Patagonian Fjords of Chile: Ocean Victory

Chile

The Chilean Fjords, with mazes of inland passages, calving glaciers and stunning wildlife, count as one of nature’s greatest wonders. There is no greater way to experience this spectacle than from an expedition cruise. We invite you to enjoy this adventure onboard the new Ocean Victory, a luxury class expedition vessel with room for just under 190 passengers - all in exterior staterooms and many with balconies. The ship has all the modern conveniences, the highest ice-class and sea safety certifications, as well as electronically controlled engines to optimize speed and fuel consumption

  • Learn about the environment, glacial systems, history and ecology from experts
  • Visit historic sites, local communities and experience rural Chilean culture
  • Torres Del Paine National Park one of the most stunning wilderness areas in South America
  • Spectacular glacial systems and fjords
  • Observe resident and migrating wildlife on shore, in Zodiacs and from the ship
Embarking in Argentinian Ushuaia, we immediately enter Chilean water and head for Cape Horn, the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, followed by the passage of “Glacier Alley”, a most fascinating part of the Beagle Channel. Countless glaciers carve their way from Darwin Ice Field down to the sea.

We continue deep inland to Puerto Natales where we will join a coach trip to sky soaring Torres del Paine. Further north are some of the most remote and stunningly located fishing settlements in Chile. Roadless Puerto Edén in Canal Messier, and beautiful Caleta Tortel, with houses and walkways built on thousands of stilts. On the green island of Chiloé we will visit one of Chile’s oldest towns, Castro, famous for its huge wooden cathedral, Church of San Francisco.

Putting the fjord labyrinths behind us, our adventure continues towards the Pacific as we cruise north to disembark in Valparaíso, the port city of the capital, Santiago.

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2023 departure only: 30% discount on Category F, E,D, C cabins, and B cabins.

