Albatros Expeditions

Exploring the seven seas since 1994
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Antarctica

We are amazed by the grandeur of Mother Nature’s last great, untamed wilderness. Antarctica's beauty exceeds everything imaginable.

Our small ship expedition cruises to Antarctica are limited to 198 passengers, ensuring each guest enjoys an authentic, highly personal experience. Guests can choose from our 10-day, 13-day or 19-day voyages. 

Departures are available in the southern hemisphere's summer months of November to March. Characterized by stable weather and tolerable temperatures, the austral summer brings life to the otherwise jagged coastlines of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. The season is short and animals are working hard preparing for their young's arrival before ice once again encapsulates the Great White Continent.

Baleen whales benefit from feeding on large quantities of krill. Leopard seals and orcas acrobatically chase fish. Seals go ashore to birth their cubs and return to their curious ways. Birds, including countless numbers of albatross, great skua, sheathbills, arctic tern and storm petrel, nest wherever there is space. Thousands of penguins behave almost human – gathering into colonies that rival most big cities, leaping into the water, waddling in their well-tailored tuxedos, nestling their babies and teaching the next generation to swim. 

 As we glide into the calm, pristine Antarctic waters, only the songs of nature and crackling of ice are audible, serve as a wonderful reminder – we are in the Antarctic! 

With a vastly different topography from the Arctic, 98% of the Great White Continent is covered in ice by smooth ice-sheet and glaciated mountains with volcanoes. Sculptural white  icebergs, ice floes and deep blue seas flank the barren, rocky coastlines, which are home to moss, lichens, liverworts and even two small flowering plants – the Antarctic pearwart and Antarctic hair grass. Reaching further northward, the sub-antarctic islands and Falklands have tundra-like landscapes. 

Find out more about the different regions below.

Government: By parties to the Antarctic Treaty System

Capital: None

Population: 1000 - 4500 temporary researchers

Language: Not official

Land area: 13,209,000 sq km (varies with changing ice shelves)

Religion: Not official

Currency: None

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent.

Although considered a desert, Antarctica holds 70% of Earth's freshwater and 90% of Earth's freshwater ice!

