8 days from £13035pp plus international flights.
Cruise Antarctica in comfort and style, taking in the superb scenery and wildlife in the company of specialist guides. Antarctica is so remote that it wasn't discovered until 1820 and became a magnet for intrepid explorers of the calibre of Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott at the beginning of the 20th century, so you are following a fine tradition as you set foot on the White Continent.
One of the defining features of this holiday is that it flies across the Drake Passage, whereas most Antarctic cruise sail these waters. By flying you not only save valuable time (two days in each direction) but also avoid discomfort as this stretch of water is notorious for storms and rough seas. The two hour flight, by contrast, is a relaxing way to begin your adventure, whisking you from Punta Arenas to King George Island where you ship awaits.
Your home is a small expedition vessel, either Hebridean Sky, Magellan Explorer or Ocean Nova, designed to navigate through the fjords and among the icebergs of Antarctica. Both vessels have a spacious lounge and dining room, and en-suite cabins with picture windows. Carrying a maximum of 71 guests on the Hebridean Sky and 72 guests on the Ocean Nova there is definitely a small ship feel, and disembarkation is quick and efficient, maximising exploring time.
You have four full days to enjoy all that Antarctica has to offer. Setting out in zodiacs, small inflatable boats, you explore various islands and bays along the Antarctic Peninsula, alighting for hikes through the snow to view penguins, seals, whales and seabirds, travel to viewpoints and historic and current research stations. You can't help but get a sense of how those first explorers must have felt as they trekked through the snow and ice. There are opportunities for sea kayaking and snowshoeing, which need to be booked and paid for in advance. Typically you have morning and afternoon excursions, returning to the ship for lunch and to enjoy views of magnificent glaciers and icebergs. Each evening you have a presentation by the guides which provides useful and interesting information about the next day's activities, ensuring you get the very best out of your precious time in Antarctica.
This holiday is ideal for those with a sense of adventure and a penchant for creature comforts, combining exploring one of the most remote regions on the planet with relaxed downtime on board a well designed and equipped expedition vessel. You'll see sights you will never forget and should return home with a store of wonderful photographs and amazing tales to impress your family and friends.
You need to arrive in Punta Arenas before 2pm today. Staff from Antarctica21 meet you at the airport and transfer you to Hotel Cabo de Hornos (or similar) in the centre of town. This afternoon you have a briefing, where you are given important information about the forthcoming voyage and guidelines for visiting Antarctica. The rest of the afternoon is free, so you can enjoy the hotel facilities which include a lounge, bar and library. Later you are invited to a welcome dinner where you meet your fellow passengers and are treated to some fine regional cuisine. Dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel as you anticipate the adventure to come. At the appropriate time you are transferred to the airport to board the flight bound for King George Island, part of the South Shetland island group. The flight takes around 2 hours, and saves you not only time but possible discomfort in the rough seas of the Drake Passage. On arrival you experience the fresh Antarctic air for the first time. The airstrip is near both the Chilean Frei Station and Russia's Bellingshausen Station, which you explore with a guide before taking a zodiac ride to your expedition vessel, Ocean Nova or Hebridean Sky, according to your cruise date. You are shown to your cabin, where you can unpack your bags, then head off to explore the ship. Tonight you have your first dinner on board. Breakfast, dinner
Today the voyage gets underway in earnest as you travel among the South Shetland Islands. These islands are almost totally covered in ice and include King George Island where you landed, Elephant Island where 22 members of the 1915 Shackelton expedition were stranded for 135 days after ice crushed their ship, Endurance, and Deception Island, a collapsed volcanic cone. Wildlife such as Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins, elephant and leopard seal, Antarctic terns and giant petrels are found here. You board a zodiac to reach land and then explore on foot, led by an expert Polar guide to learn about this fascinating region. Between excursions you rest on board, enjoying the friendly and relaxed small ship atmosphere, getting to know fellow guests and taking in the superb views from the comfort of the lounge. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
