Call to inquire about booking  770-432-8225  One Plus cabin available

 WAITLIST 

All must login to Book or Wait

Antarctica-solo-group-tour

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.

New AFS Classic Antarctica

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.

 

Call to inquire about booking  770-432-8225 WAITLIST  

Ernest Shackleton

New AFS Classic Antarctica

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.

Classic Antarctica

Expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.  Aboard the USHUAIA

solo group Antarctic

5 reasons to go to Antarctica
From Wanderlust Magazine

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.

2. You can witness world-class wildlife#solotravel

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

photographersIt’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.

Adventure

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.

Wildlife

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.

History

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.

Inspiration

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  

Download printable PDF itinerary

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.

Dec 1: 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 2 – 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 3 & 4  – 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 5-8   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 09- 10  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 11 – Our ship arrives at Ushuaia in the early morning Dec 11. We will have a final breakfast aboard before disembarking and heading home.

Limited to only 20 participants.

 WAITLIST  

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 (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 20 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.

  •  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!

The USHUAIA has been refurbished to accommodate a maximum of 90 passengers in 46 comfortable cabins and suites.

The USHUAIA

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.

Facilities
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.

solotourDeck plan and Cabins

Explore the USHUAIA – details and images of the cabins and public areas.

Zodiacs

Their ability to open whole new worlds of exploration make zodiacs the key to expedition cruising.

Deckplan

  •  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!

#sologrouptravel