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Antarctica: Sea Explorer

Expedition Cruise to the White Continent

Antarctica: Sea Explorer route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6295  
Length: 12 days
Arrive: Ushuaia, Argentina
Depart: Ushuaia, Argentina
Lodging: 10 nights aboard deluxe vessel, 1 hotel night
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: 11-day expedition cruise, nature walks on uneven ground, Zodiac cruising with wet landings, possibility of rough seas and cold weather
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Highlights

  • Cruise in luxury to the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the world’s wildlife paradises
  • Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the South Shetlands, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, Lemaire Channel
  • Explorations by Zodiac with expert naturalists
  • 5 full days to explore the Antarctic Peninsula

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Choose from a Variety of Ships

We offer several exciting voyages to Antarctica aboard a variety of ships. This is the detailed information for Antarctica: Sea Explorer. To see all departures on all ships, please click here.


Special Offer!

Receive an air-credit of $1000-$2500 per person, depending on selected cabin, on the following departures:
Dec 17-28, 2014
Jan 14-25, 2015
Jan 24-Feb 4, 2015
Feb 3-14, 2015
Triple, Porthole, Window & Deluxe Suites: $1000 per person air-credit
Veranda Suite: $2000 per person air-credit
Penthouse Suite: $2500 per person air-credit

Early Sign-up Discount!

Save 15% on Penthouse, Veranda and Deluxe Suites, and 10% on Superior and Window Suites, for bookings confirmed with deposit by Dec 31, 2014.
Oct 2015-Feb 2016 departures
Valid for new sign-ups only. Offer expires Dec 31, 2014

Antarctica is like no other place on the planet, and to experience its ethereal splendor is a rare privilege. Our expedition cruise explores the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most spectacular parts of the continent and one of the most wildlife-rich regions in the world. We cruise glacier-lined fjords, head out for Zodiac adventures among icebergs of fantastic form, walk through colonies of seals, sea lions, and nesting penguins—all in nearly 20-hour daylight! Throughout our voyage, expert naturalists share their in-depth knowledge of this miraculous continent. To offer you the greatest selection of dates, we've selected two superb expedition vessels, each featuring great comfort, expert naturalists, and a fleet of Zodiacs for exploring this enchanting destination up close. For details, see the individual ship descriptions.

Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia, Argentina

Antarctica is everything south of the Antarctic convergence, a biological boundary that fluctuates between 50° and 60° South. Overnight in Ushuaia.

Day 2
Embarkation Day

Prior to the afternoon embarkation, explore Ushuaia, a small Patagonian town set on the Beagle Channel and ringed by snow-capped peaks. In the late afternoon, the Sea Spirit navigates the historic Beagle Channel, where Captain Fitzroy and Charles Darwin traveled onboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. We join our naturalist guides on deck to identify seabirds gliding alongside the ship and attend wildlife, geography, and historical presentations by our Expedition Team that will prepare us for our upcoming shore landings and Zodiac cruises. A fascinating education program is part of every expedition itinerary...All meals included aboard ship

Day 3-4
Crossing the Drake Passage

We enjoy lectures and presentations as we cross the Drake Passage.

Day 5-9
Antarctic Peninsula

Explore the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula with exciting Zodiac cruises and enjoy options for camping and kayaking, conditions permitting. Over the course of the austral spring and summer, the sun lingers longer and longer, melting snow and ice. Wildlife abounds: chicks hatch and fledge, and pods of whales breach in a deep bay where a calving iceberg has churned up krill, the local delicacy. The natural cycle of life ensures that every expedition is different. And that every expedition is full of surprises! In Antarctica, silence is so complete that interruptions become indelible memories: noisy penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, the boom and crack of a calving glacier near Petermann Island.

