|Day 1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Board the ship in Ushuaia the afternoon.|
|Day 2||At Sea||Sea Birds, onboard lectures|
|Day 3||Falkland Islands||New Island, Grave Cove|
|Day 4-5||At Sea||Birdlife, onboard lectures, ship facilities|
|Day 6-8||South Georgia||Salisbury Plain, Fortuna Bay, Stromness. Saint Andrews Bay, Grytviken, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay|
|Day 9-10||At Sea||Onboard lectures, fine dining, lectures|
|Day 11-14||Antarctic Peninsula||Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay, Pleneau Island, Port Charcot, Wilhelmina Bay, Deception Island|
|Day 15-16||Drake Passage||Onboard facilities, lecture, fine dining|
|Day 17||Ushuaia, Argentina||The Beagle Channel, disembark in Ushuaia|
L’Austral (200 guests) was launched in May, 2011 and is a sister ship to Le Boreal and Le Soleal. She features 132 staterooms offering elegant design as well innovative state-of-the-art marine technology. The vessel boasts a convenient layout, aided by three passenger elevators. She offers a single seating dining room, al fresco dining, an outdoor heated pool, and a modern lecture facility and theatre, as well as an ample and comfortable gathering area and library.
The Le Soléal provides a luxurious and comfortable experience to the final frontier – Antarctica. Carrying a maximum of 200 passengers she creates a welcoming and intimate atmosphere for you to take in the awe of this majestic continent. This ship offers excellent facilities including a spa, fine dining restaurants and exquisite décor throughout. The fleet of Zodiacs take you off the ship on excursions to explore the wonders of Antarctica.
In the afternoon in Ushuaia, Argentina, you will board your luxurious ship and set sail in the direction of the Falkland Islands, an Archipelago made up of moors and craggy coastlines, where the plant and animal life forms a link between Patagonia and the Antarctic.
Relax on board this luxurious vessel and take in the fresh air. There is plenty to do on your way to the Falkland Islands. Perhaps you would like to unwind at the spa or simply admire the vastness of the ocean from the panoramic lounge.
Located to the South East of South America, the Falkland Islands, which are renowned for their wildness, were discovered by a Spanish expedition at the beginning of the 16th century. More than two hundred years later, sailors from Saint- Malo, known as Malouins, occupied the island and gave it the name used until the British conquered them in 1833. Scattered with tufts of grass, surrounded by a grey and often wild sea, the Islands are a small country of moors and rugged coastlines carved by the South Atlantic, where the wildlife and plant life form a link between Patagonia and Antarctica. Take the time to observe and photograph the abundant wildlife of these wild and very attractive Islands.
New Island is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you’ll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island.
Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson’s dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white. A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you’ll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you’ll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.
During your time at sea you may wish to visit the theatre to view a film or attend an information session or perhaps you would like to relax by the heated pool. You may wish to spend some time on your private balcony spotting sea birds or keeping your eyes peeled for some whales heading south.
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.
Enjoy some of the onboard facilities whilst keeping an eye out for bird life and whales. As you head further south you will begin to see icebergs floating past.
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts.
Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don’t forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.
As you brave the Drake Passage you will have time to sort through your photos, use the onboard facilities, attend lectures, visit the spa for some relaxation or relax in the lounge areas sharing stories with fellow travellers of your adventure. In the morning of day 16 the ship will pull into Ushuaia. After breakfast you will disembark.