Antarctica Cruise Options
Antarctic Explorer - Discovering the 7th Continent (11 days):
Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia (own way), the world's most southerly city. Spend time in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, or enjoy Argentine wines and fresh king crab in one of Ushuaia's many excellent restaurants.
Day 2: Embark in the late PM, after which you sail through the historic Beagle Channel and past Cape Horn.
Day 3/4: Transit the Drake Passage observing petrels and albatross. Prepare for rough seas, but hope for smooth, as the Drake is forever changing.
Day 5-8: Cruise the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, taking Zodiac excursions each day to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife in the forefront of our minds, scout for humpback and minke whales, a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal, and possibly orca. Also prevalent should be sightings of sea elephants, Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap penguins.
Day 9/10: Transit the Drake passage en route to Ushuaia, discussing your experiences and sharing photos with fellow travellers.
Day 11: Disembark at Ushuaia after breakfast.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is an outline only; please be aware that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a polar expedition.
Classic Antarctica (Fly/Sail/Fly option) :
With a capacity for 71 passengers in comfort, all cabins feature picture windows, and private WC. Facilities on board include an enclosed observation lounge/presentation room, spacious dining room, bar, library, gym, and infirmary. The ship also has 7 Zodiacs for disembarkation and wildlife watching, optimising time ashore or observing.
Day 1: PM arrival of all guests in Punta Arenas (own way travel). Meet and Greet fellow travellers and attend technical brief. Overnight Punta Arenas hotel (if weather demanded it, option to fly early to Antarctica).
Day 2: AM flight (2 hours) in BAE-146 to South Shetland Islands (King George Island). PM visit Island to observe birds and vistas, then Zodiac transfer to your vessel.
Day 3-6: Setting a route that takes into account the weather and best opportunities to view wildlife and Antarctica's best sights, the Expedition Team charts a course that will extend to the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sailing along ice-filled fjords and past spectacular icebergs, you will enjoy the company of sea birds, seals, penguins and whales, disembarking each day by Zodiac to get even closer! A series of engaging lectures and briefs complete each day.
Day 7: Return to King George Island and onward flight in BAE-146 to Punta Arenas. Transfer to hotel and overnight (if weather demanded it, option to delay return flight to Punta Arenas to AM Day 8).
Day 8: After breakfast, transfer to Punta Arenas airport for onward flight connections (own way travel).
Antarctica (Express option):
Day 1: PM embark and sail from Ushuaia just after 4.00PM (final embarkation time).
Day 2/3: AM Visit to Cape Horn, with landing (weather permitting). Onward transit of the Drake Passage observing petrels, albatross, and possibly migrating whales.
Day 4: After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, the environment changes noticeably. Watch out for the first icebergs and the first sight of Antarctic land. On arrival in the South Shetland Islands, sail in ice-filled bays, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Board a Zodiac for your first memorable shore visit to a penguin colony. Taking advantage of the endless Antarctic daylight, exploration continues well into the evening.
Day 5: Return to King George Island and onward flight in BAE-146 to Punta Arenas. Transfer to hotel and overnight. (If weather demanded it, option to delay return flight to Punta Arenas to AM Day 6).
Day 6: After breakfast, transfer to Punta Arenas airport for onward flights (own way travel).
FLIGHT DELAYS - ANTARCTICA STATISTICS
How likely are you to experience flight delays to/from Antarctica on your trip?
Antarctica21 recently (Jul 2019) published a summary of their flight operations to/from Antarctica since starting this service in 2003. Since then they have flown 142 flights over the Drake Passage that separates Antarctica from South America, saving hours of precious vacation time and preventing hundreds of visitors from experiencing the turbulence of this historically unpopular body of rough seas.
Delays are most commonly caused by low cloud, fog, or high winds preventing flights to/from the White Continent. Statistics show that, for all 142 flights: