Antarctica small ship cruises
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Description of Antarctica small ship cruises
This expedition cruises across great ocean wildernesses to some of the most remote places on the planet. The ship travels from Ushuaia on Tierra del Fuego across to the penguin-filled Falkland Islands, then onto windswept South Georgia before reaching the icy waters of Antarctica.
This Antarctica small ship cruise is an adventure – but a comfortable one. Our vessels carry 54-189 passengers, and lectures take place on board with our natural history guides, who share information on the geography, flora and fauna of Antarctica. Most days there will be the opportunity to disembark and explore these isolated islands, standing surrounded by thousands of king penguins, visiting the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and on some departures, you can follow in the steps of his Antarctic journey.
The Falklands are our first stop, and here we’ll be introduced to myriad Antarctic wildlife. Penguin species on these islands include king, gentoo, Magellanic and the aptly named rockhopper – and there are breeding colonies of black-browed albatross. Steamer ducks can be seen from the harbour road in the Falklands’ capital, Stanley; these flightless birds propel themselves over the water at great speed along the inlet. From your zodiac boat, look out for Commerson’s dolphins, who love to ride the bow waves.
Our Antarctica small ship cruise continues to South Georgia – an incredibly remote island and the final resting place of Shackleton, who was buried in the hills above Grytviken. South Georgia is wildly beautiful and otherworldly, it is often considered to be a highlight of the expedition. Despite its seclusion, there is abundant wildlife here, and you can see the glaciers sparkling along the coastline, between blue sea and green valleys.
Meet more king penguins at Salisbury Plain – the enormous colony seems to extend into the horizon! South Georgia’s beaches are the preferred spot for huge male elephant seals to bark, battle and claim their territories – a dramatic sight.
Our expedition heads southwest from here, crossing the final stretch of water before the Antarctic Peninsula. We’ll pass by the South Orkney Islands before reaching our destination, aiming to sail through the awesome Lemaire Channel if the icebergs allow. This is one of the best places to observe whales, including humpback, minke and fin, as well as crabeater, Weddell and fearsome, shark-toothed leopard seals. The South Shetland Islands, just north of the peninsula, shelter penguin rookeries and more wildlife encounters; landings here may include Half Moon Island, Deception Island and Hannah point, depending on conditions. Brave passengers can choose to truly “immerse” themselves in Antarctic here – with a swim in these icy waters.
Antarctica small ship cruise itineraries are always heavily dependent on weather, ice and sea conditions as well as the chosen vessel; the sample itinerary below gives you an idea of what you may be doing on our 20-day trips. The expedition team will determine the final route.
Please contact us for a detailed day-by-day itinerary.
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8 Reviews of Antarctica small ship cruises
Reviewed on 13 Jan 2020 by Rahif EzzeddineThe most memorable part of the holiday was the vast number of wildlife and icebergs Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Jan 2020 by Paul Ntjortis5***** Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Dec 2019 by Russell WatermanI went to the Falkland, South Georgia and Antarctica. It was all amazing!!! Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Feb 2019 by Barbara ShoreThis trip was excellent. I can't speak highly enough of the Aurora staff and the Russian crew. Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Dec 2018 by Nick RussenAwesome, a life changing experience....I have so many wonderful memories, it is difficult to summarise. The combination of the stunningly vast wilderness of Antarctica, the glacial icebergs and the beautiful King Penguins stand out, however so many other things will live in my memory. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Dec 2018 by Don ShayI can scarcely tell you how pleased we were with the trip. The ship was a lovely ship, and our cabin was well-appointed and very spacious. Even with all of our polar gear, we had storage space we didn’t use — unheard-of on a cruise ship. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Feb 2016 by Helen ConnollyThis trip will forever stay in my heart. Incredible. I would go again tomorrow if I got the chance. Read full review
Reviewed on 17 Feb 2013 by rebecca allcockFantastic - it's more than a holiday and is so different to anything else I have ever done. South Georgia is an amazing place. The beaches were packed with tens of thousands of penguins and they weren't afraid to come right up to us. The scenery in Antarctica is beautiful. Read full review
PlanetOur Antarctic ships are smaller, less imposing on the polar landscape than the bigger cruise ships. Group landings by zodiacs are more easily managed and a low ratio of leaders to passengers provides a personalised, added value experience. Your on board natural history experts, through guided walks and evening talks, reveal the wonders of Antarctic scenery and wildlife and introduces some of the local and global conservation issues which this fragile habitat faces.
Our polar trips are made under full membership of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and as such abide by their strict codes of conduct. Encounters with all wildlife are controlled by strict responsible codes of conduct.
PeopleThe areas we visit throughout Antarctica and the subAntarctic region have no permanent population other than the researchers who reside seasonally or overwinter at bases in the Peninsula and the Antarctic Islands. There is a good rapport between such station staff and our small expedition ships, we bring passengers to appreciate their work, offer company and discussion and also bring their otherwise underused cash to uniquely spend on what service or souvenir they offer. At Vernadsky station for example the friendly Ukrainian researchers are happy to provide us with a tour of their laboratories- the place where the Ozone hole was first discovered, share news and stories, join us for a beer or vodka at their bar and of course sell stamps and postcards which can take up to a year to arrive! Help is also given to scientists and station personnel if they need to be transferred from South America to their working places in the Antarctic, and vice versa.
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