In Shackleton’s Footsteps - Antarctic Cruise

In Shackleton’s Footsteps | Greg Mortimer | Antarctica Tours In Shackleton’s Footsteps | Greg Mortimer | Antarctica Tours
Embark on a classic polar expedition, retracing 'the Boss's' iconic journey, from the tranquil southern ice to the subantarctic wildlife haven of South Georgia. Your adventure begins on the Antarctic Peninsula, where you'll step foot on the continent and proceed north to the magnificent Antarctic Sound, the gateway to the Weddell Sea. Dive into the thrill of exploration as you venture further east, pushing as deep as possible into the Weddell Sea, where Shackleton's fateful Endurance expedition unfolded. Your next destination is Elephant Island, the isolated outpost where Shackleton and his crew finally reached land after 497 days at sea. For the final leg of your voyage, follow the path of the James Caird across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia, where Shackleton's remarkable odyssey concluded. Throughout this historic journey, your experienced expedition team will be with you, enhancing your experience with knowledge, wildlife-spotting tips, and tales of Shackleton's legendary adventure.

20 Day Antarctica Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia

Upon your arrival in Ushuaia, a representative will greet you and transfer you to your designated pre-voyage hotel, unless you're already in Ushuaia, in which case you should proceed to your hotel. Check-in is available from 3.00 pm. Later in the day, between 8.00 am and 12.00 pm, or 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm, visit the hospitality desk at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, located at Luis Fernando Martial 1650, to pick up your luggage tags and express your interest in joining the Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise (sea lion island) scheduled for tomorrow. The team will provide embarkation details, address your queries, and offer guidance on dining options or last-minute purchases.

For those arriving after 7.00 pm, a welcome pack will be available at check-in, and we request you to visit the hospitality desk between 8.00 am and 10.00 am on the following day. The rest of the day is free for your leisure activities, with all meals at your own expense.

Accommodation arrangements: You will be accommodated at either Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel.

Day 2: Embarkation

In the morning, savor breakfast and complete your check-out. Make sure your cabin luggage is equipped with clear cabin tags bearing your name and cabin number. Take your cabin luggage to the hotel reception during or before check-out. Your luggage will be securely stored and then transferred directly to the port for clearance, ready to be placed in your cabin before your arrival on board. Ensure that you keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

The morning is yours to explore Ushuaia at your own pace.

For those interested in the afternoon catamaran cruise, regroup in the hotel lobby at 12.45 pm, prepared for a transfer to the port at 1.00 pm. On the catamaran, we'll journey across the Beagle Channel, passing by the iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, and slowing down to observe colonies of sea lions and imperial cormorants basking on rocky outcrops. Various bird species, including gulls, rock cormorants, skuas, petrels, albatrosses, and cauquenes, are often spotted. The cruise provides stunning views of the city and the nearby mountain range while sharing stories of the local people and communities.

Alternatively, you can enjoy a leisurely day and assemble at your hotel lobby at 3.45 pm for transportation to the pier for embarkation.

Once on board, you'll have time to settle into your cabin before attending mandatory briefings. As the ship departs from the port, we'll gather on the deck to start the adventure, taking in breathtaking views of Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.

In the evening, join your fellow expeditioners, the friendly expedition team, and crew for a welcome dinner to kick off the exciting journey to Antarctica.

Day 3 & 4: Drake Passage

As we embark on the crossing of the Drake Passage, we take the opportunity to acclimate to the sea's movements. The expedition team prepares you for the initial landing by providing essential wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, while also initiating a lecture series to enhance your knowledge of Antarctica's history, wildlife, and environment.

Our wildlife encounters commence as we observe and capture photographs of numerous seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, trailing the vessel. On days at sea, you have the option to utilize the onboard amenities such as the gym, wellness center, or relax in one of the observation lounges.

As we approach the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the fourth day, anticipation fills the air, and passengers gather on one of the observation decks in hopes of spotting the first iceberg. Once we pass below the Antarctic Convergence, the ocean transforms, and we find ourselves surrounded by the surreal presence of drifting ice formations. The memory of your initial encounter with a substantial iceberg is likely to stay with you for a lifetime.

