FALKLAND ISLANDS AND ANTARCTICA
|1||Ushuaia||Embark on the Silver Cloud|
|2||At Sea||Towards the Falkland Islands|
|3-4||Falkland Islands||West Point Island, Saunders Island, Stanley|
|5||At Sea||Towards Antarctica|
|6||Elephant Island||Learn about the history of this very iconic Antarctic Island|
|7||Antarctic Sound||Enjoy the wildlife and stunning landscpapes of this stretch of water|
|8-12||Antarctic Peninsula||Experience the wonder and awe of the incredible Antarctic Peninsula|
|13||South Shetland Islands||Explore these islands, what many consider the jewel in Antarctica's crown|
|14-15||Drake Passage||Travel this notorious waterway as you journey back to South America|
|16||Ushuaia||Disembark the Silver Cloud where your incredible journey began|
Spacious yet intimate, the yacht-like Silver Cloud carries 240 guests in incomparable comfort and style combining spacious ocean-view suites and private verandas with excellent dining and entertainment options. Silver Cloud epitomizes a vision of world-class cruise accommodations, cuisine, service and amenities. The Silver Cloud is equipped with a fleet of zodiacs and expert guides to escort you on excursions from the ship.
A southerly frontier – on the cusp of wild nature and extraordinary adventures – the excitement in Ushuaia is palpable. It is here where in the afternoon you will embark on the Silver Cloud and begin your incredible journey to Antarctica via the Falkland Islands. Prepare for memorable exploits amid the extremes of this southerly location – as you adventure into the colossal scenery of the fractured Tierra del Fuego and beyond. Known as the ‘End of the World’ Ushuaia looks out across the Beagle Channel, and is surrounded by the Martial Mountains to the north. Despite its remote location, Ushuaia is a surprisingly busy and lively resort, with lots to keep its visitors entertained. For many people, Ushuaia is their last glimpse of anything resembling a city, before they jump off the map into the wilderness, to answer the call of immense national parks or Antarctic expeditions. One of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet – Argentina’s land of fire, National Park Tierra del Fuego, is a place of titanic natural forces and limitless beauty. Snow-covered mountains poke the sky, while glaciers spill down between peaks, and gaping fjords open up. With incredible wildlife – from penguins to whales – the park offers some of South America’s most amazing hiking opportunities and panoramas. When it comes to food in Ushuaia, locals cook up fierce flavours using the freshest ingredients. King crab is one of the most popular dishes, while sea bass – hauled freshly from the waters – and mounds of meaty mussels – known as cholgas – are also on the menu here.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, or catching up on your reading, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
A north-westerly outpost of the scenic Falkland Islands, you’ll be welcomed ashore by the calls and cries of a huge colony of black-browed albatross. Indeed, the island was originally known as Albatross Island before being renamed to reflect its geographic location. While the albatrosses – that flash white feathers in the rugged cliffs above the waves – are the most well known residents, they are far from the only animal inhabitants of this remote, isolated land. A huge army of birdlife calls the island sanctuary home, overwhelming the tiny human population and sheep that roam West Point Island’s grasses. Meet the rockhopper penguins who scamper and burrow along the coast’s boulders, as well as the imperial cormorants who rest here in great numbers. You’re also liekly to encounter Magellanic penguins during your explorations. Hike the island’s quiet landscapes, and look out for endemic plants like Felton’s flower carpeting the green interior. Decorated with some of the archipelago’s most dramatic scenery, explore this wind-lashed, distant land of soaring cliffs and towering coastal precipices. Cliff Mountain is the island’s standout – a towering sandstone monolith, and the archipelago’s highest cliff, falling away to swirling waves below. Look out to the waters to spot Commerson’s dolphin chasing each other around the island’s wave-washed footprint. Whales also visit, as well as the fur seals who you may spot lounging around West Point Island’s inviting shores.
Meet some of the world’s most incredible wildlife, on the remote Saunders Island. Sitting to the north-west of the Falkland’s archipelago, the British established their first settlement here in 1765, at Port Egmont. Remote, wild and wonderful, the island now serves as a lush grazing ground for plenty of sheep – but it’s an astonishing place to encounter far rarer animals – from elephant seals to silvery grebes and Peale’s dolphins. Connected by sinewy links of beach and sandy dunes, which create some of the most dramatic scenery in the Falklands, the archipelago’s fourth biggest island is home to its best birdlife – including a colony of neatly tuxedoed king penguins. Saunders Island’s topography tightens at The Neck – where you’ll find even more penguin activity. Colonies squark and chatter in huge crowds here, with Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins dipping into the water, and clambering over boulders. A gentle hike to the summit of Mount Richards will take you 457 metres above sea level, offering an expansive overview, from which you can look out across the tips of the moody waves to see Carcass Island and West Point Island emerging. The cliffs to the north of the mountain host rare black-browed albatross – a sight of sheer grace in flight – but comically clumsy at times when landing. Elsewhere, wide lakes are home to various water birds – including the rare black-necked swans.
