South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey

Greg Mortimer Luxury Expidition Cruise Ship
Greg Mortimer
120 Passengers
Adventure Options

Combine the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia on one incredible voyage. Whether it’s peak season or summer’s close, Antarctica
offers lively penguin colonies, feeding whales, and unsurpassed adventure activities. Cross the majestic Scotia Sea to visit the world's largest king penguin colonies and for some, follow (on foot or ski) Shackleton’s epic walk across South Georgia.

Highlights

• Delight in the miracle of penguin chicks hatching
• Marvel at huge king penguin colonies in South Georgia
• Walk along beaches lined with elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals
• Experience the thrill of Antarctic kayaking and retrace Shackleton’s mountain crossing on skis (additional cost)

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2 Embark the Greg Mortimer in Ushuaia
Day 3 Drake Passage Crossing
Day 4 Drake Passage & South Shetlands
Days 5 to 7 Antarctic Peninsula
Day 8 Elephant Island
Days 9 & 10 Scotia Sea
Days 11 to 14 South Georgia
Days 15 to 17 At Sea
Day 18 Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Day 19 At Sea
Day 20 Disembark Ushuaia

Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by an expeditions representative and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2 — Embark the Greg Mortimer in Ushuaia

After breakfast, you can independently explore the bustling community that was previously the world’s most southerly town, a claim that now belongs to nearby Puerto Williams. 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 Tierra del Fuego 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 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 Argentinian barbecue, you are spoiled for choice.

As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

Day 3 — Drake Passage Crossing

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 starts 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.

Day 4 — Drake Passage & South Shetlands

Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, 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. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Days 5 to 7 — Antarctic Peninsula

Over the next three 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 the 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, and occasionally 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 rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favorite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!

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:

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.

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 the Latin family name for leopard seal (Hydrurga Leonina), 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 observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly moving through the narrow Lemaire Channel could be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 2,300 ft (700 m) straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this channel is also known as “Kodak Alley”. 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, gift shop and post office for visitors from passing Antarctic expeditions. You can even send a postcard home from the Penguin Post Office, the world’s most southern Post Office!

Neko Harbor
Located in Andvord Bay, Neko Harbor is an inlet home to gentoo penguins and regularly welcomes Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic - towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbor.  The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks.

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; Vernadsky, a Ukrainian scientific base; Petermann Island; Penola Strait; Antarctic Sound; Cuverville Island; Danco Island; Enterprise Island; Melchior Islands.

Day 8 — Elephant Island

Today, if weather permits, we set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. We’ll learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before he and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14 April 1916.

We plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; we hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents. If weather permits, we’ll attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild, Elephant Island.

Days 9 & 10 — Scotia Sea

En route to South Georgia, we'll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 800 mi (1,300 km) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.

Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us. - Ernest Shackleton

Days 11 to 14 — South Georgia

South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds.

A 10,000 ft (3,000 m) mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island. Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.

Politically speaking, South Georgia lies north of 60° South latitude and is therefore not part of the Antarctic Treaty. It is a wholly British possession, claimed and named for King George III on 16 January 1775 by Captain James Cook.

Cook recorded in his journal:
The wild rocks raised their lofty summits till they were lost in the clouds and the valleys layburied in everlasting snow. Not a tree or a shrub was to be seen, no, not even big enough to make a toothpick. I landed in three different places, displayed our colors and took possession of the country in His Majesty's name under a discharge of small arms.

On 20 May 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Tom Crean, and Frank Worsley stumbled into the busy whaling station at Stromness; hungry, exhausted and covered in grime. They had just made the first ever crossing of the mountains of South Georgia, from King Haakon Bay, to find help for their three exhausted companions left at Cave Cove and to rescue the men they had left on Elephant Island. They had sailed in the James Caird for 16 days under horrendous conditions and finally found safety in the tiny entrance of Cave Cove. This epic story of survival began with the sinking of his ship, the Endurance, in the Weddell Sea, six months earlier. As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey.

If conditions permit, we plan to follow in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.On this expedition, we’ll make a special stop at King Haakon Bay to drop off our Mountaineers to start their 3-day crossing of South Georgia.

Some of the destinations we may visit in South Georgia are:

Grytviken
Originally a Norwegian sealing and whaling station, it was finally closed in 1965. Now it is the administrative center and a hub of activity in South Georgia. The former whaling station stands as a solemn testament to the whaling days, but the museum offers much more than a whaling past. It has many of the local animals on display as well as the island’s history of exploration. As we wander around the site, skirting the ruins of factory buildings, peering into the past, we must be careful to avoid sleeping elephant seals or disturbing small groups of king penguins as we imagine what it was like when whale processing was in full swing. Abandoned ships lie sunken alongside hundred-year-old wharves, while pitted concrete walls remind us of the more recent Falklands War, which started here.

Sir Ernest Shackleton died from a heart attack during his final expedition on board the Quest on 5 January 1922. His body was laid to rest at Grytviken. We pay our respects at his grave and possibly visit the cross his men erected in his memory looking out across beautiful Cumberland Bay.

St Andrews Bay
The long black sandy beach fronts a broad valley that stretches well back from the sea. This valley shelters the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia. Toward the landing beach on the north end of the bay, the beach is a resting place for hundreds of elephant seals that haul out on the shore to molt. Behind the beach and as you move along to the south, the sight and sound (and smell) of over 200,000 pairs of King Penguins at different stages of their breeding cycle will be overwhelming.