Day 5, 6 & 7: Antarctic Peninsula

Describing the sensation of arriving in Antarctica is nearly indescribable. The sight of your first iceberg and a deep inhalation of some of the purest, crispest air on the planet create an unforgettable experience.

Upon the arrival, we have the Western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands awaiting exploration, offering a multitude of options. The seasoned expedition team, with their extensive experience in this region, will meticulously plan your day-to-day voyage, selecting the best activities based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities.

During the time on the Peninsula, we typically schedule landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Before embarking on Zodiac cruises along awe-inspiring ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, ensure you are appropriately dressed, all while keeping a keen eye out for whales, seals, and agile penguins. Zodiacs also facilitate transport from the ship to the shore, allowing you to visit penguin rookeries, explore historic huts, and discover the Peninsula's cherished locations.

While ashore, we aim to stretch the legs, strolling along pebble-strewn beaches or, perhaps, ascending snow-covered ridges that offer panoramic views of towering mountains and ice-flecked oceans below. If you've opted for additional activities, you can partake in them whenever conditions allow. For the daring, there's the opportunity to take a polar plunge in the icy waters, provided the conditions are suitable!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may navigate through narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland or linger in picturesque bays to marvel at sculpted icebergs and capture breathtaking scenery through your camera lens. This is an ideal time to enjoy the observation lounge or, when open at the Captain's discretion, make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted vistas of Antarctica in all its grandeur. Keep an ear out for the creaks and deep rumblings of glaciers as they calve into the sea, and relish a tranquil moment to embrace the wonder of this remarkable white continent.

Day 8: Weddell Sea

The renowned Weddell Sea plays a central role in the narrative of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which we are retracing. In the summer of 1914, Shackleton and his 27-man crew embarked on a journey into the Weddell Sea with the ambitious goal of making the first overland crossing of Antarctica. However, as they approached their starting point, their ship, the Endurance, became ensnared in sea ice, shattering any hopes of fulfilling their mission. Little did they know that this marked the beginning of an entirely unforeseen and remarkable odyssey. The remarkable sequence of events that ensued has made Shackleton's expedition one of the most celebrated in polar history.

The Weddell Sea, remote and inaccessible, holds great allure for polar adventurers. Your voyage commences at the northernmost point of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the starkly beautiful Antarctic Sound. Here, in a rarely-visited region of the Peninsula, volcanic peaks loom over penguin colonies, and elegantly sculpted icebergs sail through the deep channels leading to the Weddell Sea.

As you venture further east, embrace the spirit of exploration as you push your way as deeply as possible into the Weddell Sea. This region is renowned for its stunning tabular icebergs and vast expanses of sea ice, which serve as a magnet for an abundance of wildlife, including crabeater seals, Weddell seals, and a variety of seabirds. Take moments on deck to observe the graceful flight of storm petrels, prions, and Antarctic cormorants, all drawn here by the thriving Antarctic krill populations that flourish in the shelter of this ice-covered sea.

During your journey, take a moment to contemplate the truly historic waters through which you are sailing. It wasn't far from here that the wreckage of the Endurance was discovered, remarkably well-preserved, on March 5, 2022. Researchers aboard the polar research vessel S.A. Agulhas II were astonished to find the ship, nearly intact, just 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) south of the position calculated by Captain Worsley in 1915 when he last saw his ship.

Day 9: Elephant Island

Today, we chart a course towards Elephant Island, the remote outpost where 22 of Shackleton's crew endured several harsh winter months, finding shelter beneath two overturned boats.

In the morning, gather with your expedition team in the lecture room to listen to the incredible account of Shackleton and his men. They spent 9 months trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea and another 6 months on drifting sea ice before embarking on a desperate escape from the sea ice in three open boats. Battling against the elements, including wind, currents, swell, and perilous ice, they spent nearly a week at sea before finally reaching the desolate shores of Elephant Island. This island, a stark, ice-covered extremity of the South Shetland Islands, marked their landfall after 497 days adrift at sea.

