King penguin colony at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia

In Shackleton's Footsteps: Polar Pioneer

Antarctica and South Georgia

Late summer offers the best chance to chart a course through the Weddell Sea’s shifting pack ice and vast tabular bergs, where Shackleton’s ship Endurance was trapped and crushed. We hope to explore fossil-rich islands, historic huts and set foot on the continent before retracing Shackleton’s heroic journey to save his men – first to Elephant Island, then on through waters where blue, sei and fin whales roam. South Georgia offers nesting albatross, mating elephant seals, the world’s largest king penguin rookeries and a visit to Shackleton’s grave

  • Australian Geographic Society voyage
  • Vast tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea
  • Historic huts and whaling history
  • Attempt to land at Elephant Island
  • Fur seals, albatross & thousands of King penguins
  • Shackleton Alpine Crossing (surcharge applies)

Free Photography Workshops

All of the expeditions and itineraries with the Polar Pioneer offer fantastic photography experiences, however on selected expeditions there are also specialised photography workshops with expert photography guides. Contact us for details!

Sale

10% discount on remaining berths while space lasts! Quote Promocode PP10.

Stewart's Take

A voyage for those of us inspired by Shackleton - an incredible chance to visit key places from his heroic expeditions!

Overview

Late summer offers the best chance to chart a course through the Weddell Sea’s shifting pack ice and vast tabular bergs, where Shackleton’s ship Endurance was trapped and crushed. We hope to explore fossil-rich islands, historic huts and set foot on the continent before retracing Shackleton’s heroic journey to save his men – first to Elephant Island, then on through waters where blue, sei and fin whales roam. South Georgia offers nesting albatross, mating elephant seals, the world’s largest king penguin rookeries and a visit to Shackleton’s grave.
Day 1 – Beagle Channel Step aboard Polar Pioneer in Ushuaia in the late afternoon to a warm welcome, introductory briefing and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel with your shipmates. Days 2 to 3 – Drake Passage As we cross Drake Passage, we keep watch for giant petrels, wandering and black-browed albatross and our first icebergs. Fur seals and penguins pepper the sea surface as we approach our first landing in the South Shetland Islands. Days 4 to 6 – Antarctica Peninsula An autumn dawn greets us in spectacular Antarctic Sound where we may stop at towering Brown Bluff before pushing on into the Weddell Sea. There’s a strong fossil focus this time of year, as the pack ice movement may allow a continental landing and visits to the world-renowned fossil beds of Seymour, Vega and James Ross islands, and Nordenskjold’s Hut on Snow Hill Island. Days 7 to 9 – Scotia Sea So exposed is Cape Wild on Elephant Island, landings are rare, but we’ll try, if only to pay tribute to the man who’s leadership kept Shackleton’s men alive for four months while awaiting rescue. We keep watch for great whales while sailing the Scotia Sea to South Georgia. Day 10 – South Georgia We enter King Haakon Bay and attempt a ceremonial landing at Cave Cove, Shackleton’s first landfall before continuing up past Peggotty Bluff, where Shackleton, Worsley and Crean set off to cross the island. Days 11 to 14 – South Georgia While our “Crossers” negotiate Shackleton’s historic route, we immerse ourselves in one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. King penguin rookeries half-million strong, chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguin colonies, wandering albatross on nests, beaches thick with elephant and fur seals. We hope to walk the final leg of Shackleton’s epic, from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, before visiting “The Boss’s” grave and whaling museum in Grytviken. Days 15 to 17 – Scotia Sea Crossing the Scotia Sea, we watch for whales and enjoy entertaining talks by our expedition team as we cruise back towards the Falklands Islands/Malvinas. On this leg we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands. Day 18 – Falkland Islands/Malvinas Dawn greets us in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas capital, Stanley; where we bid farewell to Polar Pioneer. You have the option of either spending more time exploring the Falkland Islands or continuing on to Punta Arenas or Santiago, Chile.

Expedition Vessel: Polar Pioneer

Polar Pioneer is a small and sturdy expedition ship and a regular in polar waters. Built in Finland in 1985 as an ice- strengthened research vessel, she was refurbished in 2001 to provide a comfortable range of triple, twin and suite cabin options for a maximum of 54 expeditioners. Her excellent reputation for polar expedition cruising is due to her strength, maneuverability and size, allowing her to access areas where larger vessels simply can’t reach.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Luggage transfer from hotel in Ushuaia to Polar Pioneer on day of boarding
  • Transfer from Polar Pioneer to Stanley airport, including tour of Stanley
  • Post-voyage flight from Stanley to Punta Arenas OR Santiago (no reduced fare for finishing in Punta Arenas)
  • Accommodation during the voyage on board Polar Pioneer
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
  • Educational lectures and guiding services from our expert team
  • Access to our on board doctor and basic medical services
  • Complimentary custom-designed Polar Expedition jacket
  • Free gumboot hire during the voyage
  • Daily cabin service
  • Complimentary custom-designed polar expedition jacket
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Professionally produced voyage journal (one per booking)
  • Port taxes and charges
  • All entry fees to historic landings sites
Excluded
  • International or domestic flights to or from ship, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Visa, passport, and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to book any optional activities, such as sea kayaking
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges
Prices and Share Policy Prices quoted are per person in US$, based on twin-share. Single occupancy is 1.7 times the twin share price. No single travel fees apply if you are willing to share your cabin (triple & twin cabins only). Fuel surcharge may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases. No refund for unused services. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of $1250 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. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 90 days prior to departure. You will be invoiced at the appropriate time. Balance payments can be made by bank transfer or on request by major credit card, subject to a 2% surcharge. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations made before 90 days of voyage departure are subject to a non-refundable deposit of $1250, however your deposit may be transferred towards a different voyage on board Polar Pioneer at a fee of $250. Transfers are subject to availability and are only valid on voyages that depart within 12 months from date of transfer. You must pay the difference between the original booked price and the price of any transferred booking including the new deposit amount. If cancellation occurs less than 90 days prior to departure, you will be required to pay for the full cost of the trip. 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 Aurora 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 along with a separate Booking Form.
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