Remote Islands of the Atlantic - A Bird Watchers Adventure

Antarctic Premium Expedition Cruise Ship
Ocean Albatros
189 Passengers
Starting 2022-23 Season

The Mid Atlantic islands of Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena and Ascension are the most remote inhabited places on Planet Earth. This once-in-a-lifetime voyage on Ocean Albatros takes you to nine of the Mid-Atlantic islands. Each of these islands is a paradise for birders and cetacean enthusiasts, promising a wealth of nature sights, from endemic species to breathtaking mountain and volcanic landscapes. Days at sea will be highlighted with amazing sea bird life, migrating whales as well as unique lectures by our expert staff – and of course delicious dining!

Our odyssey sets off from the Falklands, from where we go towards the enigmatic South Georgia Islands. Here we visit wildlife colonies and of course expect to find ample amounts of king penguins. Marking all kinds of endemic species and rare birds on our personal lists, we navigate towards some of the worlds most isolated islands, in the middle of the South Atlantic. The lava cliffs of Gough being our first glimpse of land that by Zodiac become a close encounter to a strictly preserved nature reserve. The following days we visit Inaccessible Island and Tristan da Cunha, places that only a very few people get to experience. Our voyage continues to exotic Saint Helena, where Napoleon Bonaparte was famously imprisoned. The end of our sojourn entails visits to Ascension island and we disembark at Cape Verde! By this time we have probably spotted more than 150 individual bird species.

The voyage takes place during March and April. The prevailing winds will be westerly during the first part of the cruise, until we reach Saint Helena and the southeast trade winds. In other words: tailwinds all along! In addition, we have the honor of having the world-renowned expert on seabird identification, Dr. Robert Flood, as guest lecturer.

Our brand-new expedition vessel Ocean Albatros offers all the comfort needed for this long voyage. It is specifically designed to provide a better expedition experience than other ship. The patented X-bow and zero speed stabilizers provide a calmer ride and reduces discomfort for passengers with a tendency to seasickness.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Port Stanley on Falkland Islands, Embarkation and Departure towards South Georgia
Days 2 & 3 At Sea Approaching South Georgia
Days 4 to 6 South Georgia, Wildlife Paradise of the South Atlantic
Days 7 to 10 At Sea towards Tristan Da Cunha Archipelago
Day 11 Gough Island, Zodiac Cruises and Circumnavigating
Days 12 & 13 Tristan Da Cunha, Inaccessible And Nightingale Islands, Zodiac Landings
Days 14 to 17 At Sea towards Saint Helena
Days 18 & 19 Saint Helena, Zodiac Landings in Jamestown
Days 20 & 21 At Sea towards Ascension Island
Days 22 & 23 Ascension Island, Beach Landing by Zodiac close to Georgetown
Days 24 to 27 At Sea towards Cape Verde – Crossing the Equator
Days 28 Cape Verde Island. At Quay In Porto Praia. Disembarkation and Homebound Flight.

Day 1 — Port Stanley on Falkland Islands, Embarkation and Departure towards South Georgia

Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, is a quaint and very British outpost in the south Atlantic. The town is walkable, with colorful houses and cozy pubs lining the streets. You will possibly encounter the endemic flightless steamer duck in the harbor, as well as the delicate dolphin gull. Fur seals are often trying to occupy our landing pier.

Ocean Albatros will be anchored in the harbor and you will embark the ship by Zodiac. After being shown to your stateroom the captain gets ready to steer out into the South Atlantic Ocean.

Days 2 & 3 — At Sea Approaching South Georgia

Heading due east, we will be followed by numerous black-browed albatrosses as well as other seabirds. We will probably also come across both Peale’s dolphin and Commerson’s dolphin. We will pass Shag Rock on our way to South Georgia where huge swarms of seabirds feed in between large flocks of fur seals.

Days 4 to 6 — South Georgia, Wildlife Paradise of the South Atlantic

South Georgia has a dramatic setting with glacier-clad rugged mountains. Lying in the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic convergence, the cold sea is booming with life. The island, often referred to as “The Galapagos of the Poles”, can only be reached by ship. There is no permanent human settlement, but seabirds and seals breed in the millions. The difficulty of getting there and the restrictions to protect the environment, makes South Georgia one of the least-visited tourist destinations in the world. Today the island has been largely left to recover from human over-exploration, resulting in dramatic increases in the number of whales, seals as well as penguin and seabird populations. The itinerary and activities over the next couple of days are largely dependent on the weather and the sea.

