Spirit of Antarctica

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Cruising
  • Wildlife
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Tour Description

Antarctic cruises are best-enjoyed midsummer when near-midnight sun powers an explosion of life along the shore and brightens the thought of camping out, the early alpine climbing starts or extended kayaking trips. Penguin highways are busy with traffic as parents hurry to fatten chicks and waterways are alive with whales and seals. On this Antarctic expedition, we visit historic sites and step onto the most spectacular continent on Earth.

Departing from Ushuaia you cross the mighty Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands. From there the next 6 days will be spent aboard the comfortable, purpose fitted polar vessel and in the company of expert crew who will guide you through this amazing land and impart their extensive knowledge of the polar region. Your Antarctic cruise takes you in and around the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula and you will have many chances for small journeys by Zodiac to get up close to the local inhabitants and to set foot on the icy shores.

Viva's Best Bits...

There is no better way to enjoy Antarctica’s stunning silence than camping out on the ice. Included for free.

Kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world is an experience guaranteed to refresh your soul.

No experience needed for snorkelling! This is your chance to don a dry-suit and take the ultimate plunge into the icy waters of Antarctica

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2
Ushuaia

This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.

On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.

During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the End of the World Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM. Please note that opening hours to the museum can change without notice, and if the End of the World Museum is closed, we may visit the nearby Old Prison Museum.

As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.

This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)

Day 3
Drake Passage

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 4
Drake Passage South Shetland Islands

Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a long time. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Day 5-9
Antarctic Peninsula

Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface; and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!

During this voyage, there will be an opportunity to camp ashore (weather and time permitting). This will give you the chance to sample the style of adventure that Scott, Shackleton and other legendary Antarctic explorers experienced, although with slightly better equipment and in more comfort! Rest assured our warm and comfortable ship with its hot showers will only be a short distance away!

There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions.

A sample of some of the types of places where we may cruise through, land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:

Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are havens for whales as we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as we explore bays in Zodiacs.
Wildlife-rich islands where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstrap penguins raise their families on rocky platforms; gulls nest on turrets, fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches.
Lemaire Channel - If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.
Send a post card home from the Penguin Post Office, the world’s most southern Post Office!

Day 10-11
Drake Passage

Today, our landings come to an end as we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to Ushuaia. With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on our attitude to life.

As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

Day 12
Ushuaia

During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to
the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Included Copy 20 Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer a
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Included Copy 20 Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Access to our onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Included Copy 20 A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Included Copy 20 A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
  • Included Copy 7 International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
  • Included Copy 7 Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Included Copy 7 Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Included Copy 7 Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Included Copy 7 Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Included Copy 7 Optional activity surcharges
  • Included Copy 7 All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (ou
Transportation
Greg Mortimer | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

160 (120 in polar regions) Passengers

Activities

  • Included Sea kayaking (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Snorkelling (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Photography lectures (ask us for details)
  • Included Alpine trekking/Climbing (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Camping
  • Included Ski/Snowboard Touring (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Snowshoeing (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

12 days

Price from

$13,600 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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