Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires, Argentina
Arrive this morning in Argentina’s capital and transfer to your hotel, where immediate check-in has been arranged. As complex as it is energetic, this port city has been the gateway to Argentina for centuries, bringing many porteños (locals) into its boundaries. Although reminiscent of a European city, the spirit of Buenos Aires is evident in its diverse local neighborhoods. Experience it firsthand during an afternoon tour of the city that includes the Plaza de Mayo, the Cabildo and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Tonight, meet your fellow adventurers for a welcome cocktail reception.
Day 2: Ushuaia | Gateway to Antarctica
Fly to the charming seaside town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. On arrival, enjoy lunch at the Arakur resort and — time and weather permitting — the opportunity to take a guided trek in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve or simply relax with a cappuccino and enjoy the scenic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. This afternoon, arrive at your ship and settle in for your first night on board. Stylish and comfortable, ‘Le Lyrial’ features all-balcony staterooms and suites only on A&K journeys to Antarctica. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. On departure, enjoy cruising through the beautiful Beagle Channel before heading out to sea.
Days 3-4: Cruising the Drake Passage | Epic Passage
The southward journey toward Antarctica is an exciting one. An important trade route in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Drake Passage is a 600-mile-wide swath of water where the Southern Ocean currents are squeezed between South America’s southern tip and Antarctica’s northernmost reaches. Its stormy waters and icy conditions often made the journey a difficult one, though the stabilizer-equipped ‘Le Lyrial’ handles it with ease. As you travel in the comfort of your luxury cruiser, enjoy enriching lectures from members of the Expedition Team on topics ranging from birdlife and geology, to photography and history. After lunch, join your naturalists on the deck to look for various species of whales and abundant seabirds, which join other mammals in feasting on the krill-rich waters of the Drake Passage; it’s all just a taste of the wildlife you will encounter in the days to come. Later in the evening, chat with experts about the wildlife spotted today and discuss the next day’s itinerary.
Days 5-9: Antarctica | The White Continent
As the Antarctic Peninsula and its offshore islands appear on the horizon, a sense of excitement begins to build. While day-to-day itineraries depend on weather, water and wildlife conditions, two excursions are carefully planned for each day by the captain and Expedition Leader. Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast. Afterward, venture out to a number of sites in swift Zodiacs (sturdy inflatable boats). You’ll be guided by expert drivers and accompanied by lecturers, in groups of no more than 10 guests. These sites may include the penguin-filled islands in the South Shetlands of Half Moon, Penguin or Deception; islands off the continental coastline such as Cuverville, Paulet or Vortex; and, weather permitting, the fabled Antarctic Peninsula. You may also sail through Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel, referred to as “Kodak Alley” for its stunning, cameraready vistas of towering icebergs and deep blue waters. After a morning exploring native species and striking terrain, return to ‘Le Lyrial’ for lunch and perhaps some time to relax and scan the wildlife-rich waters that surround you; you may spot everything from fin whales, humpback whales and orcas, to imperial shags and the Southern giant petrel. In the afternoon, set out for the day’s second excursion, which may include a visit to a working scientific research station, the remains of a turn-of-the-century whaling and sealing station, a sheltered beach teeming with basking Southern elephant seals, or simply circumnavigating colossal icebergs that serve as floating homes to seals and penguins. Return to your cruiser to relax and chat over cocktails in the cozy, comfortable lounge and enjoy dinner in the dining room. Afterward, you may choose to recap the day’s discoveries with your naturalist guides, enjoy time on deck with fellow guests or seize the opportunity to capture photos in the stunning low light characteristic of Antarctica’s long, ethereal twilight.
Days 10-11: Cruising the Drake Passage | Memorable Return
Bid farewell to wondrous Antarctica and begin your cruise back to Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of Argentina. The ship’s return through the Drake Passage is an interlude for recap and reflection, with time to compare notes with your expert lecturers on the wildlife, history and geology of the White Continent. Spend time on board with newfound friends in the comfortable common spaces of ‘Le Lyrial,’ enjoy quiet relaxation on the private balcony of your cabin or absorb more fascinating lectures by your captivating Expedition Team. While cruising through this historic passage, you may spot various species of whales and seabirds, including the elusive albatross and the giant petrel, an opportunistic predator and scavenger nicknamed the “stinker.” The immense albatross is an especially stunning sight to behold. These wandering birds boast a wingspan of 11.5 feet on average and use their powerful wings to glide through the air for hours at a time in search of food.
Day 12: Depart Ushuaia
‘Le Lyrial’ docks at Ushuaia this morning. Enjoy breakfast, and then say goodbye to your Expedition Team and ship’s crew before disembarking. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires, where you connect to your international flight home.