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  • Majestic emperor penguins in Antarctica's Weddell Sea
    Majestic emperor penguins in Antarctica's Weddell Sea
  • The powerful ice-class M/V Ortelius
    The powerful ice-class M/V Ortelius
  • Adelie penguins
    Adelie penguins
  • Emperor chicks on the ice
    Emperor chicks on the ice
  • Emperor penguin 'taboganning'
    Emperor penguin 'taboganning'
  • Orcas patrol the pack ice
    Orcas patrol the pack ice
  • Ice-strengthened ship takes you into the ice
    Ice-strengthened ship takes you into the ice
  • Helicopters are used for amazing excursions
    Helicopters are used for amazing excursions
  • Huge icebergs of the Weddell Sea
    Huge icebergs of the Weddell Sea

Weddell Sea Emperor Penguin Voyage: M/V Ortelius

This remarkable voyage on board the M/V Ortelius attempts to reach the Emperor penguin colony just south of Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea. This Emperor Penguin colony was discovered only a few years ago. As the Weddell Sea is often clogged with heavy pack-ice we use our strongest ice-class vessel, mv Ortelius to reach this colony. The ship is equipped with helicopters which is a great advantage and can support us in our goal. Other wildlife to be seen include the ​Adélie Penguin which is the dominant species with a colony of more than 100,000 pairs on volcanic Paulet Island.

Reduced Prices 2017 voyage

Triple and Twin porthole cabins now at reduced prices for 2017 voyage only. Hurry while space lasts!

  • Chances to observe Emperor Penguins
  • Explore the Weddell Sea pack ice
  • Snow Hill Island
  • Helicopter landings and sightseeing
  • Deception Island
  • Look for tabular icebergs

PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to the Weddell Sea is illustrated below. The itinerary is for guidance only. Program may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. If ice-conditions are favourable and the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack-ice, we will reschedule our voyage and offer ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to Snow Hill Island (as carried out successfully in 2013) at approx. 45 minutes walking distance from the emperor penguin Rookery. If we succeed, this will be a fascinating and a once-in-a lifetime experience. However, attempts to reach Snow Hill Island during voyages in 2012, 2013 and 2014. We only succeeded in 2013; therefore the chances to reach Snow Hill Island are indeed less than 50 %. Day 1: Ushuaia In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening. Day 2 & 3: Drake Passage During these two days we will sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may meet Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Days 4-7: Antarctic's Weddell Sea A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. We will sail into the Weddell Sea and if the Antarctic Sound is accessible and the ice does not prevent us to sail further, we might see the huge tabular icebergs that announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. During these days we use the helicopters in our attempts to find individual Emperor Penguins. During our previous voyages we were always able to locate emperors. We will also offer scenic flights and – if the conditions allow us - helicopter landings on tabular ice-bergs and locations otherwise inaccessible so early in the season. Possible landing sites is for example Brown Bluff, probably the most scenic spot in the entire northern tip of the Antarctic Continent. With steep canyon walls and tumbling boulders, an ice-cap looming above, beautiful volcanic creations and the scene is complete with thousands of adelie penguins nesting on the slopes, and a few gentoos mixed in for fun. Helicopter flights are a great contribution to the voyage, for example on the west side of the Antarctic Sound, an area usually only rarely seen from the air. The scenery is stunning with landscapes of layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers tumbling into the sea and ice-bergs and pack-ice as far as the eye can see. We can observe individual emperor penguins and adelie Penguins on the ice floes; cape, snow and giant Petrels fly high in the sky while kelp gulls, skuas and wilson’s storm petrels scavenge down below us. The landscape is dominated by Jagged mountains pierced through the ice-caps and walls of ice dropped onto the slopes below. A beautiful helicopter flight over huge blue ice bergs and fast ice can also be made close to View Point in Duse Bay. We land on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking the bay. There will be still a lot of snow and ice but much of the intended walk on the Antarctic continent will be over a beautiful frost-shattered rock, almost entirely covered with the most fascinating lichen of all shapes and colors. If the ice-situation allows us to go further into the Weddell Sea area, we will visit Devil Island and Vega Island with a large colony of Adelie Penguins and a magnificent view for those hikers who can make it to the top of the hill. Melting ice sometimes provides spectacular waterfall from the cliffs close to point ‘Well-Met’. Further south, we may also visit Seymour Island, where many fossils can be found. On our way north through the Antarctic Sound we might pay a visit to the Argentinean station Esperanza on the Antarctic Continent. We will still look out for emperor penguins on the ice-floes. In the afternoon we may visit Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; chinstraps, gentoo and adelies. Day 8: South Shetland Islands In the morning we plan to visit Half Moon Island where we can see Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, various other bird-species and Southern Elephant Seals and Weddell seals. Early in the afternoon we will sail to Deception where we have the last landing of our voyage at Pendulum cove. Day 9 & 10: Drake Passage In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team. Day 11: Ushuaia We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark. Alternative Days 5-6: Alternative program if the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack-ice (less than 50 % chance): The use of helicopters has a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach the Emperor penguin colony, but the itinerary is ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. If the conditions are favourable, we intend to spend the first two days in the Emperor penguin rookery. The helicopter operation will take a full day and the flight duration takes approximately 15 minutes. The helicopter can accommodate 6 passengers per helicopter flight. The landing point of the helicopters will be carefully chosen and we will make sure that the Emperors penguins are not disturbed or stressed by helicopter noise. Therefore, after arrival, the passengers continue their expedition on foot. After a walk of approx. 45 minutes, passengers will experience an amazing rendezvous with the magnificent Emperor penguins. Keep in mind that we are in the world’s most remote area and there are no guarantees, including a specific amount of helicopter time. Conditions may change rapidly, having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.   Helicopters: The vessel will be equipped with a minimum of two helicopters which gives a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach the scheduled landing sites, that otherwise are inaccessible. But, we are operating our voyages in the world’s most remote areas, ruled by the forces of nature. Providing the conditions, such as but not limited to ice and weather conditions, are suitable, the captain of the vessel will position the vessel at a safe and (for the helicopters and helicopter pilots) feasible distance from the intended landing site. Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers will enable us to offer the scheduled shore excursions, but every passenger who participates in those mentioned voyages, understands and accepts that no guarantees can be given, including a specific amount of helicopter time. Photography ©: Stewart Campbell, Expeditions Online; Polar News; Hans Murre, Oceanwide Expeditions; Henry Malkiewicz; Rinie van Meurs; Wim van Passel.

