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This voyage encompasses the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. Discover historic Stanley in the Falklands~Malvinas and stand in awe before the world's largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. In Antarctica, experience the serenity and grandeur of the most remote place on Earth, where penguin chicks are quickly fattening, whales make a marathon migration to feed on plentiful krill and ice seals are hauled out on ice floes.
M/V Greg Mortimer
19 nights premium boat
1 nights comfortable hotel
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Ushuaia. If you are arriving in on the preferred flight times, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Upon arrival into Ushuaia City Airport (USH) please collect your luggage and look for a representative in the Arrivals Hall, holding a sign with your name on it. If you have booked your flights independently and are on the preferred flights, please make sure that you have advised us of your arrival flight details into Ushuaia, so that a transfer is booked for you. Be sure to keep all of your important documents - i.e. passport and travel insurance, and also your medication in your hand luggage, as your main luggage will be transferred separately to the hotel.
From our experience we have found that there are significant delays, especially in high season on flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. We highly recommend booking your travel arrangements to arrive into Ushuaia earlier in the day.
There are no activities planned today. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the city, visit the Maritime Museum or join a tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park, which offers magnificent hiking opportunities.
Hotel in Ushuaia to be confirmed
This morning, please ensure your luggage is taken down to hotel reception by 8 am. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please ensure that you keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11 am, you will have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2pm to commence a tour of Ushuaia. Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half day introductory tour, you will visit La Mision neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4pm.
After embarkation, you'll have time to settle into your cabin before the important mandatory briefings. Gather on deck as the ship pulls away from Ushuaia, enjoying spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team at a welcome dinner, celebrating the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
M/V Sylvia Earle
As we commence the Drake crossing, make the most of the time on board the ship and enjoy informative lectures from the expedition team who will prepare you for your first landings. They will provide entertaining talks on Antarctica's history, wildlife and environment. Enjoy watching and photographing the many seabird, including the majestic albatross and giant petrel, who follow in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
It's almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is a unique experience, beyond comparison. Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are yours to explore and there are a host of choices available for landings and Zodiac cruises. Being so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You'll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whale, seal and porpoising penguin. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to shore, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you'll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting! In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whale travelling or feeding.
Between shore excursions, enjoy time on deck or in the observation lounge, spotting the passing wildlife, or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Today, if weather allows, we set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetland Islands. Learn about the incredible story of Shackleton and the events that led to their eventual rescue. We plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first stepped ashore over 100 years ago. If conditions allow, we will follow the coastline to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp and if we are able to, we'll attempt to get ashore for a landing.
En-route to South Gerogia, we'll head across the Scotia Sea, enjoying more informative lectures from the expedition crew.
As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent. In fact, it is a small island only 176 km long, but with a 3,000 m snow-capped mountain range, some of the world's largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches. On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabird are often spotted soaring around the ship. Take a deep breath and marvel at the spectacular glaciated scenery and perhaps enjoy some shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting island is yours to explore.
South Georgia lies within the Antarctic Convergence and it can be quite chilly. Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguin, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia's kelp forests as well - these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water's surface.
Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take guided walks among fur seals and elephant seals, carefully clamber up tussock grass steps not fully knowing what or who lies ahead, and wander along pebbled streams, grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia's thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you'll have the opportunity to do that whenever conditions allow.
On New Year's Eve, enjoy a sumptuous dinner, join in with the festivities and raise a glass to toast in the New Year.
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may cruise by ship through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia's majestic coastline. Please note that in November and December, the extraordinary volume of fur seal populations can limit landings at some sites.
Enjoy your final landings in South Georgia, enjoying king penguin rookeries 100,000-strong. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia's once thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island.
As we sail away from splendid South Georgia, enjoy presentations from the expedition team to help prepare for our arrival in the Falklands. Perhaps you may want to practise your photo editing skills, stay active in the gym, or simply watch seabirds frolic alongside the ship as we spend time at sea.
Between South Georgia and Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabird that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. Our lecture program will continue highlighting all of the incredible sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy observing the seabird, whale-watching from the observation areas, or simply relaxing with a book.
The Falklands~Malvinas comprises of two large islands (East and West Falkland), with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life. There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Even though we're north of the Antarctic Convergence it can be quite chilly here, so you'll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seal, sea lion, dolphin and porpoising penguin. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English 'tea and scones' at a local cottage.We also aim to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced town houses, cottages and even an iconic red telephone box. Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.
On our return sailing to Ushuaia, you may choose to spend the time at sea editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture.
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. The trip ends after breakfast on board the ship. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time after 12 pm. For those on earlier flights, a transfer will take you directly to Ushuaia City Airport (USH). For those on later flights, you will be transferred to downtown Ushuaia and given time to explore the city, before continuing on to the airport in time for your flight.
Whilst landings are included in the cost of your trip as per the outline itinerary, some departures aboard the MV Greg Mortimer have additional optional excursions which can be pre-booked with the ship operator directly. These will be charged at an additional fee, depending on the excursion and we recommend booking these in advance to ensure availability. Please speak to a member of our Polar team who will advise you on the booking process.
Parkas You should look for a lightweight, roomy, wind and water-resistant parka with some insulation. Bright colors are more visible - and thus safer - in polar environments. Gloves Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good. Socks Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet. Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.
Complimentary waterproof boots will be supplied on-board. However, if you have extra small or large feet, you are advised to bring your own. Also ensure you take good walking boots and trainers for relaxing.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself. Please note that a 15kgs luggage weight limit is sporadically enforced on the internal flight to Ushuaia, occasionally charges may be levied against passengers taking luggage in excess of 15kgs.
Sunglasses and sun cream Insect repellant Personal toiletries A refilllable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards Seasickness remedy Walking poles
M/V Greg Mortimer, Zodiac
The Sylvia Earle is a purpose-built expedition vessel and is the sister ship to the M/V Greg Mortimer. Built with the same revolutionary Ulstein X-Bow design, which allows the ship to comfortably navigate the ice, the Sylvia Earle features a distinctive glass atrium lounge at the bow of the vessel which offers stunning panoramic views. Other features include a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, from which you can soak up the passing scenery. With just 132 passengers, guests can enjoy spacious stateroom cabins and suites, a large mud room and easy boarding access at water level. The ship also has a library and multimedia room, gym, sauna and spa.
The lead-in prices on our website are based on triple outward facing, Stateroom cabins. All staterooms have private bathrooms, ample storage, with twin beds. Many of the stateroom categories, have floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in most of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. A full layout of the deck plan can be found under the Polar Ships section on our website. Your confirmed cabin type will appear on your Booking Confirmation, which will be sent on receipt of your deposit payment.
Meals are served in the large, spacious dining room with an open seating arrangement, perfect for swapping stories with your extended expedition family. A range of courses is offered at each meal time and you can enjoy a variety of house wines, beers and soft drinks which are included with your evening meal. Complimentary coffee, tea and snacks are available throughout the day and any additional drinks can be purchased at the fully-stocked bar.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. USA (If flights transit): you will need to apply for an ESTA if you are transiting the USA as you will have to disembark and clear immigration before re-boarding for the onward flight. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. When completing an application for transit you should enter the words 'In Transit' with your final destination location in the address line You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan in the past five years or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel under the Visa Waiver Programme. Instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.