Antarctica

Antarctic Circle Quest

14 days
from
12,920 CAD
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 14 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
PSC
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar Holidays
Min age:
18
Max group size:
189

The aim on this voyage is to head as far south as ice and weather permit.

After a few days exploring the 'deep south', there are further shore excursions on the northerly route along the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship is small enough to navigate through the narrow Lemaire Channel, with glacial walls towering high on both sides, leading to a jigsaw of jewel-like islands that are home to huge penguin rookeries, Elephant seals and countless seabirds. There are also whales: imagine a pair of Humpbacks, at least 30 tonnes of mammal, rising imperiously against a turquoise ice-wall viewed from a Zodiac only metres away, and you have the essence of the Antarctic.

Highlights

  • Visit the stunning Antarctic Peninsula
  • Cross the Antarctic Circle at 66° 33’ S
  • Witness abundant Antarctic wildlife, including penguins, seals, whales and more
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 12 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
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
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

    Board ship and sail along the Beagle Channel.

    The morning is free to explore Ushuaia and the surrounding area, to do some last minute shopping, stroll around Ushuaia and down to the port or maybe go for a walk in the nearby National Park. The transfer to the ship takes place in the afternoon. Once on board there is a get together for introductions to the expedition team, to learn about the ship and its layout, talk about the itinerary for the next 13 days and participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. Departure from Ushuaia is normally around 6:00 p.m, and we set sail through the Beagle Channel in the early evening. The long days mean plenty of evening light in which to experience the beauty of the channel, and to perhaps enjoy your first wildlife sightings.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Days 2-3

    Cross the Drake Passage.

    Sea conditions in the Drake Passage can vary from dead calm (known as 'Drake Lake'), to rough and stormy (known as 'Drake Shake'). As you cross the Drake Passage our team of experts is out on deck to help you spot whales and identify seabirds. There is also a programme of talks, covering the wildlife, the ice, and polar history to prepare you for your adventure to the 'White Continent'. The excitement intensifies as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, where the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean meet the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You feel the change as the air gets cooler. Huge icebergs loom up against the horizon in increasing numbers, and Wandering albatrosses, petrels and other birds which thrive in this cold, remote ocean are frequently seen.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 4-10

    Exploring the Peninsula and crossing the Antarctic Circle.

    Our itinerary for these days is necessarily flexible, and will be decided upon by your expedition leader in consultation with the ship's captain. It will depend on ice and weather conditions, and may start by sailing as far south as possible, hopefully to the Antarctic Circle, and then working our way back north along the peninsula and finally visiting the off-shore Shetland Islands group. On the other hand the order may be reversed, first cruising among the volcanic South Shetland Islands before travelling to the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, and further south.

    The itinerary focuses on the areas with the greatest promise of wildlife, and frequent shore excursions are planned at perhaps Livingston, Half Moon, Aicho or King George Islands. This area is a favoured feeding ground for Humpback whales and, with luck, you may see them dining on krill. Nearby, around 80,000 Adelie penguins have established one of the largest rookeries, alongside Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, providing great opportunities for photography. At crescent-shaped Half Moon Island, a breeding colony of Chinstrap penguins shares their territory with Fur seals and Blue-eyed shags; while at Livingston Island you may observe Weddell seals, Elephant seals, skuas, Giant petrels, Antarctic terns and rookeries of Chinstrap, Gentoo and Macaroni penguins.

    Weather permitting you may also enter the flooded caldera of Deception Island, a recently active volcano and one of the most perfect crater islands in the world. Steam rises from the black sand beaches in places along its shores where the cold Antarctic waters mix with the steaming thermal waters of the bay - although this is very much dependant on the tide and the hot water flow. You may also observe the island's large Chinstrap penguin colony and enjoy spectacular walks to the higher points of the crater rim.

    We may visit Paradise Harbour further south or Hope Bay to the north, both situated on the Antarctic mainland, to see some of the most dramatic scenery the continent has to offer. Here, there are further opportunities for spectacular photography. Ringed with overhanging ice cliffs, the bay is filled with a wild assortment of floating icebergs that reflect a stunning array of the colours, including the most exquisite blues, turquoise and indigo. On one or two occasions we may also go ashore to visit some of the research stations maintained by several different countries on the peninsula or offshore islands.

    Back on board whilst we cruise between landing points, you will be tempted to spend time out on deck if conditions are calm, just watching and marvelling at the glory of the passing scenery. Penguins are often seen 'porpoising' in the water, or resting on ice flows, which pass by the ship, and the scenery of the Lemaire Channel can be absolutely breathtaking. South of this channel we hope that the seas will be clear enough to take us right down to the Antarctic Circle; the scenery remains outstanding, and although there's no 'marker on the sand', it's a great feeling to know when we've reached the line.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 11-12

    Sail back through the Drake Passage.

