CRUISE ANTARCTICA & FLY BACK
Next DepartureFeb. 10, 2023
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, Lectures, Wildlife observations, Zodiac
Visiting Antarctica is one of the greatest wildlife experiences imaginable. On this Albatros voyage you will experience the fantastic Drake approach from Ushuaia to the White Continent and return back in comfort on a 2-hour flight after a stunning cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. This is a true expedition voyage with zodiac landings at penguin rookeries and fascinating lookouts along the way.
Departing Ushuaia in Argentina, we cross the mighty Drake Passage, followed by the ever-present seabirds and whales. With its patented reclining bow and efficient stabilizers, our brand-new vessel, Ocean Albatros, cuts through the waves to give smoother and more comfortable sailing towards South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Continuing southward, deep into the inlets of Antarctica, we pass the famous Gerlache Strait, where 3000-ft ice cliffs rise straight out of the still water. The cruise ends at King George Island where we board a strong 4-engine jet for the flight back to the South American continent. After a comfortable 2-hour flight we land in Punta Arenas in Chile. On no other journey can you experience so much pristine nature and varied wildlife in so few days!
Any voyage to Antarctica is an adventure, but this cruise offers a unique experience for the few. Shore landings, excursions, lectures and Zodiac safaris are easily accommodated to help you enjoy an unrivalled expedition experience. Onboard our brand new strong, Ice Class 1A expedition vessel, Ocean Albatros, we are sure to get close to the dramatic coastlines. Zodiac cruising and shore landings are an important and considerable part of the planned itinerary, hopefully enabling all expedition guests to set foot on the Antarctic continent, as well as the surrounding islands.
ARRIVAL USHUAIA. EMBARK OCEAN ALBATROS
Arrive and embark in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town.
Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. A hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows, and boggy quagmires. Afterwards we embark the ship Ocean Albatros, our home for the coming days.
Our journey begins as we navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.
AT SEA. DRAKE PASSAGE, POSSIBLE FIRST ZODIAC LANDING
Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Drake Passage is known for strong westerly winds, heavy sea, and its nickname ‘The Roaring Fifties’. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines, and a highly qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself!
In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins, and albatrosses. Having crossed the Drake, we will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marvelled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.
With the patented X-BOW design, the Ocean Albatros will offer you a smoother sailing across the Drake passage than conventional expedition vessel – and with a far lesser fuel consumption.
EXPLORING THE SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS AND THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Over the next days, we will begin the exciting Antarctic experience our ancestors only dreamed of. During these days we will explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marvelled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.
Weather permitting, our projected landfalls could include: Deception Island, an extinct volcano with waters warm enough for a polar swim. Half Moon Island with nesting Wilson's storm petrels and chinstrap penguins. But there are many other fascinating landing options.
As the white shimmer of Antarctica looms on our horizon, the presence of wildlife multiples with many species of lively penguins, inquisitive seals, nesting birds and the spray of marine mammals. Wildlife abounds along our planned route along the Antarctic Peninsula. Leopard, fur and Weddell seals of Cuverville Island and humpback whales of Gerlache Strait. Landings and routing are as always dependent on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings.
For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, our ships offer excellent public areas such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar, and a library for our guests to spend their spare time. Our ships are staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.
DEPART ANTARCTICA – FLY TO PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE
Today it is time to bid a farewell to ship, crew, and expedition staff as we disembark and by Zodiacs go ashore at Fildes Bay on King George Island. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and home to no less than 10 research stations, 2 churches and one of Antarctica’s few airstrips open for commercially chartered flights. While our luggage is transported to the airport, we enjoy a 2-kilometer walk to the Chilean Eduardo Frei Base, calmly awaiting our airplane landing on the legendary airstrip.
Once the ‘Fasten your seatbelt’ sign lights up, it is time to re-cross the Drake Passage – now in 2 hours. Just enough time to realize what a truly spectacular adventure we have just completed.
After arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, a transfer is arranged for our 4-star hotel in town center.
Punta Arenas is the ‘capital’ of southern Patagonia. The historic city is surrounded with rolling hills and has the Strait of Magellan in front. Its past is rich in exciting events, from being a penal colony to becoming a sheep and gold rush colony with many European settlers.
This morning concludes our Cruise & Fly expedition, and you can continue your adventures or begin your return home.
• 6-day cruise from Ushuaia to King George Island with accommodation in a shared outside double stateroom with private facilities
• 1 overnight stay in centrally located hotel in Punta Arenas in a shared double room (post-cruise)
• All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
• Transfer from Punta Arenas airport to hotel in connection with the King George Island flight
• Expedition parka
• Rubber boots on a loan basis
• Guiding, briefing and lectures by our expedition leader and team
• Special photo workshop
• English-speaking expedition team
• Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!
• Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea
• Breakfast at the hotel (during our stay in Punta Arenas day 7)
• Free tea and coffee 24 hours a day (during the cruise)
• Welcome and farewell cocktails on board
• Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
• Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
• Comfort seat upgrade on the flight (see prices separately)
• Meals other than on board the ship
• Meals on day 6 (after returning to Punta Arenas)
• Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
• Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
• Personal expenses
• Transfer to/from the airports in relation to international flights
• Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’
To enjoy a fly-cruise like this, you have to be flexible around the flight schedule since there can be a narrow window of time, where weather conditions allow us to go.
Returning from the Antarctic (return flights)
We have no events planned on day 6 (the day we are scheduled to fly from King George Island to Punta Arenas). This is due to the uncertainty of flight schedule. Any guests planning to book a flight ticket with a late departure on this day, we advise to book a type of ticket that can be rebooked in case of schedule changes. Our recommendation is that guests book a flexible return ticket in the late afternoon or later on day 7.
On our return from Antarctica, we stay in the centrally located 4-star hotel Cabo de Hornos or something similar.
What do we do if we are delayed/moved forward (Contingency Plan)
Our chartered airline company have been running these flights for many years, and the statistics tell us that more than 80% of the flight departures are run on the proposed schedule. 10% within 1 day, and finally 6% within 2 days. Our cruise itinerary will be able to be fulfilled with minor adjustments should there be changes in the flight schedule.
In the event of adverse weather conditions that are forecasted to last for multiple days, Albatros Expeditions have a contingency plan in place to deal with this in the best manner possible.
Should there be a delay of the arriving aircraft into King George Island, the guests will stay on board Ocean Albatros and wait for the weather to clear and the plane to arrive. Should the weather and forecast persist over a longer period, the captain could decide to return by sea to Punta Arenas, so the voyage can end. In this case all meals and accommodation onboard are included. Please refer to the terms and conditions applying to fly-cruises for a closer description of our contingency plan.