During five days in the Antarctic Peninsula, the Expedition Team provides opportunities for exploring and engaging curiosity. Many factors play a role in shaping the expedition’s progress. We explore a range of activity levels at least twice a day. Perhaps, we will feel salt spray on our faces as our Zodiac weaves in and around grounded icebergs in Pleneau Bay or as we scramble to the top of a craggy hill for an unforgettable view of an icy chasm near Port Lockroy. We could also could sit quietly on a pebbled beach and wait for a curious penguin chick to approach.

Our landings may include the following:

Paulet Island: Paulet absolutely teems with some 200,000 Adelie penguins that come here to breed; we also find kelp gulls, blue-eyed shags, snowy sheathbills, and Wilson’s storm petrels. In 1903, the Larsen expedition, en route to pick up Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskjold and his party who had overwintered on Snow Hill Island, were forced to overwinter themselves on Paulet after their ship Antarctic was crushed in the ice. Remains of their stone hut still stand.

Deception Island: To enter amazing Deception Island, we navigate through a narrow passage called Neptune’s Bellows and find ourselves in the magnificent ocean-filled crater of a collapsed volcano. This sea-filled volcanic crater, which last erupted in 1970 (with minor eruptions as late as 1992), has a thermally heated spring near Pendulum Cove—bring your bathing suit for a hot soak in Antarctica! Deception was a major whaling station in the early 20th century (rusty boilers used to make whale oil remain, as well as whale bones) and it was from here that explorer Nathaniel Palmer allegedly became the first American to sight the Antarctic continent in 1820 from a high point called Neptune’s Window.

Paradise Bay: Paradise Bay is aptly named, a spectacularly scenic setting of heavily glaciated mountains, ice cliffs, and a bay full of icebergs and “bergy bits” (smaller chunks of ice). Here we’ll set foot on the continent itself and, from the ship, see Argentina’s Almirante Brown Station, one of many Antarctic research stations. On a Zodiac cruise, we may see Weddell and crabeater seals lolling on ice floes or even a humpback whale or two!

Lemaire Channel: Conditions permitting, we may sail through the Lemaire Channel, one of the most photogenic settings on the Peninsula, where sheer 3,000-foot peaks rise on either side of the narrow passage. At the south end of the channel lies Pleneau Island, first explored during Charcot’s 1903-05 French Antarctic Expedition. Pleneau boasts dazzling ice formations and teeming gentoo penguin rookeries, as well as southern elephant seals that often haul out in the wallows. We may also navigate through the stunning Neumayer Channel.

Devil Island: Named for its two distinct peaks, or “horns,” this rarely visited island is the nesting site of Adelie penguins, and home to a large skua population along with snow petrels and Wilson’s storm petrels. Huge icebergs, often grounded offshore, add to the photogenic element of the island.

Brown Bluff: Located on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with bizarrely shaped boulders. Adelie and gentoo penguins can be found here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.

Day 10-11
The Drake Passage to Ushuaia

Our second Drake Passage crossing may not be as smooth or as rough as your first. No matter the condition, it is a fitting end to our visit to Antarctica.

Day 12
Ushuaia

After breakfast aboard the ship, travelers are transferred to the airport for the homeward flight.

Note: This cruise is not an exclusive Wilderness Travel departure. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1+, Easy. You will be travelling to a very remote destination. You must be able to complete on board safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures without the assistance of others. Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet, especially when walking on slippery decks or up and down steep gangways. Shore excursions often require hiking over uneven terrain without the benefit of a developed trail. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts. While several Zodiac landings are dry, many will require that you step in the water to get ashore. Zodiac and shore excursions are weather permitting.

A Note About Fuel Costs & Rates of Exchange

Given the uncertain, often volatile oil market and the dollar’s decline relative to other currencies, it is extremely difficult to predict fuel costs over the long term, and, more specifically, at the time of these voyages. Our prices are based upon the prevailing fuel rates and rates of exchange at the time of brochure printing, which is well in advance of departure. While we will do everything possible to maintain our prices, it may be necessary to institute a surcharge. Thank you for your understanding.


Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2014
Nov 27-Dec 8, 2014
Dec 17-28, 2014
2015
Jan 14-25, 2015
Jan 24-Feb 4, 2015
Feb 3-14, 2015
Nov 17-28, 2015
Nov 27-Dec 8, 2015
Dec 7-18, 2015
2016
Jan 10-21, 2016
Jan 20-31, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices valid through Spring 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

Nov 27-Dec 8, 2014

CategoriesCruise Price
Triple Suite $6,295
Porthole Suite $7,395
Window Suite $8,495
Superior Suite $8,895
Deluxe Suite $9,995
Veranda Suite $10,895
Penthouse Suite $12,595

Dec 17-28, 2014, Jan 14-25, 2015,
Jan 24-Feb 4, 2015

CategoriesCruise Price
Triple Suite $8,895
Porthole Suite $9,995
Window Suite $11,295
Superior Suite $12,195
Deluxe Suite $13,595
Veranda Suite $14,895
Penthouse Suite $16,795

Feb 3-14, 2015

CategoriesCruise Price
Triple Suite $8,195
Porthole Suite $9,195
Window Suite $10,395
Superior Suite $11,295
Deluxe Suite $12,995
Veranda Suite $13,995
Penthouse Suite $15,995
Prices valid through June 30, 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

Nov 17-28, 2015, Nov 27-Dec 8, 2015
and Dec 7-18, 2015

CategoriesCruise Price
Triple Suite $6,795
Porthole Suite $7,995
Window Suite $9,195
Superior Suite $9,695
Deluxe Suite $10,795
Veranda Suite $11,795
Penthouse Suite $12,995

Jan 10-21, 2016 and Jan 20-31, 2016

CategoriesCruise Price
Triple Suite $8,995
Porthole Suite $10,495
Window Suite $11,795
Superior Suite $12,495
Deluxe Suite $13,995
Veranda Suite $15,295
Penthouse Suite $16,995

Deck Plan

Trip Cost Includes:

  • One pre voyage hotel night in embarkation city
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • All scheduled landings and excursions
  • All meals onboard
  • Coffee/tea/cocoa/espresso  24 hours daily
  • Welcome/Farewell cocktail
  • A pair of boots for use during the voyage
  • A waterproof outer shell jacket for you to keep
  • Daily international news service
  • All port fees
  • In Ushuaia, transport from central location to ship for embarkation
  • One group transfer from ship to airport or central location upon disembarkation in Ushuaia
  • Digital Voyage Log

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

Airfare to Ushuaia, Argentina, and return; pre- or post-voyage expenses in Ushuaia; passport, visa, or Argentine Reciprocity fees; baggage, cancellation and accident insurance; meals other than specified above; parka; personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, faxes and e-mail service; and gratuities to shipboard personnel.

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $1500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
90 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: $750
90 days or less: 100% of tour cost

Passengers are subject to any cancellation fees assessed by the purveyors of services, including airlines or hotels used in the itinerary. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Arrival & Departure Information

Please review the following information before confirming your flight arrangements to Buenos Aires/Ushuaia.  Many Antarctica travelers like to begin their journey by spending a few days in Buenos Aires to get over jet lag and also to allow for any possible weather delays en route.  Note that cruises are not like other trips—if you arrive late, you miss the sailing and you can’t catch up.

It is always an overnight flight to reach Buenos Aires from the US, so you will have to book your flights to depart the US a day prior to the start of the trip. Buenos Aires has two airports; please book your flights to EZE, Buenos Aires’ international airport.

Arrival & Meeting Place
Ushuaia/Argentina
Hotel Name: To Be Announced
Date Day 1
Time: Any time

Suggested Arrival Airport
Ushuaia (USH) via Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE/AEP)

If you are connecting in Buenos Aires to a flight to Ushuaia the same day, you need to allow at least three hours connecting time because you must transfer from the international airport to the domestic airport, which takes 30 to 45 minutes. Upon arrival in Ushuaia, transfers will be provided to the group hotel for an overnight. On Day 2, you will be transferred to the boat for boarding in the late afternoon.

