Christmas in Antarctica Ushuaia to Punta Arenas

Polar Pioneer Cruise Ship
Polar Pioneer
54 Passengers
Adventure Options

‘Tis the season . . . to be in Antarctica! Enjoy the ultimate White Christmas on a special celebratory season voyage. Penguin chicks hatch, skuas are on alert, and late-bloomers try to finish off their nests. With 24 hours of daylight, we pack in continental landings, visits to historic sites and scientific stations, and perhaps an after-dinner Zodiac cruise. You could share protected channels with minke and humpback whales, kayak amongst ice floes and drift near curious wildlife or sleep like a true Antarctic explorer when you camp out on the ice!

Voyage Highlights
Antarctica
• Explore the most accessible and wildlife-rich region of Antarctica
• Daily shore visits and Zodiac cruises offer close encounters with penguins, whales, seals and sea birds
• Visit historic research huts and working scientific stations
• Be surrounded by massive icebergs and cruise past ancient glaciers
• Enjoy the pristine beauty and vast landscapes
• Witness the endless sunlight of the midnight sun
• Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife from our expert team
• Sleep like an Antarctica explorer and camp on the ice! (weather permitting)
• Kayakers will glide through narrow sheltered waterways and fjords, paddle amongst ice floes and drift quietly alongside wildlife.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina 
Days 2 & 3 Drake Passage
Days 4 to 9 Antarctic Peninsula
 Days 10 & 11 Drake Passage
 Day 12 Disembark in Puerto Williams and fly to Punta Arenas, Chile

Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina

In Ushuaia, you can independently explore the bustling community that lays claim to being the world’s most southerly town. The town itself sits beneath the spectacular mountains of Tierra del Fuego on the edge of the Beagle Channel. You may choose to enjoy a trip to the Lapataia National Park by train or bus, or visit the small museum, which has informative displays about the original inhabitants and the current population of Tierra del Fuego.

Ushuaia is a duty-free port with a reputation for its delicious Argentinian chocolates, cheap alcohol and leather goods, and is a great place to buy souvenirs and presents. There are a host of excellent restaurants available, so whether you are looking for a quick coffee, an excellent meal of king crab, or an Argentine barbecue, you are spoiled for choice.

This morning, your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and loading onto the ship. You’ll have the day at leisure before making your own way to port in the late afternoon to meet your expedition team and commence boarding at 1600. As Polar Pioneer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.

Days 2 & 3 — Drake Passage

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skillfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Nearing the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula towards the end of day three, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime.

Days 4 to 9 — Antarctic Peninsula

A peek out of the porthole very early this morning should confirm that we have reached Antarctica.

Over the next six days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities.

Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally make landings or zodiac excursions two to three times a day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookies, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favorite spots along the peninsula. There is plenty of time for sleep when you get home!

During this voyage, there will be an opportunity to camp ashore (weather and time permitting). This will give you the chance to sample the style of adventure that Scott, Shackleton and other legendary Antarctic explorers experienced. Rest assured, our warm and comfortable ship with its hot showers will only be a short distance away!

We will also be celebrating Christmas on this expedition, so expect a Christmas like no other! No matter where we are along the peninsula, we’ll enjoy some festive landings before feasting on a traditional turkey roast with our fellow expeditioners.

There are many exciting places we can choose to visit; a sample of some of the places where we may land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife follows:

Livingston Island
A unique landing place on the Peninsula – tiny toes of land that are literally alive with wildlife. Here we will find two species of penguins breeding, chinstrap and gentoo. It is not uncommon to find wallows of elephant seals that are 60 beasts strong. Giant petrels nest on the ridgeline. The vegetation consists of mosses, lichens, and a grass species Deschampsia Antarctica that grows in Antarctica. All this is set against a stunning backdrop underneath long black scree slopes at the foot of the mountains and glaciers of Livingston Island.

Paradise Harbor
A protected bay surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, the rocky cliffs of this unforgettable piece of heaven provide perfect nesting sites for blue-eyed shags, terns and gulls. The serenity of Paradise Harbor envelops us once the sound of the dropping anchor fades from our ears. This is a haven for whales and we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas and minkes, as well as crabeater seals, as we explore the bay in Zodiacs. Imagine being so close to a whale that when it surfaces to blow, the fishy spray of his exhalation momentarily blurs your vision – a truly rare experience.

Hydrurga Rocks
This group of low-lying unprotected granitic rocks protrude from the sea, swept by ocean swells. At first these rocks appear uninteresting, but on closer investigation, calm channels lead to a hidden interior where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstrap penguins raise their families on rocky platforms. Hydrurga is Latin for leopard seal, and on occasions we see some skulking in the shallows. There are many places to simply sit and watch the rise and fall of clear green water and listen to the magic sounds and calls of the wildlife.

Half Moon Island
This wildlife-rich island is tucked into a neat bay at the eastern end of Livingston Island. On a clear day, the glaciers and mountains of Livingston Island dominate the vista. There is a large chinstrap penguin rookery tucked in between basaltic turrets colored by yellow and orange lichens. Gulls nest on these turrets and there are often fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches. At one extremity of the island there is a large colony of nesting blue-eyed shags. At the other end lies a small Argentine station that is sometimes occupied by scientists conducting research on the penguin colony and surrounding waterways.

Lemaire Channel
If ice conditions allow, standing on the bow of Polar Pioneer and quietly moving through the narrow Lemaire Channel could be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 2,300 ft (700 m) directly above the ship. The water can be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.

Port Lockroy
Located on Goudier Island, British Port Lockroy is an important site for both scientific research and visitors to the Antarctic continent. Designated a historic site in 1994 and opened to the Antarctic tourism industry in 1996, it was discovered in 1904 and used by the whaling industry in the first half of the 1900’s, was part of the British Operation Tabarin during World War II, and was later used as a British Research Station. Today, Pork Lockroy is manned by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and operates as a museum and gift shop for visitors from passing Antarctic expeditions. You can even send a post card home from the Penguin Post Office, the world’s most southern Post Office!

Deception Island
Visiting Deception Island is like making a journey to the moon. We sail through the narrow opening of Neptune's Bellows to enter the flooded volcanic crater. The inside of the crater is an unworldly scene, virtually devoid of life. Glaciers flow down from the edge of the crater, littered by black volcanic ash.

We can explore the lifeless remains of a derelict whaling station and a vacant British base, or climb to the rim of the crater. Steam rises from the shore indicating that the water is actually warm enough for swimming - for those who dare. Outside the crater, if conditions allow, we might land at Bailey Head to explore the enormous Chinstrap Penguin rookery that featured in David Attenborough's Life in the Freezer series.

Robert Point
A fine example of the South Shetland Islands – tiny toes of land that are literally alive with wildlife. Here we will find two species of penguins breeding - chinstrap and gentoo. It is not uncommon to find wallows of elephant seals that are 60 beasts strong. Giant petrels nest on the ridgeline.

Other places we may visit around the Antarctic Peninsula are:
• Pleneau Island
• Neko Harbor
• Vernadsky; a Ukrainian scientific base
• Petermann Island
• Penola Strait
• Antarctic Sound
• Cuverville Island
• Danco Island
• Enterprise Island
• Melchior Islands

Days 10 & 11 — Drake Passage

Today, our landings come to an end as we enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America. With lectures and videos to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on our attitude to life.

As we approach the tip of South America, our captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.

Day 12 — Disembark in Puerto Williams and fly to Punta Arenas, Chile

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Puerto Williams at the foot of the Dientes de Navarino mountains. As soon as customs have cleared the ship, we’ll commence a town tour of the world’s most southern town. Puerto Williams has been declared one of the 20 most pristine places on the planet by UNESCO.

