Polar Circle Quest - Antarctic Cruise

Polar Circle Quest | Ushuaia | Antarctica Tours Polar Circle Quest | Ushuaia | Antarctica Tours
Embark on a daring expedition cruise aboard the USHUAIA to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, and endeavor to cross the elusive Polar Circle. Sail through iconic channels, witness icebergs, and marvel at pristine landscapes. Encounter diverse wildlife, from penguins to seals, and explore iconic sites like Paradise Bay and Deception Island. An unforgettable journey of exploration and natural beauty awaits.

Day by day

Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Meet your lecture and expedition staff in the late afternoon. We sail the Beagle Channel, and scenic Mackinlay Pass after you settle into your cabins.
Day 2 & 3: At Sea. Crossing the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage, named after Sir Francis Drake who explored these waters back in 1578 marks the Antarctic Convergence. This is a bio barrier that occurs when cold water from the poles sinks below the warm waters of the north. The result is a huge upwelling nutrient, which supports the biodiversity in this area. Drake Passage is also the northernmost limit for many Antarctic seabirds. Antarpply Expeditions lecturers are on board to identify the amazing range of seabirds that follow us, such as many albatrosses.

Open bridge policy of the USHUAIA allows you to learn navigation from our officers, observe whales and take in the views. There will also be a full schedule of lectures.

We have now reached the South Shetland Islands. This group of 20 islands and islets was first discovered in February 1819, by Captain. William Smith, the captain of brig Williams. On Day 3, our naturalists and lecturers will be with you as you have your first experience of penguins or seals.

Day 4 to 9: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and endeavor to cross the Polar Circle

The western part of the Antarctic Peninsula is a place where you can enjoy pristine scenery and exquisite beauty. In the waters around the continent, icebergs in all shades and forms are freely floating. You will experience the same excitement as early explorers when you learn about the history of Antarctica. There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the amazing landscape and wildlife. You will also see Minke and Orcas, as well as Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, as you explore the area. It is very possible to see large cetaceans such as the humpback whale, Finn, and Sei in this area.
The Gerlache Strait is one of the best waterways in the region. Other options include the Errera Channel (which has a glacial front), Neumayer Channel (a narrow channel) and Lemaire Channel. Landing sites could include Paradise Bay with its glacial mountains and impressive glacial fronts. Cuverville Island is home to the largest Gentoo Penguin Colony on the Peninsula, surrounded by castellated glaciers, as well as the British Museum Port Lockroy and Post Office.

We may also explore the Yalour Islands, south of Polar Circle Detaille Island, and the Ukrainian station Vernadsky.
We plan to visit the South Shetland Islands on our journey north. Wildlife is abundant on the volcanic islands. The vast penguin colonies and the seals that haul out along the coast make each day here memorable. The narrow passage leading to the caldera on Deception Island and the half moon island, which is home to Chinstrap Penguins, are both breathtaking.

Day 10 & 11: At Sea. Crossing the Drake Passage, northbound
As we leave Antarctica, the Drake Passage leads us north. Enjoy a final lecture and join our naturalists as they search for whales, seabirds, and other marine life. On the return trip to Ushuaia, take the opportunity to reflect and relax on your fascinating experiences of the previous days.
Day 12: Arrival in Ushuaia
Arriving at Ushuaia early in the morning, we disembark after breakfast.
Please be aware: This itinerary is only a guide. The exact itinerary and schedule will be altered to best take advantage of the local weather, ice conditions and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Captain or Expedition Leader will make changes to the itinerary to take advantage of the local conditions. They will also do their best to get to the Polar Circle. If ice conditions prevent access, the route may be altered. On board, a daily schedule will be provided. Flexible thinking is key.

Itinerary Map

Polar Circle Quest

Highlights

  • Explore the pristine landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula, encountering diverse wildlife, including penguins, seals, and whales.
  • Embark on a daring quest to cross the Polar Circle, venturing to exquisite locations like Paradise Bay and Cuverville Island.
  • Sail north across the Drake Passage, reflecting on awe-inspiring moments with lecturers and naturalists on deck.
  • Explore the rich wildlife havens of the South Shetland Islands, witnessing vast penguin rookeries and seals along the volcanic coastlines.
  • Reflect on your Antarctic encounters while crossing the Drake Passage northbound, accompanied by insightful lectures and whale watching.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 11 Dinners
  • 12 Lunches
 | Falkland | Black-browed Albatross
Deception Island | South Shetland Islands |  Antarctica
+12
Brown Bluff | Antarctic Peninsula | Zodiac landing

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.
Snowshoeing
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.
Photography
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.
Yoga
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.
Polar Circle Quest
12 Days