We will have a chance to visit Salisbury Plain, home to one of the largest king penguin colonies on the island, estimated between 250,000 and 5,000,000. At this time of the year the beaches will also be crowded with plenty of young and very curious fur seals as well as southern elephant seals.

Another possible landing site we hope to visit is Prion Island, a reserve for the wandering albatrosses. The site is closed until the end of January to protect the breeding birds. This is one of the few sites to observe these gentle creatures with the largest wingspan of any bird in the world. Gentoo penguins, giant petrels and Antarctic prions also breed on the island.

The British administration at Grytviken, a former Norwegian whaling station, is also worth a visit. The famed British explorer Ernest Shackleton died in Grytviken on his second visit, and is buried south of the station. The endemic South Georgia pipits and South Georgia pintails may be seen around the buildings.

Days 7 to 10 — At Sea towards Tristan Da Cunha Archipelago

Setting a north-westerly course we soon reach warmer waters as well as westerly winds, giving us a proper push towards the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha. The sea can be rough, but the unique backward sloping bow of Ocean Albatros and her efficient stabilizers reduce vibration and slamming against the waves. En route to the next remote islands you will have plenty of time to edit your photos of the wildlife and stunning landscapes. Our onboard photographer will offer you help, tips and tricks to improve your picture telling skills. Or you can attend qualified lectures on geology, meteorology, birdlife, marine mammals as well as the history on exploration of the Southern Ocean. From upper decks you can study the albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters taking advantage of the dynamic soaring from lee to windward of the ship.

Day 11 — Gough Island, Zodiac Cruises and Circumnavigating

The rough and remote volcanic island of Gough rises out of the horizon. With 1,600 miles (2600 km) to Cape of Good Hope, the nearest mainland in Africa, we are now truly in the middle of the South Atlantic. It is not permitted to land on Gough Island, a strictly protected nature reserve, only inhabited by a few weather station personnel. The island’s entire coastline consists of steep lava cliffs often several hundred meters high, which we will carefully approach from the leeward side, hoping to make Zodiac cruises as close to the shore as the sea allows. Gough Island is famous for its rich birdlife including the Tristan albatross, Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross and the Atlantic petrel.

Days 12 & 13 — Tristan Da Cunha, Inaccessible And Nightingale Islands, Zodiac Landings

We have two full days to explore the unique and isolated northern islands of the archipelago, Tristan, Inaccessible and Nightingale and to find the best places to go ashore. Our first call will be at Tristan da Cunha, the main island. Less than 250 hardy folks earn their living mainly from fishing, all based in the only settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. As always on expedition voyages like ours, we are visitors at the mercy of wind and swell, and with no proper pier at “The Settlement”, successful landing craves a bit of luck.

The active volcano Queen Mary’s Peak looms more than 6,500 ft (2000 m) above sea level, making it an important landmark for former sailors. It had a major eruption from 1961 to 1962, forcing all inhabitants to flee to nearby Gough Island for shelter. Besides visiting the small town, we hope to spot some of the endemic birds breeding in the archipelago, for example the northern rockhopper penguin. This penguin has long golden tassels off the crest and is the only penguin on the island group. One of the most exciting tubenoses in the South Atlantic, the sooty albatross is breeding in good numbers on Tristan, as well as several species of smaller petrels such as soft-plumages petrel. Also of interest is the endemic Tristan thrush and the flightless Gough moorhen, which has been introduced to Tristan.

We continue the short distance to Inaccessible Island. We have applied for access to this nature reserve and will be accompanied by a certified guide from Tristan. Our hope is to spot the endemic Inaccessible Island rail, word’s smallest flightless bird, breeding only here with up to 5,000 pairs. Northern rockhoppers are also a likely sight.

Before heading north again, we will do a ship’s cruise along the colorful volcanic cliffs of Nightingale.

Days 14 to 17 — At Sea towards Saint Helena

Humpback whales are now quite common and, back in the open ocean, we can hopefully also enjoy the view of large numbers of seabirds. Dolphins indigenous to this region often follow our ship, and we should be on the lookout for spinner, Clymene and Fraser’s dolphins.

