Antarctica: Journey to the Circle

Ship Trip
Highlights

Highlights

  • Experience the wildlife of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula including albatross, penguins, elephant seals, whales and dolphins.
  • Enjoy regular Zodiac excursions and landings amid spectacular scenery
  • Set foot on the continent of Antarctica - a rare privilege only a few can claim
  • Learn about Antarctic history from our onboard resource staff.
  • Admire breathtaking scenery such as icebergs, glaciated mountains and volcanoes
Map

Map

Map for Antarctica: Journey to the Circle

Tour Overview

Voyage in comfort aboard Ocean Endeavour from Ushuaia, Argentina to the Antarctic Peninsula and back. Visit the wildlife-rich South Shetland Islands. Join the fortunate few (conditions permitting) who have travelled below the Antarctic Circle. Journey to the stunning Antarctic Peninsula and add the great southern continent to your travel bucket list!

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • 1 night hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia
  • Group transfer from hotel to pier
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All meals on-board including snacks
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruising
  • Guiding and lectures by expedition team
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Free use of rubber boots on land
  • Use of gym, sauna, pool, and on-board Jacuzzi
  • On-board yoga
  • Wind and water resistant jacket
  • All port taxes
  • Transfer airport to hotel on Day 1 and pier to airport on day of disembarkation

Tour Price Does Not Include

  • Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Possible fuel surcharges
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, on-board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email service)
  • Gratuities for the crew (recommended US$15.00 per person per day)
  • Optional activities (kayaking, camping, intensive photo course)

Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Welcome to Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica, located at the southern tip of Argentina. These parts are known as Tierra del Fuego, and often called ‘the end of the world’, but this is just the beginning of your Antarctic adventure.

You’ll meet your fellow travellers at the hotel this afternoon, where a welcome briefing will take place. If you arrive early, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself. Those with a day or two in hand may want to head to Tierra del Fuego National Park on a full day’s adventure, or if you've only got a few hours to kill then why not take a stroll around town and visit the waterfront overlooking the Beagle Channel, or perhaps get a taste of Argentina’s famous cuisine at a local restaurant.

An arrival transfer from the airport on day one is included in your voyage fare. Full details will be sent with your final joining instructions.

Ushuaia at night

Day 2: Ushuaia - Embarkation

Enjoy some free time to explore Ushuaia and the surrounding area before boarding the Ocean Endeavour this afternoon. Once settled, you’ll cast off and make your way through the Beagle Channel towards the infamous Drake Passage. Named after Charles Darwin’s historic ship The Beagle, the deep open water of the channel presents many great photo opportunities.

Be sure to wave goodbye to South America if you're not too busy snapping away at the incredible landscapes – your next land sighting will be the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.

Black-browed Albatross

Day 3–4: At Sea – Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is one of the most famous bodies of water on the planet. It can be a little rough, but if weather conditions are good, you can head out on the outer decks for a chance to spot ocean dwellers like whales and dolphins, or perhaps seabirds including the spectacular wandering albatross, prions and petrels.

Over the next two days, you'll get to know your expedition team experts as our comprehensive lecture program gets underway. Our polar experts will share their knowledge of the Antarctic region so you can gain a great understanding of its wildlife, history and geology and help prepare you for the adventure that lies ahead.

Your expedition team are experts on the marine life that inhabit these parts and will help scout for sightings as you join them on the Ocean Endeavour's bridge and spacious outer decks. With favourable conditions, you are scheduled to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula late on the evening of day four.

On the deck in Drake Passage

Day 5–8: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

It’s time to take your first steps on Antarctica, courtesy of a Zodiac cruise through the icy waters. There are several potential landing sites including Neko Harbour, Petermann Island and Port Lockroy, and while weather dictates which specific site you'll land at, each of them presents an opportunity to get up close with some truly incredible wildlife, watch penguins waddle and seals slide as icebergs and glaciers crackle and crumble.

If you have any questions, look to your expedition team to inspire and educate you about this fascinating part of the world. A range of adventure options are available if you’re feeling active, including snowshoeing, kayaking and day paddling You'll also have an opportunity to take a polar plunge off the Ocean Endeavour. There’s nothing quite like a quick dip in the Antarctic’s icy depths to wake you up!

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 birds. When you are on board the Ocean Endeavour, the expedition team will keep the education going with a range of wildlife and history presentations and documentary screenings, or you can make the most of the on-board wellness facilities including a spa, saltwater pool, sauna and gym, or perhaps join a yoga class with the incredible backdrop of Antarctica!

An average day on board begins with a wake-up call from your expedition leader around 7:00 a.m., giving you time to prepare for the day before joining fellow guests for breakfast in the Polaris Restaurant. You will usually have two excursions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with a delicious lunch served on the Ocean Endeavour in between excursions.

Antarctica: Journey to the Circle

Day 9-10: Antarctic Circle

Depending on the weather conditions, we will continue southwards in an attempt to reach latitude 66°33'S and cross the fabled Antarctic Circle. Our voyage south takes us past colossal, often beautifully sculpted icebergs, to a point on Earth only a few intrepid travellers have ever sailed. If we reach this momentous goal, we will toast the explorers who first ventured this far south and celebrate our own impressive achievement. This land is home to the midnight sun, shifting ice, and incredible ice formations. Weddell seals are found here, as are humpback whales and minke whales that feed on the krill-rich waters.

