Zodiac exploration of Antarctica

Antarctica Small Ship Expedition: Ocean Nova

Antarctic Peninsula

Outstanding value cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula on a small ship from Ushuaia. The expedition takes you out the scenic Beagle Channel and across the mythical waters of the Drake Passage to Antarctica. You’ll be surrounded by scenery that will astound you, with majestic snow-capped peaks soaring overhead and glaciers tumbling to the water's edge. Due to the vessel's small size everyone is able to land at once and maximise time ashore, to witness the abundant wildlife with penguins, seals and seabirds. At this time of year, extra special whale sightings are hoped for!

Highlights of this Antarctic Expedition
  • The ship’s small size allows access to Antarctica’s hidden gems
  • All travellers able to step ashore quickly and at once
  • One of the best cruises to see penguins, seals, whales and Antarctica’s natural beauty
  • Just 71 passengers makes for an intimate experience for Antarctic explorers
  • Expert guides and a modern, comfortable, ice-class Antarctic cruise ship
  • Outstanding value for the Antarctic voyage experience of a lifetime!

Antarctica Will Amaze You!

This is an intimate cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula! Travel on the modern and comfortable expedition ship Ocean Nova - with just 71 passengers - meaning everyone gets ashore at the same time, uncrushed and uncrowded. Set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, through the scenic Beagle Channel and across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most spectacular places on earth. We have four full days available to observe penguins and other wildlife gathered in the late summer sunshine. Whales are especially plentiful at this time of year. You will be surrounded by scenery that will literally astound you. Majestic snow-capped peaks soar overhead and the glaciers tumbling to the water's edge will live long in your memory.

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100 % of reviewers liked this tour.
May 17 2023
Expedition ship and staff were fantastic. The small ship experince was unbeatable.
Mar 19 2023
It was definitely a flexible
Plan but was always done well and kept my interest.
Mar 17 2023
Very professional.
Each and every member made excellent presentations.
Every day was well planned and the zodiac trips unforgettable
Mar 16 2023
Highly recommend as it was well organized and very interesting. They were accommodating to our needs at at times. The staff on all levels was excellent.
Mar 15 2023
Everything... Everything exceeded my high expectations. The landings, the safety guidelines from the staff. The alternative plans. The food and service from the hotel / restaurant. And finally the travel companions. :)
Mar 14 2023
An experience of a lifetime. Wonderful crew, knowledgeable expedition staff. Went out of their way to schedule plan B when initial plans did not work. Got to ride on a frozen ocean on a zodiac and see spyhopping whales from 5-10 feet away.
Mar 14 2023
The ship was rgeat and a true small ship experience!
Mar 14 2023
Led by a dedicated, knowledgeable, and friendly team of Antarctic experts from a wide range of specialties.
Nov 30 2022
Amazing cruise and staff, highly recommended
Apr 08 2020
工作人員細心服務專業, 販售商品建議可以多樣化些 .
Mar 27 2020
The expedition was beyond expectation, the best trip I ever had. The ship, crew, staff, and tour guides, very friendly, knowledgeable and made the trip so much fun and exciting. And or course Antarctica was beautiful
Mar 26 2020
Everything about this trip to Antarctica on the M/V Ocean Nova was superb, except for one thing which I'll mention later. I can't imagine how another company or ship could have done the whole thing better.

The ship was just the right size, with 78 or 79 passengers and 40 crew, my single cabin was modern, clean and comfortable, with a comfortable bed, desk, wardrobe, bathroom with shower and toilet, and a window with a sea view. It was cleaned twice a day (often the second clean wasn't necessary) and as a little bonus the cleaner, a very friendly man named Winston, always left a little chocolate.

The restaurant and cleaning staff were friendly, courteous and very efficient and the expedition staff were simply brilliant - also very friendly, incredibly knowledgeable, very skilful with their Zodiac driving, had good senses of humour and went above and beyond in all ways. Every time we stopped at a place where we were to do a landing they always went out first on the Zodiacs to check that weather, ice and sea conditions were safe for us to do the landing.

On board we had many lectures and slide shows, which were always very interesting, educational and often light-hearted and there was no end of food and drink.

In that regard I've never eaten so much in a 10 day period in my life, with a buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, a la carte dinner but so much food you could stuff yourself till you were sick.

