|Day 1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Transfer from airport, overnight hotel|
|Day 2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Beagle Channel|
|Days 3-4||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
||South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula||Penguins, seals, albatross, whales and dramatic Antarctic scenery, cross the Antarctic Circle|
|Days 12-13||At Sea||Drake Passage|
|Day 14||Ushuaia||Farewell your fellow expeditioners|
The Ocean Diamond is a modern and stable expedition ship. She carries a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for Antarctic expeditions. The Ocean Diamond has 101 elegantly designed cabins and suites, all with exterior views, and expansive common spaces, a club lounge, and a spacious restaurant. The ship offers numerous adventure options, e.g. Camping, Kayaking & Paddle-boarding. After a full day of exploration, a seat in the panoramic observation lounge offers the chance to reflect on the day’s experiences.
Your journey begins in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia whilst preparing for your Antarctic adventure ahead. You may wish to take a hike in Patagonia or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town. There are many nice restaurants offering delicious Argentinian cuisine.
In the afternoon you will join a group transfer to the pier and board the ship. You will set sail in the late afternoon passing through the Beagle Channel. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your cabin and meet your fellow travellers. As you begin your trip to Antarctica you will notice sea birds hovering overhead.
The waters of the Drake Passage are unpredictable, so hope for clear skies and a calm ocean. Spend this time preparing for the exciting days ahead by attending numerous educational and informative lectures presented by the Expedition Team. You’ll learn about everything from safety procedures to the history of whaling in Antarctica. Keep a lookout for seabirds and any passing marine life.
With the Drake Passage left in your wake, the ship will make its approach to Antarctica. Have your camera ready as the continent’s coastline makes its first appearance, signaling the start of your adventure along the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll see floating icebergs and be fixated on the ocean surface as curious whales spout and breach before your eyes.
As exciting as it can be from on board the ship, your true exploration occurs when you disembark and set foot on the White Continent. There are several potential landing sites that you may visit, including Neko Harbour, Orne Harbour or Paradise Harbour. Although weather dictates which specific landing sites can be visited, each one presents a new collection of wildlife and natural attractions.
Your days will be busy spotting wildlife from the Zodiacs and from shore, watching penguins waddling on the beach and listening to the crackling and crumbling sounds of icebergs. Kayaking and polar camping are optional activities available on select voyages (at an extra cost).
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not reach this far south, which is officially noted at 66°33′ S. If conditions allow the ship to cross this famed line, you and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a glass of champagne! Make a toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people.
By now, your knowledge of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, fur or Weddell seal. As you head north, Zodiac excursions will fill your days, and your Expedition Team will continue offering presentations while giving you time to reflect on everything you’ve experienced.
As you recross the Drake, Antarctica fades away, leaving you with a collection of memories to last a lifetime. Excited conversations with your fellow travellers will make the crossing fly by, regardless of weather and sea conditions. Your Expedition Team will round up its series of lectures as well, perhaps with a slideshow of the great landing sites and wildlife you’ve witnessed over the course of your voyage.
After breakfast farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as you disembark in Ushuaia. You will be transferred to the airport or to downtown Ushuaia.
To make the most of your time in South America we can tailor a holiday to Patagonia to suit your voyage dates. If you have a bit more time we can create a tailor-made itinerary to some of the highlights of South America. Take a look at the Patagonia sample itineraries below and contact us to begin creating your perfect holiday.