The Ultimate Antarctica Experience

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

On this 12-day ultimate Antarctica cruise, we explore the Great White Continent's magnificent landscapes, glacial mountains, and incredible wildlife. This adventure is unique since we have NO SET ITINERARY, which makes this a true exploration voyage.

As our voyage begins, we pilot through the calm, gunmetal grey waters and sloping glaciers of the Beagle Channel. Turning southward, our journey begins in earnest, and we enter the Drake Passage. A body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, called the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, Ocean Victory/Albatros, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines, and the patented reclining bow, which ensures stability and comfort in the rough sea as well as having very low fuel consumption. The most spirited sailors consider the Drake Passage a lifetime achievement, and you will complete the crossing twice! 

With wide eyes, we will weave through the South Shetland Islands, a shimmering necklace of glistering, ice-covered islands, and dormant volcanoes. Numerous Zodiac excursions are landfalls are likely. We are constantly on the lookout for whales, sea lions, elephant seals, and an unbelievable amount of sea birds and penguins. 

Continuing onward, we enjoy the calming silence and alluring beauty of the Antarctic mainland during hikes and Zodiac excursions. From here there is no set plan, our captain and expedition leader will look at ice charts and weather reports and explore our options. This could be the mighty tabular icebergs of the Weddell Sea, the seldom visited lands south of the Antarctic circle or manned research stations in the most isolated places on earth. One thing is for sure we will see fantastic wildlife and real adventure.

For the trips beginning in November, it is Peninsula in-depth, as we will explore the snowy landscapes and witness the penguins mating, nest building, and courtships. Unbelievable ice formations and huge ice blocks dot the scenery. The last sunsets of the season occur, which are truly majestic. The trips that begin in DEC-FEB are called: Quest for the Circle, as we intend to go more south and if possible cross the Antarctic Circle at 66°33′, enjoy longer days with sunlight and even more active penguin rookeries and explore exciting places made possible as the breaking sea ice opens up new avenues.

Please note the 28th November 2024 is a variation of the itinerary - The Ultimate Antarctica experience - the peninsula in depth, please ask us for more details

Viva's Best Bits...

This expeditionary escapade promises to be one-of-a-kind, as we will have no predetermined schedule, rendering it a genuine exploration expedition....with plenty of time to explore Antarctica, its wildlife, landscapes and beauty!

Enjoy the comfort & stability of our state-of-the-art expedition vessel specifically designed to provide the best expedition experience & highest degree of comfort. Attend lectures, workshops, & photo re-caps in the ship's comfortable lounge.

"I felt so privileged to be able to watch Antarctica wildlife in their natural habit, penguins building their nests, seals sunbathing on the ice and whales feeding" Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, we board our ship.

Our journey begins as we navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.

Day 2-3
At sea - cross Drake Passage

Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Drake Passage is known for strong westerly winds, heavy sea, and its nickname ‘The Roaring Fifties’. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, Ocean Victory/Albatros, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself! In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses. Having crossed the Drake, we will explore the sub-Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way. Weather permitting, we hope to make our first landfall on King George Island before continuing further south to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

With the unique X-BOW design, the Ocean Albatros will offer you a smoother sailing across the Drake passage than conventional expedition vessels – and with far less carbon emission. Due to the speed of the vessel, we might be able to do a first landing or activity in the South Shetland Islands on the afternoon of day 3, weather permitting.

Day 4-9

As the white shimmer of Antarctica looms on our horizon, the presence of wildlife multiples by tens of thousands with many species of lively penguins, inquisitive seals, nesting birds and the spray of marine mammals.

Wildlife abounds on the Antarctic Peninsula: leopard, fur and Weddell seals of Cuverville Island; humpback whales of Gerlache Strait; Paradise Bay; the dramatic Lemaire Channel's orcas. Maybe we will explore as far south as the Antarctic Circle at c. 66 deg 33 minutes south of the Equator. Possible landfall in this wild and seldom visited area could be Pleneau and Petermann Islands, Crystal Sound and Detaille Island.

Maybe we will make our way to the Antarctic Sound, named in 1902 by the Swedish vessel Antarctic, the captain and the expedition team would then keep a watchful eye on the mighty tabular icebergs, born from the floating Larsen Ice Shelf further south. We would aim to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.

Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible; your captain and expedition leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the most magnificent opportunities. This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, and you'll be visiting an area few humans have ever seen.

The Weddell Sea takes its name from the early British explorer James Weddell, who by hunting seals through a break in the ice in 1823 got to the southernmost point at his time. As we enter the Weddell Sea of today, we grow accustomed to giant floating icebergs and witness the sheer quantity of sea ice in these waters. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell and elephant seals and seabirds. Humpbacks feed in the nutrient-rich waters (caused by the upwell of cold water from the ocean depths), so there are opportunities to see whales, as well as the Antarctic’s largest predator, the solitary leopard seal.

The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather, swell and ice. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.

Maybe as our journey draws to a close we end it by navigating to Elephant Island, home to elephant seals, maybe even along parts of the same route as Shackleton’s daring lifeboat escape (this route is only possible if conditions allow it!). While a landing is unlikely, we hope to see where the Elephant island party waited for rescue boat to reach them at Point Wild. A famous part of expedition history, that seems adequate to end our Antarctic explorations this time around.

There is no set itinerary on this trip, which allows our staff onboard to maximize the experience for all onboard. Whilst our suggestions above are just possible routes and landings, we can be sure that this will be the ultimate Antarctic experience.

Day 10-11
Depart Antarctica At Sea

We depart Antarctica and spend two days at sea on our way back to the calms of Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. En-route, we will cross Drake Passage and cruise past Cape Horn, a legendary maritime landmark and the southern tip of South America.

During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board which will provide the perfect opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers equally passionate for discovering the world, enjoy the lectures by our expedition team on board, visit our shop, unwind in the spa or enjoy the ship’s facilities designed to provide a comfortable relaxing time.

Day 12
Disembarkation Ushuaia

This morning, we arrive back in Ushuaia for the conclusion of our expedition cruise, where you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.

**flights must be booked after 12 noon

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 12-day cruise with accommodation in an outside stateroom with private facilities
  • Included Copy 31 Stateroom upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks
  • Included Copy 20 Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner
  • Included Copy 20 Free tea and coffee 24 hours’ daily
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Included Copy 20 Ushuaia shuttle transfers to ship from city centre (and vv)
  • Included Copy 20 All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Expedition parka
  • Included Copy 20 Rubber boots on loan
  • Included Copy 20 Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
  • Included Copy 20 Special Photo Workshop
  • Included Copy 20 English-speaking expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!
  • Included Copy 20 Port fees, IAATO fees, taxes and tariffs
  • Included Copy 7 International flights, Visas, Gratuities, Laundry, Bar, Travel insurance
  • Included Copy 31 Optional kayaking

Ocean Victory

175 Passengers

Ocean Albatros

175 Passengers


  • Included Shore landings in Antarctica - set foot on the white continent!
  • Included Attend lectures, workshops, and photo re-caps in the ship's comfortable lounges
  • Included Explore the South Shetland Islands - teeming with wildlife
  • Included Add on kayaking or dare to take a polar plunge
  • Included Marvel at the bustling penguin colonies of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Included Zodiac expeditions - witness Icebergs and glaciated mountains
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12 days

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$10,195 $7,137 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on a triple cabin

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