STYLE: Small Ship Expedition Cruise
Trip Code: ACAESACJ
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)
Start: Punta Arenas, Chile
Finish: Ushuaia, Argentina
SHIP: Sylvia Earle
Enjoy a unique polar expedition on this cruise to the famous white continent. Sail the Drake Passage to and from Antarctica, admiring seabirds and explore the icy waters. Jump on a zodiac and explore pack ice before landing on the continent, with a chance to explore on foot. You can choose from a wide variety of adventure options and camp outside, giving you the chance to witness the beautiful polar skies, which stay light for most of the day and night during summer. You will also have the opportunity to cruise the Chilean Fjords This voyage to Antarctica is perfect for adventure seekers!
**Save up to 20% on selected departures and cabins. Discounts are subject to availability and are available until 31 Dec 23 unless withdrawn prior. Discounts are not combinable with any other promotions except back-to-back voyage or loyalty discounts. Discounts and pricing are subject to change and may be withdrawn or varied at any time.
Air credit of USD $2,000 p/p valid on selected cabins, departures and dates and is combinable with in market discounts, Not combinable with any other offer. Promotion is limited capacity and only available for a limited time until sold out or withdrawn,.or until 31 Dec 23.
PLEASE NOTE: Pricing is subject to change and availability at the time of booking. Contact us for more information.
Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative and transferred with your fellow expeditioners to your assigned pre-voyage hotel. If you are already in Punta Arenas, we ask you to make your way to your hotel. Check-in is from 3.00 pm.
Upon arrival, please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk in the lobby between 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm, to collect your luggage cabin tags, and confirm if you wish to join our Punta Arenas tour tomorrow. Our team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information about where to dine or purchase last minute items.
Expeditioners arriving after 7.00 pm will find a welcome pack waiting for them at check-in. We ask you to visit our hospitality desk the next morning between 8.00 am – 10.00 am.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
This morning, enjoy breakfast and check-out. Please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Take your cabin luggage to hotel reception, prior to, or at check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, to be placed in your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
The township of Punta Arenas was founded in the 1500s and is the gateway to the Strait of Magellan. It was originally established as a prison colony and later the biggest commercial and supplying centre of all vessels travelling between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The town has since made a name for itself as the central base for exploring Patagonia and Antarctica. At first glance, Punta Arenas may not seem like much of a destination, but if you have time to walk around, you’ll discover many unique and interesting things to see in this southern town. One thing you may notice is the colonial-style architecture, including Palacio Sara Braun, built in the late 1800s. At the centre of Punta Arenas’ old town is Plaza Muñoz Gamero, the park-like square surrounded by tall trees and a lush vegetation. In the middle of the plaza is a statue dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan, discoverer of the Strait of Magellan and the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. We recommend a walk along the waterfront promenade, from which you will see the island of Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan in the distance. You will also be able to see the Maritime Monument, representing the first settlers in the area, many shipwrecks abandoned from old trading days, and you may also be lucky enough to see the cormorants taking off over the sea.
At approximately 4.00 pm, you will be transferred to the port for embarkation. Once aboard, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to farewell Punta Arenas and commence our adventure to Antarctica.
This evening get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
Sail along the legendary Beagle Channel and enjoy splendid scenery of fjords and channels flanked by majestic mountains. Keep watch for the many seabirds and marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions and whales preparing to migrate to Antarctica to fatten up on plentiful krill. In the evening, we exit Nassau Bay, sail past Cape Horn and prepare to enter Drake Passage.
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following our vessel. On sea days, you may can enjoy the facilities on board the vessel including the gym, wellness centre or the relaxing in one of the observation lounges.
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Time and weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
It is almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do participate in the activity whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting! The polar plunge can take place at any time during the voyage, so listen out for the announcement from the expedition team and get ready for the most exhilarating dip of your life!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great 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 splendour. Listen out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve into sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of the pristine paradise of the splendid white continent.
Enjoy a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.
With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.
As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.
On disembarkation, passengers on flights departing prior to 14:00 will be transferred directly to Ushuaia Airport, while those fortunate enough to be continuing their travels in this spectacular region of the world, will be transferred to their post-voyage Ushuaia accommodation. Passengers flying after 14:00 will have time to explore Ushuaia, prior to an afternoon airport transfer, the details of which will be provided onboard prior to disembarkation.
Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Featuring industry-leading technology and streamlined cruising design the Sylvia Earle is one of the most modern and technologically advanced vessels sailing the polar regions. Named after the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Sylvia Earle lives up to her namesake with a deep focus on protecting the natural environment. The ship features one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, with low energy consumption and higher fuel efficiency bringing an overall 80% reduction to emissions compared to Tier 1 engines. The ship also utilises virtual anchoring technology along with thrusters and propellers to minimise damage to the ocean floor caused by conventional anchors. The Sylvia Earle carries a maximum of 132 passengers and has 71 on board cabins. Between landings, guests will be able to enjoy time in the gym, sauna or wellness centre. For zodiac excursions the vessel has four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms making boarding as efficient and safe as possible, allowing you to get off and experience the magical sights of fjords, glaciers and icebergs as quickly as possible. Cabins and suites are elegantly designed and spacious to give guests the most comfortable experience possible. Certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the polar regions.
Featuring industry-leading technology and streamlined cruising design the Sylvia Earle is one of the most modern and technologically advanced vessels sailing the polar regions. Named after the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Sylvia Earle lives up to her namesake with a deep focus on protecting the natural environment. The ship features one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, with low energy consumption and higher fuel efficiency bringing an overall 80% reduction to emissions compared to Tier 1 engines. The ship also utilises virtual anchoring technology along with thrusters and propellers to minimise damage to the ocean floor caused by conventional anchors.
The Sylvia Earle carries a maximum of 132 passengers and has 71 on board cabins. Between landings, guests will be able to enjoy time in the gym, sauna or wellness centre. For zodiac excursions the vessel has four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms making boarding as efficient and safe as possible, allowing you to get off and experience the magical sights of fjords, glaciers and icebergs as quickly as possible. Cabins and suites are elegantly designed and spacious to give guests the most comfortable experience possible.
Certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the polar regions.
Speed: 10-12 knots
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.
Fall asleep amid the snow-capped mountains as you watch the colours of the Antarctic twilight bounce off the ocean and surrounding glaciers.Learn More
Experience the unforgettable thrill and serenity of kayaking in Antarctica as part of a small, expertly guided paddling group.Learn More
For photography enthusiasts of any skill level. You will receive expert advice on taking and producing amazing photos of Antarctica.Learn More
1 Night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas, pre-cruise Day 1
Cabin accommodation on board Sylvia Earle
All meals whilst on board ship
All scheduled landings & excursions
Guiding and lectures by English-speaking expedition leader and team
All port fees
All landing fees
Expedition jacket provided (yours to keep)
A pair of expedition boots for use during voyage
Group arrival and departure transfers
Airfares to and from embarkation/disembarkation city
Visa fees (if applicable)
Beverages (other than tea and coffee)
Personal expenses such as laundry, on board communication (telephone calls, fax, email)
Gratuities for the crew
Pre or post cruise travel expenses
Available on request. Please Contact Us for more information.
Prices are based on per person, twin share* (unless otherwise stated for triple/quad cabins)
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time.
Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions
Departure date, fuel surcharges, cabin category, currency fluctuations, seasonality and availability.