Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||18 nights aboard 132-passenger expedition vessel|
|Meals:||All meals aboard the ship including a selection of wines, champagnes, spirits, bottled water, soft drinks, and specialty coffees|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History|
18-day expedition cruise, nature walks on uneven ground, Zodiac cruising with wet landings, possibility of rough seas and cold weather
- Follow in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers, including Amundsen, Byrd, Ross, Scott, and Shackleton
- See snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and spectacular iceberg sculptures
- Encounter rockhopper, gentoo, macaroni, king, Adelie, Magellanic, and chinstrap penguins
- Watch for seals, dolphins, and whales, and identify seabirds including albatross, shearwaters and petrels
- Visit historic sites of the early explorers and the remains of whaling operations
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: Silver 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.
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
Day 1, December 22, 2016
Departing from Buenos Aires, fly to Ushuaia and transfer to the port. Embark Silver Explorer and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the "Land at the End of the World." Meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Day 2 , December 23, 2016
The Expedition Team presents talks that will prepare you for the exciting adventures ahead. Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers and various members of the Silver Explorer crew.
Day 3, December 24, 2016
New Island, Falkland Islands / West Point Island, Falkland Islands
Today’s adventure introduces you to the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. New Island is a wildlife and nature reserve, and its many birds and animals are protected by an environmental conservation group. Once ashore, we hike into the rocky cliffs to a rookery where rockhopper penguins and blue-eyed shags share the same nesting area. We observe black-browed albatross going about their daily routines and may even spot upland geese. Our onboard historian tells us about "Barnard's barn," a stone structure once belonging to an early settler, as well as the wreck of the Protector III, an old minesweeper used for seal hunting, now grounded just off the shore.
In the afternoon, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as Silver Explorer approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of black-browed albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty rockhopper penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation including the rare Felton plant. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Day 4, December 25, 2016
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambience. Stroll through the charming streets of this colorful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral and wander through the small local museum. Some lingering reminders of the 1986 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina may still be seen, though the island has settled back to its quiet business of raising sheep.
Days 5–6 , December 26, 2016
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in the Theatre to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Lectures and seminars are presented by knowledgeable experts in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions may include photography workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Days 7–9, December 28, 2016
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including black-browed, light-mantled sooty, grey-headed, and the spectacular wandering albatross, plus thousands of king and macaroni penguins. South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship, the Endurance. Visit Shackleton’s grave and the whaling museum at Grytviken. Here are some of the places we may visit:
- An unforgettable view of huge icebergs can be seen surrounding Cooper’s Bay as we approach.
- Enjoy a Zodiac cruise to see numerous breeds of penguins, such as macaronis and chinstraps, on the rocks and waters surrounding the island.
- A large king penguin colony can be found between Weddell Glacier and Gold Harbour.
- Seals can be seen resting on ice floes and sunning on the beaches.
- A historic whaling station, all that remain are the rusted hulls of long abandoned whalers.
- Now a museum, guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery.
- At the burial site of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, we will toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments.
- A favorite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of king penguins, it is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.
Days 10–11, December 31, 2016
Participate in onboard activities, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Tonight, before turning in, take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendour of the vast sea and sky.
Day 12, January 2, 2017
Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands
Awesome glaciers flecked with pink algae greet us as we approach Elephant Island, so named for its abundance of elephant seals. In 1916 when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, the crew was stranded here for 105 days. Elephant Island is home to several chinstrap penguin rookeries, as well as 2,000-year-old moss colonies. Weddell seals and macaroni penguins can also be found on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named "Point Wild."
Days 13–16, January 3, 2017
While sailing to Antarctica, every turn can reveal a new and breathtaking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it’s apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters. Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amid colorful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations on complimentary excursions led by our team of natural history experts.
A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favorable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions, and wildlife we may encounter. Here are some of the places we may visit:
Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic continent)
- Adelie and gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, and pintado petrels use this as a breeding area.
- Birds such as the all-white snow petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance.
- As you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight.
- Wait long enough and you might see the Adelie penguins standing along the rocks, finally making their way into the surf.
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel
- The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy.
- Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for gentoo penguins.
- Snow petrels and pintado petrels may be seen, and Wilson’s storm-petrels nest in the higher scree of the island.
- During Zodiac tours, we hope to see hauled-out Weddell and Antarctic fur seals
Paradise Bay (on the Antarctic peninsula)
- The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs.
- From the ship, observe Argentina’s Base Brown, one of many Antarctic research stations.
- Here, you will actually set foot on the continent of Antarctica.
- View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in your Zodiac with one of our experienced Expedition Team members. There’s a good chance you’ll come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe, or if you’re very lucky, your Zodiac driver may locate a pod of Minke whales.
Port Lockroy, Goudier Island
- The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s, and since 1962 as a museum and gift shop.
- Snowy sheathbills and gentoo penguins roam outside the museum.
