Gentoo penguin

Fly & Cruise – Epic Antarctica

22 days
from
$19,290 USD
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
PRK
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Min age:
18
Max group size:
96

Undoubtedly the most comprehensive journey to Antarctica ever offered!

This exciting new expedition is undoubtedly the most comprehensive journey to Antarctica ever offered. Only scientists and researchers, who spend many months working at the numerous research stations in Antarctica, can claim to spend more time ‘down on the ice’. Over the course of three weeks, we spend an unprecedented 16 days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, the spectacular, icy Weddell Sea region and the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands. In practical terms, this voyage will provide you with more than thirty off-ship excursions. Over the durtion of the voyage, we visit wildlife colonies, historic sites, science bases and spend plenty of time ashore enjoying extended walks, many up to stunning viewpoints. In our Zodiac boats, we cruise among the icefloes searching for whales and seals, or admiring and photographing the deep blue icebergs.

Highlights

  • Visit the stunning Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
  • Explore the remote and seldom visited Weddell Sea region
  • Discover the fascinating history of the Falkland Islands
  • Spend an unprecedented 16 days exploring with 30 off-ship excursions
  • Incredible wildlife viewing including seabirds, penguins, seals and whales
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 21 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • Return flights from Punta Arenas to Stanley.
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.

    Our epic journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. (This flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica – and the adventure of a lifetime.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Days 2-3

    At sea towards Antarctica.

    We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in marine life and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as make our way south. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 4-5

    King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula.

    This morning we are in position at the northern end of King George Island – the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two potential landing sites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weather conditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer good opportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon we continue our journey south making our way ever closer to the Antarctic coastline. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs in the evening light. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view and we should make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. We navigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into the Errera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island – home to a rookery of Gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic location for a Zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-8

    Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline.

    We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as we navigate south. We pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favourable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favoured landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s. This vicinity marks our turnaround point and from now on, we return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle of nearby Winter Island allows us to stretch our legs and explore a historic British Antarctic Survey hut. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. We have all the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember!

    Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies - the smallest of the Antarctic penguins nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. The view to the north of Mount  Shackleton and Mount Scott is impressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southern entrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massive icebergs run aground in the shallows. Constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastic shapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possibly imagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 9-10

    Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.

    We cruise north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offer terrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. For the sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage.

    By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. Whalers Bay at Deception Island is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted boilers and dilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian explorer and pioneer aviator, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also an outstanding hike, high up onto the rim of the crater.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    King George Island.

    This morning we are anchored off King George Island. You will say farewell to many of your fellow passengers as they disembark, transfer to the airstrip and board their charter flight back to South America. There will be an opportunity to go ashore, or you may wish to relax on board, updating the diary or visit the multi-media room to download and back up your images. New guests are welcomed aboard the ship and we are soon underway – for the second leg of our epic adventure.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 12-14

    Antarctic Peninsula exploration.

    For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. This whole region is one large polar ‘playground’ with a great variety of landing sites. As always the weather and ice will dictate our route. Planned visits could include Port Charcot, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. All three locations offer excellent hiking opportunities, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to and land on Danco Island – a large dome shaped island affording terrific views of the whole region from its summit. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location we could stop at for a second visit, as we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales in this area. If the channel south of Brooklyn island is ice-free, we may ship cruise through here as we push to the north into the broad expanse of the Gerlache Strait. Cierva Cove and Mikkelsen Harbour are also possible locations we could visit – both providing good Zodiac cruising opportunities.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.

    We are now on our way towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. On our port side, will be the South Shetland Islands. It won’t be the first time you have cruised these waters, but there are some terrific sites here which we may go and explore. Half Moon Island is nearby and is home to a sizeable chinstrap penguin rookery. Across the MacFarlane Strait is Yankee Harbour – with its broad pebble beach – a known location for Weddell seals. If the weather is good a second visit to Deception Island is also a possibility. It’s always a thrill to navigate the ship into ‘Neptune’s Bellows’ – and to explore inside the submerged volcanic caldera by ship and Zodiac.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 16-17

    Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea.

    At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vast sweep of the Antarctic icecap becomes an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited so far.

    The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, our naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing – and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.

    The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who travelled these waters a hundred years before us.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 18

    Elephant Island, Antarctica.

    We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive Chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. Both Southern Elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals are hauled out on the beaches in large numbers. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 19-20

    At sea towards Falkland Islands.

    While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap on our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the final days ahead. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species once again join us and are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with presentations and lead lively discussions.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 21

    West Point Island & Saunders Island.

    Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its Rockhopper penguin rookeries and large nesting Black Browed albatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easy forgotten. One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife rich Saunders Island. Along the white sand beaches and in the tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper - and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive King penguin. Saunders is a fitting end to an epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 22

    Disembark Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; fly to Punta Arenas.

    In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into our port. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. If you are staying in Punta Arenas, a transfer will be provided to several downtown locations.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Akademik Ioffe takes a maximum capacity of 96 passengers and the Akademik Sergey Vavilov takes a maximum capacity of 92 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with One Ocean Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Falkland Islands

No visa required.

Chile

British, most European and most other nationalities, including Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, do not require visas. All other nationalities should contact the nearest Chilean Embassy if in doubt. Citizens of Australia pay a fee on first entry into Chile by air (cash US Dollars only, no credit cards or cheques) $95 - valid for only 90 days). There is no fee for other nationalities at the time of writing. The one-time charge is valid for the life of your passport so keep the stub stapled in.

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Chile

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Antarctica

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Weather

Late Spring and Early Summer - October & November

The start of the season and the most adventurous time to travel. You’ll encounter truly breathtaking, exquisitely sculpted icebergs emerging from their frozen hibernation. Many of these blue bergs house courting, nesting and brooding penguins. In the Falklands flowers are coming into bloom.

High Summer - December, January & February

Close to the solstice you’ll experience almost perpetual daylight. These are the mildest months when the first Adelie and Gentoo penguin chicks are hatched. It’s also the time to encounter seal pups on South Georgia. As the water warms the whale sightings also improve.

Late Summer - February & March

This is the time for some incredible encounters with whales, especially Minkes and Humpbacks. The receding ice allows for further exploration and penguin colonies are very active with adults feeding their chicks.

Antarctica

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers' wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet/mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are 'wet' which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).

There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional Activites:

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance.  Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

On our  Fly & Cruise - Epic Antarctica voyage there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are expertly guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available. Basic kayak competence is required.

Camping on Ice option

Spending a night camping on ice is a unique experience we offer on some of our Antarctic departures. No previous experience is needed to participate in our camping option. We provide the equipment: you contribute a desire for a personal and intimate connection with the continent.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Polar Adventure Ship

This voyage is offered on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and the Akademik Ioffe which are Polar Adventure Ships. Full board accommodation on the ship, generally on a twin share basis in a variety of cabin types, all with shared or en suite facilities. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ship:

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

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Call us on 1 844 227 9087