Skip to main content

Ponant: Beyond the Polar Circle

17 Days FROM USD 16,808

map

Overview

EARLY BIRDS ON SALE - Book and save up to 30% OFF* Antarctica 2020-21  voyages with PONANT.

The goal of this 17-day cruise aboard Le Soleal  is to cross the fabled and mythical Antarctic Circle. Set sail from Ushuaia to the wild yet enchanting Falklands Islands to explore New Island and Grave Cove. Continue east to set foot on the beautiful sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia with its vast colonies of king penguins, elephant seals and humpback whales. Then south to the Antarctic Peninsula - a vast icy wilderness of unparalleled beauty, with the opportunity to encounter extraordinary wildlife, often close-up. Follow in the wake of Captain James cook as the ship attempts to cross the most southerly point reached by Antarctic cruises - the Antarctic Polar Circle, latitude 66° 33’ south. This remarkable voyage ends with a crossing of the infamous Drake Passage that takes you back into the fascinating town of Ushuaia.

** Please note 09 Feb 20 & 19 Feb 21 voyages are aboard Le Lyrial .Contact us for more details.

 

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACTSBPC

Location: Antarctica

Ship: LE SOLEAL

CRUISE ITINERARY

Despite its small size, the city of Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the main starting point for voyages to Antarctica.

On arrival into Ushuaia, you will be met and transferred either directly to the port for embarkation, buffet lunch and access to the main lounge, or to Arakur Resort, located inside Cerro Alarken Natural Reserve. Here you can relax at the resort, join a guided walk through the Reserve, or take an optional excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park. (Please note that this excursion must be booked at the time of cruise booking. The excursion is accompanied by a French speaking guide).

Embarkation begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. Embarkation time is between 4:30pm and 5.30pm, at which time cabins and suites will be ready to check in to.

The ship sets sail this evening towards the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), known for their rugged beauty and wealth of seabirds and waterfowl.

Ushuaia - Embarkation

As the ship heads towards the Falkland Islands, look out for marine life and enjoy the views of the open ocean. These waters are home to an interesting group of seabirds, including albatrosses and petrels that often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship.

The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is an archipelago that lies 490kms east of Patagonia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by decades of controversy, the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas as they are known in Argentina) have been settled and claimed by France, Spain, Britain and Argentina. The islands have much to offer with a wide variety of spectacular wildlife, beautiful rugged scenery as well as an interesting history. Five species of penguin breed on the islands (gentoo, king, macaroni, magellanic and rockhopper).

At Sea

Grave Cove boasts spectacular scenery and is home to a large colony of gentoo penguins and other interesting birds including ruddy-headed geese, speckled teal and crested ducks. Sea lions are often observed here.

A former whaling station, New Island is now a Nature Reserve and one of the most beautiful islands in the Falklands archipelago, with sheer sea cliffs and white sand beaches that lead into crystal clear waters teeming with marine life. The island boasts a diverse range of wildlife including rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatrosses, magellanic penguins, gentoo penguins, oystercatchers, prions and numerous other bird species. Peale's porpoises, Falkland fur seals and southern sea lions and whales are also found in the area.

Grave Cove / New Island (Falklands)

Leaving the Falkland Islands, the ship charts a southeast course bound for the island of South Georgia. Time can be spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds that join us in the Southern Ocean.

At Sea - Day 4 & 5

Majestic snow-covered mountains greet us on the island of South Georgia - the most rugged island in this region.

South Georgia has been a British Overseas Territory since 1775. It is the largest island in the territory and one of the wildest and most remote places on earth with dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains and huge glaciers. In the 19th century South Georgia was a prominent whaling base, but whaling ceased in the 1960’s and the only remnants are museums and well-preserved buildings. South Georgia teems with wildlife due to the currents that bring nutrients to the island from the Atlantic. Huge numbers of penguins and seals breed here.

The former whaling station of Stromness lies on the northern coast of South Georgia Island, and was the destination of Ernest Shackleton's epic rescue journey in 1916 after his ship “The Endurance” sank in the Weddell Sea. Whaling activities began at Stromness in 1907 when the bay was used as an anchorage for a floating factory ship. Some remnants of the whaling station that was built in 1912 can still be seen.