    Leaving the Antarctic Peninsula behind our ship heads back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. The crossing is completed with the rounding of Cape Horn, weather permitting.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Disembark and end Ushuaia.

    In the early morning we arrive back in Ushuaia where your voyage ends. You will be transferred either to town on to the airport for your onward flight to Buenos Aires.

    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 Ocean Diamond takes a maximum capacity of 189 passengers and the Ocean Adventurer takes a maximum capacity of 132 passengers. Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff. 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 Quark 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

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

If you are crossing the border into Argentina from Chile on your trip, we will need to know your profession in order to provide when entering Argentina.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. 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.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

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.

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. 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 activities

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 many of our Antarctic voyages 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.

Camping on Ice option

Not very many people have the opportunity to say they’ve camped on the 7th Continent. This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in a more intimate manner, and take your expedition to the next level. Camping is available on most Antarctic voyages and has a limited number of spots. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided.

 

Call us on
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

The Antarctic Circle Quest is offered on the Ocean Diamond and the Ocean Adventurer which are Polar Adventure Ships. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships

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, kayaking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are excellent 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 us on
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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
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.

Expert Blog Entries

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” ~ Ranulph Fiennes

  • Reviewed January 2017
    Kathleen Ramsey

    Antarctic Circle Quest

    An awe-inspiring experience which exceeded all our expectations. The scenery is truly stunning, as were the encounters with wildlife. Life aboard the Academik Ioffe was very comfortable, the food was good and experts were on hand to help us with all aspects of the trip. After the first spectacular day of expeditions, we wondered how the rest of the trip could even begin to match the early promise, but each day brought new experiences and excitements.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to pick out a single experience. Cruising in zodiacs amongst icebergs and below glacial cliffs, watching penguins porpoising in the sea or making their way up and down snow slopes or across rocky terrain to the rookeries, observing penguin behaviour in those rookeries, experiencing humpback whales surfacing next to our zodiacs, whale/bird/seal/penguin/dolphin-spotting from the deck of the ship, descending directly onto fast ice from the ship after an impressive parallel parking manoeuvre, watching the sun setting (just) across the ice-filled bays......

    What did you think of your group leader?

    David McGonigal was an excellent leader. He was very experienced, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and affable, and amended the programme to make sure that we got the very best experience each day depending on the ice and weather conditions. In addition there were several other experts on board, all of whom shared their knowledge of the environment, fauna and history generously and enthusiastically.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had good weather most of the time, with temperatures around freezing, but it can get very cold on the outer decks of the ship, especially if you can't drag yourself away from viewing the wildlife and spectacular scenery, and when sitting still on the zodiac excursions for two or three hours at a time. We took heat pads for hands and feet, but didn't need to use them. Sunglasses/goggles and sunscreen are essential. We were provided with good quality binoculars and outer weatherproof garments and boots. Closed toe shoes must be worn in all public areas of the boat; a pair of clogs or similar would have been useful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was an expensive trip, but was a fantastic experience,
  • Reviewed March 2014
    David Scott