On board ship talks and presentations by the guides provide valuable background information before each excursion, enabling you to get the most out of your visit. Your route takes you to the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and may include visits to Paulet Island, a volcanic island composed of lava flows, Hope Bay, home to a large colony of Adelie penguins, Port Lockroy, which has long been used as a base by explorers and scientists, Petermann Island, where gentoo penguins and leopard seals may be seen, Paradise Bay, with its glaciers and icebergs and the Lemaire Channel, where you may spot humpback, minke and killer whales. It should be noted that the itinerary is flexible and may vary according to local conditions. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
By now you are settling into life on board an Antarctica cruise ship, though the beauty of scenery of the White Continent continues to amaze, and you won't tire of watching the wildlife. Each time you step ashore you know you are in for a new adventure and you feel a sense of kinship with the pioneer explorers as you experience the same awe and excitement that they must have felt. When not out exploring you are free to enjoy life aboard ship. There's plenty of time to make new friends among the passengers as you relax in the lounge, do some reading in the library and sit down to meals in the dining room. And there are always those fabulous views to take your breath away. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy breakfast on board one last time. By now you are back at King George Island, and it's time to say your goodbyes to the crew and to Antarctica as you disembark and travel back to the airstrip, where your plane awaits to fly you to Punta Arenas. The 2 hour flight allows you time to think back over all you've seen and done in the last few days. On arrival you are once again transferred to Hotel Cabo de Hornos (or similar) where you are staying tonight. You have a choice of dining at the hotel or trying one of the restaurants nearby. Breakfast
After breakfast you are collected from the hotel for the transfer to the airport and your onward flight. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £13035 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: Please see below for prices
2 nights accommodation in Punta Arenas (Hotel Cabo de Hornos or similar) and 5 nights on board ship (Hebridean Sky, Magellan Explorer or Ocean Nova) twin share; return airport to hotel transfers in Punta Arenas on days 1 & 2 and days 7 & 8; return flight Punta Arenas to King George Island; ship cruise days 2 to 7; meals listed as included; wine, beer, juice and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner; coffee, tea and hot chocolate on board ship throughout the cruise; guided shore excursions; presentations and entertainment on board ship; loan of waterproof boots for landing in Antarctica; contingency plan in case of cancelled flight(s)
International flights from the UK; domestic flights to Punta Arenas; visas; travel insurance; vaccinations; meals not listed as included; drinks in Punta Arenas and bought at the ship's bar; personal expenditure; optional activities (eg kayaking and snowshoeing which must be booked and paid for in advance); prefered seating on Antarctic flight (available at extra cost); tips
This holiday starts and ends in Punta Arenas, Chile. We can book the return international and domestic flights for you and are happy to tailor your itinerary in Chile around this Antarctic departure.
The cruises operate on set dates from December to February and are operated on the ships Hebridean Sky and Ocean Nova and Magellan Explorer.
2020 prices based on 2 sharing: Ocean Nova prices Jan - Feb 2020 from £12525, 2 – 24 Dec 2020 from £13035. Hebridean Sky prices: 13 – 25 Dec 2020 from £14480. Magellan Explorer prices: Jan - Feb 2020 from £13190, 1 – 23 Dec 2020 from £13515.
2021 prices based on 2 sharing: Ocean Nova prices: 22 Dec 2020 - 2 Jan 2021, 17 Jan - 18 Feb 2021 from £14865. Hebridean Sky prices: 23 Dec 2020 - 8 Jan 2021 from £15445. Magellan Explorer prices: 2 Dec 2020 - 7 Jan 2021, 14 Jan - 26 Jan 2021, 31 Jan - 27 Feb 2021 from £15250.
Prices based on lowest fare cabins. Please ask us for higher grade cabin prices.
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Find the best time to visit Arctic and Antarctic
Time: Arctic GMT -5 Antarctic GMT -3
Flight time: Flight time approximately 22 hours to Ushuaia (Argentina) or Punta Arenas (Chile) (no direct flights from the UK)
Language: English is the most widely spoken language
Visas: Not required for British nationals for Antarctica, South Georgia or the Falkland Islands.
Health: None required but tetanus may be recommended. No other vaccinations are compulsory.