Wild Antarctica

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

Save time and get to the wild wilderness of Antarctica to make the most of your time. Here is an Antarctic cruise for those who want to experience the wonder of Antarctica without crossing the notorious Drake Passage. Flying in and out of King George Island, you will meet your Antarctica cruise ship there, allowing you more time to experience the magnificent polar region. The itinerary takes you around the fringes of the Antarctic Peninsula and into the ice-strewn Weddell Sea. Among the huge icebergs, sheer ice cliffs, rocky bays and vast ice sheets you will make frequent excursions to witness the incredible wildlife. Penguins hustle their young in chatty groups, whales drift through calm waters and seals bask lazily on ice floes. 

Our Antarctica cruise ship is warm and comfortable and our expert crew of naturalists and historians will entertain you with amazing lectures that compliment your Antarctica tour. Your vessel is designed with a special X-BOW that will cut through the swell and make a quicker passage through the waves. There are plenty of activities to keep all the long hours of daylight full! Landing and walks ashore, zodiac cruising around the icy landscapes, bird watching, whale and mammal spotting, photography opportunities...and even time for a quick dip in the polar waters!

Please note the 2023 cruise is 12 days, the 2024 cruise is 14 days

Viva's Best Bits...

Save time, fly the drake! Plus this comfortable expedition vessel with a bow specially designed for polar waters will get you up close with the wildlife in no time!

"This voyage takes you to a remote region of Antarctica that is not often visited, the Weddell Sea, be ready for photogenic tabular icebergs" Tara, Team Viva

Kayaking or zodiac crusing in small groups, you'll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Punta Arenas

**Please note this itinerary is 12 -14 days depending on your departure date, please ask us for details for your departure date

Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world’s most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great mix of cultures, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors, and it remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile’s rich history.

This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Voyage Briefing. Afterwards, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).

Accommodation: Hotel Cabo de Hornos (or similar)

Day 2
Embarkation

This morning we will be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for our charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica (weather permitting). The flight will take approximately one hour and forty-five minutes.

On arrival into King George Island our expedition team is on hand to greet you and to prepare you for your Zodiac transfer to the vessel. You will have time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings.

Note: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required for safe take-off and landing. We apologise in advance for any delays.

Day 3-11
Weddell Sea Antarctic Peninsula

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.

Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley where large icebergs try to escape the Weddell Sea through Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.

We hope to experience memorable wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac excursions or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.

Day 12-13
Drake Passage crossing

Enjoy a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.

With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.

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

Day 14
Ushuaia

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we disembark from approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your attentive crew, expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare.

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

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 Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails & house beer
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises, walks, photography & polar plunge
  • Included Copy 20 Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket (to keep)
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Included Copy 20 One way or Return flight Punta Arenas to King George Island* depending on date
  • Included Copy 20 Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, Gratuities, Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
  • Included Copy 7 Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Included Copy 31 Add on kayaking, snorkelling, additional cost
Transportation
Greg Mortimer | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

160 (120 in polar regions) Passengers

Sylvia Earle | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

138 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Sea Kayaking & Snorkelling (available at additional cost, please ask us for details)
  • Included Zodiac cruising through stunning landscapes
  • Included Birdwatching, whale and mammal spotting, visits to penguin colonies..
  • Included Fly the Drake Passage (one or both ways)
  • Included Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
  • Included Take a polar plunge...if you dare!
  • Included Photographer onboard to help you get the best out of your shots
  • Included Landings & walks in the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetlands
  • Included Explore the remote and wild Weddell Sea area
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

14 days

Price from

$11,436 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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