Polar Circle and Antarctica - 14 Day

Ortelius Cruise Ship
Ortelius
116 Passengers
Adventure Options

This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise will take you further south of Antarctica, crossing the Polar Circe. This expedition cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to hike, and...

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Days 2 & 3 Drake Passage
Days 4 & 5 Antarctica
Days 6 to 8 Through the Gullet
Days 9 to 11 The whales of Crystal Sound
Days 12 & 13 Drake Passage
Day 14 Ushuaia

Day 1 – Ushuaia, Argentina

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Days 2 & 3 – Drake Passage

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area, we may see Wandering albatrosses, Grey-headed albatrosses, Black-browed albatrosses, Light-mantled albatrosses, Cape petrels, Southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, Blue petrels and Antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.

Days 4 & 5 – Antarctica

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.

The intended route for you Antarctic adventure includes:

Cuverville Island – A small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island, Cuverville houses a large colony of gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas.

Neko Harbor – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbor offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.

Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters before sailing to the Lemaire Channel.

We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is famed for its icy beauty and bountiful wildlife.

During the days here, we will optimize the experience to get the best of everything.

Cuverville Island is a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island where we will find a large colony of Gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of Brown skuas. In Neko Harbor, we may have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level. Zodiac cruising offers a spectacular way to enjoy the landscape surrounded by ice incrusted alpine peaks. In Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs, we may have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. Again, we may offer an opportunity for a Zodiac cruise in the inner parts of this amazing waterway. In this area, we have good chances to see Humpback whales and Minke whales before heading south though the spectacular Lemaire Channel.

After a long night of sailing west around the myriad of islands south of Lemaire Channel, we find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle. If ice conditions allow, we hope to sail through the narrow The Gullet between Adelaide Island and the continent with spectacular scenery all around. We hope to get permission to land at Rothera, which is the primary British research station in Antarctica. Alternatively we explore the area and make a landing on one of the many islands in the area.

Depending on the ice conditions, we may circumnavigate Pourqoui Pas Island named after the ship of the famous French explorer Charcot. The area is spectacular with narrow fjords and high mountains with cascading glaciers all around. On Horseshoe Island we find the former British Base Y from the 1950’s, which now stands unmanned but almost fully equipped from the time it was in service.

Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base (1939-41) and later the British Base E. Base E was occupied until 1975. We may attempt a landing here which will also mark our southernmost landing site of the trip. In the morning of day 9 we aim to find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle once again as we head north into Crystal Sound. We have an excellent chance to see Humpback whales here as we approach Fish Islands for a Zodiac cruise and possible landing.

As always, the scenery is unparalleled in beauty and we may well see more Adélie penguins among the myriads of icebergs large and small. Petermann and Pléneau Islands offer a great variety of bird life and some excellent opportunities to Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs with good chances to see both Leopard seal and Crabeater seals. Minke whales and Humpback whales are also often spotted in this area along with Gentoo penguins and Leopard seals. Further north, we reach the Melchior Islands; a beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard seals, Crabeater seals and more whales.

Days 6 to 8 – Through the Gullet

After a comfortable night of sailing, you wake among the many islands south of Lemaire Channel. You are now near the Antarctic Circle. At this point, a voyage through the aptly named Gullet – a narrow but picturesque channel between Adelaide Island and the Antarctic Continent – is possible if the ice isn’t too thick. You can explore this area either from the prow of the ship or the edge of a Zodiac, getting the closest possible contact with the polar terrain as you venture southward.

Along the way, you may enjoy the following visits:

Pourquoi Pas Island – You might circumnavigate this island, named after the ship of the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This location is known for its tight fjords and lofty, glacier-crowded mountains.

Horseshoe Island – This is the location of the former British Base Y, a remnant of the 1950s that is now unmanned though still equipped with almost all the technology it had while in service.

Stonington Island – Home to the former US East Base and British Base E, which was occupied until 1975, this island marks the southernmost landing site of the trip – 68° south. If a landing here is possible, your road turns north again afterward, through the Gunnel Channel.

Hanusse Bay – Enjoy the scattered icebergs of this scenic bay, which offers a good chance of spotting whales.

Days 9 to 11 – The whales of Crystal Sound

You are near the Antarctic Circle again, cutting north through the countless ice floes of Crystal Sound. Humpback whale sightings are likely, and your approach to the Fish Islands offers the possibility of a Zodiac cruise or even a landing. Whatever the case, the views beyond comparison in this area. There may also be more Adélie penguins congregating among the bergs nearby. Petermann & Pléneau Islands provide a great variety of birdlife, along with possibilities for Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are highly popular among leopard and crabeater seals. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins can also be found here.
 
Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Days 12 & 13 – Drake Passage

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 14 – Ushuaia

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Days 6 to 8 – (Alternate program)

If the route to the south of Crystal Sound/Hanusse Bay is blocked by ice:

You may take a course around the western side of Adelaide Island to reach Marguerite Bay. Should ice conditions also not allow for this approach, you could continue the program by exploring the Antarctic Peninsula in and around the Penola and Gerlache Straits.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Save 5% (Prices in Red) Expires Sep 1st 2019
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Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Single travelers can chose between "single occupancy" at a supplement
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or Quadruple category at no additional cost.

Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Camping - $190 per night, max 30 people
Kayaking - $465 per trip, max 14 people
Snowshoe - No charge but sign up required

Activities are Free for the “Basecamp” voyages (incl. Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering & Photography Workshop)

Nov 14th, Jan 13th & Feb 16th voyages include helicopters.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates Antarctica 2020-21
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Porthole
Triple
Porthole
Twin
Porthole
Twin
Window
Twin Deluxe
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No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Single travelers can chose between "single occupancy" at a supplement of 1,7 x the Twin or Superior cabin rate , or "sharing basis" in Twin or Quadruple category at no additional cost.

Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Camping - $195 per night, max 30 people
Kayaking - $470 per trip, max 14 people
Snowshoe - No charge but sign up required

Activities are Free for the “Basecamp” voyages (incl. Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering & Photography Workshop)

Nov 19th, Jan 13th & Feb 16th voyages include helicopters.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

2019-20 Season Deck Plan (See below for 2020-21 Season Deck Plan)

DeckPlan_Ortelius

   Superior
2 windows (minimum) • 1 double bed • 1 single (sofa) bed • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Refrigerator • Coffee & tea maker • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Deluxe
3 windows • 2 lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Small sofa • Flatscreen TV • Refrigerator • Coffee & tea maker • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Window
2 windows • 2 lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Small sofa • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Porthole
2 portholes • 2 lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Triple Porthole
2 portholes • 1 upper / lower berth + 1 single lower berth • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Quadruple Porthole
2 portholes • 2 upper / lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Hair dryer • Ample storage space

2020-21 Season Deck Plan (See above for 2019-20 Season Deck Plan)

DeckPlan_Ortelius

   Superior
2 windows (minimum) • 1 double bed • 1 single (sofa) bed • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) • Refrigerator • Coffee & tea maker • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Deluxe
3 windows • 2 lower berths • Small sofa • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) • Refrigerator • Coffee & tea maker • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Window
2 windows • 2 lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) • Hair dryer • Ample storage space
   Twin Porthole
2 portholes • 2 lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) • Hair dryer • Ample storage space • Cabins 337 & 338 have an additional third bed
   Quadruple Porthole
2 portholes • 2 upper / lower berths • Private shower & toilet • Desk & chair • Flatscreen TV • Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) • Hair dryer • Ample storage space