Antarctica – Discovery and Learning Voyage Aboard the Ortelius
11 Days/10 Nights
From $8,650 per person
(Quad. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Travel to the southernmost part of the world to explore the wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands on this captivating voyage. Depending upon the weather, you may be able to see Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins, and Weddell and Crabeater Seals. Zodiac excursions offer the opportunity to see Humpback and Mink Whales, and to visit a research station. There will also be great opportunities for kayaking and camping on this trip.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 10 nights (10 nights aboard the Ortelius), and 29 meals (10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 10 dinners).
Best Time to Go: November-March.
Note: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per IAATO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with IAATO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for this vessel is 10.5 knots.
Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey.
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. Overnight aboard the ship. (B)
Note: We advise all passengers to plan to arrive in Ushuaia one night before the cruise departure.
Day 2-3: Path of the polar explorers.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4-7: Enter the Antarctic.
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.
Sites you may visit include:
Danco Island – Activities here may focus on the gentoo penguins nesting on the island, in addition to the Weddell and crabeater seals that can be found nearby.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.
Paradise Bay – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales.
Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags.
There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping in this area, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore and to the old ski-way at nearby Damoy Point. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Scenes of South Shetland.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they do offer subtle pleasures: There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and no small amount of fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels). In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels – along with kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. A good hike is a possibility in this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape.
As an alternative, you may be able to engage in activities near Half Moon Island. Here chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9-10: Familiar seas, familiar friends.
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 11: There and back again.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency at xe.com.
- The above prices are valid until January 5, 2024.
- The single supplement is 1.7 times the Twin or Superior cabin rate.
- Singles willing to share a cabin pay the Twin, Triple, or Quadruple cabin rate.
- Children under 16 with parents may receive a 40% discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents/adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents/adults). Upon request (some voyages may be excluded).
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
- Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
- Accommodations on board the M/V Ortelius.
- All meals scheduled on board, including snacks, coffee, and tea.
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
- Transfer to the vessel before the cruise.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides (suggested $10-15/per/day cash for the naturalist guides and crew).
- Bar, gifts, and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group/Private: All services included in this tour are operated on a group basis.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Australian and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee of $100 and $75 respectively (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons) online, and must show proof of payment prior to arrival. The reciprocity fee for U.S. citizens has been suspended until further notice. For citizens of Australia, this fee covers unlimited entries to Argentina for 10 years, while citizens of Canada are charged the fee every time they enter the country (or $150 for multiple visits within five years). The fee can be paid online at ProvinciaNet.com.ar. You will need to register in order to make the payment. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the embassy of Argentina in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan. The operator of the ship requires that you purchase Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance (minimum recommended amount is $100,000).
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. For reservations made more than 60 days prior to departure, the required deposit is between $2,180 and $2,970 per person and may be higher for single passengers. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
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