Experience a unique Christmas celebration on a journey spanning the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. Explore historic Stanley in the Falklands~Malvinas and witness the world's largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. In Antarctica, encounter the tranquility and majesty of the most remote place on Earth, observing penguin chicks growing, whales embarking on a krill-rich migration, and ice seals resting on ice floes.
Upon arrival in Ushuaia, you'll be greeted by a representative and transferred with fellow expeditioners to your assigned pre-voyage hotel. If already in Ushuaia, make your way to the hotel with check-in from 3:00 pm. Visit the hospitality desk at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to collect luggage tags and confirm participation in the Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise. Expedition details and answers to queries will be provided. Those arriving after 7:00 pm will find a welcome pack at check-in, and they're requested to visit the hospitality desk from 8:00 am to 10:00 am the next day. The remainder of the day is at leisure, with all meals at your own expense. Assigned accommodation: Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel.
As we embark on the Drake Passage crossing, we acclimate to the sea's motions. The expedition team readies you for the initial landing, providing wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures. Lectures commence, delving into Antarctica's history, wildlife, and environment.
Wildlife encounters unfold as seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, follow the vessel. On sea days, enjoy onboard facilities like the gym, sauna, jacuzzis, or relax in observation lounges.
Approaching the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula on day four, anticipation builds as passengers gather on observation decks to spot the first iceberg. Below the Antarctic Convergence, the ocean transforms with surreal floating ice sculptures. The memory of the initial iceberg sighting is likely to linger. Time and weather permitting, the first landing in Antarctica may be attempted by late afternoon.
Describing the arrival in Antarctica is nearly impossible—the sight of the first iceberg and inhaling the incredibly fresh, crisp air is unforgettable. Once there, the western Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands offer a myriad of exploration options. The experienced expedition team, well-versed in the area, designs the voyage day by day, considering weather, ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities.
Landings or Zodiac excursions typically occur twice a day. Dress warmly for Zodiac cruises amidst spectacular ice cliffs and grounded icebergs, keeping an eye out for whales, seals, and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, explore historic huts, and discover favorite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore, the aim is to stretch your legs, whether walking along pebbly beaches or ascending snow-covered ridgelines with towering mountains overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. Optional activities are available when conditions permit, and polar plungers can immerse themselves in polar waters.
Beyond Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, the ship may navigate narrow straits between islands or linger in scenic bays to observe whales. Enjoy the observation lounge or, at the Captain's discretion, make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica's splendor. Listen for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers carving into the sea, and savor quiet moments to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Heading towards South Georgia, we traverse the Scotia Sea, retracing Shackleton's perilous route in the James Caird in 1916. Shackleton and five men aimed to reach South Georgia, 1,290 km away, for help after leaving their crew on Elephant Island. The journey was expected to take two weeks, and Shackleton planned to enlist whalers' aid in returning to rescue the remaining crew on Elephant Island.
As anticipation mounts nearing South Georgia, mingle with fellow expeditioners in the bar, observe wildlife with the naturalist, or delve into the Shackleton story with the historian.
“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
Approaching South Georgia, reflect on Captain James Cook's 1775 belief that it was the northern tip of a southern continent, discovering instead a small but rich island with a 3,000m snow-capped mountain range and abundant wildlife. As you sail along the coast, explore the jagged peaks and observe seabirds. Zodiac cruises offer close encounters with penguins, seals, and kelp forests. Land excursions provide opportunities to visit king penguin colonies, explore glacial plains, and discover remnants of whaling stations. Ship cruises through fjords and bays offer breathtaking views of South Georgia's dramatic coastline.
While sailing toward the Falklands~Malvinas, indulge in onboard activities. The expedition team offers insightful lectures on wildlife, history, and the natural world. Spend time observing seabirds and marine life from the ship's stern or enjoy the ship's facilities at your leisure.
Explore diverse areas in the Falklands~Malvinas with your experienced expedition team, selecting options based on weather, winds, and wildlife. Layer up for Zodiac cruises into coves, watching for seals, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. Landings may include albatross colonies and penguin rookeries. If conditions permit, visit historic Stanley, the charming capital with a British character, featuring terraced houses, pioneer cottages, and iconic red telephone boxes. The town offers cafes, pubs, shops, a post office, and the Historic Dockyard Museum, showcasing maritime and natural history, and connections to Antarctica.
Sail toward Ushuaia, using your time for photo editing, enjoying facilities, or attending final lectures. Conclude the voyage with a Captain's farewell dinner, celebrating with newfound friends. Enjoy lectures, film presentations, and the magic of the Southern Ocean. Reflect on and discuss the Antarctic experience, becoming an ambassador for the region's conservation and preservation.
In the early morning, cruise up the Beagle Channel and dock in Ushuaia around 8:00 am. Bid farewell to the expedition team and fellow passengers. Disembarkation details vary based on flight times. Passengers departing before 12:30 pm will be transferred to Ushuaia Airport; others can explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer. It's advised not to book flights departing Ushuaia before 12:00 pm due to potential delays.