Antarctica + Polar Circle Quest aboard the classic <i>mv Ushuaia</i>
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Antarctica + Polar Circle Quest aboard the classic mv Ushuaia

Starting at $10,899

Destinations & Sightseeing
Itinerary and Meals

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Crossing the Drake Passage aboard our nimble Polar expedition vessel, this once-in-a-lifetime Antarctica cruise takes you to the South Shetland Islands and then along the Antarctic Peninsula’s pristine western coast. Venturing all the way to the Polar Circle, you’ll explore remote waters rich with wildlife and strewn with myriad icebergs of varying shades.

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Map for Antarctica + Polar Circle Quest aboard the classic <i>mv Ushuaia</i>

Destination & Sightseeing


Day 1 - Welcome to Ushuaia
On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the 5-star Arakur Resort & Spa.

Day 2 - Into Tierra del Fuego and on to Our Ship
This morning’s guided tour explores the pristine forests, waterways and mountains of spectacular Tierra del Fuego National Park. Traveling all the way to Lapataia Bay, you’ll have a chance to observe indigenous species as you learn about the region’s unique geology, flora and fauna. Return to port and board the mv Ushuaia. Settle in to your cabin, meet your expedition staff of leaders, guides and lecturers, and get acquainted with our intimate Polar vessel as you set sail along the Beagle Channel   Meals B+D

Day 3 - Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, your expedition lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The Ushuaia’s unique open bridge policy allows you to join the ship’s officers on the bridge and to learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well. Meals B,L,D  [Note: The daily cruise program outlined here for Day 4 through Day 10 is a sample itinerary only - to give you a general sense of the highlights that will unfold on this cruise. The exact course of your sea voyage will be determined by the ship’s Captain and Expedition Leader on a day-by-day basis based upon local conditions. Likewise, the waters you explore and the islands you will actually visit depend upon these same weather and sea conditions. Although we can assure you of a once-in-a-lifetime voyage filled with unforgettable sightings, experiences and encounters, your safety is the paramount concern of the captain and the entire ship’s staff.]

Day 4 - Continue through the Drake Passage
The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith. With favorable conditions during our crossing of the Drake Passage, our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with Antarctic penguins and seals today. Meals B,L,D

Day 5 - Along the Antarctic Peninsula
As we navigate along the Antarctic Peninsula’s western coast, you’ll likely experience the thrill and excitement that the early explorers must have felt! Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting as you explore these remote southern waters. Myriad icebergs of different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around this vast continent. Over the coming days, you’ll have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Meals B,L,D

Day 6 - Continuing along the Peninsula
Amazing scenery and wildlife abound and with good conditions, you’ll make at least two landings with our experienced naturalist staff. Apart from Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins and many other seabirds, you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range! At this time of year it is also quite likely that over the next few days you’ll encounter big cetaceans such as humpback, Finn and Sei whales. Meals B,L,D

Day 7 - More Discoveries in the Antarctic
Depending upon sea and ice conditions, we navigate some of the most beautiful waterways of the Southern Hemisphere: the Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel and the Lemaire Channel – a narrow passage between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. As conditions permit, you’ll continue to make two landings per day – always with our experienced naturalist staff. Possible landing sites include Paradise Bay, on the Continent itself and one of the most aptly named places on earth, Cuverville Island (home to the biggest Gentoo penguin colony in the region) and the British Museum and Post Office at Port Lockroy. Meals B,L,D

Day 8 - Deeper into these Southern Polar Waters
As further exploration will lead us far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, we might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faradey, where the ozone hole was first spotted, the rugged Yalour Islands and south of the Polar Circle Detaille Island. Meals B,L,D

Day 9 - The South Shetland Islands
As we begin our return voyage northward, we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings. Meals B,L,D

Day 10 - Another Day in the South Shetlands
Enjoy another day of informative briefings from your naturalist guides, visits to the Bridge and shore landings as sea and weather conditions permit. Meals B,L,D

Day 11 - Northward across the Drake Passage
Having left the Antarctic Peninsula behind us the night before, today finds the mv Ushuaia heading northward across the Drake Passage. Join our naturalists on deck or head to the bridge with the officers. Either way, keep your senses tuned for seabirds and whales.  Meals B+L+D

Day 12 - Cruising toward South America
Take advantage of this full day onboard to enjoy our final lectures and maybe another visit to the bridge. This evening’s congenial dinner offers a chance to share your experiences with your fellow passengers.  Meals B+L+D

Day 13 - Disembark + Explore Ushuaia
Step off in Ushuaia for your transfer to the airport for your onward journey.  Meals B

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