Nov 30-Dec 10, 2021 “The Great White Continent” WAITLIST
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. The White Continent is hypnotically beautiful with its diverse landscapes – 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, never truly getting dark. Everyone longs to have the 7thcontinent stamped in their passport and many state that it’s their “best vacation ever!”
Keep your camera ready as we navigate through the Beagle Channel into the most pristine land on the planet. Picture a place with no roads, no trees –and aside from the sounds of giant seabird calls – it’s a world of pure silence. Nothing is more thrilling than exploring by Zodiacs as we weave around iridescently blue icebergs in crystal waters 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, birdlife and belly-flopping penguins of all kinds! They are as curious about us as we are about them and it’s a sheer joy to watch them waddle.
Fact: Antarctica costs a fortune to visit. Prices generally range from $12k to 18k. And yet, it’s so popular now, one must book at 2 years out. How do we make it affordable? Because we found the best-valued supplier based there. Our past AFS groups loved this line, not just for their onboard service, but because of their exceptional value. Our AFS adventure is half the cost of other voyages and we include port charges. The real difference between our cruise and others? You can’t keep your parka that the ship provides. Seriously. That must be some jacket!! You can save even more in a triple cabin. You’re only in your room to sleep.
You’ll love our ice breaker expedition ship that was jusy totally refurbished with all the amenities that you desire. Understand visitors are now restricted as to where they can go ashore each day. Our smaller ship lends us the greatest opportunity to explore. She only holds 88 passengers. Our expedition leaders are the best and have a passion for sharing their in-depth knowledge with you. You’ll learn much about marine biology in the evening lectures. Onboard, it’s laid back with an open bridge policy. Imagine your photos sitting next to the captain while watching whales play as you sail on.
Demand is HOT now as travelers clamor to top off their bucket list. This sailing is sold out. However, we blocked and deposited on your cabins 18 months ago. This trip is limited to a mini-group of only 18 lucky AFS travel lovers, so book fast! Air is easy into Ushuaia. Go early or add stopovers at the end in Argentina or Chile if you’d like.
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 destination that you truly don’t want to miss.
Fantastic trip! I can’t say enough about the staff and expedition leaders. Very caring people and want everyone to have the best experience they can! The USHUAIA crew and staff are awesome! – Bonnie P.
Expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands. Aboard the USHUAIA
1. You’ll have a real wilderness adventure
Antarctica is the last great untouched wilderness, a continent of stunning and alien beauty with a rich history of adventure and exploration. It’s a world of white, blue and grey as far as the eye can see, with ice sheets, some two miles deep, ever-shifting crevasses, and, off the coastline, magnificent icebergs.
Larger than Europe, Antarctica’s icy cover spreads out across the sea in winter, doubling its size and forming an impenetrable barrier. During the summer (November to March) the sea ice shrinks, allowing tourist ships, as well as station personnel, access to this magical world.
Most visitors arrive by ship, usually on ice-breakers or vessels with reinforced hulls. Inflatable dinghies with outboard motors are the best way to explore the islands and mainland.
The opportunity for adventure is endless. You can camp on the ice, kayak between icebergs, take the ‘polar plunge’ and swim in sub-zero waters, scuba dive and perhaps come face-to-face with a seal underwater, cross-country ski, or go mountaineering.
Antarctica is home to many creatures found nowhere else on the planet. Watch with horrified fascination as a Leopard Sealtosses an Adelie penguin in the air before it opens its enormous jaws and devours it.
Enjoy the gentler Crabeater Seals basking in the relatively warm summer sun on floating sea ice, or observe the flatulent Southern Elephant Seal, the largest seal in the world and perhaps the smelliest.
A majestic wandering albatross (with a wingspan up to nine feet) may follow your ship, and you’re likely to hear the hiss of a humpback whale exhaling from its blowhole as it comes up for air, sometimes so close to the hull you may feel the spray on your face. When the tall dorsal fins of a pod of black and white Orcas break the water’s surface, it takes your breath away.
If you arrive early in the season, you’ll witness new life being born, including fluffy white seals and downy grey penguin chicks. Visiting a large penguin colony, like the one hundred thousand breeding pairs of Chinstrap Penguins on Deception Island, is an incredible experience, not just because of the noise they make, but because the inquisitive little fellows can’t resist investigating your boots and camera bag.
3. You can discover the heroic history
Antarctica has a rich history of exploration, heroism and adventure. There are few of us who haven’t heard the tales of Robert Falcon Scott, Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary, and because the climate is so cold and dry (Antarctica is a desert), the historic huts and their contents remain in remarkably good condition.
As you enter Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, it’s like stepping back in time to 1911. You can see bunk beds, kitchen pots and pans, medical supplies, books, even a big stack of seal blubber that they used in a blubber stove.
But there are also huts of less famous expeditions, such as Base ‘W’ on Detaille Island, which was abandoned by a small group of researchers in 1959.
In the windows hang green and white checked curtains. The tool room is full of everything needed to build and maintain the hut. Hanging over a stove in the kitchen is a pair of long johns, with rusted tins of Scotch Oats and bottles of HP Sauce in the cupboards. A jigsaw puzzle of a quant English village scene is part-completed. A World Sports magazine dated August 1953 lies open on a table. It’s as if the inhabitants will return at any minute.
4. It’s a photographer’s dream
It’s not just the wildlife and the historic huts that inspire photographers. The winds and waves carve amazing ice sculptures.
You’ll marvel at two storey high icebergs in bizarre shapes, and get to touch startlingly blue ice that’s blistered like bubble-wrap.
