Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
On arrival at Ushuaia Airport, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. They will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to contact them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.
The first night of your voyage is spent in the quaint town of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world, and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).
The remainder of the day is at leisure and you are free to explore, perhaps making a few last-minute purchases from the many shops or artisan markets or relaxing in a café. Visit the excellent museums along the main street, Avenida San Martin, or wander the streets and take in the town’s dramatic setting, with views of the mountains to the north and the Beagle Channel to the south.
Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia
This morning is again free for you to explore Ushuaia further, or maybe discover Tierra del Fuego National Park, the most southerly national park of South America. The park offers a range of hiking trails that lead you through the stunningly beautiful and dramatic scenery of snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, rugged coastline, glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. Look out for guanaco, Andean foxes, muskrats, and the North American beaver. Birds found here include the Andean Condor, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Kelp Goose, Austral Parakeet, and Torrent Duck.
Late this afternoon we transfer to the port of Ushuaia in time for embarkation on board the Ocean Endeavour. The Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers will be waiting to welcome you aboard.
This evening we sail along the wildlife-rich Beagle Channel, towards the White Continent of Antarctica. As we leave the lights of Ushuaia behind, look out for Magellanic Penguins, Rock Cormorants, Petrels, and Black-browed Albatross from the deck as well as noisy sea lion colonies.
Days 3–4: At Sea – Drake Passage
The infamous Drake Passage, named after the famous English explorer, Sir Frances Drake, separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. It is unpredictable—often rough and turbulent, but sometimes as calm as a lake—so be prepared!
Enjoy the fabulous onboard facilities: join a yoga class or attend a presentation or two given by the Expedition Team to prepare you for what lies ahead—from the geology of Antarctica to its history and wildlife, and even the ice!
Sailing towards Antarctica there is a fall in temperature as we cross the Antarctic Convergence and enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The Antarctic Convergence is marked by an increased number of seabirds, whales, and other species that are attracted by the nutrient-rich waters pushed to the surface by the colder waters of the polar region flowing north and meeting the warmer equatorial waters flowing south.
Head out on deck to look for the mighty Albatross that fly overhead, scan the waters for breaching whales and icebergs, or gaze out from the panoramic windows of the observation deck.
We continue our course south and hope to make landfall by the evening of Day 4, depending on the weather conditions. Keep on the lookout for the first sighting of land—that heralds your arrival to the White Continent!
Days 5–8: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The next four days are spent exploring the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, a region that has captivated explorers for centuries and now enthrals travellers. We explore by Zodiac, cruising among the magnificently sculpted icebergs and making shore landings where we mingle with penguins, climb to vantage points to absorb the spectacular panoramic views, and maybe visit a scientific or historic base. There may even be opportunities to kayak and snowshoe and, of course, learn more about photography with one of our experts.
Antarctica will enchant you with its incredible scenery, from imposing glaciers to towering snow-capped peaks, vast icebergs, and ice-strewn channels. Not to mention the wildlife—from extensive colonies of Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie penguins, to crabeater, Weddell, fur and elephant seals, and a plethora of fascinating seabirds. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the mighty crack of a glacier calving. Maybe you will be one of the brave few to take a polar plunge in the icy waters! Every day brings a new experience and new landing sites.
As we cruise from one landing site to the next, enjoy the continued lecture program and take in the scenery from the outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour. Make the most of the ship’s health and fitness facilities, from the relaxing spa and saunas to the pool and gym.
Days 9: Elephant Island
We leave the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands behind us as we chart a course for historic Elephant Island. If conditions permit, we will attempt to take the Zodiacs to Point Wild.
Elephant Island has its place firmly etched in polar history, as this is where Shackleton’s crew from the 1914-17 Trans Antarctic Expedition took refuge when their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea. They set up camp at Point Wild, a harsh and inhospitable place and waited for over four months, while Shackleton sailed with five other men in the James Laird lifeboat to South Georgia. This is one of the most incredible adventure stories and most heroic survival stories of all time.
Days 10-11: At Sea
Leaving Elephant Island, we chart a course northeast towards South Georgia. Spend time learning to identify the seabirds that follow in the wake of the ship or glide alongside including Albatross, Storm Petrels, Shearwaters, and Diving Petrels. Look out for whales and dolphins as you enjoy the silence of the sea.
Attend lectures and presentations by the Expedition Team as they prepare you for what lies ahead on South Georgia—from the history and geology to the incredible wildlife. Take in the panoramic views from the observation lounge and spacious decks, or make the most of the onboard facilities that include a spa, saunas, saltwater pool, gym, and yoga classes.
If weather conditions are favourable, we hope to make landfall on South Georgia by late evening on day twelve.
Days 12-15: South Georgia
South Georgia captivates every traveller that steps foot on its shores. Home to the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet, here penguins number in the hundreds of thousands, blanketing beaches as far as the eye can see.
We spend three days exploring this stunningly beautiful island, an island that is not only overrun with an incredible array of fauna, but one that is steeped in history. South Georgia was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance expedition and was once the centre of the whaling industry.
South Georgia—known as the ‘Galapagos of the South—is home to over 30 million breeding birds, thousands of seals, the introduced Norwegian reindeer, nesting sites of the Wandering Albatross, four breeding species of penguin, and the largest colony of King Penguins on the planet. If the wildlife is not enough of a draw card, the spectacular scenery against which it is set can only enhance your visit: emerald green bays, snow-covered peaks, and blue glacier ice.
We explore by Zodiac and kayak and on foot, with opportunities to learn more about photography from one of our expert guides.
Every day provides a different experience and a different location. Stand in awe amongst tens of thousands of penguins, look out across beaches carpeted with elephant seals, visit the remains of abandoned whaling stations, and even the grave of Shackleton himself.
Day 16-17: At Sea
Saying goodbye to the wildlife of South Georgia, we head west towards the isolated and sparsely populated Falklands archipelago, where the silence is broken only by the call of birds. Attend lectures and presentations by the Expedition Team, relax and unwind in the saunas and spa, and take advantage of all the other amenities on board.
Day 18-19: Falkland Islands
Have your camera at the ready as we approach the ruggedly beautiful Falklands archipelago to capture not only the abundant wildlife but also the incredible scenery.
Over the next couple of days we explore East and West Island by Zodiac and on foot as we make daily shore landings and maybe even discover smaller inlets by kayak.
Learn about the intriguing and controversial history of the Falkland Islands as we explore the quaint capital of Port Stanley, with its British outpost feel. Near the town you may see Southern Giant Petrels, the endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks, Kelp Gulls, and Dolphin Gulls. There are also Black-crowned Night Herons, Red-backed Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and Turkey Vultures.
As we explore the islands, look out for the five species of penguins found here, large populations of Black-browed Albatross, elephant and fur seals, Peale’s and Commerson’s dolphins, orcas, and a myriad of bird species including the Falkland’s Flightless Steamer Duck, Imperial Shags, and Cobb’s Wrens.
Day 20: At Sea
After our exploration of the Falkland Islands, we set sail on a course west, bound for the city of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).
Day 21: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
We are scheduled to arrive into Ushuaia early this morning, and we disembark after a final breakfast aboard the Ocean Endeavour.