Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Circle via Falklands & South Georgia
• All of the highlights of Antarctica • The spectacular Falkland Islands • The rare wildlife experience of South Georgia
Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on this diverse expedition - you'll experience the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia.
Whether you're visiting Antarctic research stations, witnessing a sudden minke whale breach from your Zodiac, sharing a magical moment with king penguins, or celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle with like-minded travelers and crew, you'll know this experience will live on in you forever.
Ocean Diamond This modern, stable super-yacht is one of the largest of Quark Expeditions' expedition ships. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for polar expeditions.
Ultramarine The newest ship in the Quark Expeditions fleet, Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and to immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, the most spacious suites in its category, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards. With all this and more, Ultramarine is set to deliver the ultimate polar expedition experience.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Day 2: Embarkation Day As the ship sets sail in the late afternoon, you will begin your Antarctic journey, passing through the Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities to capture seabirds hovering overhead.
Day 3: At Sea There are many activities to keep you engaged while we're at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, chat with your shipmates at the bar, or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
Day 4 & 5: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore thanks to Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier feel to them. This is especially true of the largest settlement, Stanley, an interesting British outpost-type place, where you could just as easily wander into a pub as you could a church or museum.
Have your camera handy, as your wildlife sightings in the Falklands (Malvinas) should include at least three species of penguins, plus two endemic bird species - Cobb's wren and the Falkland's flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you have the most memorable time.
Day 6 & 7: At Sea En route to South Georgia, you'll cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales, to the area.
Days 8 - 11: South Georgia Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heyday is still found throughout the island. You'll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once decimated here. Today, their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Your visit to his gravesite at the Grytviken settlement, also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers of this unforgiving yet beautiful environment.
Although South Georgia's history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on the island will open your eyes to a new wonder: one day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach; the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals.
The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share its knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Day 12 & 13: At Sea Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you're at sea, you can enjoy quiet time or take in presentations by your Expedition Team, who will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.
Days 14 - 16 : South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you'll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, and the next moment you'll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you'll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you'll come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you'll treat yourself by booking our kayaking Adventure Option (reserve in advance when booking your trip); if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a Polar Plunge might be what you need!
Day 17 & 18: Antarctic Circle Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south.
If conditions allow us to cross this famed line, we'll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you've made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, where there is the potential for fantastic iceberg sightings.
Day 19 & 20 : Northbound Along the Peninsula If you haven't had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you'll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
Day 21 & 22: Crossing the Drake Passage After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Day 23: Disembark in Ushuaia Today you'll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers, disembarking in the morning to catch your homeward flights.
NB: Cruise itineraries aboard the Ultramarine commence and end in Buenos Aires. A mandatory transfer package applies, at additional cost
• One night pre-night expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia with breakfast • Group transfer from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day • Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage • All shore landings per the daily program • Leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings • An official parka to keep • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program • All luggage handling aboard the ship • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person • Cruise itineraries aboard Ultramarine commence in Buenos Aires, and a mandatory transfer package is an additional cost
Pricing (per person) $USD
Ocean Diamond, 27 Dec, from Ushuaia
Ultramarine, 21 Jan, from Buenos Aires
2021 Ocean Diamond, 27 Dec, from Ushuaia 2022 Ultramarine, 21 Jan, from Buenos Aires