You can also peer down crevasses that could be hundreds of feet deep, or stand on virgin ice that no person has ever stood on before.
Depending on when you travel during the summer season, you may experience 24 hours of daylight, which means plenty of opportunity to take photos of the landscapes and wildlife.
5. It’s one of a kind: a peaceful continent that nobody owns
Antarctica is unique in so many ways, but perhaps the most extraordinary is its peacefulness. Take time out from the screech of penguins squabbling or the bark of fur seals, and walk inland where you can sit quietly in this vast wilderness of ice. The silence is both cleaning and energizing, perhaps because in our busy lives, silence is nearly impossible to find.
I put Antarctica’s cathartic quality down to its vast open spaces and the fact that nobody owns it. Antarctica is managed in a unique way: by a host of co-operating nations. The Antarctic Treaty is a goodwill agreement, and yet, so far, it has kept Antarctica protected and free from crime and exploitation.
Imagine if, like Antarctica, your country had never been to war, had no military presence, there had never been a single murder, and a group of nations worked together to maintain that peace.
Because of this Treaty, Antarctica remains a peaceful place of scientific discovery. As long as Antarctica is protected this way, it will remain one of the most unusual and breathtakingly beautiful places in the world to visit.
Lonely Planet Says…
Welcome to Ushuaia
A busy port and adventure hub, Ushuaia is a sliver of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped Martial Range. Here the Andes meets the famed Beagle Channel in a sharp skid, making way for the city before reaching a sea of lapping currents.
Ushuaia takes full advantage of its end-of-the-world status, and an increasing number of Antarctica-bound vessels call into its port. The town’s mercantile hustle knows no irony: there’s a souvenir shop named for Jimmy Button (a Fuegian native taken for show in England) and the ski center is named for the destructive invasive castor (beaver). That said, with a pint of the world’s southernmost microbrew in hand, you can happily plot the outdoor options: hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and even scuba diving.
Tierra del Fuego’s comparatively high wages draw Argentines from all over, and some locals lament the lack of urban planning and loss of small-town culture.
Welcome to Antarctica
No place on Earth compares to this vast white wilderness of elemental forces: snow, ice, water, rock. Antarctica is simply stunning.
Antarctica’s surreal remoteness, extreme cold, enormous ice shelves and mountain ranges, and myriad exotic life forms invariably challenge you to embrace life fully. Everyone – scientist, support worker, government official and tourist – who comes to this isolated continent, must ‘earn’ it, whether by sea voyage or flight. Ice and weather, not clocks and calendars, determine the itinerary and the timetable of all travel here. Today, it’s even possible for visitors to climb Antarctic peaks or kayak icy waters. But there is nothing quite like the craggy crevasses of a magnificent glacier or the sheer expanse of the polar ice cap.
Preserved by the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary species. Some, such as the enormous whales, migrate from afar, while others, including the Weddell seal and emperor penguin, remain close to the continent. Millions of seabirds skim the Southern Ocean, the world’s most abundant, and species such as albatrosses and petrels circle the waters. Wildlife is generally unafraid of humans: visitors usually elicit no more than an uninterested yawn from seals and penguins focused on their young.
The names of explorers and their sovereigns and benefactors are written on Antarctica’s shores. Renowned explorers from Cook to Amundsen and Scott all tried to penetrate this vast, mysterious land: each with varying degrees of success. Visitors can follow in their footsteps and imagine what it was like to forge through the pack ice on a creaking wooden boat or to haul sledges across the polar plateau. Some of the historic huts actually remain, preserved frozen in rime ice, to tell the story of adventures long past.
Antarctica possesses an unnameable quality. Call it inspiration, call it grandeur…it is simply the indescribable feeling of being a small speck in a vast, harshly beautiful land. A land where striated ice towers float among geometric pancake ice, literally untouched mountains rear from marine mist, and wildlife lives, year in and year out, to its own rhythms, quite apart from human concerns. To let our minds soar in a place nearly free of humankind’s imprint: this is magic.
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
WAITLIST All must login to Book or Wait
Full details to come in AFS Trip Tips emailed to bookers. Air is easy roundtrip USA to Ushuaia Argentina. And it’s now visa-free! Go a day early as our past groups did to enjoy this delight fun city of Darwin’s territory. Perhaps add on another South American city as a stopover.
Nov 29-30 Depart USA to Ushuaia, Argentina. LATAM allows stopovers where you please. Fill details on air and cruise come to come in AFS Trip Tips. Consider coming in a day early to enjoy USH. So much to do in this city with great dining – the land of king crab and sea bass.
Dec 1 – Trip begins when you board the ship.
The voyage begins and ends in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia – in Argentina’s stunning Tierra del Fuego region. Our ship, the Ushuaia, is named for this charming port and you will board in the afternoon and be greeted by your expedition and lecture staff. There will be some time to settle in before we set sail, making our way along the famous Beagle Channel and the stunningly beautiful Mackinlay Pass, marked by mountains, glaciers and waterfalls.
We’ll have a welcome dinner for all aboard as we make our way south.
Dec 2 & 3 – Crossing the Drake Passage B/L/D
For the next day and a half, we will be crossing the legendary Drake Passage. The 400-mile channel connecting the Atlantic and Pacific between South America and Antarctica was named for the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in the 16thcentury. It also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water meets the warm equatorial waters and churns up nutrients. (Seas can be challenging here and one can never predict the waters. Some of our past groups had a calm “Drake Lake”, whereas others had the “Drake Shake” with high seas, but all embraced the scenic voyage).