Regions

Argentina
Argentina is located in the southeastern part of South America and is the continent's second largest country. Argentina is nature, tango, football, wine and juicy beef steaks. Its highly varied geography and climate extends through tropical rainforest jungles in the north, across the sprawling pampas and the mixed terrain of Patagonia, and reaches into sub-antarctic conditions in the southernmost tip of South America. With this natural diversity comes Aconcagua, the South American continent's highest mountain, Iguazú Falls, a 3-km (1.8-mi) stretch of 275 waterfalls that spans the border of Brazilian-Argentinian border, and Tierra del Fuego with snow-capped mountains peaks and glassy lakes and fjords. The capital city, Buenos Aires, lies in the middle of Argentina along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Characterized by wide boulevards, buzzing street life, elegant shopping districts and green parks, the city is alive with a fiery Latin vibe. Buenos Aires is also the birthplace of tango - a sensual, dramatic dance deeply rooted in Argentina's culture and history. Resembling an expertly paired tasting menu, Argentina is not only recognized for its famous beef cattle, which graze in the flat, treeless plains of the pampas, but also as the world's third largest wine exporter. Continuing southward, the geography and climate shifts yet again upon entering the Patagonia region. Regarded as a true hiker's paradise, Patagonia and the natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego are known for their arid plains, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows, boggy quagmires and multitudes of wildlife. As the South American continent comes to an end, we arrive to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia is bordered by the Martial Mountains and Beagle Channel, and is the starting point for our journey to Antarctica.
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands lie in the South Atlantic Ocean, some 483km (400mi) west of Argentina, and include the main island of East Falkland, West Falkland and a smattering of other smaller islands. On most maps, the Falkland Islands are labeled under British control, but the Argentinians call themselves the rightful owners and insist on referring to them as the Spanish name, Las Islas Malvinas. The Falkland Islands are home to approximately 3000 residents and the economy is primarily sheep farming, fishing and an emerging oil venture. The main town of Stanley is a charming, little town with wooden houses, small well-kept gardens, pubs, a real English cathedral and an excellent, little museum that explains the Falkland’s war history. Outside of Stanley lies many historical shipwrecks, which serve as a testament to the difficulty in navigating the rocky waters. The most dramatic of the wrecks is the three-masted sailing vessel, Lady Elizabeth, which ran aground in 1913. A long, sandy isthmus located near the wreck, makes it more accessible. The topography of the Falkland Islands is generally hilly with the highest points at Mount Usborne (705m / 2312ft) on East Falkland and Mount Adam (700m / 2297ft) on West Falkland. Much of the landscape is marsh, which the residents use as fuel for their ovens. The climate has minimal variations in temperature, where 24°C (76°F) is the average temperature in January, but prevailing winds can make it feel colder. These tiny islands buzz harmoniously with a variety of animals. Where herds of sea lions and penguins are not lazing, thousands of sheep graze. The deep, nutrient-rich waters of the South Atlantic also make the archipelago an attractive breeding ground for many species of wildlife. There are several species of penguins, a multitude of sea birds, albatrosses, elephant seals, sea lions, leopard seals and fur seals. Porpoise and dolphin are often seen from the shoreline, as well as orcas and sperm whales. The Falkland Islands are also home to over 400 species of plant life.
Antarctica
Antarctica is the world's 5th largest continent. To put the immensity of the Great White Continent's area into perspective, Antarctica is about twice the size of Australia. Technically a frozen desert, winds shape the surface of snow and ice and average annual precipitation is only 10-cm. In the summer months of November to March, average daily temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula average -2°C to 4°C (28°F to 39°F) and sunlight dances across the icy landscapes almost 24-hours a day. As a land of extremes, Antarctica is also home to world's largest glacier. The colossal Lambert Glacier is 60-km (37-mi) wide, over 400-km (249-mi) long and 2.5-km (1.5-mi) thick. But, perhaps, one of the world's greatest geological mysteries is the thermal lakes that hide under Antarctica's icy bedrock. In some of these lakes, scientists have discovered a surface layer of water at 4°C (39°F), while deeper waters are salty and much warmer at 26°C (78°F). With a topography greatly different from the Arctic, 98% of Antarctica is covered in ice with glaciers, smooth ice-sheet and glaciated mountains with volcanoes -- leaving only 2% of Antarctica ice-free! The continent's interior is covered in 2-km (1.25-mi) thick ice, which arose from snowfall that amassed over millions of years and compressed into a solid mass of ice. Regularly, ice breaks off, launching huge icebergs into the sea, some of which are up to 150-km (93-mi) long! These crisp white icebergs and deep blue seas flank the barren, rocky coastlines, which buzz with nesting birds and are home to moss, lichens, liverworts and even two small flowering plants -- the Antarctic pearlwart and the Antarctic hair grass. Due to the harsh climate, there are no terrestrial mammals, yet a plethora of wildlife still call Antarctica home -- at least in the warmer summer months when temperatures hover just above freezing! The nutrient-rich waters surrounding Antarctica are abundant with plankton, which are both attractive and nutritious for small animals and plants on the seafloor, as well as fish, mammals and birds that migrate to Antarctica in the warmer summer. One bird that is crazy about Antarctica's abundance of plankton is the Arctic tern. It breeds in the Arctic region around the North Pole, but crosses the entire planet's length, flying pole to pole simply to dine on the southern hemisphere's plankton. In the Antarctic Peninsula, the prolific birdlife, penguin colonies and marine mammals, such as whales, porpoises and seals, provide rewarding wildlife observation. In the summer months, penguins come to shore, sea birds nest and seals return to their curious ways. The season is short, and animals work hard to prepare for their young's arrival before ice once again encapsulates the Great White Continent. Around December, chicks begin hatching, and we can witness one of nature's great spectacles as tens of thousands of penguins feed their young. The harmony of Antarctica's flora and fauna in such a harsh environment is simply astounding. On no other journey can you experience so much pristine nature and varied wildlife in so few days. For more details on projected landfalls and itinerary routes in Antarctica Peninsula, refer to the specific expedition routes.