Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica — Shackleton Centenary Voyage

Hebridean Sky Cruise Ship
Hebridean Sky
114 Passengers
Adventure Options

This voyage features the clean unspoiled scenery, wildlife, and rich history of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the crown jewels of the Southern Ocean: South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

This voyage also celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of Ernest Shackleton’s heroic journey to rescue his crew after his ship the Endurance became trapped in the pack ice and eventually broke up.  Shackleton and a six-man crew traveled nearly 800 miles in a modified lifeboat, the James Caird, to South Georgia Island. Upon landing Shackleton made a 22-mile trek over dangerous, crevasse-laden terrain to reach Stromness Whaling Station where he arranged a rescue for the full crew of the Endurance.

Immerse yourself in one of history's greatest rescues with two special guests:

Seb Coulthard

In January 2013, the 'Shackleton Epic’ team, became the first people in history to faithfully recreate Sir Ernest Shackleton's small boat voyage across the Southern Ocean - remarkably they did so with precisely the same equipment as Shackleton himself. From the clothing to the boat, the sextant, the reindeer skin blankets, and of course the starvation diet. Seb Coulthard, served as ship’s engineer on this epic journey. Seb's extreme experience on the Epic voyage will help you unlock the secrets of Shackleton’s endurance.

Sunniva Sorby

Sunniva made history as one of four team members of the American Women’s Antarctic Expedition. They reached the South Pole on January 14th, 1993. The team skied for 67-days into headwinds of up to 50 miles an hour, pulling 200-pound sleds in temperatures that dropped to 67 below zero. They were the first women’s team to ever reach the South Pole on foot without the aid of sled dogs or motorized vehicles.

Sunniva has extensive experience as an expedition leader, wilderness skills instructor, and lecturer.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2 Embarkation
Days 3 & 4 Drake Passage
Days 5 to 7 Antarctica South Shetland Islands
Day 8 Elephant Island
Days 9 & 10 At Sea
Day 11 South Georgia Island / Gold Harbor
Day 12 St. Andrew’s Bay / Grytviken
Day 13 Fortuna Bay / Stromness
Day 14 Salisbury Plain / Prion
Day 15 King Haakon Bay
Days 16 & 17 At Sea
Day 18 East Falklands / Stanley
Day 19 At Sea
Day 20 Ushuaia / Disembarkation

Day 1 – Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today and enjoy a complimentary, overnight stay.

Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers. Enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning.

Day 2 – Embarkation

Morning free to explore until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship, where you will be greeted by our expedition team and ship’s officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on our early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past Magellanic penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.

Days 3 & 4 – Drake Passage

Among the wildlife spotting opportunities as we sail south are the Albatrosses, Prions, and Petrels that frequently follow the ship. Our expedition team will be out on deck as well, looking for the whales and dolphins that may also be seen in the area. Our experts will begin the presentation series with informative and entertaining presentations on the wildlife, history, and geology of Antarctica. Helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety will also be held in the comfortable presentation hall.

The length of our journey depends on sea conditions, but we hope to have our first sightings of the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula in the evening of Day 4.

Days 5 to 7 – Antarctica South Shetland Islands

Our expedition leader and captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. The route will stress the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.

The trip may include picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the wildlife-filled Errera Channel, the majestic Neumayer Channel, or the striking Antarctic Sound with its tabular icebergs. We may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Argentina’s Esperanza as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or the Nordenskjöld expedition remains at Hope Bay. Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the irritable Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.

Day 8 – Elephant Island

Early on the morning of Day 8 we will pass by Elephant Island, and if conditions allow, we will zodiac cruise or land on this exposed and remote site. Our focus will be Point Wild where Shackleton’s party beached, after Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea. Twenty-two men remained here, living under a lifeboat, while Shackleton and two companions took the James Caird and sailed for South Georgia.

Days 9 & 10 – At Sea

These days at sea will mirror that path Shackleton’s recuse party took from Elephant Island to South Georgia and eventual rescue. We continue our education program and learn about the amazing natural and human history of South Georgia Island. The sea journey transits the rich waters of the Scotia Sea, where we will spend time on deck with the albatross and petrels as well as keep a look out for feeding whales from the bridge. In the evenings we will showcase the James Caird reenactment documentary “Shackleton: Death or Glory” hosted by Shackleton Epic crew member and historian Seb Couthard.

Day 11 – South Georgia Island / Gold Harbor

This morning we’ll discover Gold Harbor, one of the most stunning sites in all of South Georgia. At the head of the bay is the spectacular Bertrab Glacier, which hangs over vertical cliffs. Gold Harbor is home to both Gentoo and King Penguin colonies. The adolescent fur seals of the season dominate the beaches while Southern Giant Petrels constantly patrol the site for feeding opportunities.

In the afternoon we’ll visit Cooper Bay, home to the only Macaroni Penguin colony that is reasonably accessible by boat; We’ll either land on a small beach or cruise in Zodiacs to catch a glimpse of this notoriously difficult to view penguin species. If landing is possible access to the Macaroni colony does involve climbing up a steep, tussock covered slope, littered with Fur Seals. Chinstrap Penguins are also prevalent at this site.

Day 12 – St. Andrew’s Bay / Grytviken

After breakfast we will explore St. Andrew’s Bay on South Georgia’s exposed and rugged north coast. If conditions permit we will land and visit the island’s largest King Penguin colony. In addition to King Penguins, St. Andrew’s Bay is also home to over 6,000 Southern Elephant seal cows during the pupping season, making it one of the largest Elephant seal breeding beaches on the island. Late in the season molting Elephant seals are common along with fur seals.