The desserts were absolutely delicious but if there's only one thing I wasn't crazy about it was some of the a la carte dinners. Most people thought they were also superb but when it comes to food I have simple tastes and these dinners were usually fancy schmancy 'gourmet' meals, with some pretty weird, and for me awful tasting, stuff. One night, though, we had a 'barbecue night', with lamb chops, pork chops and chicken drumsticks and the next night we had pizza and pasta. That's much more to my liking and I would've preferred if we'd had 'normal' food like that every night. Still, like I said, that's just my taste and although these 'gourmet' meals aren't exactly to my liking, there's no doubting it was always quality food.
Mar 22 2020
The entire team on this ship was amazing! I couldn't imagine a better Antarctic experience even being so late in the season. Kayaking with several dozen humpback whales, hiking with 250,000 chinstrap penguins, drinking glacier water right from the glacier, selfies on the actual continent.
Mar 21 2020
Mar 20 2020
The crew was so flexible in planning what we would do each day according to the weather. We went places even the majority of the crew had not been before.
Dec 15 2019
With only 68 passengers (from all over the world) we were able to land often, easily and quickly, and in locations not accessible to larger ships.

Although it was a smaller ship, I did not feel claustrophobic (which has been the case on a different cruise) because there are plenty of common areas - a wonderful library and lounge, along with deck access throughout.

They were truly motivated in *maximizing* our experience; blessed with good weather and currents, we were treated to the first visit by a tourist ship, of Smith Island - the combined thrill of both staff and passengers in genuine exploration was exhilirating!

Most have decades of knowledge and experience in the Antarctic region, and several are multilingual.

I only regretted I could not partake in all the activities, esp the optional kayaking and snow-shoeing. So much to do, so little time.
Dec 06 2019
While not the newest and best, the ship was clean and had a well stocked library.
Being a small boat, it felt more intimate as one could readily meet and socialize with the staff and cruise passengers.
The food was varied and very good. There were theme nights that allowed a change in the regular routine. Those on special diets (i.e. vegan) said that they were served meals that were not just slapped together, but had some though in preparing them.
The staff were the best I have ever had on a trip. They are very outgoing and helpful.
There was an incident with one passenger who had a bum knee. She did not go on one of the outings and stayed on board in the lounge. The whole time that were were out on our trip, a staff member stayed with her and as she said, chatted with her so that she did not feel left out. She was amazed at their attention to details and the care of the passengers.
Dec 06 2019
The cruise "hotel" staff delivered excellent service, from housekeeping to superb food and dining room service, to ship running and maintenance. The captain and his crew were flexible in coordinating with the expedition leader to expand the bounds of our excursions. The expedition staff provided excellent presentations in their various domains of expertise, and appeared to have unbounded enthusiasm in supporting our excursions.
Dec 03 2019
Staff were amazing. The only issue is that I wish there was a way to convert our beds from two singles to a double so my wife and I didn't have to sleep on opposite ends of the room.
Dec 03 2019
I already said my opinion

Stewart's Take

One of the best-value Antarctica cruises you can find - on a modern, small & high-quality expedition ship!


