Polar Circle, Deep South Discovery Voyage

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

This Antarctic cruise will take you around the Antarctic Peninsula and south to the Antarctic Circle where ice floes and icebergs are plentiful and the scenery they create is spectacular. This expedition cruise passes through waters travelled by Minke, Fin and Humpback whales.

As your Antarctic cruise approaches and then crosses the Antarctic Circle your expedition cruise ship will sail among picturesque fjords and channels, into glassy inlets and will always be flanked by impressive snowy peaks. Zodiac excursions afford you intimate views of the multi-hued ice and chances to make landing to walk among the curious wildlife - there is even the opportunity to dive in the polar waters.

Leopard and crabeater seal sightings are common on your Antarctic cruise, as well as many species of penguin and seabirds. Depending on conditions we hope to visit iconic sights including Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay and Deception Island. Our specialist Antarctic naturalists will guide you throughout your journey both on shore excursions and through a series of lectures on board.

 There are other dates and variations of this Polar Circle Antarctica cruise, please just ask for more info!

Viva's Best Bits...

An extended exploration of Antarctica - this voyage includes the Antarctic circle and locations in the deep south like Horseshoe Island, Pourquoi Island and more.

Look out for the whales of Crystal Sound, this area offers great wildlife including humpback whales and Minke whales, along with seals and penguins.

"This voyage offers an extremely rare opportunity to experience diving in Antarctica, limited space, and experience required!" Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Day 2-3
Drake Passage

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Day 4-9
Antarctic Peninsula Sights of late summer Antarctica

Options for Antarctic Peninsula activities are many, and no less great during the late summer. Humpback whales are prolific in this region, gorging themselves on krill before their migration north. The penguin chicks are also fledging, stirring up activity on the beaches while sleek leopard seals lie in wait, poised to attack the less fortunate ones.

Sites for your Antarctic adventures may include:

Livingston Island – Here you find a wide variety of gentoo and chinstrap penguins on Hannah Point, as well as southern giant petrels and elephant seals hauling out onto the beach.

Deception Island – Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. An abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.

Cuverville Island – A small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island, Cuverville houses a large colony of gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas.

Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. You might also be able to set foot on the continent here.

Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where you have a good chance of seeing humpback and minke whales.

Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you may sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales as well as leopard seals.

Crystal Sound – Your journey takes you south along the Argentine Islands to this ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning.

Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty mountains and imposing glaciers.

Fish Islands – Further north you encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Melchior Islands – These islands offer a beautiful landscape rich with icebergs. Leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales are found here, and there are excellent opportunities for diving.

Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Day 10-11
Drake Passage

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 12

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 13 nights Accommodation onboard
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Included Copy 20 Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Included Copy 20 Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Included Copy 20 Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Included Copy 20 Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia
  • Included Copy 20 All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • Included Copy 7 Airfares and travel insurance
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities, laundry, additional drinks, telecommunication charges.
  • Included Copy 31 Optional activity: polar diving, Experience with cold-water diving and dry-suit dives required

MV Ortelius

108 Passengers


  • Included Zodiac crusing and shore landings
  • Included Shore based walking in Antarctica
  • Included Visit Penguin colonies: Adelie, gentoo..
  • Included Catch sightings of crabeater and leopard seals
  • Included Great whale watching - humpbacks and Minke
  • Included Informative lectures and landings at historic sites
  • Included Chance to go diving in Antarctica (additional activity!)
Click here for dates & prices

11 days

Price from

$7,700 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin, quad

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