The Emperor Penguins of Weddell Sea

From Santiago to Santiago
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Luxury Antarctica
  • Wildlife and Nature
  • Luxury
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Tour Description

Sail the Weddell Sea of Antarctica onboard the luxury vessel Le Commandant Charcot, search for the elusive emperor penguin in deep, remote Antarctica on this 14-16 day epic voyage*

A refuge for the rarest wildlife and an endless ice desert, the Weddell Sea promises you intense emotions during a voyage of exploration. This place is home to emperor penguins, these majestic birds endemic to the Antarctic, rarely observed and only in the most southern latitudes. The ultimate quest and the promise of all-new, unforgettable encounters.

The outstanding new luxury exploration vessel, the Le Commandant-Charcot, is purpose built for remote polar regions. This hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG considers the environment, and provides you with plenty of comfort at the same time, including panoramic restaurants and an indoor swimming pool.

From Drake Passage, as the wind blows and the waves crash against the stem of your ship, you will enter the southern seas, to the extreme and captivating Weddell Sea. Ice floe as far as the eye can see and gigantic tabular icebergs form the horizon of the colonies of Adelie penguins that populate this expanse. Contemplating these curious and quirky birds is a real privilege and the guarantee of an equally fascinating and touching show. Yet the ultimate challenge of this exploration is the search for and the encounter with their majesties, the emperor penguins. In this season, as the winter gradually makes way for the southern spring, you will perhaps witness a magical show, that of the largest penguins in the world waddling along the ice floe or the younger penguins learning to swim. It is rare to discover their elegance, so the encounter will be priceless.

During your exploration of the Weddell Sea, you will follow in the footsteps of the great polar epics like that of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Our passionate naturalists will also share the history of the gigantic tabular icebergs with you, including their birth in the heart of the immense Larsen Ice Shelf. The ice here boasts all possible shades and the white takes different forms in the surrounding reliefs. Let yourself be guided and set off on an adventure into the heart of incredible and unexpected nature. Your Captain and the expert naturalists humbly seize these moments to give you an experience that will remain unique.

It is a challenge and a privilege to sail upon the Weddell Sea; welcome to an extraordinary universe with compelling appeal.

*duration depends on departure date

Viva's Best Bits...

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.

An all-new exploration into the almost inaccessible Weddell Sea, in search of majestic emperor penguins, amidst immaculate and dreamlike landscapes.

Zodiac excursions, hike, snowshoe, kayak or polar plunge along with stunning wildlife - emperor penguins, Adelie, chinstrap, & gentoo penguins, leopard seals, crabeater seals, humpback whales and more!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Transfer from Santiago airport selected 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.

Overnight at a hotel in Santiago

Day 2
Santiago Ushuaia

A light morning breakfast will be served before leaving for the airport for your Santiago/Ushuaia flight.
Transfer to the airport.

Flight Santiago/Ushuaia in economy class.
Seats in business class may be available, please let us know if required
Approximate flight duration: 3 hours

Meet and greet at Ushuaia airport (English-speaking assistance).
Transfer to Le Commandant-Charcot.

Day 3-4
Crossing the Drake Passage

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
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 6-11
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. Polar exploration finds its full meaning here. Heading towards the South is a real quest, with the promise of highly-charged encounters with the continent’s endemic fauna. This is the kingdom of the emperor penguin, the largest penguin in the world, renowned for its elegance. Unlike other penguins that live on the rocks, the emperor nests on the ice floe which it needs for its reproductive cycle. It is therefore on the ice floe that you will be able to observe it walking around with its characteristic gait. In this southern sea, where the ice changes and is transformed constantly, there is never any monotony. The new reliefs and new colours ensure never-ending wonderment. You will sail into the heart of the immaculate ice floe, which is dislocated or densely packed, into an alley of icebergs. Among them are immense blocks of ice, tabular icebergs, that drift and illuminate the ocean with their cerulean blue haloes. Aboard, on shore, on the ice, you will be as close as possible to the colonies of Adelie penguins, Weddell seals, Mink whales, orcas, snow petrels.… With a little luck, you will get a glimpse of a rare Ross seal with its silver pelage or of emperor penguins, waddling along the edge of the ice floe. A sight that is as fascinating as it is emotional.

**please note on the 2nd November 2023 voyage you will have 2 extra days in this region

Day 12-13
Crossing the Drake

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to connect Antarctica to South America. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

Day 14
Ushuaia Santiago

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…

Disembarkation at 8am

Meet and greet at the port (English-speaking assistance).

Transfer to the airport in time for check-in of the flight Ushuaia/Santiago selected by in economy class.
Approximate flight duration: 3 hours
Seats in business class may be available, please let us know.

It is highly recommended to have an international inbound flight the day after.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 12 nights on board
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 1 night pre cruise hotel accommodation in Santiago
  • 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 Return 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
Le Commandant Charcot

270 (200 in Antarctica) Passengers


  • Included Be involved - participative science!
  • Included Walking and Hiking opportunities
  • Included Outings and shore visits in Zodiac inflatables
  • Included Lectures and information sessions hosted by naturalist-guides
  • Included Many activities: kayaking, hiking or snowshoeing, polar plunge without suit, polar swim with drysuit
  • Included Landscapes: immense glaciers, table top icebergs, immersion in the heart of the ice floes.
  • Included Wildlife: the possibility to observe emperor penguins
  • Included Ross seals, Adelie penguins, chinstrap penguins, gentoo penguins, leopard seals, crabeater seals
  • Included humpback whales, Minke whales, orcas.
Click here for dates & prices

14 days

Price from

$27,840 USD

Per person, twin share

Based On Lowest Cabin

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