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Stewart's Take

Explore Chile's astonishing coastline

Overview

The Chilean Fjords, with mazes of inland passages, calving glaciers and stunning wildlife, count as one of nature’s greatest wonders. There is no greater way to experience this spectacle than from an expedition cruise. We invite you to enjoy this adventure onboard the new Ocean Victory, a luxury class expedition vessel with room for just under 190 passengers - all in exterior staterooms and many with balconies. The ship has all the modern conveniences, the highest ice-class and sea safety certifications, as well as electronically controlled engines to optimize speed and fuel consumption.
DAY 1: USHUAIA. EMBARKATION ON MV OCEAN VICTORY Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, we board our ship, the 5-star Ocean Victory. We sail towards Puerto Williams on Chilean side of the Beagle Channel. The channel has rich wildlife with cormorants, penguins and sea lions on virtually every rocky outcrop, and dense temperate rainforest reaches from shore to tree line and the eternal snow. In this harsh climate, the hardy people of the now extinct Yagan tribe resided, as described by Charles Darwin in his journals. DAY 2: THROUGH MURRAY AND BEAGLE CHANNELS TO CAPE HORN Today we are going to see the famous "horn", Cabo de Hornos. It is difficult to predict the day’s program, as the waters south of the horn are unpredictable at best. Should weather be fair, we will use our landing Zodiacs to go ashore on Isla Hornos at the memorial for sailors who have lost their lives here. Although the ship is very stable, we will hopefully get a brief impression of what the old sailing ships were going through in Magellan's and Darwin's time, and rejoice that ships are no longer what they have been. The first "modern" sailor to navigate the race was the Dutch captain Willem Schouten in 1616, who opened the dangerous route. But haven't the locals been here long before? DAY 3: GARIBALDI FJORD OVERLOOKING CALVING GLACIERS AND MOUNT DARWIN Today's highlight is sailing into the narrow and unbelievably beautiful Garibaldi fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its spectacular soaring glaciers and rich plant and wildlife. It is not uncommon to see a group of killer whales in these waters feasting on the seafood. DAY 4: FORT BULNES, CHILE AND STRAIT OF MAGELLAN PARK As we leave the island of Tierra del Fuego, we head into Magellan Strait and reach Fort Bulnes. The fort was built in 1843 on the rocky shores of Punta Santa Ana under the command of President Bulnes Prieto to maintain control of the Magellan Strait and the ships that sailed through it. The fort is today restored to its original form, and the area around included in the fascinating Strait of Magellan Park. DAY 5: THROUGH THE CHILEAN ARCHIPELAGO. SCENIC SAILING THROUGH THE LABYRINTHINE FJORD LANDSCAPES. The day is set for cruising on the legendary Strait of Magellan, which divides “Land of Fire” from the South American continent as well as the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. Ferdinand Magellan, whom the strait was named from, was a Portuguese explorer on commission of Spain's Charles d. 1st and the first to navigate the strait in 1520. Chile annexed the Strait under President Bulnes in May 1843, emphasizing Chile's supremacy through the construction of the previously visited fort. The climate is sub-antarctic and the coast is rugged and vegetation-poor. Yet these coasts have been home to a highly developed and populous Native American culture, consisting primarily of maritime, nomadic hunter-gatherers and others who contented themselves with staying on land from which they fished and collected seafood. The tribes lived isolated and unaffected by Western civilization until about 1800, after which they quickly became extinct as a result of new diseases and radical eradication campaigns initiated by the governments of Chile and Argentina. Today, our overall knowledge of these many different peoples is extremely sparse. DAY 6: PUERTO NATALES, CHILE. VISIT TO THE NATIONAL PARK TORRES DEL PAINE. The Captain has through the night navigated the vessel more than 200 kilometers east across Chile through the world’s most complicated fjord system. Disembarking in the town of Puerto Natales we are ready for a bus drive into Torres del Paine National Park. Crowned by the three majestic granite towers, "Torres del Paine", and “Paine Grande”, 2,884 meters above sea, and encircled by huge lakes, calving glaciers and open grasslands where guanacos feed, it is fair to say that this is among the most beautiful national parks in the world. "Paine" is a Native American word for "blue", and today's excursion into the national park shows why. We will drive through the park and enjoy the view of the mountains throughout the day. Occasionally we will get off the bus and take shorter walks to reach the best vantage points. DAY 7: CHILEAN FJORDS. MINI-CRUISES THROUGH THE FJORD LANDSCAPES IN OUR ZODIACS By now, we are in the deep archipelago and the ship navigates through the many narrow waterways, almost all of which are called canals. The route follows the canals Sarmiento, Esteban, Angostura, Inocentes and then into the long narrow Canal Messier. It is incredibly beautiful no matter what direction the eyes are turned. Pointed rugged, often snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, lots of life above and below the water. The canals have all been shaped and extended during the recent ice ages, when they were filled with glaciers from the Andes to the east. As we enter the 250km-long Messier, we begin to see small fishing villages. We will plan for Zodiac landings along the way where appropriate. DAY 8: PUERTO EDÉN, CHILE. CRUISE TO THE BRÜGGEN GLACIER. Our goal this morning is the 60 km long Brüggen Glacier, slowly flowing down from the huge Patagonian Ice Fields. We cruise in safe distance from the active glacier front – and continue north through the Messier for more adventures. It is a must to visit the small, completely cut-off town of Puerto Edén, which, with less than 200 inhabitants, lies on the banks of the Canal Messier. The sea is the only access because neither roads nor paths lead to Edén. The city also has no roads between houses and shops, only wooden promenades or boardwalks. The population lives primarily on fishery and seafood collection, which is picked up once a week by a cutter. DAY 9: CALETA TORTEL VILLAGE, CHILE We have reached the northern end of Canal Messier, where we find yet another exciting and typical Chilean village in this area. Caleta Tortel was built in 1955 to utilize the area's cypress trees for timber production. The village is located where rivers, meltwater and the sea coalesce into a mossy subsoil, which is why all houses are built on stilts and the roads are, like in Puerto Edén, built of wood. Cypress of course. DAY 10: AT SEA TOWARD CASTRO The trip continues along the coast of Chile, and we have time to enjoy the ship's facilities, perhaps a little massage, a visit to the shop or an interesting lecture on the nature or culture of the area. You can also relax in one of the hot tubs on the deck or take a dip in the small pool. DAY 11: CASTRO, CHILE In the outskirts of the Chilean Lake District and we visit yet another city on stilts, Castro. It is the county’s third oldest city, founded in 1567. The area has been hit by earthquakes and tsunamis several times, and in 1837 the city was effectively leveled with the ground. Castro is an exciting city to stroll around. The famous wooden churches on Chiloé, of which four are in Castro, are one of Chile's largest cultural treasures and were added to UNESCO's list of cultural heritage. Many of the churches are built entirely of wood without as much as a single nail. DAY 12: THE NATURE-PROTECTED ISLAND OF ISLA MOCHA. Today’s landing is on the small island of Mocha, of which half is designated as a national park. Originally the island was inhabited by the so-called Lafkenches people. Francis Drake visited the island during his world circumnavigation, but had to leave after being seriously injured by the island's residents. In 1685, the governor forced the entire island population to what is today the city of Conception. There are several stories from the 19th century about a giant white casket whale that belonged to the island of Mocha, called Mocha Dich, which should have inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. In 2007, skulls from the original Mocha people were compared to skulls from the Easter Island and was found to have astonishing similarities, supporting the theory, originally put forward by Thor Heyerdahl, about the connection between South America and the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean. We will utilize the ship's Zodiac fleets to make the landing and learn about the national park and the local flora and fauna. DAY 13: AT SEA TOWARDS VALPARAÍSO Today it is time read, listen to lectures and relax in the company of the other passengers of the ship and enjoy the delicious meals the chefs of the ship spoil us with. DAY 14: VALPARAÍSO, CHILE. DISEMBARKATION After breakfast, it's time to leave Ocean Victory and get ready for the homebound journey. Valparaíso, one of Chile's oldest cities. The city is constructed on a number of ridges around the bay and is known for its old cable cars, 15 of which are still functional. They lead from the harbor up to the old UNESCO-protected residential neighborhoods. Here colonial-era German and English traders lived in the colorful houses that illuminate the cityscape.

