South Georgia in Depth

Vavilov Cruise Ship
Vavilov
92 Passengers
Adventure Options

The Falkland Islands and South Georgia are the jewels of the South Atlantic Ocean. These incredibly remote and wild islands are home to an abundance of wildlife. The Falkland Islands has a rich and storied history, while South Georgia has rightly been called ‘the most staggering wildlife show on earth’. After our in depth exploration, we are certain you will agree. This seldom-visited corner of the planet is a place we know intimately and look forward to visiting every season. Even our experienced expedition staff, some with more than 100 journeys south, cherish every visit to South Georgia.

Traditionally, our visits to South Georgia last only three or four days and are part of a much longer itinerary that includes time spent in Antarctica. But, after many years of careful preparation and planning, we can now offer our guests the unique opportunity of seven full days of exploration – almost double the time traditionally spent – in South Georgia.

This particular voyage is timed to coincide with the arrival of spring as South Georgia emerges from the long and frigid winter. It is an exceptional time to visit. Late October marks the beginning of the wildlife migration and commencement of the breeding cycle for many species. Scenes of male elephant seals battling for control of the beaches (and the female harems), and the intimate and beautiful courtship rituals of the albatross and antics of the young penguin chicks, will have you believing you are ‘on the set’ of your very own wildlife documentary. For lovers of remote, small-ship expedition cruising, this voyage ticks every box you could possibly imagine.  

Overview
After a short flight from Punta Arenas in southern Chile, we begin our 13-night expedition in Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. Here in the Falkland Islands, we find a relatively warm climate where a range of unusual wildlife thrives. Sixty species of migratory birds and the rare rockhopper penguin inhabit the archipelago. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is a charming place with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980’s, acts as a sobering reminder of recent history.

Leaving Stanley, we chart a course across the Scotia Sea and make landfall at the northeastern tip of South Georgia. This area is truly rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of astonishing wildlife. Much of early polar exploration history has links to South Georgia and we aim to make it come alive with guided walks ashore, visiting relics such as the old whaling stations and highlighting points of interest and place names – each with a story to tell. We will be exploring the entire northern coast of the island in depth. Our expedition to South Georgia will leave you with images and memories that are certain to linger.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Punta Arenas (Chile) to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Days 2 & 3 At Sea
Days 4 to 10 South Georgia In Depth
Days 11 to 13 At Sea
Day 14 Ushuaia

Day 1 — Punta Arenas (Chile) to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at the airport and fly on the scheduled service to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute flight we arrive in Stanley and will be met on arrival and transferred to the pier, embarking our expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov. 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 and dinner and cast off, bound for South Georgia – and the adventure of a lifetime.

Days 2 & 3 — At Sea

We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. Our days at sea are never dull. Much of our time is spent on the outer decks, scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. A profusion of seabirds delight us as they wheel and spin above the ship. We spend plenty of time with our onboard polar experts who will be educating us on the wonders of the South Atlantic Ocean and Sub-Antarctic ecosystems. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Shackleton is central to our journey. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle and soft polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our expedition guides and crew.

Days 4 to 10 — South Georgia In Depth

These next seven days will be unlike anything you have ever imagined. Majestic snow-covered mountains greet us on arrival in South Georgia. We begin by cruising the protected waters of the northeastern coast on the lookout for landing spots such as Elsehul Bay and Salisbury Plain. The highlight of both of these areas is the staggering abundance of king penguin adults and their young that live in these locations by the hundreds of thousands, covering every inch of the shore. At the height of breeding season this area is believed to have more wildlife per square foot than any other place on the planet. You have to experience it to believe it. Joining the majestic ‘Kings’ are fur seals who can be seen poking their heads above the water, the elephant seals will enjoy lazing about the beach, while the skuas and giant petrels swoop and weave in the skies above. Meanwhile, the albatross - our constant companion on this journey - is never far away.

We continue our journey deeper into the heart of South Georgia where our next expected stop is Prion Island, in the beautiful Bay of Isles. This island has been designated as a ‘Specially Protected Area’ by the South Georgia Government, due to the breeding wandering albatross colonies at this location. Boasting the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), they spend most of their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed.

Distances traveled each year are hard to measure, but one bird was recorded traveling 6000 km (3600 mi) in just twelve days. It is rare to experience them up close and personal and on land. We are exceptionally lucky to be able to attempt a landing here. The site is closed to visiting ships between November and mid January, due to the massive concentration of fur seals on the beaches.

Our adventure takes us next to Fortuna Bay, a majestic three-mile long and one-mile wide fjord. It was named after the ship Fortuna, one of the original vessels of the Norwegian–Argentine whaling expedition which established the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken, further down the coast. Here at Fortuna Bay we can expect to see king penguins, elephant seals, fur seals and we will have an excellent opportunity for hiking excursions.