This region is teeming with marine and birdlife! Keep your eye out for an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, whales and even penguins who make their way back and forth through these waters. Expert guides and naturalists will be out with you on deck to help identify all you see. Or you can take advantage of the ships’ open bridge policy and join officers on the bridge, learn about navigation and watch the waters from their vantage point.
There’s a full program of lectures as well. By the second day, you’ll have the first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains, indicating that we have reached the South Shetland Islands. If conditions are favorable, we’ll make our way ashore on one or more of the islands for our first encounter with the penguins and seals.
Dec 4-7 Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands B/L/D
Antarctica!!! The “White Continent” is larger than North America and there is so much to see. We’ll spend the next 5 days exploring, visiting penguin rookeries, whale watching and more! Each day, the crew will assess what is the best route based on weather and wildlife opportunities. They will effort two landings a day. Orcas, Minke, Right, Humpback whales await. How about penguins like the Adélie, Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap? Fur, Weddell, Crabeater, Leopard and Southern elephant seals, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels. SO many things not seen elsewhere!
Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. And among the places we’ll visit:
- King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands and home to scientific bases of many different countries.
- Livingston Island- covered in numerous penguin rookeries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you.
- Lemaire Channel – along the Antarctic Peninsula, this narrow glacier-lined channel is considered one of the most beautiful passages on the continent.
- Paradise Bay is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world and we attempt a landing on the continent proper. Over 100,000 pairs of Adélie Penguins breed here.
- Paulet Island – home to colonies of blue-eye Cormorants. The Nordenskjöld expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins.
- Melchior Islands – a small archipelago and home to several research bases
- Cuverville Island – boasting the largest known colony of Gentoo Penguins on the Antarctic peninsula
- Portal Point – known for its stunning vantage points it is home to Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins.
- Neko Harbour – famous for its beautiful glacier that you may actually witness calving
- Pléneau Island – a prime spot to see elephant seals.
- Petermann Island – home to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins.
Dec 8- 9 At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, Northbound B/L/D
We leave Antarctica and head north, again crossing the Drake Passage. Our lecturers and naturalists will again be with us on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Dec 10 – Our ship arrives at Ushuaia in the early morning Dec 10. We will have a final breakfast aboard before disembarking and heading home.
Limited to only 20 participants.
Deposit $1000 Due to the nature of this trip, no cancellation refunds after Dec 1, 2019. (If booking later, one week after the initial deposit. Travel insurance is mandatory.). Second deposit due July and Aug 5 final payment due
Call to inquire about booking 770-432-8225
Sea Price – 3 – Triple $ 5750* category sold out
2- Standard Twin – $6175* category sold out
1- Standard twin plus $7800* category sold out
Deposit Schedule: $1000 (deposits are non-refundable after Feb 1, 2020, Feb 2 second $1000, Aug 2 Final due)
* There is NO fuel surcharge for the 2020-21 season if the price of the barrel of crude oil is under US$100.
Limited to 26 participants
Prices are all per person sharing. No single cabins offered.
(Space held for 18 max unless a cabin opens, we’re waitlisted. All Antarctic sailings are sold out until 2021.)
Please note: The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success.
- Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
- Single rooms limited with $ supplement. Cost varies. Email us for availability. AFS will find you a roommate.
- The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it. A minimum number of 12 is needed.
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy. Travel insurance is important nowadays. It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
- Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details.
The USHUAIA has been refurbished to accommodate a maximum of 90 passengers in 46 comfortable cabins and suites.
Originally built for the United States agency NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the ice-strengthened polar vessel USHUAIA is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline.
All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an open-plan observation lounge / lecture room with modern multimedia equipment, bar and a well-stocked library. There is also a changing room and a small infirmary. Our expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature. We provide a specialist team of international expedition leaders and lecturers, all extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. Our chefs prepare excellent cuisine including many local specialties and the bar is well-stocked with carefully selected wines and spirits.
FOUR DECKS – DINING ROOM (ONE OPEN SEATING) – OBSERVATION LOUNGE / LECTURE ROOM, BAR & LIBRARY – PANORAMA DECK – GIFT SHOP – INFIRMARY – ZODIACS
Life on board the USHUAIA
The following information is designed to answer any questions that you may have about the ship and life on board.
Explore the USHUAIA – details and images of the cabins and public areas.
Their ability to open whole new worlds of exploration make zodiacs the key to expedition cruising.
- All prices are per person twin share. Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies. Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably. AFS will find you a roommate match. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
- Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate.
- We write our itineraries over a year in advance. Though unlikely, we always reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary.
- Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!
AFS Antarctica Trip Tips 2020
Prepared to be thrilled by Antarctica, hypnotically beautiful with this towering blue icebergs, mountains soaring from the sea and pageant of wildlife. Each day is an Instagramable moment for your best photos ever. Our past AFS groups loved this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and you will too! We have a wonderful group of 28 AFS Travelers and you are the lucky ones. This sailing is completely sold out. I booked it a year ago with Antarrply grabbing 9 cabins, but was able to add a few more due to ship cancellations. Many more details to come as departure nears. At the bottom are Antarrply general trip tips. You should print those out.
Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information. Updates will be posted here. Please check back from time to time.