    Antarctic circle quest

    One of the best experiences of my life. Icebergs, whales, seals, penguins, historic huts and awe inspiring (in the true sense of that overused term) scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were inspiring moments every day: spotting the first iceberg on the horizon, whales surfacing next to the zodiacs and boat, being served hot chocolate on a zodiac in the middle of an ice choked bay, stepping inside the time capsule of a historic hut, crossing the circle. I could come up with many more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The experts on board really contributed to the pleasure of the voyage. They gave illuminating and interesting lectures during the sea days and then worked hard to ensure that excursions were a memorable experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A good quality down jacket will keep you comfortable when standing on deck while wildlife watching. Also a pair of binoculars is essential. They don't have to be expensive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is not a cheap trip, but it never will be. It was a life changing experience as much as a holiday. Everything about Antarctica is as spectacular as it looks on TV or in books and was worth every penny. Go !
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    The trip delivered everything promised - and more.   The scenery and wildlife were as hoped for and the Zodiacs got us to the right places.   The programme of talks on passage days and in the evenings were excellent.   The ship (Ioffe) was better than I expected - comfortable, quiet, well maintained, and with a helpful crew.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It would be unfair to pick a single moment from so many!   Whale watching from the Zodiacs?   Sailing up the Lemaire Channel?   Observing life in a penguin rookery?  Visiting the huts of earlier explorers?   The variety of sizes, shapes, and colours of the icebergs?    Entering the harbour at Deception?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chad was very effective at running the programme, which of necessity had to be flexible, and keeping us informed.   He was well supported by his helpers including a number of knowledgeable and approachable experts on the polar regions and their wildlife.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will need warm clothing - obvious, but you may be sitting for three hours in a Zodiac with temperatures around freezing and in a chilling wind.   Walks ashore are less of a problem.The waterproof clothing and boots supplied on loan on the Ioffe were of good quality, there is no need to bring your own.    Take some coloured clips to identify your boots amongst the 90 other pairs!This is a very photogenic trip.   Takes lots of memory, particularly if you intend shooting movie clips of whales and penguins.The Ioffe rolls very little because it has effective stabilisers but if you are prone to seasickness it would be wise take medication for the Drake Passage. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hesitated before booking because of the cost.   I don't regret it now - it was the right itinerary and the right size and style of ship for me.If you are a cautious take a spare camera and maybe a portable hard drive for downloading your camera.   It would be a shame to have a camera problem and no record of the trip! 
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    An absolutely exhilarating experinence cruising on Akademik Sergei Vavilov whilst being surrounded by large white and deep blue icebergs, pushing through the ice trying to cross the Antarctic circle..An unforgetable experience observing and photographing colonies of penguins - those guys are so curious! They ask you to stay away at least 5 meters from the wildlife but nobody told the wildlife to respect that distance!! 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A lonely Adelie penguin stuck on a large iceberge, right on the top, trying to figure out how to get down again. Oh my! We watched that guy good half hour from our zodiac, whilst he was trying to find his way down, all of our frozen fingers were crossed for him in a hope that he'd make it down. We lost the count of how many times he run up and down, gliding, running, the poor Adelie must've been exhausted.When our time was up, we had to leave and none of us will ever know whether he made it down to the safety and found his colony but our thoughts were with him for the duration of the trip and even so after our return home. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader - Jonathan Chester was very knowledgable, always taking a great regard to the safety of us all and to the environment that was surrounding us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, when you meet up wildlife, stop clicking the camera for a while. Stop, sit down and watch - things will happen.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Ensure that you visit your doctor prior to the trip and ask for the strongest anti-sickness tablets there are, because, lets face it, there is "The Drake!" to cross!!!!!!
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    The scenery was as breath- taking as I expected - if not more so: the animal life fantastic.  What made the journey was the informative guides, the high quality food and the friendliness of all concerned.  A fabulous trip that involved crossing the Antarctic Circle and visiting several historic sites and preserved huts of past years.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most outstanding memory is of the orca pod feeding off a whale: Anoux's beaked whale is rare itself but watching the orca pod surrounding it, taking chunks to eat and arcing as they did so, is a something I will not forget.  But this was just one of many fantastic moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He, and the whole guide staff were very good.  They were all polar experts who had personal experiences to talk about and were always happy to answer questions.  I felt they dealt with the unfortunate incident of the death of the Japanese lady extremely well and should be commended for this.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take twice as much digital card space as you think  you will need - and then more!  There is so much to film both in stills and on video.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really - I would sound as though I was an advert as the trip! It was such an amazing experience that I cannot do anything else to potential travellers but - GO!
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    I was introduced to Antarctica in the most amazing way. When we arrived there was a blanket of heavy fog the team got us on the zodiac and navigated on compass bearings. Suddenly like the curtain of a stage being pulled back we sat in sky of blue surrounded by a wild and pristine environment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above. Watching whales breech. Smelling penguins before you could see them. Filming Leopard seals with my gopro. You truely need to be awake 24hrs a day and have eyes in the back of your head for this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shelly and the team were amazing. Their passion and commitment and tirless effort to show what they love and care about the most was amazing

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take European travel plugs for Ushuaia as well as American.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy everything this trip has to offer. Remember this is an expedition and not a five star hotel as some travellers on my trip thought. Things can go wrong and weather is unpredictable. A real once in a lifetime trip.
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    Another fantastic trip to the wilderness that is Antarctica. Brilliant from start to finish with awesome scenery and wildlife experiences throughout on a fantastic ship.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing the beauty of both Oraca's and Humpback whales upclose to to zodiacs and a brillient night spent camping on the Ice of Antartctica.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Woody was excellent from start to finish, extremely knowledgeable and passionate about Antarctica, friendly, open and worked brilliantly with the Ships Captain/Crew to get us lots of fantastic landings and cruising opportunities. He was ably assisted by the rest of his expedition crew who were all also fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go... A definite must do atleast once in your life. Antarctica is awesome.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although some people might conside this type of trip as being expensive, I'd qualify it by saying this was my second trip to Antarctica and althought it is not a cheap holiday it is great value for money, I wouldn't have returned otherwise.The Ship is fantastic, food was excellent and all the crew were so friendly, helpful and ofcourse knowledgeable.
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    A holiday that exceeded all expectations. Stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, a great team and a superb boat and crew

