ANTARCTIC EXPLORER (FLY NORTH)
|Day at leisure
|City tour, Board the ship and cross the Beagle Channel
|Days 3 & 4
|Cross the Drake and arrive at the South Shetland Islands
|Days 5 - 9
|Explore the Peninsula by zodiac and ship. Make landings on the continent and visit Penguin Rockeries
|King George Island
|Flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas
|Punta Arenas, Chile
|Itinerary ends in Punta Arenas
The Greg Mortimer is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 120-132 guests. This vessel has been designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull. This cutting edge nautical technology allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption and emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchor-less while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. There are four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to and from Zodiacs.
Arrive in Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world, where you’ll be met by an expedition representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Enjoy rugged mountain scenery, lively cafes, restaurants and bars. You have the day at leisure to explore this interesting place.
After checking out of your hotel, enjoy free time in the morning exploring Ushuaia before meeting back at the hotel at 2pm for a city tour. During the tour you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier where you will embark on the Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon and sail down Beagle Channel.
As you cross the infamous Drake Passage keep an eye out for seabirds and whales. Your expedition team will run an educational program to prepare you for your experience ahead. Eventually you will spot your first icebergs and you may be able to make your first landing on the South Shetland Islands. Enjoy the scenery of the Gerlache straight as you sail through.
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting
your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Over the next five days a host of choices are open to you and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is yours to explore. The experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day. This allows you to make the best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. There will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of the expedition team’s other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below.
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program).
After breakfast, check out of your hotel. You may wish to extend your time in Patagonia or head to the airport for your homeward flight.