IMPORTANT PAYMENT DATES –
- FEB 1 2nd DEPOSIT: $1000
- MAY 20 3rd DEPOSIT $1000
- AUG 15 FINAL PAYMENT DUE
We prefer checks for Final Payment. Credit card fees are costly for a small company to absorb. While we build costs into smaller deposits, we incorporate a $60 credit card convenience fee as a line item on each invoice in order to defray processing costs. When paying by check, deduct this $60 amount.
Make your payment out to AFS or Adventures For Solo Travelers, 1907 Daniel Green Ct., Smyrna GA 30080. If you won a contest on a past trip and have a coupon, mail it in and we’ll process it just like a payment made by check. You may review at any time your balance, booking information, and profile after logging into www.afstravelers.com.
Your Fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader – not a guide, but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly). This original mini-group grew larger with people begging to go, I assigned Christy Hintz to be your group coordinator. You don’t really need a full-time GTL as you’re fully guided throughout your cruise with expert crew and
I must state everyone loves Christie and we are delighted she’s joined our GTL tribe! Meet Christie…After being widowed, five years ago, I decided to dip my toes into the waters of international travel. My first trip was to Africa with AFS! I was hooked. Five continents, over 50 countries and 19 AFS trips later, I’m still seeking adventure. From Mongolia to Patagonia, Papua New Guinea to Mozambique, awesome memories have been created. I love meeting the local people, and making new friends on my trips. Why did I wait so long to travel?
My four grown children and I live in sunny Florida. I am originally from Long Island, NY but moved to Florida in my twenties. I am a retired, special education teacher. But now I am more active than ever with free time to embrace new joys. I sang with a local band for over 15 years. Volunteering with mentally disabled adults and also at a Safe House for foster children fills my heart and my days. My mission is to share patience, kindness and laughter everywhere I go. I’m ready for the next adventure.
Where’s the Private Group Facebook Page? –
We will provide a Facebook group page link via email. Since this is a private group and these trip tips are posted online we need to limit who has access. Email us if you missed with the invite link.
Trip Prep –
- Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
- Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after your return date and has two blank pages. We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. All passports are collected upon embarkation and kept with the purser during the voyage. Passports must be kept for administrative and safe-keeping purposes.
- To speed through US Customs, download Mobile Passport. Look in your App Store for details.
- Notify bank and cc companies of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
- Visas – No visas are needed for US citizens for this trip.
Fitness level – 2 (No trouble walking or getting into dinghies)
Mandatory (Medical & Evac) Travel Insurance –
All visitors to Antarctica will be denied arrival unless proof of travel insurance including evacuation. See more below. Read Antarpply insurance below.
TravelSafe does not sell Antarctica insurance, which was new for 2020. Check these 2 sites – Squaremouth.com & insuremytrip.com. They provide a great overview of what coverage is available and at what price. And you can speak with a representative if needed. Just type in your trip information and get quotes immediately. You can then sort the quotes by the preferred benefits and compare policies as ‘apples to apples’.
Another affordable options are World Nomad https://www.worldnomads.com/usa/ or google “Antarctic Travel Insurance”
About Air – Roundtrip USA to Ushuaia (USH). Nov 30-DEC 11.
We normally present Group Air; however, we decided not to for this trip. You’re all coming from all over the USA and will get better rates from your home city round-trip to and from Ushuaia. Very easy. Google rates and discuss on Facebook. We have been getting away from group air recently and sometimes not offering Group Air on this as most do not want it. Most are finding better rates on their own direct from hometown and it lends you greater flexibility. Check search engines for best price. We like Google Flights or Skyscanner.com. If you need help getting your own air, call our friend Atik (Ah-tEEk) who’s an air expert.
Two best airlines Aerolines Argentina & LATAM (LATAM code shares with 11 airlines including DL) and offers free stopovers! Perhaps add a visit Buenos Aires, Santiago, Amazon or 7 other South American countries.
3 West 35th Street, 8th Floor, New York NY 10001
Direct 646 -520 3827
Toll-Free – 855 855 0210 – ext 227 or 279 Give him your exact airdates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.
Transfers- Transfers are simple. Taxis using a meter system to transfer between the airport and city center are a trustworthy option. A great planning resource for taxi transport is: www.taxifarefinder.com.
Embarkation: Land officially begins December 2, but go in a day early. Ushuaia is small. Walk or taxi to board ship here by 3:30 PM on Dec 2. You’ll get more on this in your docs a month prior.
Disembark ship December 11 at 8 – 8:30 AM. Antarpply recommends getting a return flight after 12 noon.
Emergency ship contact, +54 2901-4336 or 3643-6747
Ushuaia Hotels – We can’t choose a hotel and block rooms for you since all are doing own thing. Simply Google Ushuaia hotels. Most are very affordable.
Meet Up With Group- DEC 1 a time will be set to meet the group at the ship, the MV USHUAIA, for a briefing. We will give you group contact list later to meet before the cruise.
Accommodations – You’ll love our ice-breaker expedition ship that was just totally refurbished with all the amenities that you desire. Understand visitors are now restricted as to where they can go ashore each day. Our smaller ship lends us the greatest opportunity to explore. She only holds 88 passengers. Our expedition leaders are the best and have a passion for sharing their in-depth knowledge with you. You’ll learn much about marine biology in the evening lectures. Onboard, it’s laid back with an open bridge policy. Imagine your photos sitting next to the captain while watching whales play as you sail on. Our past AFS groups loved this line, not only just for their onboard service, but also because of their exceptional value. Our AFS adventure is half the cost of other voyages and we include port charges.
