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Classic Antarctica Classic Antarctica
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Whatever your mind’s eye picture of Antarctica, the reality will exceed it. The landscapes will be more outlandish, the wildlife richer, the environment more extreme.

Classic Antarctica will take you from eager anticipation, to a world far beyond anything you could have expected.

Sailing southwards from Tierra del Fuego you’ll encounter the wild environment that is the South Shetland Islands; territory belonging to supremely adapted creatures like elephant seals, weighing more than two Minis, giant petrels and thousands upon thousands of chinstrap and Adélie penguins.

Voyage still further south to the Antarctic Peninsula and you enter the realm of minke and vast humpback whales (depending on the time of year!) Imagine standing on deck, watching these leviathans crashing out of the water in mountainous cascades of spray, as you cruise past gigantic icebergs serenely gliding north from the ice cap.

This is classic Antarctica at its bewildering, beautiful best.

Shore visits are included but depend on weather conditions. Extra excursions vary with different itineraries and weather, and could typically include:

  • Kayaking to icebergs and floes
  • Camping on the polar ice
  • Hiking

A variety of ships operate their own take on the 'Classic' itinerary, which start and end in Ushuaia. They operate from November to March and normally are 10-12 days in length.

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.  

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Day 1

Ushuaia

Ushuaia

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America.

Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. 

Day 2-3 Sailing the Drake Passage to Antarctica
Sailing the Drake Passage to Antarctica

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.

Day 4-7 Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctic Peninsula
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. There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping here, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore.

Day 8 South Shetlands
South Shetlands
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 hot springs, 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. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.
Day 9-10 Sailing the Drake Passage to Ushuaia
Sailing the Drake Passage to Ushuaia

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.

Day 11

Ushuaia

Ushuaia

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

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  • I am unable to express sufficiently my thanks and admiration for the constant care and organisation you put into this journey.

    -
    DH, Argentina