This voyage combines the comfortable adventure cruises of Classic Antarctica with visits to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and spectacular South Georgia. Many of the wildlife and scenic highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are included as well as the best of these two wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands. These expeditions are designed to include as much wildlife viewing as possible, but also include visits to scientific bases and allow plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, icebergs and rugged mountains.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Due to the size of the continent, AntarcticaÂ’s diversity is best appreciated on longer voyages, where greater distances can be covered. This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Peninsula. Overnight at a hotel in Ushuaia.
Day 2: Ushuaia / Embark
Prior to the afternoon embarkation in Ushuaia, visitors can explore the southernmost city in the world. The former prison for hardened criminals and political dissidents has been converted to a museum. The shops and cafÃ©s will be open for last-minute purchases or for a moment of relaxation.
Day 3: At Sea
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team. They prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising that is to come.
Days 4-5: Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
You will spend these days in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), renowned for their amazing wildlife. On Carcass Island, highlights include Flightless Steamer Ducks, Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins and a colony of the rare Black-crowned Night Herons. Peale's and Commerson's dolphins are often seen along the coast. Nearby New Island boasts fantastic Rockhopper Penguin rookeries, along with Black-browed Albatrosses and Blue-eyed Shags. You will also explore Stanley, the charming capital of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Don't miss the chance to visit the small, but interesting museum.
Days 6-7: Southern Ocean
Continuing east, marine mammals and seabirds lure you to the decks as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar waters sink beneath the warmer waters of the more temperate zones.
Days 8-11: South Georgia
Sharing many of the biological characteristics of Antarctica, South Georgia has awe-inspiring scenery with towering, 7,000-foot mountains and mighty glaciers, but also low-lying, grassy areas, deep fjords and beaches. First sighted by Captain James Cook in 1775, the island attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife and is viewed by many as one of the most inspiring places on earth. Thousands of King Penguins greet you at Salisbury Plain. Wandering Albatrosses nest at Prion Island, where luxurious tussock grass provides a habitat for a variety of seabirds - and camouflage for thousands of breeding fur seals. Huge elephant seals, King and Gentoo Penguins crowd the beaches along the coast at places such as Gold Harbor, while Light-mantled and Sooty Albatrosses nest in the cliffs behind. The island also played a significant role in the story of Shackleton's epic journey after the sinking of his ship, the 'Endurance.' It was here, at the whaling station of Stromness, that he finally arrived after a harrowing voyage in a small boat from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea and over the never-before-climbed mountain range of South Georgia. You visit his grave at Grytviken, a once-active whaling station.
Days 12-13: Scotia Sea
Two days at sea to relax as well as to review your adventures in South Georiga. The first icebergs appear on the horizon as you head south to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Days 14-17: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Approaching the rugged South Shetland Islands, your first landfall could be Elephant Island where Shackleton's men found refuge during the epic 'Endurance' expedition. Places such as King George Island and Livingston Island support huge numbers of nesting penguins while seabirds nest in the cliffs and elephant seals wallow along the shores. Deception Island is still considered an active volcano and sailing through the narrow passage into its huge, flooded caldera is a thrilling experience. Sailing around the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, you navigate the Antarctic Sound, often referred to as Â‘iceberg alley.Â’ Huge tabular icebergs drift north from the Antarctic continent. Your plans also include a landing at Port Lockroy where bleached whale bones commemorate its time as a favorite anchorage of the whalers. You sail into Paradise Harbor on the Danco Coast where a series of huge glaciers flow into quiet waters. Your Zodiacs take you along rugged cliffs with nesting Cape Petrels, Blue-eyed Shags and Kelp Gulls. You keep watch for humpback whales and groups of crabeater seals on the ice and land at Almirante Brown, an Argentine research station located on the continent. Lemaire Channel is another narrow passage between towering rock faces and stunning glaciers. This channel is one of the highlights of a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula but it can be choked with icebergs and pack ice.
Days 18-19: Drake Passage
You leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Your expedition staff will review the adventures of your journey as you return to Ushuaia.
Day 20: Ushuaia
After breakfast aboard, you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.