South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey - Weddell

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
• Daily shore visits and Zodiac cruises offer close encounters with penguins, whales, seals and sea birds
• Attempt to land at Elephant Island’s Point Wild (weather permitting)
• South Georgia’s magnificent mountains and huge king penguin colonies
• Discover Grytviken’s whaling history and visit Shackleton’s grave
• Trace the final leg of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous journey from Fortuna Bay to Stromness
• Experience the thrill of Antarctic kayaking or trek across South Georgia as part of our Alpine Crossing (additional cost)
• Explore a Black-browed Albatross colony

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 8 Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea
Day 9 Elephant Island
Days 10 & 11 Scotia Sea
Days 12 to 15 South Georgia
Days 16 to 18 Scotia Sea
Day 19 Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Day 20 At Sea
Day 21 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.

Days 5 to 8 — Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea

After making our first exciting landing in Antarctica, we will head through the Antarctic Sound to the eastern side of the Peninsula to reach the Weddell Sea.

Access to the Weddell is heavily dependent on ice conditions, and our experienced leader will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. We aim to make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day. Days will be spent 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 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:

Brown Bluff
Situated on the eastern side of Tabarin Peninsula, the spectacular 2,400-foot (745-meter) promontory of Brown Bluff towers over some 20,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins and hundreds of Gentoo penguins. Nesting skuas, snow petrels and pintados inhabit the upper slopes and kelp gulls screech overhead. Brown Bluff's volcanic origins have created some fantastically shaped boulders that lie scattered across the ash beach and make colorful nesting sites for some of the penguins.

Paulet Island
This tiny volcanic island forms the nesting grounds of some 120,000 pairs of Adélie penguins, and the surrounding seas literally teem with penguins. There is also a blue-eyed shag colony situated at one end of Paulet's long beach front. Leopard seals are often seen cruising offshore, in search of their next meal. Weddell seals sometimes haul out here for a quiet nap on the beach. Apart from its plentiful wildlife, Paulet is also rich in the history of Antarctic exploration, for it was here that the 22 men of Larsen's ship Antarctic arrived on 28 February 1903 after their ship had sunk. The men wintered on Paulet, living on penguins and seals until eventually Larsen’s and Nordenskjold’s parties were rescued by the frigate Uruguay.

James Clark Ross Island
Separated from Trinity Peninsula by Prince Gustav Channel, the beaches and rocks of this mighty island are a mix of volcanic and sedimentary; creating a geologists’ paradise. The beaches are populated with kelp gulls while Antarctic terns and skuas nest on the island's higher slopes. Many of the island's rocks are decorated with bright red and orange lichens, presenting fantastic photographic opportunities. Ice floes in the surrounding waters provide temporary floating homes for Weddell and Leopard Seals. We may walk up to Hidden Lake, following a stream rich in fossilized remains of deciduous trees, ferns, and even clamshells. If ice conditions and time permit, we may also circumnavigate this fantastic island; a rarely-accomplished feat.

Devil Island
This very rarely-visited island was named for its two striking peaks or 'horns'. It is the nesting site for some 10,000 pairs of Adelie penguins. If weather conditions permit, we may walk up a scree slope to the top of the island's western peak. Around 1,000 feet in height, the summit provides superb views into Erebus and Terror Gulf. On the upper slopes, you may even see nesting snow petrels and Wilson's Storm Petrels. For those who are less active, the continuous commute of penguins on the beach and the accompanying skua population provide endless fascination. We may also cruise in our Zodiacs amongst the large numbers of icebergs that are often grounded offshore.

View Point, Duse Bay
View Point is one of the few places where we may be able to set foot on the Antarctic continent proper. A British hut was built here in 1953 and an Argentine refuge hut was established a few years later. In front of the old hut are the remains of crabeater seal carcasses, which provided food for the sledge dogs. Thanks to the cold conditions, the well-preserved hut looks just as it did all those years ago – a fascinating place to get a feeling for the olden days of Antarctic exploration.

Other places we may visit around the Weddell Sea area and on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula are: Joinville Island; D'Urville Island; Hope Bay; Seymour Island; Snow Hill Island; Vega Island; Prince Gustav Channel; Beak Island; Crystal Hill; Herbert Sound.

NOTE: If weather and ice conditions prevent us from accessing the eastern side of the Peninsula and the Weddell Sea, your expedition leader may choose to make landings on the Western side of the Peninsula instead.

Day 9 — 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 10 & 11 — 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 12 to 15 — 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.

Prion Island
Prion Island is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to visit wandering albatross sitting on their nest – and if we are lucky, witness the magnificent courting rituals of the younger birds forming life-long pairings. We must take great care with the albatross on the island and remain on a boardwalk. Despite these restrictions, the photographic opportunities are excellent. Prion Island is also one of the best places to find the unique, endemic South Georgia Pipit.

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 16 to 18 — Scotia 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 19 — 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 20 — 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 21 — 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

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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) & $1,300 (Patagonia), 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), Snorkeling $600 (Feb 3rd & 14th) & $800 (Feb 24th).

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

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

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XC Ski, Mountaineering, Kayak, Snorkeling, Snowshoe
Ushuaia - Falklands
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International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single occupancy cabin pricing surcharges range from an additional 25-70%. 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 $1,260 (Antarctica) & $1,470 (South Georgia/Antarctica), Camping  Free, Photography Free, Snowshoeing $320 (Antarctica) & $370 (South Georgia/Antarctica), Ski Touring $1,260 (Antarctica) & $1,470 (South Georgia/Antarctica), Alpine trekking/Climbing $1,260, South Georgia Alpine Crossing $2,220 (by ski on Nov 9th & by foot on Dec 8th), Snorkeling $640 (Antarctica) & $740 (South Georgia/Antarctica).

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

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

Only show rates under
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Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
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Rates Antarctica 2021-22
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Mountaineering, Kayak, Snorkeling, Snowshoe
Ushuaia - Antarctica
Falklands - Ushuaia

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Expires Dec 31st 2019
$23,700Full$26,300Limited$28,100$26,695Limited$28,800$27,360$29,600$28,120$36,300$32,670$43,800$39,420$51,200$46,080
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 occupancy cabin pricing surcharges range from an additional 25-70%. 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 $1,470 (South Georgia/Antarctica), Photography Free, Snowshoeing $370 (South Georgia/Antarctica), South Georgia Alpine Crossing $2,220 (by foot on Nov 24th), Snorkeling $740.

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

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

DeckPlan_GregMortimer-ship
DeckPlan_GregMortimer

         Captain's Suite *
480 Sq Ft / 44.5 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 • Separate lounge area • 42" flat-screen TV
         Junior Suite *
420 Sq Ft / 38.9 m² including balcony
Deck 7
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 • Separate lounge area
         Balcony Suite *
328-433 Sq Ft / 30.5-40.2 m² including balcony
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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-A, Balcony Stateroom-B, Balcony Stateroom-C
225-337 Sq Ft / 20.9--31.3 m² including balcony
Decks 4 & 6
Twin or double bed • Private En-suite • Floor to ceiling window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
Many "B" staterooms are fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups
         Aurora Stateroom  Twin & Triple (on select voyages)
170-245 Sq Ft / 15.8-22.8 m²
Deck 3
Twin or double bed (Three twin beds in Triple) • Private En-suite • Porthole window • Desk area • Closet space • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV

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      Suite benefits include:
• One free pair of binoculars per suite
• 1-hour spa treatment (per person)
• Free stocked mini bar (Balcony & Junior stocked once, Captain’s replenished as needed)
• Gratuities/tips for crew included to the value of $15 per person per day
• 1 free bottle of champagne per suite