EPIC CRUISE – ANTARCTICA & SOUTHERN ISLANDS (SOUTH GEORGIA & FALKLANDS) – FROM USHUAIA – 23 DAYSfrom
Ushuaia, Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica
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- Vacation Style Holiday TypeAdventure, Antarctica, cruises, Glaciers, Hiking, Ice Trekking, Luxury, National Park, Navigation, Quiet, Seaside, Trekking, Wild Life
- Activity Level Moderate
Our Epic Antarctica voyage is called so for a reason—it includes all of the major Antarctic highlights you can imagine.
From the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) to South Georgia to the Antarctic Peninsula, you will have countless unforgettable moments on this adventure-packed, 23-day voyage. Start with the Falklands, reminiscent of both sandy Cape Cod and the English moors, home to albatross, dolphins, and five species of penguins. From there, venture to South Georgia where you’ll enter the home of 300,000 breeding king penguins, 50 million other seabirds, and 5 million seals. Then, explore the stunning Antarctic Peninsula, and finally cross the Antarctic Circle—a significant milestone for any world traveler.
December 27th, 2021 to January 18th, 2022
FROM USD 19.495.- PER PERSON
The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions in order to choose the optimal time and location. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore or, in many cases, from the gangway or Zodiac. All participants wear a tethered harness and plunge into the polar waters from the side of Zodiac or safety of the gangplank cheered on, of course, by fellow passengers and Expedition Team. Safety is paramount—the onboard physician always attends the Polar Plunge. Guides in survival gear circle the area in Zodiacs as guests take their turn jumping or cannon-balling into the polar waters.
Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary, and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales, and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac.
These large, heavy-duty inflatable vessels are extremely safe and were specially designed for expedition work. Zodiacs are the workhorses of Polar expeditions. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if these sturdy boats are damaged. Their flat bottom design permits the craft to land directly onto the cobble and ice-strewn beaches that you will encounter on your Polar expedition.
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks, and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea, and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hairdryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- Group arrival transfer in Ushuaia from airport to the pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
- One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite onboard are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
- Group transfer from the hotel to ship on embarkation day
- Group departure transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from ship to the local airport or to a luggage storage facility
- International airfare
- Passport and applicable visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
- Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, spa services, and other personal charges, unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities
- Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés, and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.
- Day 2 Embarkation Day
As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers, and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. Onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, your team will also help make your wildlife dreams come true.
- Day 3 At Sea
Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar, or enjoy the fresh air and views on the outer decks.
- Day 4 & 5 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit the cathedral and museum.
The Archipelago is rich in wildlife, especially birds, and home to Magellanic, Gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb’s wren.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
- Day 6 & 7 At Sea
Sailing southeast to South Georgia, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans, helps nourish the abundance of krill that attracts whales, seals, and birdlife to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line and also look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area.
- Day 8 to 11 South Georgia
This remote, mountainous island was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and seals. Today, island wildlife populations are rebounding, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site 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, plus a museum, gift shop, church, and small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the tremendous abundance of wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Each landing you make on South Georgia often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, will open your eyes to the wondrous lives of new, enthralling creatures.
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 all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and interwoven relationship is something your Expedition Team will instill in you during your time here.
- Day 12 & 13 At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures, and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival.
- Day 14 to 16 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and solitude; the next, you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Zodiac cruising, visits to historical sites, and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with a humpback whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, treat yourself to an optional kayaking adventure (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or a swim in Antarctic waters during the Polar Plunge!
- Day 17 & 18 Antarctic Circle
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is both a memorable experience and an impressive achievement, as few travelers reach so far south. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals, and your best chances of encountering sea ice – the foundation of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
- Day 19 & 20 Northbound Along the Peninsula
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to make excursions by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals, and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
- Day 21 & 22 Crossing the Drake Passage
After more than three weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
- Day 23 Disembarkation in Ushuaia
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and says goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.