Life On Board –
The USHUAIA encourages you to take advantage of their open Bridge policy. During the days we are underway, the officers invite you to observe the navigational operations of the ship and will gladly answer any questions you may have when they are available at certain times.
Announcements & Wildlife Watch
All announcements are made via a Public Announcement (PA) system on board. During the time we are in areas where there is a possibility of sighting wildlife, the ships’ officers and staff are constantly on the lookout. Please don’t hesitate to report a sighting to the Bridge or staff! The Bridge announces interesting events and wildlife attractions regardless of hour.
The USHUAIA carries her own fleet of zodiacs and RIB’s. Zodiacs accommodate up to 12 guests and, in the hands of our skilled boatmen, are stable, safe and maneuverable. Constructed of high-performance plastimer fabrics, with several airtight compartments, they are easy to board and disembark. Their versatility and their ability to open whole new worlds of exploration make zodiacs the key to expedition cruising, enabling you to go ashore and investigate some of the world’s most unique regions. Instructions will be provided on how to properly embark and disembark these watercraft.
Daily Program & Itinerary Changes
Every evening at informal sessions held during cocktail hour, the GTL will summarize experiences ashore and update you on our plans for the next day. Included in the program is information about the next day’s activities, events, landing times, meal times, and lecturers. Weather and sea conditions play important roles in expeditionary cruising. All planned activities are subject to modification or cancellation due to changing weather and/or sea conditions.
The highest priority of the Captain is always safety for passengers and ship. Therefore, we might have to change the itinerary due to local conditions and unforeseeable reasons. Please be rest assured that the crew will do their utmost to offer you the best possible alternatives. Due to the expeditionary nature of this adventure, changes to the daily program may result due to sea, weather, ice and local conditions. Also, your GTL may deviate from the program to take advantage of unexpected opportunities such as wildlife sightings, advantageous sea conditions, or other local events. Any changes to the daily program will be announced over the PA system.
Lectures and Films Both lectures and films are offered in the observation lounge/lecture room with modern multimedia equipment on the Main Deck F. Passengers are encouraged to participate in all the ship’s activities, including the stimulating and informative lectures. Our team of lecturers will accompany you throughout your voyage. While they will give lectures and lead shore excursions, they will also be on hand to answer your questions and provide ready knowledge throughout the day. AFS has selected these lecturers for both their professional accomplishments and reputations. We hope you enjoy exploring with them.
Medical Facilities A qualified physician accompanies every voyage to provide both emergency and routine health care, including motion sickness treatment. The ship’s infirmary is located on Deck E. In case of emergency, please call the Bridge (phone #108).
There is a charge for this consultation: The ship’s infirmary: USD $20; Cabin: USD $25. There is an extra charge for medication. If you are in need of constant and/or special medication, please make sure you bring a sufficient supply.
Seasickness is an unpleasant, but treatable condition, and is treated free of charge aboard the ship. There are a variety of effective over-the-counter and prescription remedies. Remember that these treatments are generally most effective when taken BEFORE the onset of nausea. If you are prone to seasickness, consider taking a preventative before sailing or entering open seas. Other treatments include inter-dermal patches and bands. To avoid seasickness, limit your time below deck. Fresh air and watching the horizon can help allay symptoms.
Baggage – Think light to ease your burden – not like you’re fleeing your homeland, and note there is limited space in cabins. This trip involves packing multiple layers agreeable to adventure/expedition travel but that also ensure ease of comfort and warmth.1 carry-on bag & 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45 lbs are standard. Weigh on a bathroom scale.
If you pack pre- or post- trip luggage, please make plans in advance as to where to stow excess baggage. Be sure to attach an ID tag to both pieces of luggage. Leave space for great souvenirs and gifts.
Don’t Over Pack!
Packing – Winter clothing and layering. Bring a water resistant parka, rain pants and daypack. You can rent all winter gear and parka in town so you don’t have to pack such. See details in tips below.
Waterproof/windproof jacket, waterproof walking shoes, woolen clothing, fleece, thermals, thick socks, sunglasses, snow goggles, camera with a waterproof bag, binoculars, sun protection, hat, face mask, trekking pole, and moisturizer/lip balm. A supply of free rubber boots or Wellingtons is available onboard and includes a wide variety of sizes up to size 11. It is recommended that you bring your own only if you require a special size.
Weather – ANT is at its warmest in December with average day temps being in the low 30’s! Check Google Weather for climate a week prior to departure.
Electric – Cell phones and tablets don’t need a voltage converter, but you will need an adapter plug. Correct wall plugs in Ushuaia and aboard the ship are two associated plug types, types C and I. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type I is the plug which has three flat pins in a triangular pattern. Argentina operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50H. Onboard, cabins are fitted with multi-type sockets suitable for several international plugs. However, it is recommended to bring any special adapters with you as only a limited number can be borrowed on board. Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. AFSers often leave charger cords in their rooms, so be sure to double-check your room before check out
Money Matters – **YOU WILL NEED SOME CASH**…for personal tipping, meals, onboard, and shopping in Ushuaia – $300 USD (in small bills) should suffice. I convert half of it upon entry.
This should be more than sufficient, as we will be navigating through isolated areas where spending opportunities are rare. For services rendered aboard the ship, you will be provided with a personal account using a “chit” system. Your purchases will be kept on record and totaled at the end of your voyage. Your account must be settled prior to disembarkation in cash, or if you prefer to pay by credit card, please advise the Hotel Manager at the beginning of the voyage. Currency accepted aboard the USHUAIA are the US Dollar and Euro. MasterCard and American Express are also accepted. Please note that for credit card payments made on the ship, a minimum charge of USD $100 is required.
