The Best Active Voyage in Antarctica
Aboard the Ortelius or Plancius

What Makes Our Antarctica Trips Special?

  • With over 30 years of experience in Antarctica, we know the continent intimately and have selected the best designed itineraries that combine adventure, style and safety.
  • Small ships provide a wonderful advantage, letting you anchor closer to shore and allowing more time to explore on land—larger vessels are far less maneuverable, and because of regulations in Antarctica must have their passengers wait in shifts to make landfall.
  • A stellar team of on-board experts accompanies you on twice-daily landings and provides fascinating presentations on their fields of expertise, from marine biology to Antarctic history.
  • Each of the ships we’ve chosen have ice-strengthened hulls and advanced stabilization systems—and all adhere to the IAATO’s strict environmental guidelines designed to preserve Antarctica’s unique environment.
  • The majority of the itineraries we’ve selected are aboard all-suite luxury expedition ships with ocean-view staterooms, and abundant public space for relaxing. A few adventure expedition ships are also featured which offer fascinating options to camp, ski, kayak and even scuba in Antarctica.

Overview

Here’s one of the most active voyages in Antarctica! On this thrilling expedition cruise, paddle a kayak through polar waters, exploring the coastline at your own pace. Take a casual stroll along the Antarctic shores, or challenge yourself with a more advanced hike. You can also enjoy a variety of snowshoeing treks to suit your experience and your desired level of activity. Looking for a way to push yourself beyond the usual Antarctic cruise fare? Sign on for a mountaineering excursion! Snowshoe out to where the Antarctic foothills begin, then strap on some crampons and get ready for amazement as you make your way up to some of the best views available on the Antarctic Peninsula. And, you can take your Antarctic adventure further with a night of camping out under the Antarctic night sky. All the camping gear is provided—you just bring your sense of adventure!

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.

Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia, Argentina / Embark

Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego—nicknamed “The End of the World”—and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.

Days 2-3
Drake Passage

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you'll catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale blasting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence—Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas—you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: a variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.

Days 4-9
Enter the Antarctic

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. The basecamp concept allows you to feel more like a resident than a visitor, getting the most out of all available activities. Here are all the places you might go:

Neumayer Channel – The vessel may position itself for the multi-activity basecamp here. The protected waters around Wiencke Island become a veritable playground for all manner of activities. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea, with Zodiac and kayaking trips. Or if you’re among the walkers, there are possible snowshoe hikes and mountaineering (soft climb) options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities.

Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you get a chance to visit the former British research station—now a museum and post office—of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags.

Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering are potential activities in this location.

Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow. Opportunities for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and walking provide you the closest possible view of this location’s ice-crusted alpine peaks.

Paradise Bay – You have the chance to pitch camp here like a true polar explorer (but with a better tent), enjoying the supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.

Errera Channel – Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island. On your last day of near-shore activities, you pass the Melchior Islands toward the open sea. Keep a sharp lookout for humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. You might also shoot for Half Moon Island, in the South Shetlands, with further chances for activities. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Days 10-11
Drake Passage

While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 12
Ushuaia / DIsembark

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Highlights

Highlights

The most active expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula
Options to snowshoe, kayak, go mountaineering, and even camp overnight on the ice under the polar sky—all included!
Experience the wildlife wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula: penguins, seals, whales, and a variety of seabirds
Revel in Antarctica's otherworldly scenery of icy glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and sparkling seas

Details

Length: 12 days
Cost From: $7950  
Arrive: Ushuaia, Argentina
Depart: Ushuaia, Argentina
Lodging: 11 nights aboard a 116- to 123-guest expedition vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship, with snacks, coffee, and tea included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Photography, Hiking / Trekking, Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

12-day expedition cruise, nature walks on uneven grounds, options for snowshoeing, sea kayaking, camping, and mountaineering, Zodiac cruising with wet landings, possibility of rough seas and cold weather
Cruise collection 2019 brochure

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We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships with the most intriguing cruising itineraries, from the High Arctic to Patagonia to the great rivers of Europe.

Download our online digital brochure to view on your computer or mobile device, or as a PDF! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.