Our plan is to sail past Cape Valentine, where the men initially came ashore over a century ago, and then trace the coastline westward to the exposed promontory of Point Wild. It was at Point Wild that Shackleton's 22 men endured several harsh winter months under their upturned boats, clinging to hope for rescue. If the weather permits, we will either embark on a Zodiac cruise or land at the historically significant Point Wild.

Day 10 & 11: Scotia Sea

Following an exhilarating series of excursions and activities in Antarctica, take some time to unwind and savor the more leisurely pace of sea days as you cruise towards South Georgia.

As you traverse the Scotia Sea, you are retracing the path taken by Shackleton and five of his companions when they embarked on a desperate journey from Elephant Island in search of rescue. In their open wooden boat, the James Caird, they spent 17 days sailing into the unknown across this treacherous expanse of ocean. This remarkable boat journey culminated in their safe arrival in King Haakon Bay on the west coast of South Georgia, an extraordinary feat in maritime navigation and polar survival history.

While sailing, the onboard lecture series continues, offering engaging presentations on South Georgia's wildlife, geology, and history in the lecture room. Alternatively, you may opt for relaxation: enjoy a leisurely extended lunch, catch up on your fitness routines in the gym, or lose yourself in a book from the polar library.

The Scotia Sea is renowned for its rich wildlife, including the presence of fin, humpback, and blue whales. Keep a vigilant eye out for these gentle giants, as well as the elusive orca, which patrol these waters. Step out on deck with your camera to capture the graceful flight of cape petrels and prions, as well as the majestic albatross gliding gracefully amidst the rolling waves.

Of course, the legacy of Shackleton and his remarkable voyage remains a constant presence:

“Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.”  

- Ernest Shackleton 

Day 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16: South Georgia

As you approach the rugged island of South Georgia, take a moment to reflect on the voyage of Captain James Cook, who, in 1775, believed it to be the northernmost part of a vast southern continent. In reality, South Georgia is a relatively small island, measuring only 176 kilometers (110 miles) in length, yet it boasts a striking 3,000-meter (9,842-foot) snow-capped mountain range, some of the world's most substantial gatherings of wildlife, and a compelling human history. South Georgia is a place of remarkable natural wealth.

As you draw nearer, you'll witness the abrupt ascent of jagged mountain peaks and often spot seabirds gracefully soaring around the ship. You'll navigate along the coastline, taking in the breathtaking scenery shaped by glaciers and finding some respite from the prevailing westerly winds. This captivating coastline awaits your exploration.

Embark on Zodiac cruises through rugged coves and along the rocky shoreline in search of penguins, seal colonies, and bird-filled cliffs. Be sure to keep an eye out for South Georgia's kelp forests, whose mesmerizing underwater ecosystems are captivating as their fronds sway on the water's surface.

Zodiacs will facilitate your transfers from the ship to the shore, where you can visit some of the planet's largest king penguin colonies, embark on guided walks among fur seals and elephant seals (adhering to your guides' instructions and maintaining a respectful distance), and meander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial plains. We also aspire to explore the remnants of South Georgia's once-thriving whaling stations and pay a visit to the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose remarkable survival voyage is synonymous with this island.

In addition to Zodiac excursions and shore visits, we may also navigate the ship through fjords flanked by towering ancient stone cliffs or venture into deeply indented bays leading to dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great opportunity to find a comfortable spot in the observation lounge and relish uninterrupted views of South Georgia's grandiose coastline.

For ardent Shackleton enthusiasts, the optional hike from Fortuna Bay to Stromness promises to be a highlight. This trail retraces the final leg of Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean's extraordinary traverse of South Georgia, from their initial landing in King Haakon Bay on the east coast to Stromness on the west, where they finally found refuge after a harrowing 24 months at sea.

