Weddell Seal, Antarctica

Weddell Sea Quest: M/V Ushuaia

Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea resonates with the ill-fated yet heroic expedition of the great British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. His ship, the Endurance was trapped in the ice here in 1915 and the story of the men's survival is one of the greatest in polar exploration. This voyage explores this remote and ice-bound region in combination with the mountainous Antarctic Peninsula

  • Rarely visited Weddell Sea region of Antarctica.
  • 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!

Follow in Shackleton's footsteps and join us for a truly unique trip to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands & the Weddell Sea.

Last-Minute Pricing Jan 2024

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86 % of reviewers liked this tour.
Mar 06 2023
Sehr gute und erlebnisreiche Expedition an einen ungewöhnlichen Ort.
Mar 06 2023
Staff were really professional
Naturally Happy and Kind
Mar 02 2023
The ship was small and rocky, Drake passage a nightmare but I got through it!! Staff were great, very helpful. I managed all the landings at 77 but didn't do the harder climbs. The staff helped me over hard parts.
Mar 01 2023
The trip itself was more than we could’ve asked for, great lectures and guides, safety was always number one while still providing us with exceptional experiences. The trip is mostly dictated by weather but the ship and staff made sure we got to experience as much as possible. Would highly recommend!
Jun 22 2019
see above see above see above see above
Feb 20 2018
il sevizio a bordo, la sistemazione e soprattutto il cibo servito non giustificano il costo della crociera. il tutto parzialmente compensato dai paesaggi spettacolari dell'Antartide
Aug 02 2017
Fantastic to be on a SMALL ship and be able to land with everyone all at the same time. We were lucky with both weather and whale sightings and a bonus with even one emperor penguin! The expedition staff were great and could not do enough for us!

Stewart's Take

A different and longer Antarctica expedition which offers the combination of the Peninsula with the seldom-visited and ice-bound Weddell Sea region.... look out for tabular icebergs!


The Weddell Sea resonates with the ill-fated yet heroic expedition of the great British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. His ship, the Endurance was trapped in the ice here in 1915 and the story of the men's survival is one of the greatest in polar exploration. This voyage explores this remote and ice-bound region in combination with the mountainous Antarctic Peninsula.
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. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ 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 vessels 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 favorable 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 4-6: Exploring the Weddell Sea This is where huge tabular icebergs roam. In some years, the Erebus & Terror Gulf and Weddell Sea are chock-a-block full with ice, making for exciting ice navigation. Get up early and go out on deck. It may be 3:30 h in the morning, but the sunrises will be unlike anything you´ve ever seen. Huge tabular bergs break from the Larsen, Ronne, and Filchner ice shelves and combine with one-year-old and multi-year sea ice to produce a floating, undulating panorama of rugged ice scenery. Pure white snow petrels are likely to be coursing over the floes, often joined by pintado petrels. The usual passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula traverses the Antarctic Sound, which is 30 miles (48 km) long and 7-12 miles (11-19 km) wide and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza, are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula’s Adélie Penguin population. Devil Island, Paulet Island and the already mentioned sites, might give us ample proof of this. The numbers of penguins are breathtaking. Sometimes juvenile emperor penguins have been sighted, riding ice floes but are by no means regular in the area. This region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Four visitor sites have links to this expedition: Hope Bay, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, and Cape Well-Met on Vega Island. Our expedition staff will be pleased to share their exciting story with you. Nordenskjöld's expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area. Days 7-8: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands 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, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from gentoo and chinstrap penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range. We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and Neumayer 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 colony of gentoo penguins in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office at Port Lockroy. Further exploration will lead us to the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. 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. There might also be a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world. Days 9-10: 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 11: 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 Weddell Sea. However if ice conditions do not allow access the route might be changed to West Antarctica. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.

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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 90 passengers in 46 comfortable 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 10% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A further deposit of 20% of the cruise fare is required 270 days prior to departure (i.e. total 30% deposit within 9 months of departure). 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 until 90 days prior to departure are not refundable but may be used as future credit (subject to a rebooking fee of 5%). From 89 days up to and including the day of departure all deposits and tariffs are forfeited. 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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