Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||18 nights aboard 106-passenger expedition vessel|
|Meals:||All meals included aboard ship, including snacks, coffee, and tea|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising|
19-day expedition cruise, nature walks on uneven ground, Zodiac cruising with wet landings, possibility of rough seas and cold weather
- Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and the Falklands—all on one great journey!
- The epic wildlife experience includes South Georgia's thousands-strong king penguins
- Epert Antarctic naturalists and historians enrich your experience
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.
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 ShipsWe offer several exciting voyages to Antarctica aboard a variety of ships. This is the detailed information for Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands: Sea Explorer. To see all departures on all ships, please click here.
Experience three epic destinations of the Southern Ocean: the wildlife-rich oasis of the Falkland Islands, breathtaking South Georgia Island, with its legends of Shackleton and massive colonies of king penguins, and the celebrated Antarctic Peninsula, a world of towering peaks and icebergs. On our small-ship expedition cruise during the austral summer, adventures by go-anywhere Zodiacs grant us fantastic access to hidden bays full of drifting bergs and shores thronged with chattering penguins and basking elephant seals, while our expert naturalists and historians illuminate the fascinating world of the Antarctic.
Ushuaia / Embark
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaua is located at the Beagle Channel and we sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
In the Westerly’s the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. On Carcass Island we may encounter breeding Magellanic and gentoo penguins, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present. On Saunders Island, we can see the majestic black-browed albatross and their sometimes-clumsy landings near their nesting site, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoo penguins are also present here.
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
In Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm, colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs. In Stanley and the surrounding area, we can see quite a number of stranded clippers from a century ago. They bear witness to the hardships of sailors in the 19th Century. The small but very interesting museum is well worth a visit and features an exhibition covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War of 1982. Approximately 1,300 people live in the small capital in which all passengers are free to wander around on their own.
Admission fees to local attractions are not included.
On our way to South Georgia we cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature will drop considerably in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns, which brings a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship: several species of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
On Day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay, and Drygalski Fjord, all of which give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced reindeer, elephant seals, fur seals, and king and macaroni penguins.
One of many highlights may be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge wandering albatross and enjoy watching their displays (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from November 20–January 7). At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stromness Bay. There and at Grytviken we will see an abandoned whaling station, where king penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken residency. At Grytviken we’ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave nearby. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of Day 10.
As we cruise, we are again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea ice, and it is at the ice edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and snow petrel.
South Orkney Islands
We will attempt a visit to the Argentinean Orcadas station, the oldest permanently manned Antarctic station. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
At Sea / Antarctic Peninsula
We spend a day at sea en route to the Antarctic Peninsula. If the ice conditions allow we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the continent itself. In good sailing conditions we may decide to extend our time in the Weddell Sea.
We aim at Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Island for a visit to a chinstrap penguin rookery. Often Weddell seals haul out on the beaches here. At Deception Island our ship braves into the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows into the caldera of Deception Island. Deception itself is a subducted crater that opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape petrels and many Dominican gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
On our last landing day before we venture into the Drake Passage we sail toward the northern parts of Gerlache Strait. One option is Charlotte Bay on the west coast of Graham Land, which was discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during the 1897–99 Belgica expedition and named after the fiancée of Georges Lecointe, Gerlache's executive officer, hydrographer, and second-in-command of the expedition. The topography of the surrounding area is mountainous, with nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs. Mostly we see seals on floes in Charlotte Bay, and occasional kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins. In Cierva Cove we will admire the rugged ice-coated mountains of the Davis Coast, and Mikkelsen Harbour offers a gentoo penguin rookery and some great scenic cruising.
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
What the Trip is Like
The trip is rated Level 1+, Easy. You will be traveling 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.
Dec 16, 2015-Jan 3, 2016
Jan 22-Feb 9, 2016
Prices valid through Spring 2016
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
December 16, 2015-January 3, 2016
|Quadruple with Porthole||$13,200|
|Triple with Porthole||$14,600|
|Twin with Porthole||$15,950|
|Twin with Window||$16,950|
January 22-February 9, 2016
|Quadruple with Porthole||$14,250|
|Triple with Porthole||$15,650|
|Twin with Porthole||$17,000|
|Twin with Window||$18,000|
The vessel offers simple but comfortable cabins and public spaces
- 4 quadruple cabins with bunk beds (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins)
- 2 triple porthole cabins with bunk beds (these can also be used as quads or twin cabins)
- 25 twin porthole cabin with 2 single lower berths
- 10 twin cabins with windows and 2 single lower berths
- 6 superior cabins with double beds and a separate day room
- 1 suite with a double bed and a separate day room. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin and all cabins have private shower and toilet
Trip Cost Includes:
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals included aboard ship, including snacks, coffee, and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Free use of rubber boots
- Pre-schedule group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
Trip Cost Does Not Include:Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to the vessel in Ushuaia; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; gratuities for shipboard personnel, possible fuel surcharges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 20%
70 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
The 106-guest, ice-strengthened Ortelius is an excellent vessel for expedition cruising in the Arctic and Antarctica. Built in 1989, she has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is very suitable for navigating in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. The vessel has simple but comfortable cabins, ranging from four quadruples with bunk beds to superior cabins and a spacious suite with double beds and separate sitting areas. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin, and all have private shower and toilet. The Ortelius’ public areas include lots of open-deck space, two restaurants, and a bar/lecture room. She carries a fleet of Zodiacs for shore excursions and has a staff and crew of 46.