History comes into sharp focus as we continue west to Stromness and Grytviken. From 1912 until the 1930’s, Stromness (and nearby Leith and Husvik), operated as whaling stations and the rusted and ghostly remnants of these old stations seem out of place in such a pristine environment. This area is key to the Shackleton story and it was here, in 1916, that Shackleton and his companions, Worsley and Crean arrived after their epic crossing from King Haakon Bay on the south coast. This is after having completed their 800-mile journey by small boat from Elephant Island. If the weather cooperates, we hope to be able to hike the last few miles across the saddle separating Fortuna Bay from neighboring Stromness, in the footsteps of Shackleton and his men.

As we journey further to the southeast we enter the broad expanse of Cumberland Bay. At the head of the bay lies Grytviken – the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of our landing here is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right hand man, Frank Wild. Frank Wild’s lifelong wish was to be buried beside Shackleton. However his wish never materialized due to the outbreak of WWII, a week after Wild’s passing in South Africa. Our voyage falls exactly three years following the transport of Wild’s ashes to South Georgia aboard our ship, and some 94 years after his last voyage with Shackleton in 1921.

Our next few days will take us to St Andrew’s Bay and Gold Harbor - places that are teeming with wildlife including fur seals, elephant seals and massive colonies of the colorful king penguins. As with all of our landings we will exercise every opportunity possible to explore on foot, as much or as little as you like. Gold Harbor is so called because the sun's rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening. It’s an exhilarating location.

Drygalski Fjord has been called one of the most spectacular sites in South Georgia and we think you will agree. If it is calm enough you can hear the glacier calving large chunks of ice, reminders of what early sealers, whalers and vessels needed to pay close attention to. Our visit to this breathtaking place is a fitting way to complete our journey. Tonight, as we reflect on seven epic days of exploration, we chart a course for South America and the most southerly city in the world - Ushuaia.

Days 11 to 13 — At Sea

Our final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with our photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after a busy week of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on our ship provides fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a cappuccino. The educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader.

A particular highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck - reflecting on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest reaches of the planet. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in the soft evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 14 — Ushuaia

In the early morning, we arrive into the city of Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.

As with all our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.

* 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 2018-19
Triple
Twin Semi Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Kayak
Special Photography Symposium

Punta Arenas - Falklands
Falklands - Punta Arenas

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$9,895$8,895$11,995$10,995$13,195$12,195Full$14,095$13,095Full$15,995$14,995Full$17,695$16,695Full
Kayak
Punta Arenas - Falklands
Falklands - Ushuaia

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$10,595$9,595$12,895$11,895Limited$14,195$13,195Limited$15,095$14,095Limited$17,095$16,095Limited$18,995$17,995Full
Camp, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica
Antarctica-Punta Arenas
$9,695Full$11,995Full$12,695Full$13,395Full$14,695Full$15,995Full
Camp, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Antarctica
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Save $500 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$15,995$15,495$18,195$17,695$20,295$19,795Full$21,695$21,195Limited$23,395$22,895Full$25,295$24,795Full
Camp, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Antarctica-Punta Arenas
$11,195Full$13,195Full$14,295Full$14,995Full$16,495Full$18,095Full
Camp, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica
Falklands-Punta Arenas

Save $500 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$19,095$18,595$22,595$22,095$24,795$24,295Limited$26,195$25,695Limited$27,895$27,395Limited$29,095$28,595
Camp, Kayak
Punta Arenas-Falklands
Antarctica-Punta Arenas
$11,195Full$13,195Full$14,295Full$14,995Full$16,495Full$18,095Full
Camp, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica-Ushuaia

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$8,695$7,695$10,795$9,795$11,795$10,795$12,795$11,795$13,995$12,995$15,895$14,895
Camp, Kayak
Ushuaia-Antarctica-Ushuaia

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$8,695$7,695$10,795$9,795$11,795$10,795$12,795$11,795$13,995$12,995$15,895$14,895
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.

Rates are per person, based on twin-share.

The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for twin-semi private, twin private and superior cabins.
Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites.
Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.
No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share.

Voyages commencing/ending in Stanley (Falkland Islands) or King George Island (Antarctica) include flights from Punta Arenas (Chile).
Voyages ending in King George Island (Antarctica) include one night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas at the end of the trip.

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography - Free of charge, Snowshoeing - Free of charge, Camping - Free of charge, Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795.
Please note - camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages. Camping not offered on South Georgia In Depth voyages.
Photography Symposium (3 Nov 18): Limited Availability - interested participants must pre-register at time of booking.

Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_Vavilov_c

   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened.
The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
There are three superior cabins, all located on Deck 3. These spacious and well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space. Washroom facilities are private and all cabins have a porthole, which opens. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, the dining room and gangway.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 3, 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Twin Private cabins on deck 3 feature portholes instead of windows.
   Twin Semi Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.

 

Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the Antarctica        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service