Ross Sea - Ushuaia to Bluff, 33-day

Ortelius Cruise Ship
Ortelius
116 Passengers
Adventure Options

Join us for an exploratory voyage to some of the most iconic sights of the Antarctic Peninsula: the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the Ross Island huts of historic British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, the American research base of McMurdo Station, and the expansive slopes of the Dry Valleys. Also included in this itinerary is the fascinating sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, home to the royal penguin, and Campbell Island, home to the southern royal albatross.

Helicopter transfers:
During these voyages, we transfer our passengers to shore using Zodiacs. We also operate our two helicopters in sites where Zodiacs cannot be used. Potential areas for helicopter transfer are Cape Evans (the location of Scott’s hut), Cape Royds (the location of Shackleton’s hut), the Ross Ice Shelf, Peter I Island, and the Dry Valleys.

Our plan is to make five helicopter-based landings, though a specific amount of helicopter time cannot be guaranteed in advance. Helicopters provide us a great advantage in reaching certain landing sites that are otherwise almost inaccessible, but this is a true expedition in the world’s most remote area: weather, ice, and other forces of nature dictate the final itinerary. Conditions may change rapidly, impacting helicopter operations. Please understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern, and no compromises can be made.

The vessel is equipped with two helicopters. If one helicopter is unable to fly for whatever reason, helicopter operations will cease or be cancelled. One helicopter always needs to be supported by a second functioning helicopter. No guarantees can be given, and in no event will claims be accepted.

Special note: Crossing the International Date Line
Depending on which direction one travels across the International Date Line, a day is either lost or gained. (Crossing westward, a day is gained; crossing eastward, a day is lost.) Please take note of this when calculating your actual time travelled. The days listed in the itinerary duration reflect the actual time travelled.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Days 2 & 3 Drake Passage
Day 4 Through the Pendleton Straight
Days 5 & 6 Sailing the Bellingshausen Sea
Day 7 A rare glimpse of Peter I Island
Days 8 to 14 Sights of the Amundsen Sea
Days 15 to 17 The epic Ross Ice Shelf
Days 18 to 20 Highlights of the Ross Sea
Days 21 & 22 Exploring the inexpressible
Day 23 The residents of Cape Adare
Day 24 Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean
Day 25 The windswept Balleny Islands
Days 26 to 28 Sailing among the seabirds
Day 29 Macca aka Macquarie Island
Day 30 Northwest toward Campbell Island
Day 31 Campbell Island’s bounteous birdlife
Day 32 Once more to the Southern Ocean
Day 33 Bluff, New Zealand

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.

Day 4 – Through the Pendleton Straight

You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Days 5 & 6 – Sailing the Bellingshausen Sea

From the peninsula you head toward the open sea, your course set for Peter I Island.

Day 7 – A rare glimpse of Peter I Island

Known as Peter I Øy in Norwegian, this is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.

Days 8 to 14 – Sights of the Amundsen Sea

You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.

Days 15 to 17 – The epic Ross Ice Shelf

The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Days 18 to 20 – Highlights of the Ross Sea

Keeping to the Ross Sea, your aim is now to visit Ross Island. In this location you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole.
 
If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favorable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The American scientific base of McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base are other possible locations you might visit. From McMurdo Station you could also make a 10-km hike (6 miles) to Castle Rock, where there are great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.

Days 21 & 22 – Exploring the inexpressible

Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery.

Day 23 – The residents of Cape Adare

You next attempt a landing at Cape Adare, where for the first time humans wintered on the Antarctic Continent: The Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.

Day 24 – Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean

Sailing through the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, you start your journey north through the Southern Ocean. The goal is to set a course for the Balleny Islands, depending on weather conditions.

Day 25 – The windswept Balleny Islands

Your intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Days 26 to 28 – Sailing among the seabirds

You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Seabirds are prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions.

Day 29 – Macca aka Macquarie Island

Macca, also known as Macquarie Island, is a Tasmanian State Reserve that in 1997 became a World Heritage Site. The Australian Antarctic Division has its permanent base on this island, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

Day 30 – Northwest toward Campbell Island

Heading northwest to Campbell Island, you’re once again followed by numerous seabirds.

Day 31 – Campbell Island’s bounteous birdlife

The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, enjoying its luxuriantly blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is also a highlight, with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island. Breeding on the satellite islands are wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses. There are also three breeding penguin species present: eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.

Day 32 – Once more to the Southern Ocean

Take in the vast horizons of your final sea day before you reach New Zealand.

Day 33 – Bluff, New Zealand

Every adventure, no matter how sublime, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Rates Antarctica 2018-19
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Twin
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Twin Deluxe
Superior
Save up to 22% on Deck 3&4 Cabins
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$5,600$4,450Limited$6,300$4,950$6,800$5,350Limited$7,250Limited$7,650 $8,350Limited
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All Activities Free on Basecamp Trips
$7,950Full$8,950Full$9,650 $10,100 $10,850Full$11,700Limited
$11,4001 Berth$12,300Full$13,200Full$13,700Full$14,400Full$15,200Full
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All Activities Free on Basecamp Trips
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Camp, Kayak, Snowshoe
$6,500Full$7,300Full$7,900Limited$8,400Limited$8,900 $9,600 
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All Activities Free on Basecamp Trips
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Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
All Activities Free on Basecamp Trips
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Camp, Kayak
$7,950Full$8,950Full$9,6501 Berth$10,100Limited$10,8501 Berth$11,700 
$14,2501 Berth$15,5501 Berth$16,950Full$17,700Limited$19,100 $20,500 
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak
All Activities Free on Basecamp Trips
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Whale Watching Voyage
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Single Supplement is 1.7 times the standard rate. We can pair you with another person of the same gender in Twin Deluxe and below cabins without the Single Supplement pricing.  Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required. Airfare is not included in these prices.

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 - $180 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 Ortelius” voyages (incl. Camping, Kayaking, Snowshoeing/Hiking, Mountaineering & Photography Workshop)

Nov 18th voyage includes 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 2019-20
Quad
Porthole
Triple
Porthole
Twin
Porthole
Twin
Window
Twin Deluxe
Superior
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Free camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshop.
$7,950 $8,950 $9,850 $10,250 $10,900 $11,800 
$11,350 $12,150 $12,950 $13,550 $14,1001 Berth$14,900Limited
Camp, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Free camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshop.
$7,950Limited$8,950 $9,850 $10,250 $10,900 $11,800 
$13,350 $14,600 $16,200 $16,950 $18,100 $19,450 
Camp, Kayak
$7,950 $8,950 $9,850 $10,250 $10,900 $11,800 
$27,500Limited$29,900 $34,700 $35,900 $37,700 $39,700Full
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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, Triple
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.

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