This classic voyage to Antarctica departs from Ushuaia, Argentina. The air gets colder and daylight grows longer as we head south across the infamous Drake Passage, accompanied by albatross. This cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula is an authentic expedition in a wilderness of epic proportions.
Your time in the Antarctic Peninsula region focuses on the Gerlache Strait area, where towering mountains, immense glaciers, and blue icebergs create a picture-perfect setting for incredible penguin and marine mammal encounters. This cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula is an authentic expedition in a wilderness of epic proportions.
- In the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula you can go ashore at sites where gentoo, chinstrap, and adélie penguins come together in boisterous nesting colonies.
- The waters of Antarctica are also home to impressive numbers of marine mammals. Humpback and killer whales can be spotted feeding in bountiful seas.
- The scenery in Antarctica is unique in the world.
- You will be following in the historic footsteps of early whalers, polar explorers, and scientific expeditions.
- Have the opportunity to appreciate modern human ingenuity at scientific research stations of various nationalities.
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1:Arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina (hotel night)
Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of our Antarctic expedition! Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary. For the rest of the day, you are free to explore this vibrant port city and adventure hub.
For an introduction to local history and wildlife, the interesting Museo del Fin del Mundo is worth a visit. If you have time to spare, a variety of nature activities can be arranged to suit all interests and fitness levels, from hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park to wildlife viewing in the Beagle Channel. For dinner, Ushuaia offers a wide range of restaurants featuring Patagonian lamb and delectable Fuegian seafood.
Day 2: Welcome Aboard!
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Ushuaia. Explore the delightful waterfront and savor views of the snowcapped Martial Range, the southernmost peaks of the Andes. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow onboard the ship. For lunch, the many cafés, parrillas, and gelato shops on Avenida San Martín will be sure to satisfy any appetite.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the luxury expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the scenery and gorgeous evening light as we pass through the Beagle Channel.
Day 3-4: Across the Drake Passage
After passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, we turn south to begin our crossing of the Drake Passage. We watch for humpback and fin whales along the way. The majestic wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks and balconies. We also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. Briefings, bio-security procedures, and presentations by our lecture staff prepare you for our arrival in Antarctica. We hope to arrive in the South Shetland Islands on the evening of our second day at sea.
Day 5-8: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
During the next four days, we explore the highlights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. This region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and the best wildlife viewing in Antarctica. Sheltered bays and channels sparkle with ice and reflect towering mountain peaks coated in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to huge numbers of marine mammals and seabirds. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large rookeries at special places on land. Here we also find Antarctic research bases of various nationalities, some with gift shops and post offices.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first area of exploration. This wildly beautiful island chain contains many landing sites with historical significance and abundant wildlife. We will also explore the supremely picturesque Gerlache Strait area of the Antarctic Peninsula, a pristine wilderness of spectacular white landscapes, colossal icebergs, obliging marine mammals, and bustling penguin colonies. We hope to pass through the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the narrow channel reflects the image of sheer snowy mountains.
Throughout the islands and on the mainland, we find nesting colonies of Gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, sometimes side by side. At this time, penguin eggs are just starting to hatch, causing parents to rush to the sea and back to gather krill for their tiny, helpless chicks. Predatory skuas are quick to capitalize on this new food source. As sea ice continues to recede, humpback whales arrive in great numbers and begin non-stop feeding. Killer whales are also on the hunt for seals and minke whales. Groups of crabeater seals occupy the last of the ice floes while Weddell seals haul out on land. Solitary leopard seals can be spotted patrolling the coast near penguin colonies.
In this rugged yet accessible environment, superb wildlife viewing is best complemented by active adventure. Our knowledgeable guides will offer hiking and hill-climbing for an even greater perspective of this raw polar wilderness. For sea kayakers, the wildlife-rich waters of Antarctica offer many chances to paddle with seals and penguins in some of the world’s most scenic waterways. With long daylight hours and the summer’s warmest temperatures, camping is also a great way to make the most of your time on the White Continent.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our precise route and exploration opportunities will be shaped by weather and ice. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans to take maximum advantage of the conditions in this challenging polar environment. With nearly 22 hours of daylight per day, we seize every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing and amazing scenery onshore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
Day 9-10: Back across the Drake Passage
It is now time to head back across the Drake Passage toward South America, but the adventure is not quite over. Seabirds are our constant companions and there is always the possibility of whale encounters in these wild waters. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow. Finally, as we enter the calm Beagle Channel, we enjoy a night of smooth sailing toward Ushuaia.
Day 11: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina
After yet another delicious breakfast on board, we bid you a fond farewell in Ushuaia. We provide a group transfer to the airport or to the city center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next polar adventure!
The Ship – M/V Sea Spirit
The m/v Sea Spirit is migratory and follows the sun, northbound in the summer and southbound in the winter, always ready for spontaneous discoveries — a pod of whales, a family of polar bears or a glaciated mountain vista. She is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow fjords of East Greenland and entering the small bays of Spitsbergen.
Onboard, it creates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all the guests. They are united by one goal — to have a memorable wilderness experience and to become real polar adventurers.
Length: 90.6 meters (297 ft.)
Beam: 15.3 meters (50 ft.)
Speed: 15 knots
- 18 Dec – 28 Dec 2020
- 27 Dec – 07 Jan 2021
- 17 Feb – 28 Feb 2021
- 10 Nov – 21 Nov 2021
- 08 Feb – 19 Feb 2022
- 18 Feb – 01 Mar 2022
Please call us for details.
Included in Land Cost:
- 1 pre-voyage night on Day 1 in Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen in Longyearbyen;
- Group transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation;
- Group transfer to the ship for embarkation on Day 2;
- Shipboard accommodation;
- All meals on board throughout the voyage;
- Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
- All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions);
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader and Expedition Team;
- Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise;
- Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
- All port fees;
- Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
- Pre-departure materials;
- Digital Voyage Log;
- Wi-Fi on board.
- Transfers from the airport to the hotel if arriving prior to Day 1 of the program;
- Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
- Luggage and trip cancellation insurance;
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
- Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
- Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a minimum benefit of US$ 200,000 per person;
- Staff gratuities.
Deposits and final payments:
- A deposit of 25% per participant is required at the time of booking.
- The remaining balance will be charged 120 days before the expedition begins.
“After 20 years of traveling, we never learned so much and had as much fun as with you guys!”
Jack N. Douglas-CO
“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY
“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA
“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA