious scenery. On these volcanic islands of dark rock, the landscapes alternate between long, jagged and snow-covered coast and large, gently sloping bays. These lunar and wild lands are home to important scientific research stations and a large number of animal species: chinstrap penguins, crabeater seals or Weddell seals, Antarctic terns, giant petrels and elephant seals have taken up residence here.

Day 9
South Orkney Islands

More than 85% glaciated, these remote mountainous islands are hidden in the Southern Ocean, some 600 km from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The archipelago is composed of four main islands: Coronation Island, Signy Island, Powell Island and Laurie Island. Discovered in 1821 by seal hunters, they were also explored in 1823 by the British navigator James Weddell, who gave them their current name. Despite the ravages caused by whale and seal hunting, today a sizeable leopard seal population can be found there, along with chinstrap penguins and snow petrels. Laurie Island is home to an old scientific station that is still in operation.

Day 10-11
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.

Day 12-14
South Georgia

Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.

Day 15-18
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.

Day 19
Disembark Montevideo

Perched on the far southern tip of Uruguay, Montevideo is a white city, and one of the loveliest capital cities of South America. Come and admire the beautiful historical remains dating from Spanish rule; you’ll find the most interesting within the Cuidad Vieja, formerly fortified, its old town dates from the 18th century. The best preserved are the cathedral and the former governmental palace of the Cabildo, both listed historical monuments. In the crook of a vast blue bay, the city is also blessed with beautiful beaches.

Disembarkation at 7am

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 17 nights on board
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 1 night pre cruise hotel accommodation in Santiago
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals while on board the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Open bar & room service 24 hours (conditions apply)
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Flight from Santiago to Ushuaia
  • Included Copy 20 Airport transfers in Ushuaia
  • 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 Lectures and information sessions hosted by our naturalist-guides
  • Included Copy 31 Activities: Kayaking, Hiking & Snowshoeing, Polar Swim
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, Travel Insurance, Gratuities / Tips are not included
  • Included Copy 7 Personal expenses, such as laundry, onboard communication (telephone calls, faxes and email service)
Transportation
Le Commandant Charcot

270 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Outings and shore visits in Zodiac inflatables
  • Included Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit
  • Included Lectures and information sessions hosted by naturalist-guides
  • Included Walking and Hiking opportunities
  • Included Landscapes: volcanic mountains on the South Sandwich Islands, table top icebergs in the Weddell Sea
  • Included South Georgia visit: mecca for king penguins and elephant seals
  • Included Be involved - participative science!
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

19 days

Price from

$19,872 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

Select Date