This expansive expedition takes you into the Antarctic Circle, combining the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. Such key landing sites as the legendary Elephant Island and Crystal Sound make this voyage truly exceptional.
Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone.
Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
We will arrive early to the famous Point Wild, Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew made their first landing after the loss of their ship, Endurance. This inhospitable spit of land is a favorite among our guests, and if conditions permit, we will offer activities around the point before setting off for the Weddell Sea.
Today you enter the wondrous Weddell Sea, a relatively unvisited area in which we hope to carry out activities in Erebus and Terror Gulf. We may also visit such places such as Beak Island and Devil Island, which boast some stunning scenery as well as the pack ice for which the Weddell Sea is famous.
As we continue to explore the area of Erebus and Terror Gulf, we look for new opportunities for activities. You may also visit Vega Island, experiencing the wilderness of Antarctica in its most remote places.
Now we sail down the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, entering the Orleans Strait. Here we hope to see humpback and orca whales as we sail toward Mikklesen Harbor for our afternoon activities.
Passing the Lemaire Channel, you next arrive in the area of Port Charcot, where there is a cairn that was erected by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903 – 05. In the afternoon, we head to Petermann Island to see a great variety of birdlife. You might also enjoy Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are highly popular with leopard seals and crabeater seals. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins can also be found here.
Today we reach Crystal Sound, viewing the area’s beautiful ice formations and wildlife before landing at Detaille Island. This remote island was once home to a British research station that is now an historic monument.
Next you arrive at the Yalour Islands, a small archipelago composed mostly of isolated rocks and one principal island that offers us a rewarding landing. Home to Adélie penguins and some of the most southerly gentoos in the world, Yalour also has small patches of bearded and crustose lichen, including xanthoria, buellia, caloplaca, and usnea. Extensive moss beds and some Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) can be seen as well.
We have our farewell to Antarctica in the Melchior Islands for our final activities before heading towards the Drake Passage.
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.
Every adventure, no matter how great, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next journey leads.
M/V Plancius started life as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy. After a change of owner, the ship underwent a complete refit and refurbishment to be converted into a comfortable ice-strengthened vessel, that now cruises the polar regions. Accommodating up to 108 passengers, M/V Plancius has 50 cabins, all with private bathrooms. The cabins come in a range of configirations, with quadruple, triple and twin/double cabins available. Quadruple cabins include two bunk beds, triple cabins feature 1 bunk bed plus 1 single bed. The ship has a large restaurant/lecture room and a spacious observation lounge with bar and huge panoramic windows. There are large open deck spaces, including full walk-around possibilities on one deck, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting and to feast on the spectacular scenery. The 10 Zodiacs and 2 gangways ensure a swift Zodiac operation, so no time is wasted getting you ashore to explore the stunning beauty and amazing wildlife of the Antarctic and the Arctic regions.
M/V Plancius started life as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy. After a change of owner, the ship underwent a complete refit and refurbishment to be converted into a comfortable ice-strengthened vessel, that now cruises the polar regions.
Accommodating up to 108 passengers, M/V Plancius has 50 cabins, all with private bathrooms. The cabins come in a range of configirations, with quadruple, triple and twin/double cabins available. Quadruple cabins include two bunk beds, triple cabins feature 1 bunk bed plus 1 single bed.
The ship has a large restaurant/lecture room and a spacious observation lounge with bar and huge panoramic windows. There are large open deck spaces, including full walk-around possibilities on one deck, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting and to feast on the spectacular scenery.
The 10 Zodiacs and 2 gangways ensure a swift Zodiac operation, so no time is wasted getting you ashore to explore the stunning beauty and amazing wildlife of the Antarctic and the Arctic regions.
Length: 89 m / 293 feet
Breadth: 14.5 m / 47 feetMax
Speed: 12 knots
Electricity: 240 volts Passenger
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.
For photography enthusiasts of any skill level. You will receive expert advice on taking and producing amazing photos of Antarctica.Learn More
Go even deeper into Antarctica’s interior and reach less visited places where many other visitors simply don’t go!Learn More
Hiking excursions are among the most popular options in Antarctica as many itineraries are short and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Guided hikes lead you to amazing vantage points and allow even closer interaction with local wildlife, so don’t forget to pack your camera!Learn More
All on-board accommodation
All meals throughout voyage including snacks, coffee and tea
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
Complimentary use of rubber boots & snow shoes during voyage
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the the airport in Ushuaia on disembarkation
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
Comprehensive pre-departure material
Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city
Visa fees (if applicable)
Personal expenses (such as laundry, on-board telecommunication)
Gratuities for the crew (recommended US$15 per person per day)
Optional activities not mentioned in itinerary
Paid adventure options
Available upon request. Please contact us for more details. No single supplement will apply if willing to share in selected cabins.
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time. Price is based on Quad Share.
Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.
Diving is an optional activity. Contact us for more details. You must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. Diving is subject to local ice and weather conditions. Group size: minimum 8 divers.
Departure Date, Fuel Surcharges, Cabin Category, Currency Fluctuations, Seasonality & Availability.