King penguins and seals inhabit the beaches of Fortuna Bay, named after the Fortuna, one of the Norwegian-Argentine whaling expedition ships under Larsen that participated in establishing the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken.

We also plan to visit the wildlife haven of Salisbury Plain, home to tens of thousands of king penguins, as well as elephant and fur seals, southern giant petrels and the occasional gentoo penguin, complete with large glaciers that add a stunning backdrop.

Stromness / Fortuna Bay / Salisbury Plain

Grytviken is the largest of South Georgia’s whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here where the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton can be found in the whaler’s cemetery. There is an excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and the restored church, built by the original Norwegian whalers, provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

St Andrews Bay hosts the largest colony of king penguins on South Georgia and early in the season, the beach is also carpeted with fur and elephant seals.

Grytviken / St Andrews (South Georgia)

Cooper Bay is home to one of South Georgia’s most accessible macaroni penguin colonies. The island is covered in tussock grass and is home to snow petrels, Antarctic prions, black-browed albatross, chinstrap penguins and fur seals.

Gold Harbour has not only spectacular scenery but also a vast range of wildlife. It is a breeding ground for king and gentoo penguins as well as sooty albatrosses. Elephant seals also breed here, in particular at the western end of the beach where a glacial stream runs into the sea.

Cooper Bay / Gold Harbour (South Georgia)

Leaving South Georgia, we cross the Scotia Sea heading towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Watch for wildlife from the deck, catch up on some reading, check through and edit your photos, or simply to reflect on the magical experiences of your time on South Georgia.

At Sea

We plan to visit the enigmatic, historic and desolate Elephant Island. In 1916 Sir Ernest Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores for months, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue and survival stories of all time.

Elephant Island

Astrolabe Island lies in the Bransfield Strait. It was discovered by the 1837-40 French expedition, under Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, and named after his chief expedition ship, the Astrolabe. This 5km-long island is home to several thousand pairs of chinstrap penguins. A small group of huge rocks, known as the Dragon’s Teeth, lie off the northeast coast of the island.

Astrolabe Island (Antarctica)

Petermann Island was discovered by the 1873-74 German expedition who named the island after August Petermann. The island supports the southernmost colony of gentoo penguins with Adélie penguins, imperial shags, Wilson's storm petrels and south polar skuas also nesting here. An Argentine refuge hut built in 1955 can still be seen along with a cross commemorating three members of the British Antarctic Survey who died in 1982 attempting to cross the sea ice from Faraday Station to Petermann.

Deep in Andvord Bay, this little corner of paradise sits at the foot of an immense glacier. Neko Harbour is without doubt one of the most beautiful sights of the Antarctic Peninsula. Wildlife is as abundant as it is exceptional with sea birds such as gulls, Cape petrels and cormorants, as well as marine mammals such as seals, orcas and whales. Excursions aboard the Zodiacs allow you to sail close to blue-tinged icebergs or disembark near colonies of penguins, observe leopard seals basking on the shore or watch the Antarctic terns flying overhead.

Petermann Island / Neko Harbour (Antarctica)

Our goal is to cross the Antarctic Circle at 66° 33' S. This is a part of the world visited by few people. As you toast the first explorers who ventured this far south, you can take pride in knowing that you’ve made it as far as the Polar Circle. The area is home to Weddell seals and beautifully sculptured ice formations.

Crossing the Polar Circle (Antarctica)

We leave Antarctica and head north back towards the Drake Passage, searching for seabirds and whales as we sail and reflecting on our time spent not only on the Antarctic Peninsula, but also on the beautiful islands of South Georgia and the Falklands, with their fascinating histories and prolific wildlife.

The notorious Drake Passage was named after the famous explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed in these waters back in 1578. En-route the ship traverses the Polar Front which marks the area where waters from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans meet. The Antarctic Convergence is a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters.

At Sea - Drake Passage - Day 14 & 15

The final leg of the journey sees us sailing along the Beagle Channel and into the port of Ushuaia. The Beagle Channel separates the larger main island of Tierra del Fuego from various smaller islands and links the Southern Pacific Ocean with the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It was named after the ship HMS Beagle.

Ushuaia (Argentina)

Disembarkation is scheduled for 8am.

Transfer to the airport in time for the flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires.

Ushuaia – Disembarkation
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing & date

Ponant: Beyond the Polar Circle from USD 16,808
Departing Ending Duration
03 Feb 2020 19 Feb 2020 17
09 Feb 2020 25 Feb 2020 17
17 Feb 2021 05 Mar 2021 17
19 Feb 2021 07 Mar 2021 17
Enquire Now

Important Information

  • Shipboard accommodation
    All meals whilst on-board including snacks
    Open Bar (excluding premium brands)
    Room Service
    Free Wi-Fi internet access
    All shore excursions
    Guiding and lectures by expedition team
    Free use of rubber boots for shore excursions
    Polar jacket
    All port taxes

    EXCLUSIONS 

    Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city
    Visa fees (if applicable)
    Travel Insurance
    Personal expenses such as laundry, on-board communication (telephone calls, faxes)
    Gratuities for the crew (recommend US$15 per person per day)
    Optional Activities whilst on-board

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Contact us for details.

  • Please note that itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.

    Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

GUIDANCE FOR VISITORS TO THE ANTARCTIC

RECOMMENDATION XVIII-1, ADOPTED AT THE ANTARCTIC TREATY MEETING, KYOTO, 1994

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System. The Treaty established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science.

In 1991, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which designates the Antarctic as a natural reserve. The Protocol sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Consultative Parties have agreed that as far as possible and in accordance with their legal system, the provisions of the Protocol should be applied as appropriate. The Environmental Protocol was ratified in January 1998.

The Environmental Protocol applies to tourism and non-governmental activities, as well as governmental activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area. It is intended to ensure that these activities, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.
This Guidance for Visitors to the Antarctic is intended to ensure that all visitors are aware of, and are therefore able to comply with, the Treaty and the Protocol. Visitors are, of course, bound by national laws and regulations applicable to activities in the Antarctic.


PROTECT ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE

Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.

Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic, such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats, or house plants.


RESPECT PROTECTED AREAS

A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic, or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority.
Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.

Know the locations of areas that have been afforded special protection and any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.
Observe applicable restrictions.
Do not damage, remove, or destroy Historic Sites or Monuments or any artifacts associated with them.

RESPECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.

Obtain permission before visiting Antarctic science and support facilities; reconfirm arrangements 24-72 hours before arrival; and comply with the rules regarding such visits.
Do not interfere with, or remove, scientific equipment or marker posts, and do not disturb experimental study sites, field camps, or supplies.
BE SAFE

Be prepared for severe and changeable weather and ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.

Know your capabilities and the dangers posed by the Antarctic environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Take note of, and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders; do not stray from your group.
Do not walk onto glaciers or large snow fields without the proper equipment and experience; there is a real danger of falling into hidden crevasses.
Do not expect a rescue service. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment, and trained personnel.
Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies). If you use equipment or food from a refuge, inform the nearest research station or national authority once the emergency is over.
Respect any smoking restrictions, particularly around buildings, and take great care to safeguard against the danger of fire. This is a real hazard in the dry environment of Antarctica.

KEEP ANTARCTICA PRISTINE

Antarctica remains relatively pristine, the largest wilderness area on Earth. It has not yet been subjected to large-scale human perturbations. Please keep it that way.

Do not dispose of litter or garbage on land. Open burning is prohibited.
Do not disturb or pollute lakes or streams. Any materials discarded at sea must be disposed of properly.
Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings.
Do not collect or take away biological or geological specimens or man-made artifacts as a souvenir, including rocks, bones, eggs, fossils, and parts or contents of buildings.
Do not deface or vandalize buildings or emergency refuges, whether occupied, abandoned, or unoccupied.​​