Departure
Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 12

Suggested Departure Airport
Ushuaia (USH) to Buenos Aires (AEP/EZE)
Suggested departure time: Noon   

You will disembark in Ushuaia at about 9:00 a.m. A transfer will be provided from the boat to the Ushuaia airport. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires Domestic Airport (AEP), transfer on your own to Buenos Aires International Airport (EZE) to connect to your international flights to the U.S. You need to allow at least three hours connection time (four hours to be safe) for customs and security check in.  The international airport can be congested and the lines very long, especially in the early evening, as most flights to the US depart between 10:00 and 12:00 p.m.

International Air Travel
You are responsible for making your own arrangements for flights to and from Argentina. Airlines with the most convenient schedules for this trip include:

American Airlines (via Miami or Dallas)     
Phone: 800-433-7300       
www.aa.com 
   
Delta Airlines (via Atlanta)
Phone: 800-241-4141
www.delta.com
 
Airport codes: Miami (MIA); Buenos Aires, Argentina International Airport (EZE); Buenos Aires Domestic Airport (AEP) Ushuaia(USH)

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule so we can reserve your airport transfers. It is your responsibility to ensure your flight times coordinate with the arrival and departure logistics for this trip.

Passport

A valid passport is required for your trip. Be sure to check the expiration date. Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of exit from Argentina. In addition, we recommend your passport has at least two completely blank visa pages for every country you will be visiting. It is very important that the blank pages say “Visas” at the top. The last few pages of your passport, which say “Amendments and Endorsements,” and the final page of your passport, which may not have a page number, are not considered to be legitimate visa pages. You can request a new passport or have extra pages inserted in your current passport through a visa service agency or the US Passport Services Office. Be sure to allow sufficient time to acquire this before your trip.

It is a good idea to carry a photocopy of the photo page and the entry stamp page of your passport as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.

Visas

US citizens do not need a visa for Argentina but there is a Reciprocity Fee for US and Canadian citizens that must be purchased online prior to departure. The fee amount fluctuates so please double check prior to departure. You can pay the fee with a credit card. The fee is valid  for 10 years or the duration of the passport’s validity. 

If you are a citizen of any country other than the US, check with a local consulate for entry requirements.

Note: If you are visiting Brazil on your own or as part of an Iguau Falls Extension, you MUST have a visa for Brazil. You may contact the Brazilian Consulate to purchase your visa, or our recommended passport and visa processing service, Passport Visas Express (PVE). PVE can also be reached by phone at 888-596-6028. Let them know you are booked on a Wilderness Travel trip.

Additional Cruise Information

Further information about the cruise will be sent approximately four months prior to departure. This packet will include a packing list and other important details. Final meeting and departure instructions, including contact information, will be sent about three weeks prior to departure.

Sea Explorer

The elegant, all-suite 114-guest Sea Explorer has established itself as one of the finest expedition cruise ships in Antarctica. With an ice-strengthened hull, a fleet of Zodiac inflatable craft for forays ashore, an experienced complement of officers and crew, and retractable fin stabilizers, Sea Explorer can explore the Antarctic Peninsula and Antarctic islands in comfort and safety. All guests are accommodated in outside-facing suites, each of which affords views of the spectacular Antarctic scenery. Excellent cuisine is created by European chefs and served in the stately restaurant at a single, unassigned seating. Sea Explorer also features two lounges, a library, exercise area, elevator serving all decks, and a sun deck with Jacuzzi. The ship meets the latest international safety rules, including those of the U.S. Coast Guard. Sea Explorer’s seamless operation and outstanding, experienced expedition staff ensure a shipboard and on-shore experience in Antarctica that is unmatched.