Antarctica Small Ship, Great Penguin Adventure: Ocean Nova

Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia

We sail from Ushuaia to the Falkland Islands, home to charming rockhopper penguins and graceful albatrosses. Our next stop is the remote island of South Georgia, a wildlife haven said to have more wildlife per square metre than any other place on the planet. To watch the huge elephant seals fight for their harems and be greeted by hundreds of thousands of breeding king penguins is a truly unbelievable experience. Continue to the most remote and isolated continent - Antarctica. Explore the dramatic landscapes with gigantic icebergs, scenic channels and bustling penguin colonies

  • The ultimate Antarctica cruise
  • Travel in a small group – max 78 passengers
  • Experience the world’s most remote continent
  • Visit the wildlife haven of South Georgia
  • Possibility of sighting 7 different species of penguin
  • See the gigantic elephant seals fight for their harems
  • Marvel at huge icebergs
  • The trip is 100 % climate compensated

SMALL GROUPS – GREAT EXPERIENCES

We travel in a small groups and strive to have minimal impact on the environment. The Ocean Nova offers a more relaxed atmosphere, greater focus on the destination and more time ashore, compared to a larger vessel. Most vessels that visit Antarctica takes between 120 and 500 passengers, but to visit Antarctica in a group of merely 78 passengers invites to a more exclusive as well as more sustainable experience. The Ocean Nova also has a very low fuel consumption per passenger, one of the lowest in the business. The small numbers maximise flexibility and landing time, unlike other ships over 100 passengers which must break up into groups for every excursion.

WHAT MAKES SOUTH GEORGIA SO SPECIAL?

In the middle of the Southern Ocean lies South Georgia. With nearly 3000-meter-high mountain peaks, impressive glaciers and sandy beaches the island invites its visitors to some of the world’s most magnificent scenery. The wildlife here is truly extraordinary. Everywhere, on the beaches and rocks, in the water and the air, the wildlife is teeming. The sound of hundreds of thousands of king penguins is very powerful! It is an incredible experience to stand among all these curious individuals. Here, we also have chance to meet the huge elephant seals, which can weigh as much as four tons and have over 200 females in one single harem! The new-born seal pups have just started to explore the world and are keen on getting acquainted. Their immense, black eyes win every visitor’s heart! With no land based predators on the island, the wild life here have no fear of humans. This creates a truly magical setting to encounter the animals and watch them go about their day undisturbed. 

Stewart's Take

The perfect small ship expedition on an epic adventure!