Expedition Vessel: M/V Ortelius

The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing possibilities to adventure in remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land. Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named Marina Svetaeva, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is now re-flagged and renamed Ortelius. She offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Her voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 106, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.

For full information about this vessel click here:

deckplans for ship

Dates, Costs & Booking

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Date Selected: 18th Nov 2018


Adult (1) US$11400
Sub total US$11400

Expedition Options

Name Description Price
Buenos Aires 4-day stopover (3-star) Buenos Aires, the elegant Capital of Argentina, is one of the largest cities in the world. This great metropolis renowned for its sophistication stands out for being the most cosmopolitan and European city in South America, displayed through its mixed architecture and diverse culture. The Tango ambience can still be felt here, from the outdoor performances in San Telmo or La Boca to the evening shows in glitzy theatres. This 4 day/3 night stopover includes 3-star accommodation with breakfast, return airport transfers, a tour of the city and an evening dinner and Tango show at one of the famed Tango houses. Note: Itinerary can be customised and based on higher-standard hotels on request. *Prices are per person share twin (contact us for single or triple prices) and are subject to change and surcharge for Christmas/New Year. US$450
Ushuaia 3-day stopover (3-star) Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world is a colourful port, situated on the shores of the Beagle Channel in a bay of incredible beauty. Your stopover pre or post cruise, includes 2 nights accommodation with breakfast, one way transfer airport/hotel or vice versa and a tour of the Tierra del Fuego National Park with a ride on ‘The Train at the End of the World’. Cost shown per person Twin share (contact us for single or triple pricing) and based on 3-star hotel accommodation (contact us for other standards). Price subject to change due to availability or seasonal rates. US$370

Essential Information

Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared twin, triple or quad occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with another person of the same gender at the shared rate. Twin and Superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the share rate. Children Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40 % discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 20 % of the total price. If cancellation is received between 89 days and 60 days prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 50 % of the total price. If cancellation occurs less than 59 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Oceanwide Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.

Included

  • Voyage as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Excluded

  • Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights.
  • Pre- and post land arrangements.
  • Transfers to the vessel.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • All items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).