Group Cruise: Embarkation
Enjoy the morning at leisure, savoring an unhurried breakfast and then relaxing at the hotel or exploring the surroundings on your own. You will embark on your ship in the late afternoon, allowing you time to see some of the local sights if you wish. Once onboard your ship, it’s time to meet your fellow passengers and become acquainted with the vessel and the expedition team. You will set sail on the Beagle Channel, towards the southernmost tip of South America. Having settled in, attend your first safety briefing and orientation before sitting down to the welcome dinner.
Group Cruise: Sailing the Drake
As you sail through the Drake Passage, named after the famous 16th-century British explorer Sir Francis Drake, the spectacular seascape will keep you mesmerized. Onboard, you can attend engaging lectures and presentations from passionate polar naturalists on Antarctica’s fascinating history, flora, and fauna, all of which will prepare you for your experience upon your arrival. Guided by experts, you may even spot magnificent seabirds, such as albatrosses and petrels, as well as different species of whales on their way south to Antarctica. In between these informative sessions and watching for wildlife, savor gourmet meals with fellow travelers as well as delicious liquor and cocktails at the bar.
Group Cruise: Antarctic Peninsula
As your ship crosses the Antarctic Convergence, you can notice a considerable change in the environment. An 800-mile-long peninsula and icescapes stretch ahead of you, extending northward from the Antarctic continent towards South America. This stark White Continent often inspires a sense of awe and wonder in travelers. Your ship will sail through ice-filled bays, majestic channels, fjords, and inlets, offering your wonderful views of the untouched landscape in the endless Antarctic daylight. For your first memorable shore excursion, board a Zodiac boat and sail through scenic bays rich in wildlife. The peninsula experiences the mildest climates on the continent and a summer melting season, which creates a rich breeding ground for marine mammals and birds. Watch out for common Antarctic species such as the chinstrap, adélie and gentoo penguin, Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals, whales, albatrosses, and other seabirds. A lesser-known but widespread species of the region is the krill, a small crustacean that is a major food source for several species of whales as well as seals, penguins, squid, and fish. Weather permitting, you will also have the opportunity to visit several sites such as Paradise Bay, Danco Island, Neko Harbor and Port Lockroy, as well as sites of historic and scientific significance.
Group Cruise: Scotia Sea to South Georgia
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula as you make your way through the Scotia Sea, between the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia. This marine region, set at the northernmost end of the Southern Ocean, was named after a Scottish Naval Antarctic Expedition vessel Scotia, and travelers have sailed it since the 17th century! While the islands bordering the Scotia Sea support only tundra vegetation, the region is rich in seals, penguins, and seabirds, including four species of albatross, which you may just spot on a clear day.
Group Cruise: Solar Eclipse at Sea
Early in the morning, make your way to the deck to witness an extraordinary natural phenomenon: a solar eclipse, the very brief period (one minute, 40 seconds) when the moon blocks the sun’s light, plunging the polar region into darkness. You will be provided with a pair of special glasses before the momentous event to help you view the eclipse safely. Savor the stillness of this magical moment with your fellow umbraphiles (eclipse chasers), knowing you are among the very few to have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Bear in mind that, as with all eclipse sightings, visibility is influenced by weather and cloud conditions. Unique to this experience is your location at sea and the more extreme latitude which places the eclipse low on the horizon, making a successful sighting that much more difficult and rewarding should all the stars align. Once the eclipse concludes around breakfast time, feel free to celebrate the unforgettable moment with a hearty meal or return to your bed. In addition to the special eclipse glasses, you will also receive an invitation to a special evening celebration to commemorate this special total eclipse voyage.
Group Cruise: South Georgia Island
South Georgia is often referred to as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ and it’s easy to see why as you take in tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, icebergs, a rich historical tapestry, and an incredible array of wildlife will astound you as we travel down South Georgia’s coast. One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next, you may visit another beach blanketed with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia play an important role in the breeding and survival of diverse species on the island. During your expedition, you can also visit the historic Grytviken whaling station, featuring the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
Group Cruise: Southern Ocean
Sailing through the Southern Ocean, you will officially cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the southernmost continent. This is the meeting point of oceans, where the chilly waters of the Antarctic mix with the relatively warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. This amazing phenomenon helps nourish the abundance of krill that brings whales, seals, and birdlife to this part of the world. Enjoy watching seabirds and marine life that frequent the area, with guidance from expert naturalists on board your ship.
Group Cruise: Disembarkation
Arriving in Ushuaia, your journey ends at the pier upon disembarking from the ship. You can choose to spend the rest of your morning soaking in the sights and sounds of Ushuaia at your own pace, thus continue your adventure, or catch your flight home. You will be transferred to the airport directly if you plan to catch the first flight homeward, or taken to your hotel in town should you have plans to leave at a later time or date.