Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||18 nights aboard a deluxe expedition ship, 1 hotel night|
|Meals:||All meals included|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History|
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 in one journey
- Zodiac excursions amid extraordinary wildlife including thousands of penguins
- Expert Antarctic naturalists and historians to 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 Ships
We offer several exciting voyages to Antarctica aboard a variety of ships. This is the detailed information for Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands: Sea Spirit. 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.
Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia offers a surprising number of shops, museums, cafes and restaurants. Great Argentinean steak and seafood abound, as does plenty of tasty chocolate to enjoy after you work up an appetite by exploring the nearby mountains or national park.
As we embark, the anticipation and excitement grows for what lies ahead. As every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, Embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They’re onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as help make your wildlife dreams come true.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while we’re at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, hang out at the bar chatting to other travelers, or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands—East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier type feel to them, especially at Port Stanley—the largest settlement on the islands. It’s an interesting British outpost where you may just as easily wander into a pub as you will a church or museum. With camera at hand, our wildlife sightings in the Falklands should include at least three species of penguins and two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of a memorable time in the Falklands.
En route to South Georgia, we cross the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica —the Antarctic Convergence. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales.
Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heydays is still found throughout South Georgia Island. You’ll be surprised to learn that the whale and seal populations were once decimated here, but today their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen. One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. His grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must’ve been like to be one of the first explorers to this unforgiving, yet beautiful environment. While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will likely find the most captivating. Often referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the Poles,’ South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day we may another beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains, and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share their knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy some quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team, which will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes them each unique.
South Shetland Islands / Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes; at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, then the next you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin. Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with the seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling each and every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin-eater, the leopard seal, or come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while out on a Zodiac ride. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy. If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you’ll treat yourself by booking our kayaking adventure option (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a polar plunge might be what you need!
The Antarctic Circle
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south. With a toast to the first explorers who ventured here, you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, with potential for some fantastic iceberg sightings.
The Drake Passage to Ushuaia
Our crossing of the Drake Passage is a fitting end to our visit to Antarctica.
We arrive in Ushuaia at approximately 8:00 am. After breakfast aboard the ship, travelers disembark at 9:00 am and are transferred to the airport for the homeward-bound flight. Your return flight from Ushuaia should be scheduled to depart after 12:00 noon.
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.
Nov 17-Dec 6, 2014
Prices valid through Spring 2015
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
|Main Deck Suite||$17,295|
Single supplement: For Main Deck and Classic cabins a single will pay 1.7 x price of the cabin. For Superior, Deluxe and Suites, a single pays 2 x cabin price.
Snowshoeing Option: Free of charge—can be arranged onboard
Trip Cost Includes:
- One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast
- Shipboard accommodation
- All meals aboard ship
- Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, open bar
- Complete program of shore landings
- Educational program of lectures and discussions by accompanying Expedition Team and guest speakers
- Professional Expedition Leadership
- Photographic Journal (DVD) documenting the voyage
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per daily program
- An official expedition parka to keep
- Coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- Comprehensive predeparture materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
- Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- All luggage handling aboard ship
- Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person
- Onboard physician
- 10MB card providing internet access via Windows connection
Trip Cost Does Not Include:Any airfare; passport, visa, and Argentine Reciprocity fees ($160); government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry and other personal charges; telecommunications charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 20%
130 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*
More than 179 days prior to departure: $1000 per person
179-120 days prior to departure: deposit is forfeited
119 days or less prior to departure: 100% of cruise 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
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 may have to transfer from the international airport to the domestic airport, which takes up to one hour. 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.
Date: Day 20
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)
Delta Airlines (via Atlanta)
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.
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.
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.
One of the most spacious and luxurious expedition vessels in operation, the Sea Spirit carries a maximum of 112 guests in all outside-facing suites with marble-appointed bath facilities, picture window or portholes, walk-in-closet or wardrobe, in-room safe, refrigerator, and satellite telephone access. All cabins have TV/VCR and individually controlled thermostats. This outstanding expedition vessel offers two large lounges, fine dining, a hot tub, library, gym, and elevator access to all passenger levels. In addition to the team of guest lecturers, the Sea Spirit has a resident photographer to assist on deck and on shore. A fleet of sturdy inflatable landing crafts is used for shore excursions.