Spirit of Antarctica

Spirit of Antarctica | Greg Mortimer | Antarctica Tours Spirit of Antarctica | Greg Mortimer | Antarctica Tours

Embrace the essence of polar exploration on this traditional journey to the revered white continent. Traverse the renowned Drake Passage to reach Antarctica, observing remarkable seabirds and approaching the ice as early explorers did: by sea. Offering opportunities for Zodiac excursions through pack ice, landing on the continent, selecting from various adventurous activities, and even the possibility of camping beneath the soft polar skies, this represents the ultimate Antarctic expedition for those who relish adventure.

Day by day

Day 1: Ushuaia

Upon your arrival in Ushuaia, a representative will greet you and arrange transportation to your designated pre-voyage hotel, alongside your fellow expeditioners. If you're already in Ushuaia, kindly make your way to your hotel. Check-in is available from 3:00 pm. In the afternoon, between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm, visit the hospitality desk situated in the lobby at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, located at Luis Fernando Martial 1650. There, you can obtain your luggage tags and confirm your participation in the Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise (sea lion island) scheduled for the following day. The team will provide details about your embarkation day, address any queries, and offer information about dining options or last-minute purchases.

For expeditioners arriving after 7:00 pm, you will find a welcome pack at the check-in desk. We kindly request that you visit the hospitality desk the next day between 8:00 am and 10:00 am.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure, and all meals are at your own expense.

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

Day 2: Embarkation

In the morning, enjoy breakfast and complete the check-out process. Ensure your cabin luggage has cabin tags with your name and cabin number, and take it to the hotel reception either before or during check-out. Your luggage will be stored and directly transferred to the port for clearance, ready to be placed in your cabin before you board. Keep your valuables and personal items with you throughout the day.

You have the morning free to explore Ushuaia at your own pace.

For those interested in joining the afternoon catamaran cruise, gather in the hotel lobby at 12:15 pm to be transported to the port at 12:30 pm. There, you will board the catamaran for a voyage on the Beagle Channel, heading toward the iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. As you navigate through the Bridges Archipelago, the cruise will slow down to observe colonies of sunbathing sea lions and imperial cormorants on the rocky outcrops, with frequent sightings of gulls, rock cormorants, skuas, petrels, albatrosses, and cauquenes. The cruise provides panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountain range, along with intriguing tales of the region's people and communities.

Alternatively, if you opt for a leisurely day, meet at your hotel lobby at 3:00 pm, or at 3:30 pm at the designated meeting point near the pier (details will be provided by the ground staff at the hotel) to be transported to the pier for embarkation.

Once on board, you'll have time to settle into your cabin before attending essential mandatory briefings. As the ship departs from the port, gather on the deck to commence your adventure with breathtaking views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.

In the evening, take the opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow expeditioners, the friendly expedition team, and the crew during a welcome dinner, celebrating the start of your thrilling Antarctic journey.

Day 3 & 4: Drake Passage

As we embark on the crossing of the Drake Passage, we use this time to acclimate ourselves to the sea's movements. The expedition team prepares you for the initial landing by providing essential wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures while initiating a lecture program to enhance your understanding of Antarctica's history, wildlife, and environment.

Our wildlife encounters begin with the observation and photography of numerous seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels that follow the vessel. On days spent at sea, you can take advantage of the ship's amenities, which include the gym, sauna, jacuzzis, and relaxation in the observation lounges.

As we approach the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of the fourth day, there is an undeniable sense of excitement, with everyone gathering on one of the observation decks to catch the first glimpse of an iceberg. The ocean takes on an entirely new perspective as we cross the Antarctic Convergence and find ourselves surrounded by the surreal presence of drifting ice sculptures. The memory of your first significant iceberg sighting is likely to stay with you for a lifetime. If conditions and weather allow, we may even attempt the first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Day 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: Antarctic Peninsula

It's nearly impossible to convey the emotions of arriving in Antarctica. Witnessing your first iceberg and breathing in the exceptionally fresh and crisp air is an experience that will be etched in your memory forever.

Upon arrival, you'll have the opportunity to explore the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, with a range of options available. Due to our southern location, you'll experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight, allowing you to fill your days as you prefer.

Your knowledgeable expedition team, with their extensive experience in the region, will plan your daily voyage, selecting the best choices based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities.

Typically, we conduct landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. When participating in Zodiac cruises, it's important to dress warmly and be prepared to observe whales, seals, and penguins leaping through the water. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to the land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, explore historical huts, and discover some of the peninsula's favorite locations.

While ashore, our goal is to stretch our legs, strolling along pebble-strewn beaches or perhaps ascending snow-covered ridgelines to reach vantage points with towering mountains and ice-covered oceans below. If you've opted for an optional activity, you'll have the opportunity to participate whenever conditions permit. And, for those daring enough, there's the chance to take a polar plunge into the icy waters – weather permitting! The polar plunge can happen at any time during the voyage, so be sure to listen for announcements from the expedition team and prepare for an exhilarating dip.

In addition to Zodiac excursions and shore expeditions, we may also sail through some of the narrow, dramatic straits that separate offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in picturesque bays to observe whales in transit or feeding. This is an ideal time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge (open at the captain's discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its grandeur. Listen for the sounds of creaking and the deep rumble of glaciers as they calve into the sea. Take a quiet moment to revel in the wonder of this pristine paradise known as the magnificent white continent.

Day 10 & 11: South Shetland Islands

Conclude your Antarctic journey with a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands, after which we'll set our course back across the Drake Passage toward South America.

While we offer lectures and film presentations to enrich your Antarctic adventure, there's ample time to immerse yourself in the enchantment of the Southern Ocean and its vibrant inhabitants. Take moments for reflection and discussion about your encounters and experiences. We hope you'll become advocates for Antarctica, sharing your journey with family, friends, and colleagues, and championing its conservation and preservation, so that they too may have the opportunity to visit this magical place in the future.

As we near the tip of South America, weather and time permitting, the Captain may sail in proximity to the legendary Cape Horn.

Day 12: Beagle Channel

In the early morning, we navigate the Beagle Channel and quietly reach the Ushuaia dock, allowing passengers to disembark at around 8:00 am. It's time to bid farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all embark on our respective journeys, hopefully carrying with us a newfound appreciation for the incredible power of nature.

Upon disembarkation, passengers with flights departing before 12:30 pm will receive direct transfers to Ushuaia Airport. Those fortunate enough to extend their travels in this breathtaking region will be transferred to their post-voyage Ushuaia accommodations. Passengers with flights scheduled after 12:30 pm will have the opportunity to explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer, with specific details provided onboard prior to disembarkation.

Please note that at the conclusion of the voyage, we recommend not booking flights departing from Ushuaia before 12:00 pm to account for any potential delays.

Itinerary Map

Spirit of Antarctica

Highlights

  • Enhance your abilities in ice and wildlife photography.
  • Use Zodiacs to venture into serene bays and inlets to spot wildlife and admire stunning icebergs.
  • Witness playful penguins engaging in nest building and pilfering pebbles from one another.
  • Brave the polar plunge and become a member of an exclusive group!

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 11 Dinners
  • 12 Lunches
 | Neumayer Channel |  Antarctica
 | Paulet Island |  Antarctica
+8
 | Punta Arenas |  Antarctica

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.
Spirit of Antarctica
12 Days