Before cruise – Be cautious withdrawing local currency from an ATM. The safest ATMs to withdraw from are at airports, banks, or hotels. Independent ones are risky. Always shield your pin number when entering info. Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I use my credit card for most purchases. Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.
Currency – Current Exchange Rate (approximate)
$1 USD= 57.66 Argentinean Pesos
Follow the link https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates to create a conversion cheat sheet.
Gratuities It’s protocol to tip our local guides, naturalists, lecturers, experts, zodiac drivers, assistants, staff, etc. The customary gratuity to the ship’s service personnel is made as a blanket contribution at the end of the voyage and is divided among the crew. You will receive detailed guidelines aboard.
Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. As a generally accepted guideline, we suggest USD $15 per person per day. Bring envelope of $120 of tens and twenties in NEWER bills. USD in cash are appreciated – unfortunately, credit cards cannot be accepted for gratuities.
Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly. All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I personally carry a stash of $USD ones in an envelope to draw from as needed.
Communication – The USHUAIA is equipped with the INMARSAT system, which allows direct communication with the ship by telephone from any location in the world. Onboard you will find a list of important numbers and instructions for the use of your phone in the folder in your cabin. Costs will be charged to your cabin at USD $4 per minute and will be paid at the end of your voyage.
Passengers may use dedicated computers to access the internet and to check their personal emails. You can purchase an internet code at the rate of $10 for 30 minutes internet access. Please note that there is no Wi-Fi available. However, there will be a lack of such service when being way down South in Antarctica.
Want affordable data in other countries abroad? We’ve been using Skyroam. All the data you want to use Bluetooth for to access your devices is for just $10 per day. See https://www.skyroam.com for details.
Be Smart – “Avoid Hackers on Vacation,” experts say! Thieves not only want your money, but also your hard-earned frequent flyer points. Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN. It’s worth the cost. In ship or hotel rooms, hide iPads or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
- If you stay in Ushuaia or at any other stopover destination, grab a hotel business card before heading out in case you get lost.
- Pickpockets are everywhere – especially at night. Never carry your passport outside of your room.
- Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water. Eat clean food and avoid street vendors while in towns/cities.
Websites of Interest – Google these sites for awesome in-depth info…
Cuisine – Food from the Tierra del Fuego (Fuegian food) is influenced heavily by natural resources. In Ushuaia, you cannot go wrong with savoring any fish or seafood! Natural king crab is one of the most popular specialties, as is Fuegian lamb cooked over a parilla. Amuse bouche (poached egg with sliced portabella mushroom) is a savory appetizer. Octoups and the Merluza Negra (sea bass), and cholgas (large mussels) are also delicious entrees. The food aboard the MV USHUAIA is excellent! The dining room on the Main Deck F comfortably accommodates all guests at a single, open seating for all meals and guest tables are unassigned. The menu is posted outside every day. With advance notice, the Executive Chef will happily accommodate a variety of special dietary requests. Please note to inform AFS of dietary restrictions three weeks prior to your departure at the latest.
Lunch and dinner are sit down 3 course meals. Meal sizes are generous and there is always more for those who are still hungry. Snacks (biscuits, sandwiches, and hot chocolate) are provided around 4:30-5:00 PM after returning from zodiac activities.
Tea, coffee and fruit are available 24/7 in the lounge area. Alcoholic beverages are available 24/7 with staff remembering what everyone’s usual is and having it ready. If you purchase a bottle of wine, the staff will label it and store any leftovers.
Leisure Time – AFS travelers revel in the element of surprise in new destinations and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Ushuaia: From the Canal Beagle, to the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, there are so many pristine and mesmerizing vistas to explore! Check out cool places to visit while in Ushuaia at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g312855-Activities-Ushuaia_Province_of_Tierra_del_Fuego_Patagonia.html
Rather than pre-book with Viator or other, easy to book half day tours at tour offices in town. – Ferry tours, hiking, canoeing, end of world train, 4×4 jeeps, museums, and more.
Dining – Best king crab and sea bass on planet. Imbibe at the new Ice Bar.
Wildlife- Our past groups saw every creature including huge whales along our boat! Captain will announce sightings. Look for humpbacks, fur seals, elephant seal, Weddell seal, black albatross and penguins; Magellanic, rockhopper, chinstrap, gentoo.
Arranging Pre- or Post- Trip Plans – We often see AFSers on your Private Facebook Page urging others to join them in traveling to other countries before or after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this nor is responsible for side trips.
Emergency Contact – In case of emergency while aboard, please call the Bridge (phone #108). When in port, please contact the watchman at the gangway. Please also call the AFS phone at: 770-432-8225, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your GTL can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own cell phone.
Cancellation Penalty – This trip is different. No refunds after initial deposit.
Travel Psychology 101
Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that whenever you travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit. If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?…The unexpected may prove to be a better experience. Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude.
Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness. (This goes for your roommate, too. Most of us are used to living on our own; but, have fun while being accommodating and patient when sharing a room with another fellow traveler). Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.
The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy
“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make it’s own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman
Cool Articles for Exploring Your Destination –
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ARGENTINA
Important! We strongly recommend that you arrive in Ushuaia a day or two before embarkation to have some additional time in case of flight delays and lost luggage. There is plenty to see and to explore in the southernmost city of the world. Please note that embarkation is at 4 pm and the USHUAIA will sail at 6 pm and cannot wait for missing passengers or luggage.
