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. Visit historic research stations, including British Base Y that is a time capsule to the 1950s technology that has remained there since the base was decommissioned. 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 4-5
Antarctic Peninsula

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.

The intended route for you Antarctic adventure includes:

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.

Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters before sailing to the Lemaire Channel.

Day 6-8
Through the Gullet

After a comfortable night of sailing, you wake among the many islands south of Lemaire Channel. You are now near the Antarctic Circle. At this point, a voyage through the aptly named Gullet – a narrow but picturesque channel between Adelaide Island and the Antarctic Continent is possible if the ice isn’t too dense. You can explore this area from the prow of the ship getting the closest possible contact with the polar terrain as you venture southward.

Along the way, you may enjoy the following visits:

Pourquoi Pas Island – You might circumnavigate this island, named after the ship of the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This location is known for its tight fjords and lofty, glacier-crowded mountains.

Horseshoe Island – This is the location of the former British Base Y, a remnant of the 1950s that is now unmanned though still equipped with almost all the technology it had while in service.

Stonington Island – Home to the former US East Base and British Base E, which was occupied until 1975, this island marks the southernmost landing site of the trip – 68° south. If a landing here is possible, your road turns north again afterward, through the Gunnel Channel.

Hanusse Bay – Enjoy the scattered icebergs of this scenic bay, which offers a good chance of spotting whales.

Day 9-11
Crystal Sound

You are near the Antarctic Circle again, cutting north through the countless ice floes of Crystal Sound. Humpback whale sightings are likely, and your approach to the Fish Islands offers the possibility of a Zodiac cruise or even a landing. Whatever the case, the views beyond comparison in this area. There may also be more Adélie penguins congregating among the bergs nearby. Petermann & Pléneau Islands provide a great variety of birdlife, along with possibilities for Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are highly popular among leopard and crabeater seals. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins can also be found here.

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

Day 12-13
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 14

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 | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

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

14 days

Price from

$8,850 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin, quad

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