In the afternoon we will arrive at Grytviken, and visit the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton, in the company of special guest, Angie Butler. While researching her recent book on Shackleton’s “right-hand man” Frank Wild, Angie discovered Wild’s misplaced ashes, and worked with Wild’s family to have them brought to Grytviken, where they now rest on the righthand side of Shackleton’s gravesite.

Grytviken means ‘pot cove’ in Norwegian and Swedish, and the site earned its name from the numerous sealers’ try-pots (used for rendering seal or whale blubber) that have been found here. The ruins of Grytviken whaling station are at the head of the cove, surrounded by spectacular mountains. After visiting the cemetery and raising a glass to “The Boss” we’ll have ample opportunity to explore the remains of the whaling station, as well as a museum that contains whaling photographs and artifacts. A post office, and a full size replica of the James Caird are located in a building adjacent to the museum. The Norwegian Church built in 1913 is only a short walk away.

Day 13 – Fortuna Bay / Stromness

This morning we’ll explore Fortuna Bay. In addition to a good sized King Penguin colony, the bay is also home to Light Mantle Sooty albatross, and fur and elephant seals. Fortuna Bay was once highly utilized by sealers and the caves they used for shelter are visible from the landing beach.

If conditions permit we will return to Fortuna after lunch for the “Shackleton Walk”, recreating the final leg of Shackleton’s historic journey by walking from Fortuna Bay to Stromness Bay. This is a moderately difficult walk, and those who prefer to stay onboard for the quick repositioning to Stromness, will find plenty to enjoy in its scenic beauty, historic buildings, and abundant wildlife. Those who choose not to do the walk may appreciate a stroll to the beautiful Shackleton Waterfall located at the end of the valley.

Day 14 – Salisbury Plain / Prion

This morning we will visit the Salisbury Plain King Penguin colony. The colony boasts an estimated 60,000 breeding pairs, which swells to 250,000 individuals in total during molting season. The colony has had an extraordinary population increase over the last century; only 350 breeding pairs were counted at this site in 1912.

While we’re lunching the ship will reposition to Prion Island, an important breeding site for the Wandering Albatross and the South Georgia Pipit. This landing requires a special permit, and is highly regulated, but is one of the few places in the world where we can view Wandering Albatross on their nests.

Day 15 – King Haakon Bay

We plan to awake this morning in King Haakon Bay, the historic launching point of Shackleton’s treacherous traverse, of what was then an uncharted mountainous island. If weather and swell permit our landing in this exposed bay, we’ll disembark for a leisurely walk along the bay or explore the area via zodiac. We may see elephant seals, fur seals and king penguins on the beach as well as burrowing petrels and pipits in the tussock grasslands.

As we leave the island we’ll enter waters rich in krill, so we’ll spend some time on deck, keeping an eye out for several species of whale that may be feeding here as the cold currents sweep past South Georgia’s northern most tip.

Days 16 & 17 – At Sea

We now make our way west towards the Falkland Islands and the warmer waters north of the Antarctic convergence. The rich waters created by the Pacific rounding South America into the south Atlantic Ocean allows us the opportunity to watch out for different species of sea birds. New species of whales are possible including Southern Right whales and a few species of dolphin not found in Antarctic waters. We will conclude the documentary series “Shackleton: Death or Glory” hosted by expedition bosun petty officer and historian Seb Couthard.

Day 18 – East Falklands / Stanley

Chosen for its sheltered harbor and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel, Stanley is easy to discover on foot as most shops and services are centered on the port. The museum, the post office featuring first day covers, plenty of shops with locally made wool items and Stanley’s lively pubs will all be available. It is possible to experience the wildlife of the Falklands from the town including Sea Lions and Peale’s and Commerson’s Dolphins in the harbor.

Day 19 – At Sea

Our final day at sea as we transit towards the Beagle Channel and South America. This final day of the trip we spend with celebrations of our voyage, with presentations from our expedition team, and the voyage slideshow from our photographer. The evening is capped with our captain’s farewell cocktail and dinner reception, with live music and shared stories in the bar.

Day 20 – Ushuaia / Disembarkation

Morning disembarkation allows you to catch a flight homeward or extend your stay in Ushuaia, for more sights and adventure.

* Itinerary may be subject to change


   Owner's Suite
Two-Room Suite with sitting room, private bedroom and private balcony.
385 Sq.ft. (35.7 m2), Including a 110 Sq.ft. (10.2 m2) Balcony
    Penthouse Suites
Suites with private balcony and sitting area.
325 Sq.ft. (30 m2), Including an 80 Sq.ft. (7.4 m2) Balcony
  Veranda Suites
Suites with private balcony and sitting area.
260 Sq.ft. (24 m2), Including a 40 Sq.ft. (3.7 m2) Balcony
  Deluxe Suites
Suites with forward and side windows and sitting area.
240 Sq.ft. (22 m2)
  Promenade Suites
Suites with window and sitting area.
220 Sq.ft. (20.4 m2)
  Window Suites
Suites with window and sitting area.
225 Sq.ft. (21 m2)
  Porthole Suites
Suites with porthole and sitting area.
240 Sq.ft. (22 m2)
Number of Portholes per Cabin
Cabin # 250 252 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262
# of Portholes 3 2 4 4 3 3 2 2 3 3 4
  Triple Suites
Suites with window and sitting area.
225 Sq.ft. (21 m2)
Please note that the third berth in the triple suite is suitable for passengers up to 5’10” in height.