We expect to pass the Tropic of Capricorn in the afternoon of day 15. It is the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead, but in April this has no implication for us, as the sun is to the north, straight above the Equator. More importantly, this means we are out of the westerlies and into the southeasterly trade winds, hopefully pushing our stern for most of the remaining journey. With Saint Helena as our next call!

Days 18 & 19 — Saint Helena, Zodiac Landings in Jamestown

With a wind perpetually blowing from the southeast, Saint Helena’s only port is of course located on the northwest coast. While Ocean Albatros anchors off the tiny port, we will utilize the ship’s Zodiac fleet to land at the beaches below Jamestown, the main town of the island.

Saint Helena is a tropical island situated about 1,250 mi (2,000 km) from the nearest African coast. The island is, together with Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, a member of British Overseas Territory with Jamestown as the islands’ cultural capital.

We will take a walk up through the quant and tiny town, located in the steep-sided James Valley. Most buildings are kept in the classic architectural style dating back to 18th century, when the island was administered by British East India Company. Saint Helena is famous for being the final and very remote prison for the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. He stayed in Longwood House outside of Jamestown from 1815 until his death in 1821. We will visit his residence and conduct several other walks in the countryside. Those who feel energetic might want to climb Jacob’s ladder, a century old staircase rising almost 650 ft (200 m) up the side of James Valley above the town.

The natural habitats on the island have been severely changed by the introduction of cattle, sheep, rats as well as a large number of plants. Nevertheless, the island has still around 400 endemic plant species found nowhere else in the world. It may be possible to locate the Sankt Helena plover, the only endemic bird on the island, they happen to be dwindling in numbers.

On our second day at Helena, we aim for an excursion to the central part of the island and, if swell allows, take a Zodiac cruise along the coast.

Days 20 & 21 — At Sea towards Ascension Island

On our route further north into tropical seas, we will pass over the volcanic spreading zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, some two miles (3 km) below us. We can possibly spot more species of frigatebirds, noddies and boobies as we get closer to our next destination.

Days 22 & 23 — Ascension Island, Beach Landing by Zodiac close to Georgetown

The barren volcanic island of Ascension is the northernmost of the three islands in the British Overseas Territory. The whitewashed naval barracks, fortifications and only vaguely hidden cannons, indicates that the capital settlement of Georgetown has been a British stronghold for centuries. The town is located – as we are now used to – on the leeward northwest coast. Ocean Albatros casts anchor in Clarence Bay and we make a Zodiac landing on the white beaches close to Georgetown.

With no commercial flights or steamers into Ascension, we are likely to be the only visitors. A stroll through town, a hike into the volcanic landscapes along the coast and possibly a Zodiac cruise, will give us glimpses of this out worldly island. Despite the introductions of sheep, goats, cows and cats amongst others, the island is still an important habitat to a number of seabirds such as red-billed tropicbird, Ascension frigatebird (an endemic breeder), and black noddy. The tropical sooty tern breeds here in vast numbers, estimated sometimes upwards of 1 million birds. After cats were eradicated from the islands in 2009, Ascension frigatebird has returned to breed on the main island.

Having two days at Ascension, allow us an evening excursion to one of the beaches famous for nesting green sea turtles, which come here in thousands each year.

Days 24 to 27 — At Sea towards Cape Verde – Crossing the Equator

By all likelihood we will cross the Equator at noon on day 25. We are in the area called the doldrums where the northern and southern trade winds converge and where light winds prevail.

Approaching Cap Verde, we will spend some time on deck to maximize our chances of spotting seabirds that are difficult to find anywhere else: such as Fea’s petrel, Cape Verde shearwater, Boyd’s shearwater and Bulwer’s petrel as well as brown booby. There should also be good chances of seeing Atlantic dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphins, and short-finned pilot whales.

Day 28 — Cape Verde Island. At Quay In Porto Praia. Disembarkation and Homebound Flight.

Cape Verde, or the official name, República de Cabo Verde, is a group of ten volcanic islands with a Portuguese speaking population of half a million people. The islands were discovered by Portuguese navigators, and they played a central role in the era of the Atlantic slave-trade. Cape Verde received its independence from Portugal in 1975.