A true haven for wonderful, diverse wildlife watching, Stanley invites you ashore to soak in the untouched beauty of the Falkland Islands. Rolling farms and animal-covered coves and cliffs unravel nearby, while reminders of the war that scarred these islands in 1982 also reveal themselves on closer inspection. The Falkland Islands – a tiny, southerly outpost of the United Kingdom – lie a long way from the nearest land at Patagonia, and their isolated location has helped to maintain this unblemished, unhurried world of wonderful animals and wind-whipped scenery. The ghostly, rusting wreck of the Lady Elizabeth ship welcomes you into port – and is a reminder of the historically treacherous nature of these 740 islands’ remote location. Stanley sits as the capital, and even here there’s a quiet village ambience, as you wander quaint streets below colourful roofs. The small cathedral has an unusual decoration outside – a dramatic archway constructed from the giant jawbones of a blue whale. While Stanley oozes quiet appeal, you’ll quickly want to head out into the ‘Camp’ – the local word for practically any part of the Falklands except for Stanley. Home to thousands of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins, you can meet their larger siblings – the tuxedo-clad king penguins, who rest on the shores. With five varieties of penguins living here, or dropping in during migrations, it’s one of the best places in the world to see the flightless birds squawking and waddling adorably. Cape Dolphin is the perfect position to spot exciting marine mammals cruising offshore, and you’re just as likely to bump into the island’s penguin and elephant seal populations here too. With varied birdlife filling its skies and sweeping over the waves, the scale and diversity of animals close to Stanley makes for a truly awe-inspiring visit.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching or catching up on your reading, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Promising thrilling adventure, legendary tales and immaculate Antarctic beauty, Elephant Island is perhaps Antarctica’s best-known location. The exploits of its early explorers have immortalised this harsh, monochrome island in the tomes of human history. Believed to take its name from the elephant seals that early explorers spotted lolling on its rocks, the volcanic island was not properly explored until 1916 – when Ernest Shackleton and his men were stricken by the weather and sought salvation on its shores. Their story of survival, stranded in this barren land, is one of humanity’s most evocative and inspiring accounts. Elephant Island is written deep into the legend of Antarctic exploration, and you’ll discover Shackleton’s tale for yourself as you arrive in the island’s icy realm. The remarkable, slowly flowing Endurance Glacier – which you’ll see on arrival here – takes its name from their ship, The Endurance. Visit the monument that stands to Shackleton, often surrounded by a migrating crowd of tiny gentoo penguins, at Point Wild – the spot where he and his 28 crew members camped for four and a half months of Antarctic winter. Eventually, Shackleton and a handful of courageous others sailed for South Georgia Island, before returning to secure the rescue of the remaining crew members. Aside from sailing amid breathtaking winter vistas, witnessing incredible fauna and feeling the sheer rush of an adventure to the unknown – one of the true joys of any Antarctic cruise is to follow in the footsteps of the brave explorers who first sought out the alluring nectar of these dangerous, evocative landscapes.
Few voyages ignite the imagination like a journey down to one of the planet’s most remote, extreme and enchanting wilderness, Antarctica. An adventure in its purest form, only a handful of people will ever be lucky enough to experience the majestic beauty of these monochrome landscapes first-hand. The Antarctic Sound will be one of your first encounters of this whitewash kingdom, located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula – which sprawls up like a tentacle towards Tierra del Fuego, South America’s most southerly point, otherwise known as the ‘End of the World’. Taking its name from the first ship to brave the passageway between the peninsula and the Joinville Island groups back in 1902, the Sound is a raw, sensory assault of imposing iceberg slabs, broken away from the disintegrating Larsen Ice Shelf. Come face-to-face with stadium-sized islands of ice and meet the extraordinary birdlife that call this whitewash kingdom home. Watch on, as colonies of Gentoo penguins hop around, and cape petrels sweep overhead, as the continent’s unique wildlife thrives around you.
The Antarctic Peninsula unravels upwards towards South America, reaching out a beckoning finger to the adventurous, who dare to explore this untamed realm. Stretching up from the heart of the world’s southernmost continent, the Antarctic Peninsula offers a spectacular first taste of the snow-blanketed landscapes and colossal ice sculptures, which make up Earth’s least-explored continent. Unseen by humans until 1820 – a blink of an eye ago in relative terms – this is an adventure sure to make your hairs stand on end, as you experience the thrill of the truly unknown and extraordinary. The vast peninsula is sprinkled with research bases, which are at the frontline of human scientific endeavour, pushing to study and understand this unique landscape, its exceptional wildlife, and the impact that humans are having on this pristine continent. Witness cathedral-sized icebergs up close, and blue-hued glaciers, slowly slipping from imposing locations like Hope Bay. Blanched mountain peaks cover the peninsula, and you’ll find thousands of adorable Adelie penguin pairs thriving undisturbed in this peninsula’s unique setting.
Lying close to the northwestern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, separated by the Bransfield Strait, the South Shetland Islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty, suspending claims on their sovereignty. Several countries maintain research bases here, and with plump elephant seals, and crowds of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins also calling the islands home, it can even feel a little crowded at times. King George Island is the largest and most hospitable island, hosting the majority of the research stations – some of which are populated all-year-round by tiny, hardy crews. Don’t be fooled though, these islands offer extraordinary adventure in one of the most remote locations on earth. The triple peaks of Mount Foster tower above the archipelago, and you’ll feel your heart pumping a little quicker, as you sail into the core of Deception Island’s magnificent collapsed volcano caldera. Hike the luna landscapes within, and even dip into the improbably warm, geothermally-heated waters of Pendulum Cove. Elephant Island, meanwhile, is written deep into the annals of Antarctic expedition legend, as the site where Ernest Shackleton and the stricken crew of the Endurance miraculously survived a harsh Antarctic winter, in 1916.
Sailing the legendary Drake Passage is an experience that few are ever lucky enough to experience. Enjoy your two days at sea as you lap up the last of the luxury and comfort of the Silver Cloud.
After breakfast, disembark from the Silver Cloud where you began your incredible adventure in the Southern city of Ushuaia.