“Kingdom of Ice, Antarctica”
                                         December 5 to 17, 2023                   Small group 

Price listed below the daily itinerary

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Antarctica

It’s a profound experience to visit the White Continent for breathtaking scenery and otherworldly wildlife. Our new “Discovery and Learning voyage” sails deep into this crystal wonderland on the world’s largest ice sheet 2 miles thick. Come channel your inner explorer on a once in a lifetime voyage to the End of the World! There’s nothing like the magic of the blue and white wonder that is Antarctica. Oceanwide Expeditions is the best including all port charges, airport transfer, rubber boots, tours by zodiacs and more! 

It’s hypnotically beautiful– especially during the “Austral Summer.” December is the best time to visit when temps are tolerable and the sun stays in the sky until midnight. Everyone longs to have the 7th continent stamped in their passport and most state that it’s their “best vacation ever!” Our past six AFS groups loved it. Why repeat again? So many left behind on our waitlist and begging to go. Visitors come here once because it’s a once in a lifetime dream that leaves an indelible mark forever.

Keep your camera ready as we navigate through the Beagle Channel into the most pristine land on the planet – no roads, no trees and aside from the sounds of giant seabird calls, it’s a world of pure silence. Unexplored just 150 years ago, nature here is pure and flawless. From the Antarctic Peninsula to Shetland Islands, capture a world that looks surreal. Our course depends on the seas, but our sites include Paradise Bay, Danco Island, Neko Harbor, Port Lokeroy, Deception Island, Half Moon Island and more.

Nothing is more thrilling than exploring by Zodiacs as we weave around iridescent blue icebergs calving set against a backdrop of towering glaciers. We venture ashore for guided walks with the best expedition team. The unique wildlife is spectacular! Look for omnipresent whales, seals, albatross, unique birdlife and belly-flopping penguins of all kinds. They’re as curious about us as we are about them and sheer joy to watch them waddle.

It all begins where the earth ends in Ushuaia Argentina with so many activities and tours here to enjoy.  Then all aboard! You’ll love our sparkling new advanced ship that just launched with all the amenities that you desire. MV Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world! Surpassing all others, it meets the latest “green and safety standards” with state of the art stabilizers other icebreakers lack. Our smaller ship lends us the best opportunity to explore. She so stylish and holds only 80 cabins and 72 crew. Our expedition leaders have a passion for sharing their in-depth knowledge with you. Each day enjoy guest lecturers, photo workshops, fun activities and gourmet cuisines. Whale sightings are announced by loudspeaker day and night. Also special outdoor activities are included at landings and for the brave, sea kayaks to paddle up close to the ice.

Demand is HOT now as travelers clamor to top off their bucket list. This trip is limited to only 22 lucky AFS travel lovers, so book fast! Air is easy. Go early or add stopovers in Argentina, if you’d like. Fact – Antarctica always costs a fortune to visit with prices ranging on average 12 to 18K and still so popular, one must book 2 years out. Our new AFS 11 day land and cruise program is less than others for a greater value and we include all shore excursions and port charges! Now is the time to visit this delicate polar region as the ice melts and sea levels rise. Charles Darwin could never have imagined exploring Antarctica would be this good. It’s the ultimate vacation to the most majestic land on earth that’ll take your breath away.

Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

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05 December  –  Depart USA.  Cruise starts on December 7, but we want you to fly at least a day or two early to rest and explore so you don’t miss the boat! Air details to come in the trip tips later as it is too early now. Most US flights go via Miami or Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.  You can book hotel on your own. Past groups loved hotels Lennox, Albatross and many Airbnb’s in Ushuaia. Or book AFS hotel Altos de Ushuaia at $128 per person twin.

06  December – Welcome to Ushuaia

Ushuaia is Argentina’s most important city in Tierra del Fuego and southern most city in the world. It’s easy to explore this small town on foot to many wonderful cafés and shops.  You can arrange anything on own, like affordable city tours, the end-of-the-world train, day, hikes, and more.  More details to come later.