"Under the bright moonlight, we could see that the interior was incredibly rugged," wrote Shackleton. "High peaks, impassable cliffs, steep snow slopes, and sharply descending glaciers stretched out in all directions."

Day 17, 18 & 19: At Sea

As we depart from South Georgia, you'll be captivated by the continuous flight of numerous seabirds that expertly utilize the air currents generated by the ship to gain momentum.

Given favorable time and weather conditions, we may have the opportunity to approach the Shag Rocks, a captivating cluster of rugged islets rising from the sea near South Georgia.

While sailing towards Ushuaia, you have the option to make the most of your remaining moments at sea by savoring the panoramic views from the deck, indulging in the ship's amenities, or attending final lectures. There's ample time to relish the enchantment of the Southern Ocean, share a drink with newfound companions, and reflect on the shared voyage.

On the last night, commemorate your unforgettable journey with newfound friends at a special Captain's farewell dinner.

We hope that you will become ambassadors for the Antarctic region, sharing your experiences with family, friends, and colleagues, and advocating for its preservation, with the aspiration that they too may one day have the opportunity to visit this extraordinary place and encounter what you've been fortunate to witness and participate in here.

Day 20: Ushuaia

Sail up the Beagle Channel in the early morning and quietly glide into the Ushuaia dock, where you are free to disembark around 8.00 am. Bid farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers, taking with you a newfound appreciation for the immense power and beauty of nature.

Upon disembarkation, passengers with flights departing before 2.00 pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport. Those fortunate enough to be extending their adventures in this remarkable region will be transferred to their post-voyage Ushuaia accommodations. Passengers with flights scheduled after 2.00 pm will have the opportunity to explore Ushuaia before an afternoon transfer to the airport, and you will receive the transfer details onboard before disembarking.

Please note that at the end of the voyage, it is advisable not to book flights departing from Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation to account for potential delays.

Itinerary Map

In Shackleton’s Footsteps

20 Day Antarctica Itinerary Highlights

  • Marvel at massive tabular icebergs in the Antarctic Sound, known as 'Iceberg Alley.'
  • Discover Shackleton's Endurance expedition history, including the 2022 shipwreck find.
  • Explore South Georgia, a wildlife sanctuary where various seals and penguin species coexist.
  • Hike from Fortuna Bay to Stromness whaling station, following Shackleton's iconic South Georgia journey.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 19 Dinners
  • 20 Lunches
 | Falkland | Bird
 | Paradise Bay |  Antarctica
Salisbury Plains | South Georgia | King Penguins

20 Day Antarctica cruise activities

Sea Kayaking
Under full instruction from your sea kayaking guide, experience true tranquillity as you paddle through clinking ice floes and realise the enormity of the surrounding scenery. Look out for breaching whales, lounging seals and penguins zipping alongside your kayak. Some experience is required.
Ice Camping
Camp out on the ice and experience the silence which blankets the continent by night. This is your chance to completely connect with this ethereal ice world – wrap up warm and embrace the Antarctic elements.
Get a spring in your step when you slip on a pair of snowshoes in Antarctica. Enabling you to easily scale gentle slopes, this unique activity allows you to access hard to reach places and seek out the most impressive views.
Learn to capture wildlife and landscape shots in a small group photography program, including critiquing sessions and editing classes. Plus, Explorer Boat excursions with a dedicated photography expert on landings.
Explorer Boats
Achieve the best views and photographs from a forward facing Explorer Boats. They allow you to sit comfortably and securely while crackling through the ice-strewn waters. Look out for wildlife such as penguins, seals and whales as you cruise.
It doesn’t get more serene than complimentary yoga classes to the tune of glacial scenery. Join the most unique exercise setting in the world after a day of exploration. Classes are regular but are dependent on weather conditions and swell.
In Shackleton’s Footsteps
20 Days
From $22,595.00 per person

By submitting this form, you agree to receive text messages or emails from us.
Book your 20-day Antarctic tour now and create memories to last a lifetime!