Outstanding value cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula on a small ship from Ushuaia. The expedition takes you out the scenic Beagle Channel and across the mythical waters of the Drake Passage to Antarctica. You’ll be surrounded by scenery that will astound you, with majestic snow-capped peaks soaring overhead and glaciers tumbling to the water's edge. Due to the vessel's small size everyone is able to land at once and maximise time ashore, to witness the abundant wildlife with penguins, seals and seabirds. At this time of year, extra special whale sightings are hoped for!
Day 1 – Ushuaia, Argentina Your Antarctic voyage begins in Ushuaia, Argentina. Board Ocean Nova this afternoon* and sail along the spectacular Beagle Channel towards Antarctica. *Important note: Boarding in Ushuaia is exclusively between 15:00 hr and 16:00 hrs. Please be on time. Keep your passport at hand and allow enough time to clear port security and to reach the vessel. We strongly recommend arriving Ushuaia the day prior (hotel and sightseeing packages in Ushuaia and Buenos Aires are available on request). Days 2 & 3 – Drake Passage Sail towards Antarctica across the famous passage named in honour of Sir Francis Drake, the great 16th century British explorer. As you sail towards the South Shetland Islands, attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations, where, in the company of expert guides, you can also watch for Antarctica’s wildlife from the glass-enclosed lounge or from the outside decks. Spot magnificent albatrosses and petrels flying overhead, as well as different species of whales swimming south to Antarctica. After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, the environment changes noticeably. Keep your camera ready, as this is the time to watch for the first icebergs and the first sight of the stunning Antarctic land. Days 4 to 7 – Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands Antarctica’s wildlife, ice-filled fjords and spectacular mountains characterise our time in Antarctica. Cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula mainland, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of Antarctica’s wildlife such as; seabirds, penguins, seals and whales. Our Antarctic expedition cruise will be very active and engaging, with lectures, several daily landings and cruises in Zodiac boats. Each day, you become like an Antarctic explorer and disembark in one of the Zodiac boats and explore the landscape, accompanied by expert guides. The optional kayaking program allows participants to see things from a different perspective. Extended hiking and snow-shoeing options are also presented according to conditions. No journey is the same - flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica due to changing weather conditions. The expedition team sets the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time. Your Antarctic voyage may include visits to sites such as Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, the Lemaire Channel, and many other magnificent places. Days 8 & 9 – Drake Passage Return to South America with a northbound crossing of the Drake Passage. Relax and take the time to watch for albatros and other wildlife from the outside decks. Day 10 – Ushuaia Arrive back in Ushuaia and disembark after breakfast. NOTE Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned program. However, it must be realized that with this type of adventurous travel to Antarctica, changes to the itinerary may occur due to severe and unpredictable weather. We need to emphasize the fact that weather conditions are unpredictable and that safety is always the paramount concern on any Antarctic voyage. For this reason the vessel operator reserves the right to change the itinerary here described due to weather conditions or other factors beyond control without consulting the participants.

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Expedition Vessel: M/V Ocean Nova

MV Ocean Nova expedition ship

The M/V Ocean Nova is a modern and comfortable vessel - one of the few remaining genuinely small ships in polar travel. She was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, and her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in the polar regions both Arctic and Antarctic. The M/V Ocean Nova has capacity for just 71 passengers accommodated in comfortable outside cabins, all with private facilities, including dedicated single, twin and triple cabins. In addition to a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room, a spacious dining room, a bar, a library and an infirmary. The ship has Zodiac boats that are well suited for disembarking and wildlife watching.

For full information about this vessel click here:

  • Comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material.
  • Ship cruise as indicated in the itinerary corresponding to each expedition.
  • Daily buffet breakfast and lunch on board ship offering a wide choice of dishes.
  • Daily served dinner on board ship offering a choice of three main courses.
  • Wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board ship
  • Coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccino, water and snacks on board ship throughout the expedition.
  • Loan of waterproof boots for landing in Antarctica.
  • All guided shore excursions.
  • Lectures and entertainment on board.
  • IAATO passenger fee.
  • Accommodation, meals, excursions and transfers other than those included in the itinerary corresponding to each voyage.
  • Beverages purchased at the ship’s bar.
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Extra expenses (communication, laundry, souvenirs, etc.).
  • Gratuities.
  • Visas for Chile and/or Argentina, passport expenses, and any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable.
Payments Reservations require a non-refundable deposit of USD 1500 (or equivalent currency) 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 alternatively bank transfer. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment by bank transfer (balance payments may be made by credit card subject to a 2% surcharge). All prices shown are per person on a shared basis and based on USD. Payments may be made in other currencies on request and subject to exchange rate variations. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Since all payments are non- refundable, for cancellation received more than 120 days prior to departure = loss of deposit. After final payment there will be no refund whatsoever. We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance to protect you if you need to cancel. Insurance Emergency medical evacuation insurance is required for this expedition and must be obtained prior to departure. We strongly recommend that your insurance cover also has adequate trip cancellation insurance should you need to cancel your participation for any unforseen reasons. Sharing and Single Occupancy If you are travelling alone and wish to share, we can match you with someone of the same gender at the share rate. If a sole use cabin is desired, dedicated Single cabins are available - alternatively sole occupancy of a limited number of twin cabin costs 1.85 times the twin share rate. Children Children are admitted from the age of 12 years if accompanied by a fully responsible adult. There is no child discount available. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Antarctica21 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.
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