- Perhaps sight a whale or two during a Zodiac cruise.
- As you arrive, you may well be amazed by the sight of Adelie penguins covering the entire island. The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelies that come here to breed.
- On a nearby hill, view a massive colony of blue-eyed shags.
- Kelp gulls and snowy sheathbills are among the birds that breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s storm-petrels are regularly seen.
- Listen as your Expedition Team guide tells of Otto Nordenskjold and his party that over-wintered on the island in 1912. Remnants of their hut still remain.
- If time permits, take a Zodiac cruise to view Crater Lake, impossibly blue icebergs, and Adelie penguins making themselves at home on the ice floes.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)
- Deception Island is home to a collapsed volcano and an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows.
- Our resident geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area while our historian will introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island.
- Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
Days 17–18, January 7, 2017
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward. When they meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake such as the black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters, and white-chinned petrels. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Day 19, January 9, 2017
After breakfast, disembark the Silver Explorer and transfer to Ushuaia International Airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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.
Dec 22, 2016-Jan 9, 2017
Prices valid through Spring 2016
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
Prices valid through Spring 2017
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 25%
of trip cost
130 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*
Minimum fee: $200 per person
91-120 days prior to departure: 15% of trip cost
46-90 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
31-45 days prior to departure: 75% of trip cost
30 days or less: 100% of trip cost
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Adventurer Class Suite
Deck 3, with sitting area and two portholes. Suites 302-307. 175-184 sq. ft.
Explorer Class Suite
Deck 4, with sitting area and view window. Suites 402-407, 409, 411. 185-275 sq. ft.
Deck 3, with sitting area and view window. Suites 310-321. 230 sq. ft.
Deck 4, with sitting area and large picture window. Suites 410, 412, 414-421, 423, 425. 194-230 sq. ft.
Deck 5, with sitting area and French balcony with floor to ceiling glass doors. Suites 500, 501, 506-509, 512, 513. 230 sq. ft. Queen bed only for suites 512 and 513.
Decks 3 and 4, with living room and sitting area, two French balconies with floor to ceiling glass doors (two view windows in Suites 308, 309, 322, 323). Suites 308, 309, 322, 323, 408, 413, 422, 427. 460 sq. ft.
Deck 7, with sitting area and large veranda with floor to ceiling glass doors. Suites 702, 703. 351 sq. ft.
Deck 5, with living room and sitting area, two French balconies with floor to ceiling glass doors. Suites 502-505, 510, 511. 460 sq. ft.
Deck 7, with living room and sitting area, large veranda with floor to ceiling glass doors. 675 sq. ft. Suites 700, 701.
Deck 7, with living room and sitting area, large veranda with floor to ceiling glass doors. 626 sq. ft. Suites 704, 705.
Trip Cost Includes:
- Ocean-view accommodations aboard the Silver Explorer
- Butler service
- Shore excursions as noted
- Services of an expert Expedition Team
- All meals aboard the ship including a selection of wines, champagnes, spirits, bottled water, soft drinks, and specialty coffees
- Gratuities aboard ship
- 24-hour room service
- Complimentary parka, daypack, and water bottle
Trip Cost Does Not Include:Airfare, pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodations, luggage handling, arrival and departure transfers (unless purchasing airfare package), fuel surcharges, laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature such as WiFi and mobile phone service, medical care, massages, spa treatments, hair styling, and manicures.
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 Chile and 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. A Tourist Card is issued to visitors in Chile.
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), through the Toucan Club/Helpful Links section on Wilderness Travel’s website at www.wildernesstravel.com/toucan/links. PVE can also be reached by phone at 888-596-6028. Let them know you are booked on a Wilderness Travel trip.
International Health Card
A Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended if you plan to take the optional Iguazu Falls Extension. Have the shot recorded in your International Health Card and carry the card with your passport as proof of vaccination.
We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Trip Mate, or purchase other insurance on your own. The Trip Mate policy can only be viewed online at: http://www.tripmate.com/wpA470W. When you get to the Trip Mate site, click on the blue hyperlink that says "Click Here for Details," then choose "Certificate/Policy" from the menu across the top of the page. You will be asked for your state of residence before accessing the plan. To enroll, please submit the green application form enclosed in your confirmation packet. For specific questions about the plan, please contact Trip Mate directly at 800-888-7292.
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.
The Silver Explorer, a purpose-built expedition ship with the intimate onboard ambience of a private yacht, has been designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions. With a fleet of Zodiac boats, her 132 guests can visit even the most off-the-beaten path locations while an expert Expedition Team provides insight and understanding. Amenities include ocean-view staterooms with private bath, a spacious library with an Internet café, a full-service spa, beauty salon, fitness center, live evening entertainment, and two top-deck whirlpools. A strengthened hull with a Lloyd’s Register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger vessels enables Silver Explorer to push through ice floes with ease.