Overview

We sail from Ushuaia to the Falkland Islands, home to charming rockhopper penguins and graceful albatrosses. Our next stop is the remote island of South Georgia, a wildlife haven said to have more wildlife per square metre than any other place on the planet. To watch the huge elephant seals fight for their harems and be greeted by hundreds of thousands of breeding king penguins is a truly unbelievable experience. Continue to the most remote and isolated continent - Antarctica. Explore the dramatic landscapes with gigantic icebergs, scenic channels and bustling penguin colonies.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina Our great Antarctic adventure starts in Ushuaia, beautifully surrounded by snow-covered mountains, where we stay one night at a centrally located hotel. This little town is also referred to as the “End of the World”. Day 2: Tierra del Fuego, Argentina Today we visit the southernmost National Park in the world – Tierra del Fuego. We explore this thriving park, filled with dramatic sceneries of forests and mountains. The National Park is home to guanacos, Patagonian foxes and beavers, but also to many bird species such as Magellanic woodpeckers, condors and austral parakeets. In the afternoon, we embark our expedition ship and sail along the Beagle Channel. Our expedition cruise has started and we may see penguins straight away! Keep a lookout for Magellanic penguins swimming in the Beagle Channel. Day 3: At sea We spend a day at sea followed by a range of sea birds such as petrels, fulmars and albatrosses that gracefully follow our ship. Whales and dolphins may also be seen in the surrounding waters and our polar experts start their exciting lecture program. Day 4: West Falkland Our plan is to explore the western islands of the archipelago, which are isolated and windswept but home to many seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. We hope to land on Carcass Island, to encounter nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent resident. Weather permitting, we go ashore and explore Saunders Island a penguin hotspot that is one of the only places on earth where 4 penguin species nest side by side. Here we can find gentoo, rockhopper, king and Magellanic penguin rookeries as well as nesting black browed albatross. You can sit on the white sand beach watching the penguins come and go while the striated caracaras patrol overhead. Day 5: Stanley, East Falklands We visit Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As we wander through the charming streets with small houses and learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the waters of Cape Horn. We also make a stop in Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps. Day 6 - 7: Southern Ocean We sail southeast, South Georgia bound. The anticipation grows especially when we cross the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature. Shipboard presentations will continue, featuring the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia. Wildlife will guide us into the island; keep a lookout in the ocean for whales, seals and penguins swimming and diving. Day 8 - 11: South Georgia Majestic mountains, mighty glaciers and beaches full of king penguins greet us on the island of South Georgia. We arrive in the beginning of summer when there are few ships in the vicinity and the peaks of the dramatic mountain ranges are still snow-covered. If you are interested in wildlife, South Georgia is a true oasis. Hundreds of thousands of penguins greet us at places like St. Andrew’s Bay and Salisbury Plain. Huge elephant seals lounge on sandy beaches and this time of the year we may see dramatic fights for a position as the king of a harem. The island is also home to several other species of penguin such as macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguin, along with the playful and fiesty fur seals. South Georgia played a significant role in Shackleton’s epic adventure. After his ship Endurance sank, he crossed the treacherous ocean in an open lifeboat to reach the islands. We hope to visit Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, once an active whaling station, which now houses a charming small museum. Day 12 - 14: At sea We now set sails towards the world’s most remote continent – Antarctica, faithfully accompanied by many seabirds. Our polar experts continue to fill our minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica. We also keep our eyes open for the first iceberg, which may appear on the horizon at any time now! Day 15 - 18: The South Shetland Islands & the Antarctic Peninsula This is a true Antarctic expedition cruise and our exact route the following days is subject to weather and ice conditions. Below are examples of places we may visit. We hope to go ashore at Elephant Island, where we will learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea more than 100 years ago. Following the loss of their ship the men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a camp at a place they called Point Wild, named after Shackleton’s commander Frank Wild and now the home of nesting chinstrap penguins. We will spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await us on our excursions to some of the islands including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. Hopefully, we will also have chance to visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. Along the coastline of the South Shetlands we keep our eyes open for humpback whales foraging for krill. We continue south along the Antarctic Peninsula, where pack ice still covers large parts of the bays, and we watch the experienced officers navigate our ice-strengthened ship. We cruise through labyrinths of icebergs some of which may have resting penguins looking curiously back at us. In good ice conditions, we hope to set foot on the Antarctic continent in Hope Bay or Paradise Harbour. The scenery here, from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet, is truly breath-taking. Day 19 - 20: Drake Passage As we leave this magical place, heading across the Drake Passage, time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. As we approach the South American continent its possible to see whales, dolphins and seals. We celebrate the conclusion of our Antarctic expedition with a farewell dinner on board. Day 21: Ushuaia, Argentina In the early morning we disembark in Ushuaia and explore this quaint little town on our own. Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice and weather conditions. The planned itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions. Flexibility is the key to a successful expedition! Pre and post cruise extension For those of you who want to experience the bustling city of Buenos Aires we offer a pre and post cruise extension, including two hotel nights, sightseeing, tangoshow and flight Buenos Aires – Ushuaia with return. Please contact us for more information.

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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 78 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:

Included
  • One hotel night in Ushuaia
  • 19 nights on board the expedition ship Ocean Nova
  • All meals on board
  • Wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board the ship
  • Coffee, tea, chocolate, water and snacks on board the ship throughout the expedition
  • All landings and excursions
  • Eight polar expert guides
  • Guiding ashore and lectures on board
  • Loan of waterproof boots for landings and Zodiac cruises
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • The trip is 100 % climate compensated
Excluded
  • Airfare to and from Ushuaia, Argentina
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Personal expenses on board such as in the bar, the shop or laundry service
  • The customary gratuity to the ship’s crew
Payments Reservations require a non-refundable deposit of 25% per person 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. We can quote and accept payments in USD, EUR, GBP, SEK and AUD. 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. 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 PolarQuest and Antarctica21 and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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