Like the other isolated Atlantic islands, we will visit on this journey, these islands are home to a number of endemic species of birds, plants and even reptiles. Within reach of Porto Praia it should be possible to encounter breeding red-billed tropicbirds on the local Praia cliffs. The endemic Cape Verde Swift is also likely to be observed as well as the lago sparrow.

Ocean Albatros will be alongside in Porto Praia by mid-morning on Friday, April 14. After four weeks on board, it's time to say a heartfelt farewell to Ocean Albatros' faithful crew, and get ready for the homebound flight.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Rates Antarctica 2022-23
Cat G
Single
Porthole
Cat F
Triple
Porthole
French
Balcony
Suite
Cat D
Albatros
Stateroom
Cat C
Balcony
Stateroom
Cat B2
Balcony
Suite
Cat B1
Balcony
Suite
Cat A
Junior
Suite
Premium
Two-Room
Suite
Cat H
Balcony
Single
Kayak
$10,690 $5,990 $9,290 $8,990 $9,990 $10,990 $13,990 $15,990 $17,990  
Kayak
$19,490 $11,990 $16,990 $16,490 $18,490 $20,490 $24,990 $27,990 $31,990  
Kayak
$13,390 $8,490 $11,490 $10,990 $12,490 $13,590 $16,990 $18,990 $21,990  
Kayak
$13,390 $8,490 $11,490 $10,990 $12,490 $13,590 $16,990 $18,990 $21,990  
Kayak
$12,490 $7,990 $11,990 $11,490 $12,990 $13,990 $17,490 $19,990 $21,990 $13,490 
Kayak
$11,990 $7,790 $11,590 $11,290 $12,590 $13,790 $16,990 $18,990 $20,990 $12,990 
Kayak
$18,990 $17,990 $11,990 $17,490 $16,790 $18,490 $20,790 $24,990 $27,990 $29,990 
Kayak
$14,490 $8,999 $12,490 $11,990Full$13,490 $14,990 $18,590 $20,590 $23,990  
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Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

Rates based on shared occupancy.

Dedicated Triple in Category F. Possible triple rooms in Categories C, B2 & A.; third person in the same room is at 50% off (except Cat F)

Shared accommodations are only available in Category F and Category C

10% off on second room for family booking; only for two rooms with connecting doors (Category B and C only)

Single supplement 75%

VIP service included for Categories B1, B2, A and Premium Suites: unlimited access to the specialty restaurant, Julius Meinl coffee machine, upgraded hair and lotion products, stocked minibar, wine and fruit in-room at commencement of cruise, free laundry.

Kayaking: $250. Snowshoeing: $150.

DeckPlan_OceanAlbatros_profileDeckPlan_OceanAlbatros

   Premium Two-Room Suite
The largest of all the cabins on board, this 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a private observation deck and spacious bathroom. Located on deck. 4.
Approximately 485 sq ft/45 m²
   Category A - Junior Suite
These suites have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and private observation deck. The cabin can accommodate up to 3 people.
Approximately 450 sq ft/42 m²
   Balcony Suite B1
These two suites on deck 4 feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom and an extra-large private observation deck.
Approximately 375 sq ft/35 m²
  Balcony Suite B2
These four suites on decks 4 & 6 feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom and an extra-large private observation deck.
Approximately 300 sq ft/28 m²
   Category C - Balcony Stateroom
The most abundant type of cabin, the Balcony Staterooms are located in decks 4 & 6. They have a private observation deck, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. Connecting staterooms are available in this category.
Approximately 260 sq ft/24 m²
   Category D - Albatros Stateroom
These staterooms are close to the Mudroom and have quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The cabins are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay. All have 2 single beds and a bathroom. One of the cabins is located on deck 4, and the rest on deck 3.
Approximately 240 sq ft/22 m²
   Category E French Balcony Suite
These standard cabins feature a french balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All are located on Deck 7.
Approximately 175 sq ft/16 m²
  Category F - Triple Porthole
These cabins feature portholes with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
Approximately 240 sq ft/22 m²
  Category G - Single Porthole
These deck 3 cabins are conveniently located close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs for off-ship excursions. Perfect for solo travelers.
Approximately 195 sq ft/18 m²
  Category H - Balcony Single
A portion of the Balcony Staterooms on deck 4 are sold as dedicated Singles on select (Fly) departures. They have a private observation deck, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa. Connecting staterooms are available in this category.
Approximately 260 sq ft/24 m²