After the town tour and some morning tea, we’ll board the short 35-minute flight back to Punta Arenas, where we’ll enjoy a birds-eye view over the breathtaking landscape of Cordillera Darwin. On arrival into Punta Arenas, a transfer will be available to downtown Punta Arenas, where we bid our fellow expeditioners and new-found friends a fond farewell, before continuing on with your own arrangements.

Note: Please refer to this itinerary as a guide only as changes may occur due to unpredictable sea and weather conditions.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates Antarctica 2017-18
Triple Shared
Twin Shared
Twin Economy Private
Twin Private
Mini Suite
Captain's Suite
Kayaking
Option
Kayak
Punta Arenas - Puerto Williams
Antarctica - Punta Arenas
$9,500Full$11,200Full $13,500Full$14,500Full$15,900Full$1,050 
Kayak
Punta Arenas - Antarctica
Antarctica - Ushuaia
$9,500Full$11,200Full $13,500Full$14,500Full$15,900Full$1,050 
Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Falklands - Santiago (or Punta Arenas)
$14,3001 Berth$17,5001 Berth $21,2001 Berth$23,500Full$24,800Full$1,325 
Photography, Kayak
Santiago (or Punta Arenas) - Falklands
Falklands - Santiago (or Punta Arenas)

Save 30% (Prices in Red)
$10,900$7,6301 Berth$12,500$8,7501 Berth $14,500$10,1501 Berth$15,500$10,850Full$16,500$11,550Full$1,250 
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.

International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate.

Flights included for Fly/Cruise itineraries.

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

Optional Activities: Kayaking (rates as indicated), Camping  Free, Photography Free, Photography Masterclass $2,500, Snowshoeing $250, Climbing $950, South Georgia Alpine Crossing $2,150, Ski Touring $900.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required. 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 2018-19
Triple Shared
Twin Shared
Twin Economy Private
Twin Private
Mini Suite
Captain's Suite
Kayaking
Option
XC Ski, Photography, Kayak
Santiago (or Punta Arenas) - Falklands
Antarctica - Ushuaia

Save $3,000 (Twin Private) & $2,500 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$14,600Full$17,900$15,400$20,6001 Berth$21,700$18,700$23,900 $25,400Full$1,350 
Camp, XC Ski, Kayak, Snowshoe
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Puerto Williams - Punta Arenas

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,100Full$10,600$9,700Full$11,600Full$12,100$11,1001 Berth$13,800Full$15,200Full$1,050 
Camp, Kayak, Snowshoe
Punta Arenas - Puerto Williams
Antarctica - Punta Arenas

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,700Full$11,400$10,5001 Berth$13,100Full$13,800$12,800Full$14,800Full$16,200Full$1,050 
Camp, Kayak, Snowshoe
Punta Arenas - Antarctica
Antarctica - Ushuaia

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,700Full$11,400$10,5001 Berth$13,100 $13,800$12,800Limited$14,800 $16,200Full$1,050 
Kayak
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Falklands - Santiago (or Punta Arenas)

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$15,6001 Berth$18,900$18,000$21,600 $22,700$21,700Limited$25,100 $26,400Full$1,350 
Kayak
Santiago (or Punta Arenas) - Falklands
Antarctica - Ushuaia

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$15,600 $18,900$18,000$21,6001 Berth$22,700$21,700$25,100Full$26,400Full$1,350 
Kayak
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Puerto Williams - Punta Arenas

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,1001 Berth$10,600$9,700$11,600 $12,100$11,1001 Berth$13,800 $15,200 $1,050 
Kayak
Punta Arenas - Puerto Williams
Antarctica - Punta Arenas

Save $1,000 (Twin Private) & $900 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,700 $11,400$10,500$13,100 $13,800$12,800$14,800 $16,200Full$1,050 
Photography, Kayak
Punta Arenas - Antarctica
Antarctica - Ushuaia

Save $2,000 (Twin Private) & $1,500 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$9,700 $11,400$9,900$13,100 $13,800$11,800$14,800 $16,200 $1,050 
Mountaineering, Kayak, Photography
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Falklands - Santiago (or Punta Arenas)

Save $3,000 (Twin Private) & $2,500 (Twin Shared)
(Prices in Red) Expires Mar 31st 2018
$14,6001 Berth$17,900$15,400$20,600 $21,700$18,700$24,000 $25,400 $1,350 
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.

International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate.

Flights included for Fly/Cruise itineraries.

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

Optional Activities: Kayaking (rates as indicated), Camping  Free, Photography Free, Snowshoeing $250, Ski Touring $900, Climbing $900, South Georgia Alpine Crossing $2,150, Ski Touring $900.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required. All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_PolarPioneer

*Cabins #402 & #403 will be sold as:
Twin Private Cabins for the 2017-18 Season and as
Twin Economy Private Cabins for the 2018-19 Season.

   Captain's Suite
Polar Pioneer's most deluxe cabin, the Captain's Suite (on Deck 5) features a separate sleeping area and lounge room, a private en-suite and large windows for optimal viewing opportunities from your own cabin. Only one cabin available, so be sure to enquire early.
Cabin Features: Private en-suite • Double bed in separate room • Forward- and side-facing windows • Separate lounge area • Desk and table area • TV, DVD player and mini fridge • Air-conditioning control • Outside deck access from Deck 5.

242 sq ft (22.5 sq m)
    Mini Suite
Two Mini Suites on Deck 5 offer a more spacious cabin with a separate sleeping and sitting area as well as a private en-suite and large windows to enjoy the views from the comfort of your own cabin. Perfect if you're after a bit more space and comfort.
Cabin Features: Private en suite • Double bed in separate room • Side-facing windows • Separate lounge area • Desk and chair • Cupboard with hanging space • TV, DVD player and mini fridge • Air-conditioning control • Outside deck access from Deck 5.

180 sq ft (16.8 sq m)
  Twin Cabin, Private Bathroom
Twin Cabins with Private Bathrooms on Deck 4 & Deck 5. Each cabin accommodates two people and offers the convenience of private bathroom facilities.
Cabin Features: Private en-suite • Two lower bunk beds (Note: #402 and #403 have an upper and lower bunk and a couch - 2017-18 Season Only) • Side-facing window • Desk and chair • Cupboard with hanging space • Air-conditioning control • Outside deck access to main deck (Deck 4 cabins only) • Outside deck access to upper deck (Deck 5 cabins only).

130 sq ft (12 sq m)
  Twin Economy Cabin, Private Bathroom (2018-19 Season Only)
Twin Cabins with Private Bathrooms on Deck 4 (#402 and #403). Each cabin accommodates two people and offers the convenience of private bathroom facilities.
Cabin Features: Private en-suite • An upper and lower bunk and a couch • Side-facing window • Desk and chair • Cupboard with hanging space • Air-conditioning control • Outside deck access to main deck.

130 sq ft (12 sq m)
  Twin Cabin, Shared Bathroom
Twin Cabins with Shared Bathrooms on Deck 3. Surprisingly spacious, each cabin comfortably sleeps two people and are only a short distance from the ship’s public bathroom facilities. Outside decks are accessible from this deck.
Cabin Features: Two lower bunk beds • Outside porthole • Wash basin • Lounge and desk • Cupboard with hanging space • Air-conditioning control • Shared bathroom facilities on same deck • Outside decks accessible via Deck 3 and 4.

105 sq ft (9.8 sq m)
  Triple Cabin, Shared Bathroom
Two Triple Cabins with Shared Bathrooms on Deck 3. Perfect for friends or families, or for solo travelers who are happy to share their space with fellow passengers. Bathrooms are located close by on the same deck.
Cabin Features: Two lower bunk beds and one upper bunk bed • Outside porthole • Wash basin • Lounge and desk • Cupboard with hanging space • Air-conditioning control • Shared bathroom facilities on same deck • Outside deck accessed via Deck 4.

110 sq ft (10.2 sq m)