Antarctica Weddell Sea Quest

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

Explore amazing Antarctica on one of the smaller ships that cruise these icy waters, the expedition ship Ushuaia.

On this Antarctic cruise experience remote corners of Antarctica, including the Weddell Sea. The Weddell Sea is the location of Ernest Shackleton's famous "Endurance" expedition - one of the most notorious survival stories in modern human history. The Weddell Sea is also a very scenic area; mountain ranges, glaciers and tabular icebergs, plus plenty of penguins and wildlife. 

Departing from the rugged and beautiful southern tip of South America your expedition cruise will take you across the notorious Drake Passage where whale and sea bird encounters are plentiful. Our expert team of lecturers and guides will educate you on the area throughout the journey. Our first sighting of the Great White Continent will be the South Shetland Islands, and here you will be able to meet the local penguins and seals. Navigating the Weddell Sea is an exciting and spectacular experience. Your Antarctic cruise will nimbly maneuver among towering icebergs, which are becoming more abundant in this region.  Following this you will cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and it's many spectacular inlets, coves and calm bays where landings on the continent  are possible. The beauty here is staggering. Glaciers, mountains, islands, icebergs and all along the way you will be greeted by the diverse numbers of local fauna such as several species of penguin, seals, sea birds and whales.

Antarctica Weddell Sea Quest will be a trip of a lifetime.

Viva's Best Bits...

Sail in the Weddell Sea, this area is off the beaten track, often full of ice, making for an exciting expedition - this is the area where huge tabular icebergs roam!

"The MV Ushuaia is one of the smaller vessels going to Antarctica, only 90 passengers, so great if you want to experience Antarctica with a small number of people" Tara, Team Viva

Observe the lives of playful penguins - the Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula’s Adélie Penguin population.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Board the MV Ushuaia this afternoon. Settle into your cabin, meet your expedition and lecture crew as we set sail through the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass on our way to Antarctica.

Day 2-3
Crossing the Drake Passage

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA´s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.

The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams.

With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.

Day 4-6
Exploring the Weddell Sea

This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. In some years, the Erebus & Terror Gulf and Weddell Sea are chock-a-block full with ice, making for exciting ice navigation. Get up early and go out on deck. It may be 3:30 h in the morning, but the sunrises will be unlike anything you´ve ever seen. Huge tabular bergs break from the Larsen, Ronne, and Filchner ice shelves and combine with one-year-old and multi-year sea ice to produce a floating, undulating panorama of rugged ice scenery. All-white Snow Petrels are likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by Pintado Petrels.

The usual passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound, which is 30 miles (48 km) long and 7-12 miles (11-19 km) wide and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza, are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula’s Adélie Penguin population. Devil Island, Paulet Island and the already mentioned sites, might give us ample proof of this. The numbers of penguins are breathtaking. Sometimes juvenile Emperor Penguins have been sighted, riding ice floes but are by no means regular in the area.

This region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Four visitor sites have links to this expedition: Hope Bay, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, and Cape Well-Met on Vega Island. Our expedition staff will be pleased to share their exciting story with you. Nordenskjöld´s expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area.

Day 7-8
Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range.

We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy.

Further exploration will lead us to the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable.

We plan to sail through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island - the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands- which is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point. We also aim to visit the crescent-shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands.

Day 9-10
Drake Passage

We leave Antarctica and return north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for whales and seabirds and enjoy some final lectures. Take this time to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on your way back to Ushuaia.

Day 11

We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark after breakfast.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 10 nights onboad the MV Ushuaia
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 Includes all meals
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Bilingual crew
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by zodiac
  • Included Copy 20 Open bridge
  • Included Copy 20 Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • Included Copy 20 All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Included Copy 20 Loan of boots for shore landings
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuties, we suggest US$15 per person per day.
  • Included Copy 7 Airfares, travel insurance, pre/post arrangements


88 passengers and 38 staff Passengers


  • Included Daily shore excursions and zodiac exploration on the continent of Antarctica
  • Included Explore off the beaten track Antarctica - the Weddell Sea
  • Included Learn about Antarctic history as you go - this region teems with vibrant exploration history
  • Included Discover the wide variety of Antarctic wildlife
  • Included Photograph penguins colonies, seabirds and whales in Antarctica
  • Included Explore iconic sites such as Paradise Bay & Deception Island (weather permitting)
  • Included Navigate through spectacular tabular icebergs
Click here for dates & prices

11 days

Price from

$10,380 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on a twin share cabin

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