Antarctic Wildlife Adventure

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • South Georgia & The Falkland Islands
  • Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

Join an Antarctic expedition you will never forget. Set sail for three incredible weeks of amazing scenery and once in a lifetime animal encounters. This Antarctic cruise encompasses the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula on board a comfortable, fit for purpose vessel and escorted by our experienced and knowledgeable crew. Journey on this 114 passenger small ship with the comforts of a luxury hotel onboard. 

Starting in the Falkland Islands, a remote and rugged land populated by hardy people and immense populations of albatrosses, penguins and many other seabirds. The secluded and isolated environment makes it a bird watcher's paradise. Our Antarctica cruise continues to South Georgia, amidst the dramatic Southern Ocean seascape, where we find world-famous beaches teaming with jousting elephant seals, raucous fur seals, & stately king penguins. Humpback whales are a common sight in the polar waters. Trips ashore accompanied by our crew of Antarctic explorers allow for even closer experiences with the native fauna.

Around the South Shetland Islands & the Antarctic Peninsula, we will explore a pristine polar wilderness of singular beauty, complete with bustling penguin colonies, seals, whales and breathtaking scenery of icebergs, mountains and glaciers. Wildlife encounters of this magnitude will make this Antarctic cruise a trip of a lifetime. 

Viva's Best Bits...

The windswept and treeless Falkland Islands are a birders’ paradise - 5 species of penguin, endemic Falkland steamerduck, black-browed albatross, and more!

“During your cruise try to get up early to experience the morning atmosphere, stand outside on the open decks, quite often you may be the only one there.” Pia, Team Viva

South Georgias beaches are packed with fur seals and elephant seals jostling for space alongside innumerable king penguins.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of our Antarctic expedition! Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary. For the rest of the day, you are free to explore this vibrant port city and adventure hub.

For an introduction to local history and wildlife, the interesting Museo del Fin del Mundo is worth a visit. If you have time to spare, a variety of nature activities can be arranged to suit all interests and fitness levels, from hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park to wildlife viewing in the Beagle Channel. For dinner, Ushuaia offers a wide range of restaurants featuring Patagonian lamb and delectable Fuegian seafood.

PLEASE NOTE: Itinerary varies depending on departure date. 21 to 23 days (23 days start or end in Buenos Aires, please ask us for full itinerary details

Day 2
Embarkation in Ushuaia

After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Ushuaia. Explore the delightful waterfront and savor views of the snowcapped Martial Range, the southernmost peaks of the Andes. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship. For lunch, the many cafés, parrillas and gelato shops on Avenida San Martín will be sure to satisfy any appetite.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the luxury expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the scenery and gorgeous evening light as we pass through the Beagle Channel.

Day 3
South Atlantic Ocean

After passing the mountainous islands of Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados, we sail northeast. Pelagic seabirds surround the ship as we watch for cetaceans such as Commerson’s dolphins and southern right whales in these productive waters. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. Presentations by our expert naturalists and historians prepare you for our arrival in the Falkland Islands.

Day 4-5
Falkland Islands

Our exploration of the Falklands includes visiting the isolated outlying islands. These bleakly beautiful isles are havens for wildlife. Large colonies of seabirds, perched on windy bluffs overlooking azure seas, are easily accessible by hiking over lush meadows. At this time, black-browed albatross soar down from above to relieve their partners, already on eggs, while feisty rockhopper penguins leap up surf-battered cliffs from below to start laying their eggs amongst the tussocks.

On nearby beaches, gentoo penguins are also incubating their eggs while older king penguin chicks are venturing into the water. Female elephant seals are also heading to sea, leaving the beaches to the huge males. Just offshore, you may see Peale’s dolphins and even killer whales patrolling the coasts. A wide range of land birds, including the endemic Cobb’s wren and inquisitive striated caracara, contribute to an abundance of wildlife that will leave nature lovers breathless.

On these days we intend to come alongside the wharf at Stanley, the historic capital of the Falkland Islands. Attractions within pleasant walking distance along the waterfront promenade include the Falkland Islands Museum, the governor’s house, various war memorials, quality gift shops and charming pubs. Christ Church Cathedral features an impressive whalebone arch and dramatic views of shipwrecks in the harbor.

We also plan to offer an excursion to Gypsy Cove, a national nature reserve where white sand beaches are frequented by numerous bird species, including the endemic Falklands flightless steamer duck. Here you can also see Magellanic penguins, who are taking turns sitting on eggs in burrows by the seashore. At this time, you may even find bull sea lions coming ashore to establish their territories

Day 6-7
Southern Ocean

We sail east toward South Georgia, passing the remote, seabird-covered pinnacles known as Shag Rocks on the way. We also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. Briefings, bio-security procedures and presentations by our lecture staff prepare you for our arrival in South Georgia.

Day 8-12
South Georgia

The next five days will be devoted to the exploration of the unique and spectacular wilderness of South Georgia, home to some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. This isolated subantarctic island is said to host upwards of 100 million seabirds, including numerous species of albatross, penguins, prions, petrels, shags, skuas, gulls and terns. Among these is one of the largest flying birds in the world—the wandering albatross. Here you have a rare opportunity to witness part of their remarkable life cycle. Huge chicks from the previous year are only now starting to fledge, while this year’s parents are renewing their lifelong bonds with ritualized courtship displays.

