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The ultimate Antarctic experience marries the phenomenal wildlife of the sub-Antarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia to the pristine beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula.

This comprehensive voyage through the Southern Atlantic explores its most dramatic wilderness areas and visits the region’s wildlife hotspots. There is plenty to keep you occupied: sailing days are taken up with lectures on all manner of topics, from bird identification to Antarctic geology, delivered by the expert naturalists and experienced personnel who make up the expedition team.

A typical Great Antarctic itinerary is shown below, however we offer a choice of itineraries, expedition vessels and cabin types to suit your requirements. 

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Embark in Ushuaia, Argentina

    Set sail in the early evening, leaving Ushuaia behind and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.

  2. Day 2: At sea, start your journey towards the Falkland Islands

  3. Days 3-4 : The Falkland Islands: visit Stanley and outlying islands

    You will receive a warm welcome in the Falkland Islands, where you visit some of the privately-owned outlying islands. Flightless steamer ducks, and magellanic and gentoo penguins are just some of the highlights of Carcass Island, while nearby West Point boasts large colonies of rockhopper penguin. You can often see Peale’s and Commerson’s Dolphins along the coast, or riding the bow wave as you sail the Southern Ocean.

  4. Days 5-6 : Sail towards the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia

    With the odd wandering albatross wheeling overhead as company, you cross the Arctic Convergence to remote, rugged and hauntingly beautiful South Georgia.

  5. Days 7-10 : Explore South Georgia

    Glacier-covered South Georgia is an island of contrasts with stunning landscapes, fantastic wildlife habitats and mountain scenery, plus abandoned whaling stations and a haunting history.

    This sub-Antarctic island has astonishing concentrations of wildlife, and its awesome scenery ranges from impressive mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. Renowned as a destination for birdwatchers, South Georgia is an inspiring place with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet. Among the many species that breed here are wandering albatross, southern giant petrel and fur seal. A hike over the heavily glaciated terrain to a hilltop affords magnificent views of rookeries of king penguins.

    The island played a significant role in Ernest Shackleton's epic journey after the sinking of his ship the 'Endurance,' and you will visit his grave at Grytviken, a once-active whaling station.

  6. Days 11-12 : Journey to the wildlife haven of the Antarctic Peninsula

  7. Days 13-16 : Explore the Antarctic Peninsula

    On arrival at the Antarctic Peninsula, you will explore penguin rookeries, visit a research station, encounter marine mammals in the many channels, and come face-to-face with icebergs. The sightings and encounters vary from trip to trip, and although it is impossible to guarantee exactly what you will see, we are confident that you will not be disappointed on this voyage of a lifetime! Selected departures offer optional activities such as camping and kayaking.

  8. Days 17-18 : Cross the infamous Drake Passage

    Your final traverse to Ushuaia, a time when you can swap tales with fellow passengers and remember the journey of a lifetime.

  9. Day 19: Arrive back in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark

You should note: Exact itinerary and duration will depend on your chosen vessel, departure date and local conditions.

Key info

  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 19-20 days from £11,900 pp
  • Group size: Varies according to vessel
  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Accommodation in twin-share cabin
    • All meals on board ship
    • Guided shore excursions
Featured locations:

Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is the most accessible part of the great white continent with some of its best wildlife and scenery. Ice-choked waterways, sculpted icebergs, imposing glaciers and rugged mountains provide the back drop to an area with more whales and dolphins than anywhere else on earth.

  • Ideal for viewing: elephant seal, hourglass dolphin, humpback whale, minke whale, orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Penguin watching

South Georgia

South Georgia is a remote, rugged and hauntingly beautiful sub-Antarctic island. Its scenery ranges from impressive mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. Renowned as an excellent birdwatching destination, it has more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.

  • Ideal for viewing: wandering albatross, elephant seal, king penguin, macaroni penguin, sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Wildlife festivals, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Penguin watching, Birdwatching

Weddell Sea

The remote eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the white continents hidden gems. A deeply incised, 2,000-kilometre wide bay, the upwelling of cold water provides food for any creature hardy enough to withstand the intense cold. It is also famed for its huge ice shelves and flat-topped icebergs.

  • Ideal for viewing: elephant seal, humpback whale, leopard seal, Weddell seal, orca
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Penguin watching

Ross Sea

If you long to see emperor penguins, the largest species of penguin, which is rarely found outside the High Antarctic, then this is the area to view them. Around one third of the world’s population breed in the Ross Sea area, as well as a substantial number of Adélie penguins.

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, Antarctic petrel, crabeater seal, emperor penguin, snow petrel
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Penguin watching, Birdwatching
This itinerary is available on the following cruise vessels:

Akademik Ioffe

Designed originally for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. Carrying around 100 passengers, facilities include a fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool. Kayaking, camping, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing are available on most voyages.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov is an ice-strengthened vessel which started life in Finland as a scientific research vessel, and has since been refitted and refurbished to sail the Polar seas. The ship’s bridge is an excellent place from which to view wildlife, and the on board hot tub is a great addition!

Ortelius

The ice-strengthened Ortelius is an excellent vessel for expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic. With the highest ice-class notation, it offers possibilities to travel to remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.

Plancius

The Plancius accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in cabins ranging from triple to superior, all with outside view and private facilities. She offers a range of itineraries in Antarctica and the Arctic, and the large open deck spaces offer excellent opportunities to watch wildlife.

Polar Pioneer

Small and manoeuvrable, the Polar Pioneer is an ice-strengthened vessel, capable of venturing into remote corners of the world that many larger ships cannot reach. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and you will be in the company of an experienced team of expedition experts and crew.