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Best of Antarctica: Whale Discovery (Ocean Endeavour)


All aboard – the journey of a lifetime awaits. Set sail towards the Antarctic Peninsula, where whales gather in their largest numbers, on this extended 12-day journey designed especially for wildlife-lovers and epic adventurers. Follow the migration paths of these gigantic sea creatures and spot seals, penguins and seabirds along the way. Explore the frozen wilderness from the deck of the Ocean Endeavour and from our fleet of up-close-and-personal Zodiacs, scanning for underwater silhouettes. Take an optional expedition by day paddle or choose a photography lesson on the White Continent from an expert. Among electric blue glaciers, this by-sea adventure provides the best opportunity for whale-spotting and once-in-a-lifetime exploration.

12 days, from

$7,900

per person

GROUP SIZE

200 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: GQMDJ
Style: Comfort
Theme: Polar

Details

Countries Visited:  Antarctica Argentina
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (1 night), Expedition cruise ship (10 nights)
Transportation: Expedition cruise ship , zodiac
Included Meals:

  • 11 breakfasts
  • 9 lunches
  • 10 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 200

  • Witness an incredible abundance of humpback whales, as these marine mammals migrate south to feed on krill. Take daily Zodiac excursions to get closer to the whales, when spotted by your Expedition Team.

  • Admire the breathtaking scenery and wildlife that surrounds you, such as Gentoo and chinstrap penguins, fur seals, albatross and so much more, backed by imposing icebergs and glaciated mountains.

  • Personalise your expedition with a wide range of optional adventure activities. Kayak among icebergs, day paddle with expert guides or take photography lessons from a pro.

  • Keep learning with onboard educational lectures on history, geology and ecology, and participate in our Citizen Science Program, all led by our expert Expedition Team.

  • Defrost from the day and reflect on your epic adventure aboard the Ocean Endeavour, with amenities like the Aurora lounge, sun deck, Polaris Restaurant, bar, library, saltwater pool, jacuzzi, gym, day spa and sauna.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia

Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina – the gateway to Antarctica. Before you embark on this epic journey, take an included transfer from the airport to your hotel. Tonight, you’ll meet your fellow travellers and Expedition Team in Ushuaia with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, why not head downtown for some souvenir shopping or taste some classic Argentinian flavours at one of Ushuaia’s fantastic local restaurants? If you get the chance, watching the sun go down at 'The End of the World' (the nickname for the Tierra del Fuego archipelago) is the perfect way to cap off your first night.

Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

This morning is yours to explore Ushuaia. You can always ask your Expedition Leader for suggestions, but exploring this remote town on foot makes for a beautiful start to the day. Ushuaia offers enough stunning scenery for any nature-buff, so make sure you’ve grabbed your camera to snap that snow-capped backdrop. In the afternoon, transfer to the port of Ushuaia where you will board the Ocean Endeavour – your home on the sea for the next 10 nights. After meeting your fellow passengers and Expedition Team and settling into your cabin, you’ll set sail through the historic Beagle Channel towards Antarctica. Soak up incredible views as you glimpse your last sight of Argentina, then head inside to join the excitement and learn more about what to expect over the coming days.

Day 3-4: At sea, Drake Passage

Spend two days travelling across the legendary waters of the Drake Passage, named after the British seafarer Sir Francis Drake, towards the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. If conditions allow, there will be a chance to enjoy the outer deck spaces, scouting for dolphins, whales and a variety of seabirds that pass by – including the iconic wandering albatross, with its enormous three-meter wingspan. Our comprehensive lecture program will also get underway for you to join at your leisure, with our team of polar experts sharing fascinating insights into
Antarctic history, geology, biology and everything in between! If the weather is on your side, you should reach the Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula by early evening on day four. Make sure you’re on deck for this, as the first sighting of land always builds great anticipation on any expedition south.

Day 5-9: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is known for a high number of wildlife sightings, not to mention the stunning backdrop of mountains, icy landscapes and water. The perfect combination, as you search for migrating whales. This is why you have five full days to enjoy wildlife opportunities, both from the expansive outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour and via Zodiac cruises and shore excursions. The peak of the migration season is the best opportunity to see these majestic ocean dwellers, as all Antarctic whale species migrate long distances, feeding in the cold, nutrient-rich Southern Ocean during the southern summer. The most common species found in the region are humpback, Minke and fin whales, as well as orcas.

An average day on board begins with a wake-up call from your Expedition Leader around 7 am, giving you time to prepare for the day before joining your fellow expeditioners for breakfast in the Polaris restaurant. You will usually have two excursions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with lunch served on the Ocean Endeavour in between excursions.

As whale season is in full swing, you may like to participate in one of our exciting onboard Citizen Science projects – the Happy Whale Project, where you can upload photos of whale’s tails (called flukes) online, along with details of where the images are taken. These are used to analyse and identify the individual whales and track their movement across the oceans. Sightings can happen from the outer decks of the ship, on the ship’s bridge with your Captain or during a Zodiac excursion. Our open bridge policy allows you into the command centre of the Ocean Endeavour for the ultimate behind-the-scenes access and the best place to spot whales.

You will also have the daily opportunity for optional adventure activities, including kayaking or day paddle excursions through ice floes, or photography sessions and workshops led by our expert photography guides.

Day 10-11: At Sea, Drake Passage

As the Ocean Endeavour starts its return journey north to our home port of Ushuaia, now is the time to reflect on your amazing adventure. We’re scheduled to reach the relatively calm waters of the Beagle Channel by the evening of day 11. This evening, your final meal together in the Polaris restaurant is often a highlight, so make sure to live it up and enjoy the moment as you celebrate an incredible adventure with your fellow travellers and Expedition Team. Don’t forget the group selfie!

Day 12: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

Disembark the Ocean Endeavour after breakfast as your Antarctic expedition comes to an end and the memories of an amazing experience begin. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or downtown is included if you’re departing today.