Antarctic adventurers can aim to tick two boxes off their bucket list on this exciting 18 day voyage, where you have the opportunity to visit regions in Antarctica that most people will never experience, not even among those who have been to Antarctica–below the Antarctic Circle and attempting to forge a path through the ice in the Weddell Sea. As you venture south on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing spectacular, towering cliffs and glittering icebergs, there is a chance you may see Adélie penguins and ice seals such as leopard and crabeater seals resting on ice floes.
In the Weddell Sea, on the eastern side of the peninsula, under favourable weather and sea ice conditions, be prepared to encounter an unimaginably spectacular world of icy landscapes. It is here where Otto Nordenskjöld and his men were forced to spend two winters, and also where Ernest Shackleton had to abandon the Endurance, after it became trapped in the ice. It’s an icy realm that few have been fortunate to experience.
**Save up to 15% 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 Discounts are subject to availability and are available until 31 Dec 23 unless withdrawn prior.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 Discounts and pricing are subject to change and may be withdrawn or varied at any time.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 Promotion is limited capacity and only available for a limited time until sold out or withdrawn or until 31 Dec 23.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.
Having made your way to Ushuaia, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception.
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Enjoy free time after check-out, meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 pm to commence a short sightseeing tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this brief introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 pm.
If you choose to not participate in the sightseeing tour, you will need to make your own way to the Prison Museum carpark by 3.45 pm to re-join the group for the transfer to the pier for embarkation.
After embarkation, 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 commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
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 or forge onwards towards the Antarctic Circle.
It’s 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.
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.
The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and we hope to see plenty of whales - particularly humpbacks and minkes and enjoy the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks.
To be part of a voyage that attempts to explore the remotest and wildest parts of a region that in and of itself is already arguably one of the remotest regions on Earth gives you more than basic bragging rights. As we approach and attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle, an imaginary line at latitude of 66° 33’ south, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape, and also in the distribution of wildlife.
Venturing below the Antarctic Circle is a chance to enter a different world that is rarely seen, it feels more isolated and colder than further north, with great swathes of pack ice and dream-like icebergs. Thread through pack ice and narrow channels where scenes of ice-clad mountains, whales fattening up on krill, leopard seals patrolling the waters for vulnerable penguins and snow petrels soar above. Raise a glass to toast venturing below the Antarctic, joining an exclusive group of adventurers in doing so.
After our explorations below the Antarctic Circle and along the western side of the peninsula, we sail north to make our way to the Weddell Sea on the eastern side of the peninsula. Along the way, we plan to visit some of our favourite places around the Antarctic Peninsula, exploring coastlines by Zodiac, landing on beaches where fur seals frolic, and where fledging penguins are taking to the waters for the first time. As we approach Antarctic Sound, we hope for favourable weather and ice conditions to grant our good ship entry to its frozen realm. A considerable aspect of a voyage to the Weddell Sea is the thrill of not knowing if the ice will allow us to enter its frozen realm. The Weddell Gyre pushes enormous amounts of ice from the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf up towards the area near Antarctic Sound, blocking the entrance to the Weddell Sea, but a visit to the region has numerous rewards.
Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley, many large tabular bergs escape the Weddell Sea through the Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult.
Gigantic icebergs, the size of skyscrapers, dwarf our Zodiacs as we attempt to push through seemingly impenetrable sea ice to land on remote beaches where ancient fossils can be found. The wildlife we may encounter in the Weddell Sea region makes the attempt worthwhile. The abundant ice attracts ice seals such as crabeater, leopard and Weddell seals, which all breed and birth on sea ice. The Weddell Sea boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic
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 disembark from approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your attentive crew, expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to Ushuaia airport or to your hotel is included in the voyage fare.
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.
All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Ushuaia on Day 1.
Half-day excursion in Ushuaia on Day 2.
Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
Comprehensive pre-departure information.
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
Gratuities for ship’s crew.
International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
Airport arrival or departure taxes.
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.
Available upon request, contact us for more details.
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.