On South Georgia’s legendary beaches, king penguins are gathered in huge colonies that stretch from sandy shorelines to the foothills of glaciated mountains. Also at this time, hundreds of thousands of macaroni penguin pairs are taking turns incubating their precious eggs. Rare birds such as the endemic South Georgia pipit and yellow-billed pintail round out the list of 78 bird species found across the territory. The successfully completed rat eradication program has made this wilderness even more pristine and rich with birdlife.

South Georgia is also home to staggering numbers of southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals. This is the peak of the breeding season, with thousands of massive bull elephant seals fighting to maintain harems of females, who are suckling their pups. Meanwhile, fiercely territorial male fur seals are defending their patches of sand. Once hunted nearly to extinction, large whales are also returning to the bountiful seas surrounding South Georgia. With the whalers long gone, the historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home to the excellent South Georgia Museum. Here you will also find the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, heroic polar explorer and leader of the famous Endurance expedition.

In this rugged yet accessible environment, superb wildlife viewing is best complemented by active adventure. There are many opportunities for guided treks through this snowy wilderness, including the legendary Shackleton Walk. For sea kayakers, the wildlife-rich waters of South Georgia offer the chance to paddle with hordes of seals and penguins in some of the world’s most scenic waterways.

This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our precise route and exploration opportunities are dependent on weather in this wild and remote corner of the world. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans to take maximum advantage of the conditions and circumstances at hand. You can be sure that we will take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this challenging environment.

Day 13-14
Scotia Sea

After our amazing time in South Georgia, we proceed southwest toward Antarctica. We keep a constant lookout for humpback and fin whales along the way. The majestic wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks and balconies.

Day 15-18
South Shetland Islands Antarctic Peninsula

During the next four days, we explore the highlights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. This region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and the best wildlife viewing in Antarctica. Sheltered bays and channels sparkle with ice and reflect towering mountain peaks coated in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to huge numbers of marine mammals and seabirds. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large rookeries at special places on land. Here we also find Antarctic research bases of various nationalities, some with gift shops and post offices.

The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will be our first area of exploration. This wildly beautiful island chain contains many landing sites with historical significance and abundant wildlife. Among them is Elephant Island, where men from Shackleton’s Endurance expedition spent the winter of 1916. We also hope to explore the supremely picturesque Gerlache Strait area of the Antarctic Peninsula, a pristine wilderness of spectacular white landscapes, colossal icebergs, obliging marine mammals and bustling penguin colonies. Here we have a chance to land on the continent of Antarctica.

Throughout this area, we encounter gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, sometimes nesting side by side. Penguins and other seabirds are now starting to lay their eggs. This is a good time to observe the importance of pebbles in penguin culture, as prized nesting material to be stolen from rivals and given to mates. Also at this time, a high concentration of sea ice provides opportunities for seals and penguins to congregate on ice floes, a situation that attracts killer whales. Minke whales are also starting to arrive now. Photographers will appreciate the pristine appearance of fresh, undisturbed snow across the landscape in this early summer month.

Antarctica is a true wilderness with unpredictable weather and ever-changing ice conditions, which will dictate our route and exploration opportunities. With nearly 20 hours of daylight per day, we seize every chance to experience excellent wildlife viewing and amazing scenery via Zodiac cruises and shore excursions.

Day 19-20
Across the Drake Passage

It is now time to head north across the Drake Passage toward South America, but the adventure is not quite over. Seabirds are our constant companions and there is always the possibility of whale encounters in these wild waters. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow. Finally, as we enter the calm Beagle Channel, we enjoy a night of smooth sailing toward Ushuaia.

Day 21
Ushuaia Depart

After a final delicious breakfast on board, we bid you a fond farewell in Ushuaia. We provide a group transfer to the airport or to the city center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next polar adventure!

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Shipboard accommodation on the Sea Spirit
  • Included Copy 20 1 pre-voyage night on Day 1 in Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa Hotel
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals on board throughout the voyage
  • Included Copy 20 Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily while on board your ship
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and Farewell cocktails
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Group arrival & departure transfers
  • Included Copy 20 Schedules landings/excursions (subject to weather conditions)
  • Included Copy 20 Rubber boots for shore landings (to borrow)
  • Included Copy 20 Expedition parka to keep
  • Included Copy 20 Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team
  • Included Copy 20 Pre-departure materials & digital voyage log
  • Included Copy 20 All port fees
  • Included Copy 7 Emergency Evacuation Insurance (mandatory)
  • Included Copy 7 Any flights, Gratuities, Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges
  • Included Copy 31 Add on kayaking
Transportation
Sea Spirit | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

114 passengers plus 72 crew Passengers

Activities

  • Included Kayaking in Antarctica (Additional costs apply)
  • Included Zodiac expeditions through the icebergs
  • Included Lectures on all things Antarctica history, geology and wildlife
  • Included Landings in the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Falklands & South Georgia!
  • Included Learn and practice your photography alongside an experienced professional onboard
  • Included Fantastic wildlife opportunities - visit penguin colonies, whale watching, seals and more!
  • Included Visit world-famous wildlife beaches on South Georgia
  • Included Shackleton history - attempt to visit Point Wild on Elephant Island!
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

21 days

Price from

$12,995 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

Select Date