M/V OCEAN VICTORY

Ocean Victory

The brand-new luxury infinity vessel Ocean Victory is one of the most modern small ship vessels in the world. This stylish cruise ship is ideally suited to small-ship expeditions, with a total of 93 comfortable cabins for guests, all with a view of the ocean, 90% with a balcony, even a suite with a French balcony! Ocean Victory is deployed and dedicated to varied Antarctica voyages. With the highest Polar code 6 and Ice class 1A, Ocean Victory is the ideal vessel for small-ship cruising due to her sturdy construction and X-BOW® – Infinity class, which provides high stability in rough weather and allows for the smoothest movements on high waves, and a Solas 2012 classification, which facilitates a safe return to port. Part of a brand new generation of low energy vessels, with 4 diesel engines and 2 electro engines, all controlled electronically to optimize speed and fuel consumption, the Ocean Victory will also be environmentally friendly onboard, with the implementation of the Green Initiative Program. Amenities onboard include a Nordic Bar Lounge, Ocean Shop, various restaurants, including an open deck dining facility, and a highly new and modern lecture lounge.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • cruise with accommodation in a shared double stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
  • All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
  • Expedition parka
  • Rubber boot rentals
  • Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
  • Free tea and coffee 24 hours daily
  • Taxes
  • Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition leader and team
  • Special photo workshop
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Digital visual journal link post-voyage
Excluded
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Transfers to/from the ship
  • Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’
Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 25% 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. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received from time of booking to 91 days prior to departure 20 % of the total cruise tariff. From 90 days until departure: 100% of the total cruise tariff. 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 Albatros 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.
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