Classic Antarctica

This expedition is one of the most popular trips and offers you a true Antarctic experience. After crossing the Drake Passage, famous for its huge numbers of seabirds and mammals, you’ll spend 4 days on both the South Shetlands and the Antarctic Peninsula. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife (penguins, seals, whales etcetera). We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways and plan to make at least two landings per day using our zodiacs.
We are sure Antarctica will leave you breathless !

Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

Day 2 & 3: Crossing the Drake Passage

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.
As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA’s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.

Day 4 to 7: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing.
King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you at Livingston Island.

The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales at close range.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on the ice conditions): the Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel, and the Lemaire Channel, the latter are narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers.

We plan to make at least two landings per day and possible landing sites may include:
Paradise Bay is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world and we attempt a landing on the continent proper. After negotiating the iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic Sound, we hope to visit the bustling Adélie Penguin (over 100,000 pairs breed here) and Blue-eyed Cormorant colonies on Paulet Island. The Nordenskjöld expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins.
Further exploration may take you to Melchior Island, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Pléneau Island and if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins.

Day 8 & 9: At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

Day 10: Arrival in Ushuaia

We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast.

INSURANCE:
Travel insurance is mandatory for all expedition cruises, including a medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. The repatriation/evacuation must be insured at cost, not a maximum amount. In case of a medical problem arising during the voyage, either on board or on shore, which results in costs for medical treatment, evacuation, use of aircraft or repatriation etc. the responsibility for payment of these costs belongs solely to the passenger. It is mandatory for the passenger to ensure that such eventualities are covered by travel insurance (incl. medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance). In any case, if not covered by appropriate travel insurance the responsibility still remains with the passenger and PolarXL and its partners specifically decline any responsibility whatsoever.

Although not mandatory, we strongly recommend taking out a cancellation insurance for your cruise. During the booking on the PolarXL website you can indicate if you want to take out a cancellation insurance through PolarXL. Alternatively, you can decide to take out the insurance yourself at your insurance agency.
The itinerary for all expedition cruises is for guidance only and this also applies to this particular cruise. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board who will keep you informed on possibilities during the cruise. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Regarding cruises in the Spitsbergen waters: since 2015 ships cruising in the waters around Spitsbergen must have either a local pilot or a two licensed officers on board. In case of a pilot coming on board this will mean the pilot will take control of the ship and the route. In some instances it is necessary for one of the ship’s officers to take the pilot exemption test during a cruise. This will also mean the pilot has control of the ship and the route. In case a pilot takes control of the ship it could mean that the route can partly not be done as described on our website.
This is a local law and neither PolarXL nor its partners can accept any responsibility for changes in the route should this happen.

The species mentioned on our website all regularly occur in the area mentioned. PolarXL can not guarantee you will see a certain number of species or animals, nor can we guarantee which animals you will see. In certain cases you will see fewer animals than indicated, in certain cases you will see more and different animals than indicated.

PLEASE NOTE:
The itinerary for all expedition cruises is for guidance only and this also applies to this particular cruise. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board who will keep you informed on possibilities during the cruise. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Regarding cruises in the Spitsbergen waters: since 2015 ships cruising in the waters around Spitsbergen must have either a local pilot or a two licensed officers on board. In case of a pilot coming on board this will mean the pilot will take control of the ship and the route. In some instances it is necessary for one of the ship’s officers to take the pilot exemption test during a cruise. This will also mean the pilot has control of the ship and the route. In case a pilot takes control of the ship it could mean that the route can partly not be done as described on our website.
This is a local law and neither PolarXL nor its partners can accept any responsibility for changes in the route should this happen.

The species mentioned on our website all regularly occur in the area mentioned. PolarXL can not guarantee you will see a certain number of species or animals, nor can we guarantee which animals you will see. In certain cases you will see fewer animals than indicated, in certain cases you will see more and different animals than indicated.

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