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Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour)


Enter a spellbinding world of snow and ice as you voyage to Antarctica, a continent that has long captivated explorers. Set sail aboard the comfortable, spacious and well-appointed Ocean Endeavour on an 11-day voyage, discovering unbelievable wildlife and the world’s most remarkable scenery. As you explore this icy wilderness, you’ll not only be accompanied by an expert expedition team, but also by penguins, seals, whales and seabirds, set against a backdrop of towering icebergs, snow-capped peaks, imposing glaciers and ice-choked waters. Adventures like this don’t come along every day – there’s simply nowhere else on earth like Antarctica.

11 days, from

$8,200

per person

GROUP SIZE

200 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: GQMDE
Style: Comfort
Theme: Polar

Details

Countries Visited:  Antarctica Argentina
Accommodation: 1 night comfortable hotel, 9 nights expedition cruise ship
Transportation: Expedition cruise ship , zodiac
Included Meals:

  • 10 breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 9 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 200

  • Explore an unspoiled wilderness, uninhabited by man, where penguins, seals, whales, and seabirds in their abundance are the true rulers.

  • Emerging from winter, the density of wildlife is increasing, and penguin rookeries are at full capacity with penguin chicks beginning to hatch from mid-December.

  • Seal and whale sightings become more frequent as minke, southern right and humpback whales return to Antarctic waters to feed, ensuring extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities.

  • Enjoy daily Zodiac excursions, onshore landings and take advantage of a range of adventure options during the voyage such as kayaking, camping, photography and snowshoeing.

  • Benefit from a variety of onboard activities including educational lectures on history, geology, and ecology by the expedition team.

  • When you’re not out exploring, enjoy the amenities onboard including expedition lounge, restaurant, bar, pool, jacuzzi, library, gym, sun deck, spa facilities and sauna.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. You will be briefed at your hotel this evening on the journey that lies ahead and the details for tomorrow’s embarkation. If you happen to arrive early there are many ways to entertain yourself at ‘the End of the World’. Check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on the region’s history or take a stroll down Avenida San Martin if you're after any last-minute essentials before departing for Antarctica. Enjoy a traditional meal at a local restaurant and sample some of Argentina's famous red wine.

Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuia

This afternoon you will board the Ocean Endeavour and your epic adventure south begins. Take some time to settle into your cabin as you begin cruising the stunning Beagle Channel, named after the famed vessel 'The Beagle' that facilitated some of Charles Darwin's most significant voyages. The channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and as the Ocean Endeavour pulls away from the port, there’s always an air of anticipation. Wave goodbye to Argentina and know that the next time you see land, you will be gazing upon the White Continent of Antarctica.

Day 3-4: At Sea, Drake Passage

The infamous Drake Passage, named after the famous English explorer Sir Francis Drake, separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. It is often rough and turbulent, but sometimes as calm as a lake. It is unpredictable, so be prepared!

The next two days at sea offer time to enjoy the fabulous onboard facilities. Maybe join a yoga class, or attend a presentation or two given by your expedition team to prepare you for what lies ahead, from the geology of Antarctica to the history, wildlife and even the ice!

Sailing towards Antarctica, the temperature falls as you cross the Antarctic Convergence and enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The Antarctic Convergence is marked by an increased number of seabirds, whales and other species that are attracted by the nutrient-rich waters pushed to the surface by the colder waters of the polar region flowing north and meeting the warmer equatorial waters flowing south.

Head out on one of the spacious outer decks to look out for the mighty albatrosses that fly overhead. Scan the waters for breaching whales and icebergs or gaze out from the panoramic windows of the Ocean Endeavour's observation deck. Keep on the lookout for the first sighting of land early evening on day four – heralding your arrival to the White Continent!

Day 5-8: South Shetland Islands & Antarctica Peninsula

You will spend the next four incredible days exploring the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, a region that has captivated explorers for centuries and now enthrals travellers.

Explore the region by Zodiac, cruising among the magnificently sculpted icebergs and making shore landings where you’ll mingle with penguins, climb to vantage points to absorb the spectacular panoramic views, and maybe visit a scientific or historic base. There may even be opportunities to day-paddle, snowshoe and learn more about photography with your talented expedition photographer capturing the moments as they unfold.

Antarctica will enchant you with its incredible scenery, from imposing glaciers to towering snow-capped peaks, vast icebergs and ice strewn channels. Not to mention the wildlife – from extensive colonies of chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins, to crabeater, Weddell, fur and elephant seals and a plethora of fascinating birds. Look and listen for the mighty crack of a glacier calving. Maybe you will be one of the brave few to take a polar plunge into the icy Antarctic waters! Every day brings a new experience and new landing sites to explore.

As you cruise from one landing site to the next, enjoy the continued lecture program and take in the scenery from the outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour. Make the most of the Ocean Endeavour's wellness facilities, from the relaxing spa and saunas to the saltwater pool and gym.

An average day onboard begins with a wake-up call from your expedition leader around 7am, 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 a delicious lunch served on the Ocean Endeavour in between excursions.

Day 9-10: At Sea, Drake Passage

Leave the Antarctic Peninsula behind as you set sail across the Drake Passage, enjoying some final lectures and presentations from your expedition team. Look out for wildlife from the observation lounge, outer decks, or the Ocean Endeavour's bridge as you head north across the Antarctic Convergence.

Having crossed the Drake Passage once more, enter the calm and tranquil waters of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy a final dinner and approach your home port of Ushuaia.

Day 11: Disembarkation in Ushiaia, Argentina

Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close as you disembark the Ocean Endeavour following breakfast. Farewell your fellow guests and your expedition team and join a transfer to Ushuaia airport for your onward journey today. Or perhaps extend your stay to spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world.