- · Most Passports must be valid 3 months beyond intended stay (6 months if you are joining us for our CLASSIC SOUTH GEORGIA voyage)
- · No Visa Required for stay up to 3 months. See further information below.
- · Vaccinations – International Certificate of Vaccination required for Yellow Fever if arriving from infected
area within 5 days. See further information on the following page.
The requirements and information listed above are to help you in preparing for your expedition. Requirements are for most European and U.S. Citizens only. If you are not a European or U.S. Citizen other documents, in addition to a valid passport, may be required. Citizens of countries other than Europe and the United States should consult the appropriate consulate or their travel agents; a visa may be required for entry. It is the sole responsibility of the passenger to ensure all required documents are complete and current.
Other citizens from different nationalities are asked for a visa to enter Argentina. Please see the official list at http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/indexdnm.php?visas.
The visa requirement for Chinese citizens, among other nationalities, has been waived for those holding a United States or Schengen visa. These citizens are allowed to enter Argentina after completing an „Electronic Travel Authorization‟(ETA) form online. It is mandatory that the forms and payment are completed online in advance, in order to receive the above mentioned authorization before your arrival in Argentina. The lack of any form or proof of payment will generate denial for entry and consequent return to their departure city by the airline. For further information please refer to http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/ave/index.htm
Health and Vaccination Information
- YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION – None required unless you arrive from an infected area. · MALARIA – Malaria exists in rural areas near Bolivian Border, Salta and Jujuy Provinces.
· CHOLERA – Cholera is reported in certain areas of the country.
This information is provided for your guidance only; certain exceptions may apply. Please contact your personal physician for individual concerns. In addition to your physician, a good source of health information for travelers is the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta; you can find them online at www.cdc.gov. The CDC also operates a “Travelers Hotline” at the following number: 1-877-394-8747.
Insurance Antarpply Expeditions requests their passengers to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancellation and mandatory medical evacuation and repatriation coverage with a minimum of US$100,000.
Our expedition to Antarctica takes place during the Austral summer. Generally, temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula are between 20°F and 40°F (approximately –5 C to + 5C). Although it can be quite sunny, expect rain, snow, fog and a high wind-chill factor.
You will have the opportunity to take some marvelous photographs including stunning scenery and the incredible abundance of wildlife.
Here are a few points for photography worth bearing in mind:
- · Check that your camera is working well before you leave home!
- · Bring some extra memory cards if you have a digital camera. If you‟re using film, take as many pictures as you can… and keep in mind that you go through a lot of film in Antarctica!
- · It is good to have two cameras, spare batteries and lenses from 28mm to 200mm telephoto, or if you have up to 500mm for close ups. Be aware that some batteries may not have a good performance in cold weather.
- · Favorite lenses are: 20-35 mm, 35-70mm, and 80-200mm. It is not recommended to change your lenses outdoors, or you may get moisture or condensation inside the camera.
- · We do not recommend using a polarizer. It takes the sparkle away from the ice and snow, which brings the ice alive. Also, the skies get too dark, almost black.
- · Telephoto is great here to capture the distant animals. Respect their homes and get close via zoom. Don’t forget the wide-angle lens to capture the real expanse and vastness that is found nowhere else.
- · Many digital compact cameras now have a snow scene mode. Set the camera to this if it has one.
- · If it is available on your digital camera, it is recommended to shoot in RAW to be able to do some editing
- · If you are very serious about getting excellent shots, a tripod gives you more potential but it certainly is not mandatory.
- · Be aware that Antarctic conditions can be very harsh on camera equipment. Please aim to carry plenty of protection for your camera against salt spray, snow or rain. Please bring a sealable „Pelican Case‟, a waterproof day pack or „dry bags‟, but do not bring lightweight plastic or rubbish bags because its too easy for such bags to blow away in contravention of our obligation under the Antarctic Treaty.
- · Weatherproof protectors and containers are recommended for your gear and also your memory cards storage.
- · Also keep with you a soft lens tissue or microfiber cloth to clean your lens if necessary.
- · Digital cameras allow photographers to capture images on flashcards instantaneously. We have a computer for our passengers use. Nevertheless, we recommend that you bring your own laptop and enough chips or cards as a backup just in case you cannot download your pictures on board due to any technical incompatibility, or merely due to lack of time to download them between landings.
- · Unfortunately drones or UAVs are not welcome on board the USHUAIA as we are not allowed to operate these according to the IAATO guidelines.
Most importantly: Forget the camera from time to time and just enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife!
PACKING LIST: ANTARCTICA
To help you prepare for your expedition, we have prepared a list of recommended items to pack. Please keep in mind this list is simply a guideline, which you may choose to modify to fit your individual comfort needs.
Please also see “How to dress in Antarctica” (Powerpoint slideshow) prepared by one of our Expedition Leaders, Agustín Ullman, which shows you the best way to keep warm!
EXPEDITION CLOTHING (Comfortable, Durable & Loose) Waterproof Gear:
- · Rain jacket
- · Waterproof trousers
- · Rubber boots
Pull-on, unlined, knee-high boots are required for wet landings. Boots must be 14”-16” high with strong, rubber-ridge, non-skid soles. These specifications are very important. You may be stepping into water up to 10” deep on wet landings. Moon or leather boots are NOT appropriate.
A supply of rubber boots or Wellingtons, are available on board the USHUAIA and includes a wide variety of sizes. It is recommended that you bring your own only if you require a special size. Please note that the boots on board have been used by previous passengers.