Optional overnight at Altos De Ushuaia, Ushaiua (1 night)         B

In Ushuaia you will find you are at the most southern point of the world. Ushuaia is located in the province (county) of Tierra del Fuego and is the gateway to Antarctica. It is the place where the cordillera de los Andes finally rests on the sea, and this allows one to appreciate a unique landscape. Lapataia Bay, South extreme point where the National route No 3 ends, 3.079 km from Buenos Aires and 17.848 km of Alaska located in Tierra del Fuego National Park. If you have enough time, you can’t miss the Maritime Museum and the Presidio de Ushuaia. You’ll find banks and ATMs.  During the summer, the days are very extensive. The sun rises at 4:00 AM in the morning and sets at 11pm.

07 December Cruise begins           Embarkation!  

Your cruise begins where the world drops off at Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city on the planet. Leave your hotel late afternoon to board our ship MV Hondius by 4:00 PM and find our cabins. The captain and crew will welcome us aboard with a toast and introduction before our ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth.  During the night, we sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel.

Overnight aboard the MV Hondius (10 nights)       B/D

08 and 09 December.  Path of the Polar Explorers

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see..

Overnight aboard the MV Hondius (10 nights) B/L/D

 

10-13 December  Enter the Antarctic

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands.  Sites you may visit include:

Danco Island – Activities here may focus on the gentoo penguins nesting on the island, in addition to the Weddell and crabeater seals that can be found nearby.

Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.

Paradise Bay – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales.

Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags.

Overnight aboard the MV Hondius     B/L/D

14 December Scenes of South Shetland

The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they do offer subtle pleasures: There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and no small amount of fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels).

In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you find an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels – along with kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. A good hike is a possibility in this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape. As an alternative, you may be able to engage in activities near Half Moon Island. Here chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station.

Overnight aboard the MV Hondius.     B/L/D

15-16 December Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them. Enjoy lectures and activities with your crew.

Overnight aboard the MV Hondius        B/L/D

17 December          Disembark to Prepare for Home

Every adventure no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia around 9AM, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.  Transfer to airport for our flights home are included.     B

Cruise Price Includes:

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

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Category A      $8475 per twin share
Standard Outside cabin. 3 cabins

 

Category C    $9175 per person twin share.

Upper deck Deluxe Twin  10 cabins

*Price based on a minimum of 18 participants. Cabin choices are based on availability and first-come basis. Click Register to book.  If your category is full, you can waitlist.

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Deposits –  Due to high demand for Oceanwide Expeditions and ship near full, all deposits are non-refundable*. Final payment due Sept 1.   Initial deposit $1800 due at booking.  Secondary deposit – 50% of the balance due Apr 19.   Cancellation terms are strict because the ship is nearly full and we had paid hefty non-refundable deposits to hold 10 cabins.  $1800 deposit is non-refundable unless someone can take your place. Name changes are allowed for a nominal fee until August 30, 2023.

Not included:

  • Pre-cruise hotel
  • International air roundtrip USA to  Ushuaia.
  • Travel Insurance
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

NOTE:   Oceanwide Expeditions Embarkation Protocol

For the Antarctic 2022-2023 season starting in October, COVID-19 protocols on our vessels have been updated based on worldwide developments, further Covid relaxation, and local regulations/guidelines. The following onboard health and safety protocols apply:
Pre-embarkation process
  • All passengers, crew, and staff must be fully vaccinated, with their most recent dose taken within the last 270 days (nine months). “Fully vaccinated” is defined as two weeks after receiving both doses in a two-dose series or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. The second dose of a two-dose series may be substituted by a recovery certificate (recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days). The additional vaccine dose, or booster shot, has an unlimited validity period.
  • No obligatory preventive testing will take place on our vessels. Upon request, COVID-19 self-tests are available and can be purchased on board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Included in this voyage

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

OTE:   Oceanwide Expeditions Embarkation Protocol

For the Antarctic 2022-2023 season starting in October, COVID-19 protocols on our vessels have been updated based on worldwide developments, further Covid relaxation, and local regulations/guidelines. The following onboard health and safety protocols apply:
Pre-embarkation process
  • All passengers, crew, and staff must be fully vaccinated, with their most recent dose taken within the last 270 days (nine months). “Fully vaccinated” is defined as two weeks after receiving both doses in a two-dose series or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. The second dose of a two-dose series may be substituted by a recovery certificate (recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days). The additional vaccine dose, or booster shot, has an unlimited validity period.
  • No obligatory preventive testing will take place on our vessels. Upon request, COVID-19 self-tests are available and can be purchased on board.

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