This extended expedition cruise encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia (including 30 breeding bird species and 4 penguin species), the remote Falkland Islands, as well as exploration of the extraordinary Antarctic Peninsula- by ship, Zodiac and on foot. You’ll experience a great diversity of environments and landscapes, which will provide unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities. Join this quintessential Antarctic experience for polar travelers and uncover what explorer Ernest Shackelton had discovered on his renowned expeditions in the early 1900's.
Cruise Departure Dates:
2014: Nov 14 & 17
Tucked into an idyllic hillside above Ushuaia, Las Hayas Resort Hotel is only a 15 minute walk to the downtown area. The 93 guest rooms are large, and decorated with a flurry of colour. Enjoy a spectacular view from your room. The hotel has 2 restaurants, with Le Martial in high demand for its succulent meat cuts and fresh seafood. Take a walk into the city or check out the area's mountains, the Beagle Channel, and the forests.
Welcome aboard! This is a day for introductions and getting acquainted with your ship. Meet your fellow shipmates, be introduced to your Expedition Team and snap a few photographs of Ushuaia as you head to sea.
You'll receive a group transfer to the port for embarkation of your expedition vessel.
Sail aboard the Ocean Diamond, a modern, stable super-yacht and experience the incredible Antarctica. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers, this outstanding vessel features numerous adventure options plus onboard amenities such as a massage and wellness program and a well-stocked polar library. The Ocean Diamond is staffed with legendary captains, officers, expedition leaders, and guides.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you’re at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship or attend illustrated presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings. You’ll also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience the Antarctic.
Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of the Falklands. The archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which you will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Port Stanley is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel to it, complete with a bit of a ramshackle charm. You’ll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic 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 your time in the Falklands.
Reaching the Antarctic Convergence is your first taste of what makes polar travel special. Here, the cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, creating the abundance of marine life that attracts whales and other species to this part of the world.
Expedition staff will be sure to keep you posted when your ship is crossing the invisible, yet important Antarctic Convergence line. Seminars on board will keep you abreast of your next destination, South Georgia.
Once ruled by sealers and whalers, things have changed greatly on South Georgia. You’ll be happy to see that the once exploited and nearly vanquished seal and whale populations are now thriving.
Penguins abound here as well, with four different species to be on the lookout for. Some are a bit elusive, but the king penguins are impossible to miss, as their rookeries here number into the hundreds of thousands!
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, including the odd elephant seal.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, museum and a small gift shop, church and scientific research station.
Say goodbye to the king penguins and elephant seals, as your next destination is Antarctica! Today is a day spent relaxingly at sea.
In between presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, you can spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, your expedition may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, which are officially in Antarctica.
Arriving in Antarctica is often a surprisingly emotional moment. Who knows how you’ll react, but the general reaction is a sense of reverence and awe. No other place on earth is like Antarctica, which is a land of extremes.
Complete silence in the middle of the day is something we’re unaccustomed to in our busy lives, so Antarctica puts many people into a contemplative mood. But not for too long, as a calving glacier may break the silence or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or going on a Zodiac cruise amongst massive icebergs will become daily activities. It won’t take you long to tell the difference between Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals either, which are all found in this part of Antarctica.
Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get close to these majestic animals. Every journey is full of surprises, even for the experienced Expedition Team, which means your journey will be unlike any before, or after it. This is untamed, unscripted nature at its best!
Wave goodbye to the penguins as the ship turns northward towards home. Crossing the Drake Passage is considered your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers or listening to the expedition recaps from your Expedition Team. Tomorrow you will arrive back to Argentina.
Arriving back in Ushuaia this morning, you'll bid farwell to your expedition team and disembark from your ship.
Join your shared transfer to the airport with your fellow cruisemates.
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