Polar Circle Quest Aboard the Ushuaia
12 Days/11 Nights
From $8,810 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Setting off from Ushuaia, Argentina, you will cross the Drake Passage on the way to the continent of Antarctica. Your first sightings will be of the seabirds, icebergs, and snow-capped mountains of the South Shetland Islands. In the following days, you will explore the pristine landscapes, unique wildlife, and waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, with possible landing sites on Paradise Bay and Cuverville Island, and continue all the way South to cross the Polar Circle.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 11 nights (11 nights aboard the Ushuaia), and 32 meals (11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 11 dinners).
Best Time to Go: November-March.
Destinations: Argentina, Patagonia, and Antarctica.
Interests: Adventure, Expedition Cruising, and Wildlife Viewing.
Places Visited: Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands.
Note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions and they will try their best to reach the Polar Circle. However, if ice conditions do not allow access the route might be changed. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.
Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia.
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins, we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass. Overnight aboard the ship. (D)
Days 2-3: At Sea – Crossing the Drake Passage.
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region.
The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake.
The USHUAIA´s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Days 4-9: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and endeavor to cross the Polar Circle.
Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range. At this time of year, it is also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as humpback, Fin and Sei whales in the area.
We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy.
As further exploration will lead us far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, we might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faraday, where the ozone hole was first spotted, the rugged Yalour Islands and south of the Polar Circle Detaille Island.
On our way North we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent-shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Days 10-11: At Sea – Crossing the Drake Passage Northbound.
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Arrival in Ushuaia.
We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
|Departure Dates||Std. +
** 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 18, 2024.
- A limited number of twin cabins (except suites) are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the share rate.
- Suites for single occupancy may be reserved at 2 times the share rate.
- A third birth in the Suites and Superior Cabin #301 may be occupied at 50% of the published twin share rate.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Ushuaia.
- All meals scheduled on board.
- Zodiac expeditions conducted by English speaking guides.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges.
- Detailed post-expedition log.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
- Transfers to/from the vessel.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- 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.
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. The required deposit for single passengers is $1,800 to $2,800 and for double and triple passengers, it is $1,400 to $2,000 per person (depending on the cabin type), plus the cost of airfare, if we arrange it for you. The balance of the trip cost is due 90 days prior to departure.
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