(Buenos Aires, Ushuaia)
Experience Buenos Aires and Antarctica on this far-reaching expedition to the islands of the South Atlantic Ocean and the Antarctic mainland, you will revel in 18 eye-popping days of exploration. Busybody penguins in rookeries by the thousands, behemoth icebergs reflecting startling greens and blues, humpback whales feeding on krill and of course the continent-sized sweeping ice sheet of Antarctica. You’ll experience a deep sense of awe when you’ll first glimpse the much-anticipated continent.. You are greeted by thousands of icebergs that look like modern art sculptures lining the bays of Paradise Harbour or Hope Bay. Enjoy an overwhelming profusion of wildlife, from penguins torpedoing through the water to predatory leopard seals staking their claim on ice floes. We hope to stand on the mainland of the White Continent itself. From this vantage point, it is easy to understand why legendary explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Sir Ernest Shackleton were so captivated by this haunting region. As with all our voyages, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment. Book by May 15th and save up to $500 pp.
Cruise Departure Dates:
Ioffe ship: Nov 20* (2014), Jan 31 (2015) *special "Photography Symposium" sailing
Vavilov ship: Dec 28 (2014), Feb 6 (2015)
A private transfer between the airport (International) and city of Buenos Aires with a professional driver and an English-speaking guide is provided.
This tour covers city highlights beginning in the Palermo area with its beautiful parks, the City Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Argentine Horse Track and the National Polo Fields. With a private vehicle and English speaking guide you will pass through the well-to-do Recoleta area and drive by the Colón Theatre, one city's famous opera houses and the cultural pride of the locals. Time for a morning break at the Café Tortoni, one of the most traditional cafés in Buenos Aires, where you will have an opportunity to try a traditional porteño snack of ham and cheese sandwiches or croissants and with coffee or a soft drink. Upon leaving Tortoni, you will walk to the Lima Station on subway line "A", the oldest subway line in the southern hemisphere which still operates some of its original wooden. Leaving the subway at Plaza de Mayo station, you will see the Casa Rosada (Government House), the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cabildo (Buenos Aires' first city hall). The tour concludes with a drive through the colorful and fanciful La Boca ethnic quarter before dropping you off at your hotel.
A private airport transfer with a professional driver and English-speaking guide is included (between Buenos Aires' hotels and domestic airport or vice versa)
Fly from Buenos Aires domestic airport to Ushuaia. Note flights are subject to changes based on availability. The flight duration is approximately 3.5 hour.
A private airport transfer with a professional driver and English-speaking guide is included (between Ushuaia hotel and airport or vice versa).
This tour shows us diverse panoramic view points through which we can get an idea of the building industry and demographic growth of this unique city. It lasts around an hour during which the guide will give us a brief explanation of Ushuaia’s background, its urban development and the changes occurred throughout times. The final stop of the tour is in front of the "End of the World" museum.
Enjoy a private cruise pier transfer with vehicle, English speaking guide and driver.
Welcome aboard!As you step foot on the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city near the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with your 'home' for the next 18 days, you cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead. In the early evening, you set sail and begin the voyage, leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Expeditioners have the chance to spend plenty of time with the onboard polar experts. They will be educating you as you go, on the wonders of Antarctica. Sailing northeast at this point, you will likely be joined by swooping seabirds including the wandering albatross, who you will come to know well on this journey.
Arriving in the Falklands overnight, by morning you're excited to make your first landfall. The plan will be to explore the islands of the West Falkland Archipelago, home to a profusion of seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. Your first penguin sightings will be on the island of West Point with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island, you will observe nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers, geese and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent Falkland resident.
Today you'll make a stop in Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As you wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, you will learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the formidable waters of Cape Horn. You will also make a stop in Port Stanley's famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps.
Now you sail southeast bound for the island of South Georgia. These days at sea are never dull. Much of your time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds. Your friendly onboard experts continue to fill minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica.
Another full day at sea, you will learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of your guides and crew. The anticipation grows particularly as you cross the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature.
Majestic snow-covered mountains greet you on the island of South Georgia - the most rugged island in this region. You'll cruise the protected waters of the eastern coast looking for suitable landing spots such as Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay.
Excursions at Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay are highlighted by the mind-boggling abundance of king penguin adults and young that live in these locations by the hundreds of thousands, covering every inch of the shore.
Fur seals can be seen poking their heads above the water, skuas and giant petrels swoop in the skies above, and the albatross, your constant companion, is never far away. You hope to explore an old whaling station at Grytviken (Greet-vik-in) and visit the grave of the most famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
As you cross the Scotia Sea, sailing ever closer to Antarctica, you hope to visit the South Orkney Islands. Linked to the Antarctic Peninsula by an enormous sub-marine mountain range these islands, often shrouded in mist, are protected by large icebergs and sea ice.
If conditions allow, there will be an excursion to Coronation Island to observe penguins nesting in moss beds alongside graceful snow petrels.
You may also stop at the remote island of Laurie and visit the Argentinean meteorological station located there.
Elephant Island, en route to the South Shetland Islands, will be your next destination if conditions are suitable. Here, you will learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea.
Next, you will spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await on your excursions to some of these islands including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. You may even spot the gentle humpback whale dining on krill off King George Island.
Weather permitting, you will visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. With rugged scenery, great sites of geologic interest and an overwhelming display of whaling and scientific exploration history, Deception Island is a perfect museum of natural and exploration history. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a spectacular hike to the crater rim offers a challenge.
Finally, after so much anticipation, you will arrive at the Antarctic mainland in Paradise Harbour or Hope Bay. The scenery here from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet is truly breathtaking. Weather permitting, you hope to undertake a shore excursion and set foot on the White Continent itself.
As you leave this magical place and make your way back, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, there is no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days.
You continue north through the Drake Passage, and sailing up the Beagle Channel you celebrate the conclusion of your polar expedition at a special dinner.
In the early morning, you will arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers.
Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires domestic airport. Not flights are subject to changes based on availability. The flight duration is approximately 3.5 hrs.
Hotel Madero is placed in the wistful and scenic Puerto Madero area, and is a beautiful hotel to stay in while getting to know the fiery city of Buenos Aires. The 197 rooms offer a vast space in which one can relax and unwind, with great views. The culinary skills of the French chef at Madero's Red Resto & Lounge, are showcased via French specialties fused with international. Spend time at the bars, sipping on cocktails, or drop by the pool for a refreshing swim.
At world’s end, a dream begins, as unique as the nature that surrounds it, Fueguino Hotel Patagónico has privileged views of Martial Glacier and mountain range, Beagle Channel, cruise ship dock and Ushuaia center. This new, modern hotel in located in Ushuaia's city center. The hotel has warmly appointed guest rooms, each with panoramic views, Italian wood furnishings, with elements in stainless steel. Guest beds in same wood, with leather head boards, large closets and mirror doors.
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov ship, Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, was designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. Up to 107 guests can be accommodated aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov, each cabin providing an outside position and exterior view. This ship is maneuverable yet exceptionally stable, as external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system provide necessary stability. Akademik Sergey Vavilov has an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. The ship is outfitted with fully enclosed lifeboats, ship-to-shore communications via satellite, platform for optional kayaking & camping, a fleet of Zodiacs, panoramic observation lounge, clinic with licensed doctor, and an elevator between decks 1 and 5.
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