- · Parka (Water-repellent hooded parka)
- · Waterproof gloves or mittens
- · Hat, scarf, or other face protection
- · Jacket or sweaters
It is best to bring at least one lightweight and one heavy jacket or sweater. Sweatshirts, turtlenecks, and fleece pullovers are also good Insulators. Layering with wool, silk or synthetics fabrics, rather than cotton, is recommended.
- · Woollen socks
- · Warm pants
- · Thermal or long underwear
- · Light-weight shirts and T-shirts
Clothing on board:
Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended for the vessel. Appropriate footwear includes at least one pair of deck-type, rubber-soled shoes.
- · Sunscreen and lip protection (Minimum SPF 15)
- · Sunglasses
- · Binoculars
- · Plastic bags (Plastic zip-lock bags will protect your camera and binoculars from wave splash and spray while in Zodiacs)
- · Backpack
EXPEDITION CLOTHING & GEAR FOR RENT IN USHUAIA
Antarpply Expeditions has partnered with Adventure Gear Rentals services to provide quality, reliable rentals with convenient delivery options.
Please note, Wellingtons, size 35 (US4) up to size 45 (US11), are available onboard the USHUAIA free of change but are not insulated and sizes cannot be reserved in advance.
Orders must be placed online at https://www.adventuregearrentals.com/antarpply/ at least two weeks before your embarkation date to ensure the delivery of items. Rental items will be delivered to you at the ship or to your hotel in Ushuaia prior to boarding the ship. They will be collected from you when you disembark at the end of your voyage.
READING GUIDE ANTARCTICA
Here is a brief selection of favorite, new and hard-to-find books, prepared for your journey. We have included Amazon US links to purchase them from, but of course, they will also be available in good independent bookshops.
Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
History | 2015 | PAPER | 416 pages | Favorite
Lansing’s gripping day-by-day story of Shackleton’s legendary perseverance is essential reading for any Antarctic traveler. This 100th anniversary edition is outfitted with maps, an expanded selection of Frank Hurley’s photographs and an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick.
Penguins of the World
Natural History | 2007 | PAPER | 176 pages | Favorite
Lynch weaves delightful tales of penguins, their habitats and habits, with hundreds of glorious full-color photographs.
The Oceanites Site Guide to the Antarctic Peninsula
Guidebook | 2005 | FLEXI-BOUND | 129 pages | Hard to Find
This guide, which supports the Antarctic Site Inventory Project, covers 40 prime visitor sites in detail. It also includes some of the best photography we’ve seen. Second edition.
Antarctica, A Guide to the Wildlife
Field Guide | 2013 | PAPER | 160 pages
Designed for the field, this compact handbook features all the species of birds, seals and whales the traveler is likely to encounter on an Antarctic voyage.
Antarctic Explorer Map
British Antarctic Survey – Adrian Fox
Antarctic Peninsula: A Visitor’s Guide Guidebook
Guidebook| 2013 | HARDCOVER | 128 pages
The essential companion for anyone visiting this special place. It describes and explains the geographical setting, climate and weather, geology, glaciology, and much more, and includes the location of research stations and historic
Reference | 2009 | MAP | 1 page
A full-color map of the Antarctic Peninsula, including Tierra del Fuego, the Falklands and South Georgia, at a scale of 1:2,750,000. With a map of the Antarctic continent on the reverse.
This collection of previously unpublished photographs captures everyday moments, sprawling landscapes and candid portraits from 1957 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, as well as the reflections of explorers and polar experts.
1912, The Year the World Discovered Antarctica
Exploration | 2013 | PAPER | 358 pages
Turney looks at the great leap forward in Antarctic science that was made 100 years ago with the expeditions of not just Scott and Amundsen but also those of Mawson, Filchner and Shirase. A brisk and engaging history of science and exploration in the Antarctic. An Australian scientist himself, Turney sees Mawson as the scientific hero of the age. Amazon US
Art & Architecture | 2016 | HARDCOVER | 334 pages
Large-format photographer Arnold Zageris presents the splendors of Antarctica in a gorgeous coffee table book. He shows Antarctica as a land of superlatives, home to the most delicate ice crystals, most relentless storms and the tallest ice peaks on Earth.
Exploration | 2014 | HARDCOVER | 272 pages
In this unique memoir of adventure and discovery, based on the PBS documentary, veteran polar explorer Tim Jarvis retraces for the first time the epic 1914 expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton in his inspiring attempt to cross the Antarctic continent.
Frank Hurley (Photographer), Ernest Shackleton
South, The Illustrated Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917
Exploration | 2016 | HARDCOVER | 384 pages
A special edition of the adventure survival classic, this work pairs Shackleton’s original chronicle (ANT61) with photos by expedition photographer Frank Hurley.
Sophie Gordon, David Hempleman-Adams, Emma Stuart
The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic Photography
Exploration | 2009 | HARDCOVER | 240 pages
Here in one handsome book are hundreds of haunting photographs by Herbert George Ponting and Frank Hurley, drawn from the albums they created during the two most famous Antarctic explorations. The stunning images are accompanied by lively essays, maps, paintings and other ephemera from the Royal Collection.
The Last Place on Earth, Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole
Exploration | 1999 | PAPER | 576 pages | Favorite
Igniting huge controversy when it first appeared, Huntford’s rousing dual biography contrasts Amundsen’s well- planned campaign to achieve the Pole with Scott’s ill-fated quest.
Cruising to the ‘end of the world’ and Earth’s southernmost city: Ushuaia, Argentina