South Georgia, Antarctic Odyssey & South Sandwich Islands
On this epic voyage, not only will you explore the famed white continent and far-flung South Georgia, you will also sail to the South Sandwich Islands, a chain of seldom-visited volcanic islands located 740 kilometres south-east of South Georgia. True to our spirit of adventure, we aim to explore these remote and wild islands on thrilling Zodiac cruises, conditions permitting. This is a Christmas and New Year adventure that you're likely to remember and talk about for many years to come.
Highlights Include: • Celebrate Christmas and New Year on this epic Antarctic voyage, visiting some of the world's wildest and most remote places with like-minded adventurers • Become one of the few to reach the South Sandwich Islands - a corner of the world rarely visited • Walk among some of the world's largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia
Included Activities • Bird Watching • Whale and mammal spotting • Polar plunge • Zodiac cruises • Photography • Shore walks and excursions • Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Sea Kayaking One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery. Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Snowshoeing Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica's soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, you'll be led by our expert guides who will provide all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to ascend to some of Antarctica's best vantage points, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica!
Snorkelling Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you'll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs! Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.
**YOur Ship: Aurora's new ship the Sylvia Earle honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 - this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia's long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. Sylvia Earle will be actively involved in the development of her namesake.
Sylvia Earle features industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size with world class return-to-port equipment, which duplicates the propulsion system, enabling the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. The ship also features a fully-stocked medical clinic designed for use in remote areas.
The ship carries plenty of Zodiacs, which you can board via four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms. These platforms make boarding the Zodiacs as quick, efficient and safe as possible, minimising wait times and getting you closer to the action for longer. Whether you're Zodiac cruising through awe-inspiring fjords in search of wildlife, or making a quick transit from ship to a shore landing site, these sturdy crafts will play an integral role in your expedition experience.
In between landings, enjoy the heated saltwater open air swimming pool and jacuzzies on board the Sylvia Earle and watch the world go by, or experience our gym, sauna or enjoy a massage (additional cost) in the Wellness Centre. You can also experience the Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow, featuring huge windows and superb views to the front of the ship!
One of the most important parts of any expedition is the food! Whatever adventures the day holds, you will be fuelled-up with hearty meals and delicious morning/afternoon teas cooked by our onboard chefs. Meals are a great time to soak up the expedition camaraderie in an open seating dining area. Share stories with your fellow travellers and ask the expedition team questions that may have come up during the day. Tea, coffee and snacks are available 24 hours a day, and our chefs offer different menu options and courses for each meal. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild.
Cabin amenities include room-controlled thermostat, private en-suite, 42" flat-screen TV, room safe, closet space, desk area, and king or twin beds.
Day 1: Ushuaia Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your group hotel (preferred flights only). Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
Day 2: Embarkation Day This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Please take your cabin luggage down to hotel reception by 8.00 AM. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 AM, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 PM to commence a tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half day introductory tour, you will visit "La Mision" neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.
After embarkation, you'll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we'll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense.
Day 3: At Sea As we commence our trip across the South Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands-Malvinas, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about the region's history, wildlife and environment. Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skillfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Day 4: Falklands-Malvinas The Falklands-Malvinas comprises two large islands (East and West Falkland), with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life.
There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands-Malvinas, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities. We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Even though we're north of the Antarctic Convergence it can be quite chilly here, so you'll want to layer up before joining Zodiac cruises into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English 'tea and scones' at a local cottage.
We also aim to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands-Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced town houses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colourful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.
Days 5 & 6: At Sea Between the Falklands-Malvinas and South Georgia, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our precise arrival time in South Georgia. Our lecture program will continue highlighting all of the incredible sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy observing the sea birds, whale-watching from the observation areas, or simply relaxing with a book. If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
Days 7 - 10: South Georgia As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent! In fact, it is a small island only 176 km (110 mi) long, but with a 3,000 m (9,842 ft) snow-capped mountain range, some of the world's largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches. On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. You'll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore!
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their local knowledge to plan your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea state and wildlife opportunities. We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguins, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia's kelp forests as well - these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water's surface. Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals (making sure you listen to your guides and keep your distance!) and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia's thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you'll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow.
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia's majestic coast.
Days 11 & 12: At Sea As we sail away from splendid South Georgia, enjoy presentations from the expedition team to help prepare for our arrival to the wild South Sandwich Islands. Perhaps you may want to practice your photo editing skills, stay active in the gym, or simply watch seabirds frolic alongside the ship.
Days 13 - 15: South Sandwich Islands On Captain James Cook's second voyage of discovery (1772 - 1775), he circumnavigated the globe in high southern latitudes, without seeing land, casting doubt on the existence of the Antarctic continent, which at that time was still unknown. It was during this voyage Cook discovered the South Sandwich Islands and landed on South Georgia Island, describing them as, 'Lands doomed by Nature to perpetual frigidness: never to feel the warmth of the sun's rays; whose horrible and savage aspects I have not words to describe.' He named the South Sandwich Islands for Lord Sandwich, they are considered together with South Georgia, as a UK Dependent Territory (see above), and are uninhabited. Although Cook sighted a number of the islands, several more were not discovered until Bellingshausen visited in 1819.
Located about 740 km / 460 mi south-east of South Georgia, the islands form a chain some 350 km / 220 mi long, comprising 11 large and several smaller islands with a total area of about 600 sq. km / 230 sq. mi. Most are ice-capped, and the tallest peak, on Montagu Island, reaches 1,370 m / 4,500 ft. The climate is cold, with frequent snow and strong winds. The islands are volcanic in origin and some remain active. The island of Zavodovski, for instance, appears in constant eruption and reeks of rotten eggs (the volcano itself is named Mt. Asphyxia), while the islands of Visokoi, Candlemas, Saunders, and Bellingshausen all show definite signs of activity. Bristol, Cook, and Thule islands are heavily glaciated and show no signs of warmth or activity. All the islands are steep-sided above the water, and fall away rapidly into deep water (more than 1,500 m / 5,000 ft).
In our trusted Zodiacs or kayaks, explore the coast of some of the islands if conditions allow. Little is known about these islands, although the British Antarctic Survey has undertaken some limited biological and geological work there, mainly in the 1960s. Vegetation is very sparse. But there's at least one extraordinary wildlife spectacle: Zavodovski Island supports a chinstrap penguin colony that numbers around one million penguins on its steep volcanic slopes. Those who have seen this massive penguin colony speak of it with awe.
Days 16 & 17: At Sea Join the expedition team to pick up photography tips or learn about the white continent, and keep an eye out for your first iceberg as we sail towards the Antarctic Peninsula.
Days 18 - 22: Antarctic Peninsula It's almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever. Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You'll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula. While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you'll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Days 23 & 24: At Sea Enjoy a morning landing in Antarctica before commencing our crossing of the Drake Passage. Swap photos with your fellow expeditioners or simply relax and enjoy the last days of a truly unforgettable voyage to the Antarctic.
Day 25: Disembark Ushuaia During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
• Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1 • One night's hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1 • City tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 (lunch not included) • Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2 • Transfer from pier to downtown Ushuaia or to airport on Day 25 • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner • Captain's Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team • Free access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage • Comprehensive pre-departure information • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
Pricing (per person) $USD
2021 17 Dec
Booking conditions Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their 'Suite Benefits'.
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their 'Suite Benefits'.