Realm of Penguins & Icebergs: Antarctica

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

Bid farewell to South America from Ushuaia as your board your expedition cruise and sail across the legendary Drake Passage headed for the Great White Continent - Antarctica!  Those first days at sea on your Antarctic cruise are a great introduction to the polar region. Wildlife spotting can already be plentiful as albatross, petrels and many other seabirds weave in and out of the ship's wake and if we're lucky, humpback whales can be seen feeding in the nutrient-rich waters. Our incredibly knowledgeable crew deliver a series of lectures on the fascinating natural history of the region.

Journey on this 114 passenger small ship with the comforts of a luxury hotel onboard. Your Antarctica cruise makes aim for the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. The scenery, naturally, is stunning. Monolithic icebergs cruise through glassy bays, flanked by glaciers and impressive mountain ranges. Get your cameras ready to capture the beauty of this landscape and all the animals inhabiting it - penguins, seals, countless seabirds and more whales. Our team can take you ashore to meet these curious locals and truly experience Antarctica up close.  To visit Antarctica is a trip of a lifetime.

Viva's Best Bits...

“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

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.

In the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula you can go ashore at sites where gentoo, chinstrap, and adélie penguins come together in boisterous nesting colonies, and seals will laze around, not bothered by your presence.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Ushuaia. Overnight at a hotel included. Free day to enjoy Ushuaia at leisure.
Overnight in Ushuaia

PLEASE NOTE: Itineraries may vary slightly depending on departure between 11-12 days depending on departure date, please ask us for more info

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 5-8
South Shetland Islands Antarctic Peninsula

During the next four days, we explore the highlights 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 hope to show you the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the narrow channel reflects the image of sheer snowy mountains.

Throughout the islands and on the mainland, we find nesting colonies of gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, sometimes side by side. At this time, penguin pairs are taking turns incubating their eggs. This is a good time to observe the importance of pebbles in penguin culture, as prized nesting material to be stolen from rivals and given to mates. Also at this time, a high concentration of sea ice provides opportunities for seals and penguins to congregate on ice floes, a situation that attracts killer whales. Minke whales have started to arrive and leopard seals can be spotted patrolling the coast near penguin colonies. Photographers will appreciate the pristine appearance of undisturbed snow across the landscape in this early summer month.

In this rugged yet accessible environment, superb wildlife viewing is best complemented by active adventure. Our knowledgeable guides will offer hiking and hill climbing for an even greater perspective of this raw polar wilderness. 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 nearly 20 hours of daylight per day, we seize every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing and amazing scenery on shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.

Day 9-10
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 11
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

  • 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
  • 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 cocktails
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Group arrival & departure transfers
  • Included Copy 20 All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice 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 Pre-departure materials & digital voyage log
  • Included Copy 20 All port fees
  • Included Copy 20 Wi-Fi on board
  • Included Copy 7 Flights, Gratuities, Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
  • Included Copy 7 Emergency Evacuation Insurance (mandatory)
  • Included Copy 31 Add on camping or kayaking
Sea Spirit | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

114 passengers plus 72 crew Passengers


  • Included Zodiac expeditions through the icebergs
  • Included Lectures on all things Antarctica history, geology and wildlife
  • Included Kayaking in Antarctica (Additional costs apply)
  • Included Camping overnight in Antarctica (Additional costs apply)
  • Included Fantastic wildlife opportunities - visit penguin colonies, whale watching, seals and more!
  • Included Landings in the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
  • Included Learn and practice your photography alongside an experienced professional onboard
  • Included Over 15 hours of daylight per day - plenty of time for walks, landings, & photos!
Click here for dates & prices

11 days

Price from

$8,465 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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