Weddell Sea – Emperor Penguin Voyage
11 Days/10 Nights
From $11,400 per person
(Quad. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
This itinerary includes a visit to one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles, the Emperor Penguin rookery south of Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea. You will travel from the ship by helicopter to an area near the rookery, and walk for 45 minutes to observe the penguins in their natural state. If the weather cooperates, there will be time to visit Half Moon Island to witness Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, and for a landing at Pendulum Cove on Deception Island.
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 local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of M/V Ortelius is 10.5 knots. If ice conditions are favorable and the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack ice, you have the chance for ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to Snow Hill Island – roughly 45 minutes walking distance from the emperor penguin rookery. If successful, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Even so, remember that nature writes the final itinerary out here: Attempts to reach Snow Hill Island during the voyages of 2012-17 did not always succeed. In 2013 and November 2017 conditions were favorable to land by helicopter on Snow Hill Island and to visit the emperor penguin rookery.
Day 1: End of the World, Start of a Journey.
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.
Day 4-7: Enter the Antarctic.
Antarctic Sound – The western side of this area is only rarely seen from the air, though the landscape is truly worth the flight: Layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers and icebergs and pack-ice extend as far as the eye can see. There are often individual emperor penguins and Adélie penguins on the ice floes, as well as kelp gulls, skuas, and various breeds of petrel. Jagged mountain peaks stab through the snow, and enormous walls of ice lie shattered on the slopes below.
Duse Bay – A soaring helicopter flight may deposit you on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay. There is still a lot of snow and ice, but much of the walk on the Antarctic is over frostshattered rock covered with lichen of all shapes and colors.
Seymour Island – Here’s where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901 – 4 wintered under harrowing circumstances. Sedimentary rock, fossils, and great views define this location.
If conditions allow for deeper ventures into the Weddell Sea, Zodiac trips may include:
Devil Island – Home to a large colony of Adélie penguins, this island offers a magnificent view for hikers willing to foot it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes forms a waterfall dropping from the cliffs close to Cape Well-met.
Brown Bluff – Maybe the most scenic location in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent: sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, beautiful volcanic creations capped with ice. A large Adélie penguin rookery lives here, with gentoo penguins and nesting snow petrels also to be found.
Gourdin Island – Chinstrap, gentoo, and Adélie penguins like this place, yet another option for your continuing Antarctic adventure.
Esperanza Base – This Argentine research station may be another landing site.
Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Last Landing.
Day 9-10: Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends.
Day 11: There and Back Again.
Day 5-6 Alternate Program (if the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack ice – a less than 50% probability).
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until November 18, 2018.
- The single supplement is 1.7 times the Twin price.
- Singles willing to share a cabin pay the Twin/Triple/Quad price.
November 18, 2018.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Ortelius.
- Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed).
- All meals scheduled on board, including snacks, coffee, and tea.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Zodiac expeditions conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of rubber boots.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
- Transfers to/from the vessel before/after the cruise.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides (Suggested $8-10/per/day 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 90 days prior to departure, the required deposit is between $2,400 and $3,000 per person, and may be higher for single passengers. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
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