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Ponant: The Great Adventure

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Overview

EARLY BIRDS ON SALE - Book and save up to 15% OFF* Antarctic 2020-21 voyages.

EARLY BIRDS ON SALE - Book and save up to 15% OFF* Antarctic 2020-21 voyages.

EARLY BIRDS ON SALE - Book and save up to 15% OFF* Antarctic 2020-21 voyages with PONANT.

EARLY BIRDS ON SALE - Book and save up to 15% OFF* Antarctic 2020-21 voyages with PONANT.

This incredible 16-day cruise takes you from the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo to wildlife-rich South Georgia and then on to the Antarctic Peninsula, before ending your cruise back in Tierra del Fuego’s capital, Ushuaia. Explore the remote yet ruggedly beautiful sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, with its immense colonies of king penguins and rich history. See the relics of whaling activities and the grave of the famous British explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Then it’s further into the heart of the White Continent as you sail to the Antarctic Peninsula, a stunning desert of ice where drifting icebergs, glaciers, snow-capped peaks and a fascinating array of wildlife is waiting.

Optional Activities : Kayaking

Trip Code: ACTSPTGA

Travel Style: Expedition Cruise

Location: Antarctica

Ship: L'AUSTRAL

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your cruise. Contact us today to discuss.

WHY CHOOSE THIS CRUISE?

  • Undertake this incredible voyage on board the L'Austral, a luxury mega-yacht, which perfectly combines luxury and elegance, with sleek design and a focus on sustainable technology. 

  • Encounter unique wildlife including a vast array of sea birds, seals and a number of different penguin and bird species.

  • This Antarctic itinerary is easily combined with a land based tour of Latin-America, allowing you to experience two of the most extraordinary continents in just one incredible journey. 

  • This itinerary includes a visit to the beautiful South Georgia, the most stunning gateway to Antarctica, where crescent peaks and hardy wildlife reign superior. 

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 5:00pm and 6.00pm, at which time cabins and suites will be ready to check in to.

The ship sets sail this evening along the famous Beagle Channel towards the Drake Passage.

Ushuaia (Argentina) - Embarkation

To reach the mythical “White Continent” we cross the notorious Drake Passage named after the famous explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed in these waters back in 1578. You will then traverse 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.

The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached Antarctica.

At sea - Drake passage - Days 2 & 3

Deep in Andvord Bay, we find this little corner of paradise at the foot of an immense glacier. Neko Bay is without doubt one of the most beautiful sights of the Antarctic Peninsula. Wildlife is as abundant as it is exceptional with seabirds such as gulls, Cape petrels and cormorants, as well as marine mammals such as seals, orcas and whales. Excursions aboard our 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.

Paradise Bay (or Paradise Harbour as it is also known) is surrounded and protected by glaciated mountains and ice cliffs. It is a stunningly beautiful wide bay and natural harbour, home to a colony of gentoo penguins, with Argentina's “Almirante Brown Antarctic Base” standing on its coast.

Neko / Paradise Bay (Antarctica)

On the small island of Goudier, we hope to have the opportunity to visit Port Lockroy, discovered by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1903. Initially it served as a relief and repair base for whalers, but in 1944 Port Lockroy became a British base. It owes its name to Edouard Lockroy, a French politician and the partner of Jean-Baptiste Charcot during his expedition. You will be able to visit the small museum that retraces the life of the base in the 1950’s. Since 1996, it has been open to the public during the short southern summer and is used for carrying out research on gentoo penguins. Nowadays, this base is the most visited site of the White Continent and, thanks to its small store and post office, it is the only place to offer you the opportunity to write to your friends and family and share this unique moment.

Wilhelmina Bay is surrounded by steep snow-covered cliffs and glaciers, with a pyramid-shaped peak towering over the water. Named after Queen Wilhelmina, who reigned the Netherlands from 1890 to1948, this spectacular bay is known for its abundant whale population including humpback whales.

Port Lockroy / Wilhelmina Bay (Antarctica)

Weather permitting, we will sail into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island for its rugged scenery, great sites of geological interest and the remains of an old whaling station. Deception Island is the largest of three recent volcanic centres in the South Shetlands and sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing.

