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Polar Circle Quest: M/V Ushuaia

Antarctic Peninsula

This 11 night expedition cruise to Antarctica on board the M/V Ushuaia is planned to take best advantage of the increased landing and whale spotting opportunities during the later part of the Antarctic season. Depending on ice conditions the vessel will endeavour to reach south of the Antarctic Circle

  • Reach to the South of the Polar Circle.
  • Majestic mountains, ice and scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Small, intimate and ice strengthened vessel
  • Educational program from onboard lecturers
  • See abundant wildlife - penguins, seals, whales and more!

Stewart's Take

A longer expedition which reaches further south and aims to cross 66 degrees 33 minutes South and beyond the Antarctic Circle!

Overview

This 11 night expedition cruise to Antarctica on board the M/V Ushuaia is planned to take best advantage of the increased landing and whale spotting opportunities during the later part of the Antarctic season. Depending on ice conditions the vessel will endeavour to reach south of the Antarctic Circle.
Day 1: Ushuaia Embark the M/V Ushuaia in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass. Days 2-3: Drake Passage Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region and also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. The lecturers will be out with you on deck to help with the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The ship's open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well. The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favourable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3. Days 4-9: Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range. At this time of year it is also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as humpback, Finn and Sei whales in the area. We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest gentoo penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy. With further exploration far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, we might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faraday, where the ozone hole was first spotted, the rugged Yalour Islands and south of the Polar Circle, Detaille Island. On our way North we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife, with vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, as is visiting the crescent shaped island Half Moon, home to chinstrap penguins in breathtaking surroundings. Days 10-11: Drake Passage We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia. Day 12: Arrival in Ushuaia We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark after breakfast. Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions and they will try their best to reach the Polar Circle. However if ice conditions do not allow access the route might be changed. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.

View Weddell Sea Quest sample itinerary in a larger map

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Expedition Vessel: M/V Ushuaia

Originally built for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the USHUAIA has been refurbished to accommodate a maximum of 84 passengers in 41 comfortable twin cabins and suites. The ice-strengthened polar vessel USHUAIA is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline. All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an observation lounge and bar, a conference room with modern multimedia equipment, a well-stocked library, a changing room and a small infirmary. The expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature. A specialist team of international expedition leaders and lecturers are all extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. Chefs prepare excellent cuisine including many local specialties and the bar is well-stocked with carefully selected wines and spirits.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Voyage aboard the M/V Ushuaia as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the M/V Ushuaia.
  • 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.
  • Detailed post-expedition log.
Excluded
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post land arrangements
  • Transfers to / from the vessel
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages (guidelines will be provided).
Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared twin or triple 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. Two dedicated Premier single cabins are available at a special single rate. A limited number of twin cabins are also available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the share rate. Suites may be reserved at 2 times the share rate. A third berth in the Suites and Superior may be occupied at 50% of the published twin share rate. Special rates for families A child (under 16 years) accompanied by two adults can travel free of charge in a triple Superior cabin or triple Suite (subject to availability). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 30% 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. Balances may be paid by bank transfer alternatively by credit card (subject to a 2% surcharge). Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure = US$500. If cancellation occurs less than 90 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 Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Antarpply 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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