|Days 1-2||Ushuaia, Argentina||Transfer from airport, overnight hotel|
|Day 3||Embarkation Ushuaia||Beagle Channel|
|Days 4-5||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
||South Shetland Islands||Penguin rockeries, seal wallows, bird colonies, whale feeding areas|
||Antarctica||Trinity Coast and Gerlache Strait|
|Days 11-12||At sea||Drake Passage|
The Hebridean Sky can accommodate 114 guests in 57 suites and has always been known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie. Originally built in 1992 and refurbished in 2016 , this luxury cruise ship provides fine service and four-star amenities. Each suite has ocean views and is elegantly designed with a sitting area. Several suites have private balconies accessed via sliding glass doors.
The Island Sky is spacious with stylish common areas including a panoramic top deck observation platform, bar and lounge area with live entertainment as well as a well stocked library with computers and an elegant dining room. Built in 1992 this luxurious cruise ship can accommodate up to 114 guests and provides excellent service with four star amenities.
The anxiety of missed connections and flight delays is eliminated by providing a two-night hotel stay at the beautiful Arakur Resort & Spa before embarking on your voyage. Most flights arrive in Ushuaia in the late afternoon or early evening. Bring your bathing suit, lounge in the spa, or take a bath, and then get over your jet lag with good night’s sleep. Day two is all yours: explore some of the sights that Ushuaia has to offer, from museums to Argentinean leather markets, or continue relaxing at the lovely Arakur. There is an optional evening briefing which is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and meet some of your fellow travelers. All guests need to arrive at the hotel no later than the evening of day two.
This morning, you have time to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until your mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. On board, you’ll be greeted by the Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
As the ship heads toward white continent over the Drake Passage, numerous Polar Experts will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. The Drake Passage spans 1,000 kilometres from the southern-most tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands (the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula). Eventually, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in Sea Bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. You are likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If you are lucky, you may see some of them fully breach from the sea.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the hope is to take as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. The aim is set for 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. Your first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer many options for interesting excursions. You may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals.
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, you will explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. We will aim for 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 striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.
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 assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
As you leave this magical place and return north, again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, the presentation series will continue along with wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, you and your fellow travellers will celebrate the conclusion of the expedition with a special slideshow the expedition team will put together of your trip.
Disembark following breakfast, and transfer to the airport or the city centre.