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing that being a penguin parent is true dedication!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape....." A quote from a member of the group that sums up Woody. Excellent does also.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it NOW!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I knew we'd see a lot of wildlife and had hoped I'd see an albatross - there were 6 gliding around the boat on the first day! The excesses just got greater each dayafter that!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    This was an expedition that promised much but delivered rather less, though I would have given it 3 stars out of 5 if there had been no description of the categories. We weren't told in advance that our Photographic and Whale Special had been amalgamated with another trip because of insufficient bookings, and this really diluted its value, particularly as the expedition leader was from the non-photographic trip and did not appear particularly sympathetic to the needs of photographers. The quality of the catering was poor compared with previous trips: contracting out the catering to the lowest tender was not sensible and will not encourage repeat bookings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Excellent landings on Petermann Island and Danco Island which gave good photographic opportunities and just about adequate time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She spoiled the trip with excessive over-caution with regard to Health and Safety, and inflexibility with regard to landing times. We were not allowed out on deck if the decks were wet or the sea was even a little rough, thereby preventing us from experiencing the full atmosphere of the Antarctic. On our previous Exodus Antarctic trip the leaders did their utmost to allow us the genuine Antarctic experience, but with this one we might as well have been in an enclosed capsule for much of the time. Often only half the ship's zodiacs were deployed for landings, when to deploy the full complement would have given us significantly extra time on land.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Inevitably there is a huge of travelling involved on this trip - from the UK or wherever to Ushuaia and thence to the Pole side of the Antarctic Circle. Be prepared for long roughish days on board ship across the Drake Passage and don't expect too much in the way of wildlife sightings, though we did have very good views of whales (particularly humpbacks). Leaving late in the season (late February) means that there is a good chance of achieving the objective of crossing the Antarctic Circle but does mean that the penguin breeding is completely over apart from a few stragglers and the majority of penguins seen will be moulting.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Ioffe is not the ideal polar ship. The layout of the Vavilov with an open deck behind the lounge/bar on deck 5 is much more conducive to the polar experience. Do try to travel with the ebullient Paul Goldstein - wherever - Svalbard is a very good option. The odds against Paul may have been just too great this time for him to ignite the trip, but he will always try his best to maximise the viewing and photographing experience and he's an annoyingly good photographer to boot (not that I'm jealous).
  • Reviewed March 2011
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    An absolutely amazing trip!  It had been a long time coming as I booked it 18 months previously, but it did not disappoint.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was so much that was fantastic....the sheer beauty and enormousness (don’t know if that is a real word) of it all, unspoilt by humans, but the most inspiring moment was watching an iceberg calve, and then because its’ centre of gravity had changed, virtually turn over.......and I think I was the only one sitting there watching it!   And yes, Paul, I do have photographic evidence!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kirsten was professional, and made the best of the weather conditions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travelling to Ushuaia is very long and tedious, especially if you are on the early flight from Gatwick to Madrid (8 hour wait at Madrid), and even if you have been checked straight through to Ushuaia, you need to collect your baggage, even if you have the domestic flight from the international terminal (very confusing....nearly left my luggage at BA airport). 3 days travelling on board without setting foot on land, can seem a long time, but there are presentations given by various members of the expedition staff that give you an insight to the Antarctic region, its wildlife, and history. You can also go on deck if weather permits, or up to the bridge viewing platforms to pass the time of day and take pictures of the birdlife, or icebergs on your journey south.Once you make your first zodiac trip though, everything previously is forgotten, and take Paul’s advice....don’t have your viewfinder surgically implanted to your eye, make sure you take stock of where you are, and enjoy every moment of it.We were lucky with the weather, and only missed 1 landing, but be prepared that if the weather is bad, you will not be able to go ashore or do the zodiac cruises, and be prepared for some ‘iffy’ moments on the zodiacs if the sea is a bit rough.  It was my first time on zodiacs, and now feels that I could cope with anything. It didn’t happen to me, but remember the Aerolineas  Argentinas weight restrictions for hand-luggage; 5kg.  If you can put your camera equipment in a backpack and have it on your back, they don’t seem to mind.  Also, leave room in your case/bag for the Quark Parka.  I wore the inner fleece for flying and packed the outer shell, but still fairly cumbersome.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book it!!  You’ll not regret it.  This was my first polar trip, but certainly not my last!!

Dates & Prices

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

 

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Guided Group

Polar Expeditions
19 days
From 20,820 CAD
Activity Level: Leisurely
4.8 / 5
 from 
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