For many travellers to the Antarctic, the pinnacle of their voyage is crossing the fabled ‘Antarctic Circle’ – and with Ice Tracks you can! Whether you have 11 days or three weeks to spare, want to fly in or feel the swells of the Drake passage, we will find the best itinerary, ship and adventure options for you.
To give you an idea of what a trip across the Antarctic circle could look like, see the itinerary below – this is an express 11-day trip, but as always drop us a line and we will be happy to talk you through all your options.
Our journey commences this morning in Punta Arenas. Here we board our 90 minuted flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is home to 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a charming rural town in coastal Britain, with brightly colored houses, flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There will be time to explore the town before embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we cast off, bound for Antarctica, and the adventure of a lifetime.
This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. If we enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, we may include a visit to the very historic location of Elephant Island – a place central to the Shackleton story.
This morning we awaken to the snowy landscape of King George Island, the largest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landing sites here – a visit depends on weather conditions. In the afternoon we continue our journey south, navigating into the broad expanse of the Bransfield Strait. This is an important migration corridor for wildlife, and we keep a lookout for whales. Large icebergs will be present from this point onwards and make for striking photographs. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarctic continent loom into view. We aim to make landfall around Wilhelmina Bay. This is a truly remarkable location, where we often encounter large pods of humpback whales as we cruise in the Zodiacs.
We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery as we navigate south. We pass through the ice strewn waters making our way towards out ultimate objective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions, our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Crystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island, home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950’s. This region marks our turnaround point and we return in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientific base to learn something of the important climate-related research happening here, and if the conditions allow, we will give you the opportunity to camp overnight onshore, a truly memorable experience. Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. The smallest of the Antarctic penguins, Adelies nest here and share the location with Gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants. Pleneau Island offers more opportunities for shore landings. Massive icebergs run aground in the shallows and constant wind and wave action sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantastical shapes. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlight of the voyage.
We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way north towards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunity to step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby Neko Harbour offers another continental landing. Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage. By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is where Australian aviation pioneer, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There are several other landing sites in the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour. This is another great spot for a hike or a Zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition.
This morning we are anchored off King George Island. We transfer to the airstrip for the two-hour flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile. On arrival, a transfer is provided to downtown hotels. This itinerary includes a complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from King George Island at the end of the voyage. This evening is at your leisure.
On every trip you do with us, we ensure that you are accompanied by exceptional local experts and guides with intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna and cultural history of the area.
There will be numerous opportunities to photograph and capture truly wonderful moments. From multimedia presentations to group workshops on the outer decks or in a Zodiac, our on board photographer will offer advice and instruction.
...with a whale expert! Outings onboard zodiacs, or from the bow of the ship: here is the chance to see these majestic giants up close and personal as they float asleep like semi-submerged submarines, fluke, 'spy hop', breach, hunt and feed.
For our latest discounts and exclusive deals see our special offers page.
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Included in the price of this voyage:
- Itinerary/pre-departure information
- One night hotel accommodation in embarkation city (Hebridean Sky departures)
- Transfer from airport in embarkation city to group hotel if arriving on day 1 of the itinerary (Hebridean Sky departures)
- Transfers from the meeting point to the ship
- Transfer from ship to airport or central location at disembarkation
- Extensive program of relevant educational presentations
- Advice from experienced team of naturalists and resident photographer
- All Zodiac excursions and landings
- Welcome Cocktail and Farewell Dinner hosted by our Captain
- All meals during the voyage prepared by onboard professional chefs. Afternoon tea with fresh snacks each afternoon. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the day (24/7)
- House wine/beer/soft drink with dinner (Hebridean Sky departures)
- Onboard medical officer
- All activities offered on board (except kayaking on all departures and camping on Hebridean Sky departures).
- Use of multimedia station to download and process your photos.
- Free Internet connection from the public computers in the library (Hebridean Sky departures)
- 100 minute WiFi card, for use on your personal devices (Hebridean Sky departures)
- All port fees
- In Superior categories we offer champagne and chocolates on arrival, complimentary mini-bar and US$ 100 Gift Shop Certificate (Hebridean Sky departures)
Not included in the price of this voyage:
- International and Domestic airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes
- Pre-cruise or post-cruise hotel accommodation, meals, transfers in arrival/departure cities (unless otherwise stated in your invoice)
- Personal laundry and personal expenses (Postage, telephone, internet, bar bill, medical expenses)
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance (optional)
- Gratuities to staff and crew