Nestled at the heart of the South Shetland Islands, in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island is easy to recognise for its horseshoe shape. On the black sand of the volcanic beaches, there are remains of abandoned huts that have been overrun by the extraordinary wildlife found here. It is on these ash beaches that the largest colony of chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula has taken up residence. Excursions aboard our Zodiacs will allow you to set foot on this expanse of land where more than 100,000 pairs of penguins, elephant seals and fur seals live side by side.

Deception Island (Antarctica)

The next two days are spent crossing the Scotia Sea towards the South Georgia offering opportunities to 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 the last days on the Antarctic Peninsula.

At sea - Days 7 & 8

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.

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)

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.

Grytviken (South Georgia)

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.

Fortuna Bay (South Georgia)

Leaving South Georgia behind, the ship sails across the Southern Atlantic Ocean bound for Montevideo. Relax on the outdoor decks scanning the horizon for wildlife. Look out for several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, skuas and diving petrels as we cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters.

At sea - Days 12 to 15

Disembarkation is scheduled for 9am.

Montevideo is the historic yet cosmopolitan capital of Uruguay. Situated on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata it is home to half of Uruguay’s population. The city has much to offer including the historic Old City with the Plaza Independencia at its heart and its Citadel Gate used up until 1829 to protect the city from invasion. The plaza separates the Ciudad Vieja (old town) with its art deco buildings, colonial homes and landmarks such as the towering Palacio Salvo, from the city's downtown. Explore the covered market of Mercado del Puerto or the Centenario Football Stadium where the first World Cup was played in 1930. Stroll along La Rambla, hugging Montevideo’s scenic waterfront or maybe head to the beachside suburbs of Carrasco or Pocitos.

Montevideo (Uruguay) - Disembarkation

We specialise in Tailor Made Journeys in Latin America. All Tailor-Made journeys depart daily and can be customised around your cruise. Contact us for today to discuss.

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Begin your Antarctic experience by first exploring the dramatic and stunningly beautiful “End of the world”. Start in Buenos Aires, the capital of Tango and a vibrant, historical gem. Experience the wonders of El Calafate a land of stunning beauty and wonder located in the Patagonian steppe before finishing in Ushuaia and witnessing the incredible beauty of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Find out more

  • Begin your Antarctic experience by first exploring the dramatic and stunningly beautiful “End of the world”. Start in Buenos Aires, the capital of Tango and a vibrant, historical gem. Experience the wonders of El Calafate a land of stunning beauty and wonder located in the Patagonian steppe before finishing in Ushuaia and witnessing the incredible beauty of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Find out more

  • Amend your itinerary to include the incredible wonders of Peru. This amazing 9-day itinerary will allow you to see the best of Peru. Visit incredible cities such as Lima and Cusco which are buzzing and vibrant with a unique blend of urban modernisation and rural lifestyles. You will also be able to visit and experience the incredible mystery of the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu and explore the legendary Sacred Valley. Find out more.

Pricing & date

Departing Ending Duration
28 Feb 2020 14 Mar 2020 16
04 Mar 2021 19 Mar 2021 16
Enquire Now

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Kayaking

Kayaking

Important Information

  • All accommodation on board L'Austral
    All meals whilst on board including snacks
    All scheduled landings and excursions
    Guiding and lectures by English-speaking expedition leader and team
    Expedition jacket provided (yours to keep) 
    A pair of expedition boots for use during your voyage
    Flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on embarkation day 
    Group transfer to/from pier
    Open Bar (excluding premium brands)
    Room Service
    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)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details.

  • Itinerary subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions 

  • Departure date, 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

As a member of IAATO we follow guidelines appointed by the Antarctic Treaty System to go above and beyond in support of minimizing negative impacts on this pristine landscape. We also encourage clients to look to book pre-and post- accommodation with us, where local businesses will be supported. Our clients also receive restaurant recommendations which support locally owned restaurants

We carefully select all ships we work with and choose smaller sized vessels to create less impact. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in the Antarctic’s delicate ecosystem. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller boats such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste. The waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE