|Day 1||Santiago, Chile||Guided tour of Santiago|
|Day 2||Embarkation in Stanley, Falkland Islands||Fly by private charter (at extra cost) to the Falkland Islands where you will explore Stanley before embarking the National Geographic Endurance|
|Day 3||Exploring the Falkland Islands||Four species of penguins, black-browed albatross, numerous bird species and dramatic Falklands scenery|
|Days 4 & 5||At Sea||Southern Ocean|
|Days 6 - 11||South Georgia Island||Millions of penguins, hundreds of thousands seals with a magnificent backdrop of snow-capped mountains|
|Days 12 & 13||At Sea||Albatross, prions, shearwaters and whales|
|Days 14 - 19||Antarctica||Gentoo, Adelie & chinstrap penguins, seals and dramatic scenery|
|Days 20 & 21||At Sea – Drake Passage||Towards Ushuaia|
|Day 22||Disembarkation in Ushuaia||After breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires on a private charter (extra cost) where the journey will come to an end|
Launching in 2020, the National Geographic Endurance is a next-generation expedition ship, purpose built for polar navigation. The Category A vessel is a fully stabilized, highly strengthened ship designed to navigate polar-passages and uncharted waters all year round. Designed to provide an extremely smooth ride in even the most adverse of conditions, reduced spray on deck and wave-splicing action making for superior observation.
Made for exploration, the National Geographic Endurance is outfitted with kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing crafts, underwater cameras, video microscopes to explain elements of the surrounding environments, a hydrophone to listen to the vocalisations of marine mammals, an open bridge to constantly talk to your captain and expedition crew along with snorkeling gear and wet suits for underwater excursions.
Santiago is surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to your afternoon guided tour of this vibrant city (dependant on your arrival time). Explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel.
Today you will fly by private charter to the Falklands, where you will arrive in Mount Pleasant with a transfer to Stanley, the capital. You will have time to stroll the photogenic tin-roofed, colonial-style houses of Stanley, seeing the Anglican Cathedral with its organic archway of whale bones before embarking your ship.
Each Falkland Island is a variation on the theme of topographical beauty with white-sand beaches, vaulting cliffs, windswept moors, and the sunlit yellows and greens of waving tussock grass. While the Falklands boasts a human population (3,000 people in total; 2,500 of whom live in the capital, Stanley) the animals—specifically thousands of irresistible gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, as well as magnificent albatross with 11-foot wingspans and curious fur seals—vastly outnumber them and constitute a major draw for wildlife.
During your days at sea, learn about the fascinating history of Antarctic exploration, as well as the flora, fauna, and geology of South Georgia—and the riveting story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance. Naturalists help you identify the seabirds that follow you: wandering albatross, prions, and black-browed albatross. There’ll also be time to browse the library, enjoy a massage in the wellness center, or workout in the gym.
Sailing north-east bound for the island of South Georgia, you’ll notice a dramatic drop in temperature as you cross the Antarctic Convergence where the cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. The on-board naturalists will increase your anticipation with presentations on the wildlife of South Georgia, and, of course, the inspiring story of the great polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his ship ‘Endurance’.
With whales below and birds above, voyage towards the seventh continent. Head up to the Bridge to watch for icebergs and observe expert navigation at work as the skilled Captain and officers sail these historic waters. Each day your naturalists offer talks that add depth to your experience.
With long hours of daylight, the most will be made of the time spent around the Antarctic Peninsula and cruising among the surrounding islands. Dazzling wildlife sightings await you on excursions to some of these islands and the scenery is breathtaking, from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet. The schedule is flexible, allowing the opportunity to take advantage of the unexpected, exploring by Zodiac, kayak and on foot, and using the vessel’s arsenal of tools for exploration. If the ice conditions permit, you might sail through the incomparable Lemaire Channel, and land on the White Continent itself.
As you sail back through to Drake Passage to Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the escort of seabirds that cross your bow. There’s time to share photos with the on-board National Geographic photographer and write emails home, saying “don’t want this to end.”
After breakfast disembark in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The scheduled charter flight (at extra cost) will take you over Patagonia for spectacular views on the way to Buenos Aires where your journey will come to an end.