Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent

11 days

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Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this expedition offers you the chance
to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where Mother Nature creates the rules—her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal.

Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through sea ice that crackles like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, experience exhilarating adventures and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. 

 
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Itinerary

DAY 1 Ushuaia, Argentina

With a population of more than 63,000, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. Although the city has grown during the past few years, it retains an easygoing and accessible feel. Surrounded by the sea to the south and the mountains to the north, Ushuaia is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. If you arrive early, you can spend time in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy Argentine wines and barbecues in the city, or
visit the many boutiques and cafés before you leave for your expedition to Antarctica. 

DAY 2 Embarkation Day

Dates Available: November 2018 - February 2019

Costs: Starting at $6,895 (varies based on dates and room occupancy)

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail through the historic Beagle Channel. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you’ll see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent! 

DAYS 3 AND 4 Crossing the Drake Passage

Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing, as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates while your Expedition Team provides safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead. 

DAYS 5 TO 8 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience. Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront
of our minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points o ering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Danco Island, affords us the opportunity to visit a penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here, you’ll have the choice between hiking to the island’s summit or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach, enjoying the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets! Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour. Each day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world. 

DAYS 9 AND 10 Crossing the Drake Passage

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences. 

DAY 11 Disembarkation in Ushuaia

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your ights home. 

 

Adventure Options

Booking an Adventure Option as part of your expedition is a great way to enhance your polar experience. These options are subject to availability and fill up quickly, so be sure to book yours early. Please note that Adventure Options are weather dependent.

SEA KAYAKING

Imagine gliding across the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers! Our sea kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage during landings, taking advantage of the best opportunities, as kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. We recommend that you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit.

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We advise that sea kayaking in polar waters is not an activity for first-time paddlers. Beginners interested in kayaking should take an introductory kayaking course prior to their voyage. In addition, regardless of your experience, we recommend kayaking lessons for a minimum of three hours in preparation for your expedition. To maximize your enjoyment and your overall experience, it is of the utmost importance that you be comfortable while kayaking.

CAMPING

Treat yourself to an overnight camping adventure in Antarctica! This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in an intimate manner, and take your expedition to the next level. Camping is available on most early season Antarctic voyages. A camping safety briefing onboard gets you fully prepped and ready for a night sleeping under the stars. Dress warmly and eat a hearty meal before you head out, as no meals are allowed on land. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. Our popular camping options have limited availability, varying by ship. You will need to complete a waiver form before being considered for this Adventure Option.

STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING

Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Taken in small groups—on calm bays and harbors in good weather conditions—and accompanied by a Zodiac, our paddleboarding adventures can be booked in advance (limited availability), and after the first successful outing, will be offered via sign-up onboard ship on a first-come, first-served basis for any subsequent outings.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES

Many recreational pastimes are offered free on all voyages. Morning and afternoon excursions to cruise the waters
via Zodiac or explore on shore are part of the regular daily schedule. Hikes are led by experienced staff, and groups are organized by fitness level. Be sure to take your camera with you—photography is very much a part of the big picture. Presentations and lectures are slotted into the late afternoon and after dinner, when everyone is back on board.

OTHER EQUIPMENT ON BOARD

Walking poles are also provided at each landing for your convenience. Snowshoes may also be provided when conditions are favorable. This equipment is available at no cost. 

Inclusions

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THIS EXPEDITION INCLUDES

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  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
  • Beer and wine during dinner
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • Photography guide on Expedition Team
  • Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • A hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • Comprehensive predeparture materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • All gratuities
  • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
  •  Group transfer in Ushuaia from the airport to the pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
  • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia, with breakfast
  • Group transfer from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day
  • Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport

This expedition excludes

  • International airfare
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Optional adventure activities