Weddell seals in particular are specially adapted to this icy environment, using their canines and incisors to rasp open new ice and maintain breathing holes in the ice. They also have extremely accurate powers of navigation, enabling them to seek out breathing holes when their teeth are worn down and they are no longer able to maintain or create breathing holes.

Resting Weddell Seal with Adelie Penguins, Antarctica

Day 11: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula

You’ll be more familiar with the Antarctic waters as the Ocean Endeavour begins heading north. Test your newfound knowledge of penguin species, and fine-tune your wildlife spotting skills as you differentiate between fur, leopard and Weddell seals. Zodiac excursions will continue, and your expedition guides will be on hand on the journey north to Ushuaia to ensure you make the most of the peninsula’s wildlife opportunities and capture the perfect photographs.

zodiac cruise Antarctica

Day 12-13: At Sea – Drake Passage

The journey’s final leg offers an opportunity to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife encountered throughout the voyage. Spend some time with fellow guests, who you’ve no doubt bonded with, and enjoy a final celebration together to toast the end of this Antarctic adventure.

Humpback whale tail in Antarctica

Day 14: Ushuaia, Argentina

Disembark in Ushuaia after enjoying your final breakfast on the Ocean Endeavour. You have an included transfer to Ushuaia airport if you're flying home today, otherwise, enjoy some extra time exploring Tierra del Fuego and its rugged surroundings.

A departure transfer to the airport is included in your voyage fare if you are flying out today. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent to organise this.

If you are flying out today, please do not book your flight to depart Ushuaia before midday in case of any delays caused by unfavourable weather conditions.

Ushuaia

What to Expect

Our small ship cruising programs allow you to experience the best of the natural world, while enjoying the comforts of our friendly floating hotel. The ship generally makes crossing between islands at night, so every morning you awake to new vistas and discoveries. Every day we offer a combination of interesting shore excursions and fun shipboard activities. You can choose which elements of the program you want to participate in.

This expedition cruise necessitates passengers to be in reasonably good health. Zodiac cruises and transfer times can be lengthy. You must be able to climb stairs between decks on the ship, as well as the external gangway stairs to transfer between the zodiac and ship.

Some of our shore landings will be ‘wet’, requiring waterproof boots. Once you have left the zodiac, you’ll find our shore excursions accommodate both those who wish to enjoy a gentle stroll and those who prefer more active hikes. The excursion may involve walking over uneven or sandy terrain in variable weather conditions. Our onboard specialists will join us on these shore excursions to provide interpretation and narration to these wonderful landscapes and experiences.

Each evening we will gather in the lounge to recount the day’s events and share memorable stories. Our onboard musician will provide some lively entertainment during happy hour and the expedition leader will outline the following day’s schedule. Our resource staff of naturalists, historians, and other guest speakers will give informative talks at various times throughout the voyage.

Meals in the ship's dining room are a great opportunity to meet new friends and recount the day's adventures. Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Safety is also a top priority with Eagle-Eye Tours – our team has extensive experience in the field, and all of our Voyages are run in conjunction with operators with the highest safety standards.

When the ship is underway, it is a wonderful time to join a naturalist on deck, take photos of the stunning scenery, or get caught up on some reading in the library.

Weather, ice, government regulations, and community requests may necessitate changes to the planned itineraries and/or the cancellation of certain shore excursions and enhancements. Published itineraries are examples only and we reserve the right to change or modify the itinerary and landing sites at any time prior or during an expedition. Changes will be communicated at your expedition orientation or during your onboard expedition briefings.

We know that everyone travels for different reasons. Over the years, however, we have found one common element among the guest who choose to travel with us - a thirst of knowledge and authentic experience. Knowing this drives us to ensure the highest quality learning experience on our trips, by taking time to carefully design each trip we offer.

Ship & Deck Plan

Ocean Endeavour Antarctica

Ocean Endeavour Antarctica

Sailing with a maximum of 198-passengers, Ocean Endeavour is the perfect vessel for expedition cruising. Outfitted with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, multiple lounges and a top deck observation room, she is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments. The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling her to freely explore throughout the Arctic summer.

Launched in 1982, she has had numerous upgrades, most recently in 2010 and 2014. At 137 meters (450ft) in length, Ocean Endeavour has plenty of interior and exterior space. Enjoy multiple decks offering comfortable lounge chairs, outdoor dining, a swimming pool, sauna and even a hot tub! The spacious interiors allow for multiple workshops and presentations to occur simultaneously. Community is at the heart of Adventure Canada’s expedition experience. We gather together to learn, enjoy a drink, sing a song or share a yarn – connecting with one and other. The three lounges aboard Ocean Endeavour are fantastic public spaces for seminars, events and dialogue.

The Ocean Endeavour’s private spaces are stylish and comfortable. All cabins have private washroom facilities, a phone for internal calls, radio, TV and air-conditioning.

Ocean Endeavour’s crew is experienced, and friendly. Her shallow draft and maneuverability allow her to access isolated fiords, bays and secluded communities. The stylish vessel is at home among the glorious settings we seek. Enjoy the class and comfort of a boutique hotel, while venturing to some of the world’s last great frontiers aboard the Ocean Endeavour!

Learn More