Eventually, the colony is so dense that the penguins prevent even the seals from using the beach!  The glacial river that runs into the sea there will be alive with penguin chicks and elephant seal pups testing their skills. If we lift our gaze from the wildlife for a moment, we will glimpse the snow-capped peaks of some of the world's most spectacular mountains.

Godthul
Imagine indented bays lined with bleached whalebones, teeming with fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’. In Godthul you have the opportunity to clamber through the tussock to a spectacular plateau offering magnificent views across the island and the waters beyond. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.

Salisbury Plains
Salisbury Plain has one of the largest King Penguin colonies on South Georgia. With about 100,000 pairs, the shore and beach are simply covered with penguins. Along the beach, you will also find Fur and Elephant seals in the mix. There is a tremendous scope for walking and exploring on your own during this landing, allowing you to enjoy some personal time amongst the kings.

Fortuna Bay & Stromness
Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers dropping out of the high country to terminate in the open valley that is home to a small king penguin colony. This is where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean came down off the treacherous glaciers of the interior on their way to Stromness whaling station. If conditions allow, we can walk in the footsteps of Shackleton and follow their track over the last mountain pass. It’s a moderately difficult 4 mi (6km) walk over a 1,000 ft (300m) pass and is well worth the experience for those that are fit and able. The Greg Mortimer will meet us as we stagger into Stromness Bay just as Shackleton and his men did 100 years ago.

Bay of Isles
One of the wildlife highlights will be visiting the serene wandering albatrosses sitting proudly on their cute downy chicks. We can sit within a respectful distance of these gentle birds while they perform intimate courtship dances, feed their young or clumsily launch themselves into the air, bound for a fishing trip.

Other stunning wildlife destinations we may visit include: Elsehul Bay; Royal Harbor; Cooper Bay; Drygalski Fjord;  Larsen Harbor; Gold Harbor; Right Whale Bay; Possession Bay; King Haakon Bay; Moltke Harbor; Larsen Harbor; Shag Rocks.

Days 15 to 17 — At Sea

Between South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually traveling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the seabirds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.

If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.

Day 18 — Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

Located 300 mi (475 km) east of southern Argentina, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life, including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) includes a short walk in Stanley town.

Day 19 — At Sea

You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture.

Day 20 — Disembark Ushuaia

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to downtown Ushuaia before continuing to the airport is included.

* 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 2019-20
Aurora Stateroom
Balcony Stateroom
Balcony Suite
Junior Suite
Captain's Suite
Camp, XC Ski, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$9,900$8,910$10,900$9,810$13,900$12,510$16,400$14,760$18,900$17,010
Camp, XC Ski, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$9,900$8,910$10,900$9,810$13,900$12,510$16,400$14,760$18,900$17,010
Camp, XC Ski, Mountaineering, Photography, Kayak, Snowshoe
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$9,900$8,910$10,900$9,8101 Berth$13,900$12,510Full$16,400$14,760$18,900$17,010
Kayak
$17,800Full$19,500Full$24,900Full$29,400Full$33,800Full
Kayak
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$11,200$10,080Limited$12,300$11,070Limited$15,700$14,130$18,500$16,650Limited$21,400$19,260
Kayak
$18,700Full$20,500Full$26,200Full$30,900Full$35,600Full
Kayak
$9,700Full$10,600Full$13,600Full$16,000Full$18,400Full
Kayak
$9,700Full$10,600Full$13,600Full$16,000Full$18,400Full
Kayak
$11,600Full$12,700Full$16,300Full$19,200Full$22,100Full
Kayak
$10,700Full$11,700Full$14,900Full$17,600Full$20,300Full
Kayak
$8,400Full$9,200Full$11,800Full$13,900Full$16,000Full
Photography, Kayak
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$11,200$10,080$12,300$11,070Limited$15,700$14,130Full$18,500$16,650$21,400$19,260
Kayak
Save 10% (Prices in Red)
Expires Dec 31st 2018
$17,700$15,9301 Berth$19,400$17,460$24,800$22,320$29,200$26,280$33,600$30,240
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 in all cabin categories. Twin share, with no supplement, is available in Aurora Stateroom and Balcony Stateroom categories.

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 $1,200 (Antarctica) & $1,400 (South Georgia/Antarctica), Camping  Free, Photography Free, Snowshoeing $280, Ski Touring $1,200, Climbing $1,200, South Georgia Alpine Crossing $1,400 (by ski on Nov 29th & by foot on Mar 14th).

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

DeckPlan_GregMortimer-ship
DeckPlan_GregMortimer-decks
DeckPlan_GregMortimer-key

   Captain's Suite
500 Sq Ft / 46.3 m² including balcony
Deck 4
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Sofa bed (can sleep 3rd passenger) • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • Separate lounge area • 42" flat-screen TV
   Junior Suite
475 Sq Ft / 44.4 m² including balcony
Deck 7
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Sofa bed (can sleep 3rd passenger) • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV • Separate lounge area
   Balcony Suite
385 Sq Ft / 35.8 m² including balcony
Deck 4
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
   Balcony Stateroom
250-310 Sq Ft / 23.1-28.9 m² including balcony
Decks 4 & 6
Twin or double bed • Private En-suite • Floor to ceiling window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Sofa bed (can sleep 3rd passenger in select cabins) • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
   Aurora Stateroom
250 Sq Ft / 23.2 m²
Deck 3
Twin or double bed • Private En-suite • Porthole window • Desk area • Closet space • Sofa bed (can sleep 3rd passenger in select cabins) • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV