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Set sail aboard the National Geographic Orion on an epic transatlantic voyage and cover over 7,000 nautical miles between two continents. From Lisbon to Cape Verde to the tip of South America, traverse more than 90 degrees of latitude on a journey which recalls the golden age of exploration. It’s a voyage rarely undertaken these days and one that provides ample time to relax, read, and enjoy the many amenities on board our state-of-the-art expedition ship. As we journey south, take part in an engaging Skills@Sea program that provides all manner of rewarding activities, from immersing yourself in the distinctions of fine wines, to learning the art of travel writing, photography, navigation, cooking, and more.
Discover the remote and geologically stunning island of Santo Antão in the Cape Verde archipelago; step ashore at Isla Magdalena, home to 120,000 nesting Magellanic penguins; and explore historic Punta Arenas.
Enjoy a rich program of lectures by an expert team of naturalists, historians, and writers, including courses taught by National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Andrew Evans; oceanographer Jim Kelley; and author Jack Davis, one of the world’s leading experts on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
Attend cooking and baking demonstrations with the National Geographic Orion’s chef and chief baker, and take part in wine tastings and discussions with our onboard wine specialist.
Spin the globe and participate in a National Geographic geo bee with a total prize of $10,000 in travel vouchers, and enjoy your choice of a complimentary wellness treatment at the ship’s spa.
Itinerary - 27 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Lisbon, Portugal
Depart on an overnight flight, arriving to Lisbon in the morning. Transfer to the National Geographic Orion, where lunch awaits. Set sail in the early afternoon.
(Day 2: L, D)
Days 3 through 7 — At Sea, Northern Hemisphere
As we set a southern course toward the Cape Verde Islands, settle into the rhythm of life aboard the National Geographic Orion. Get to know your expedition staff and fellow travelers, and head up to the bridge to meet the captain and his officers. Join our naturalists on deck to scan for marine mammals and seabirds, and enjoy engaging presentations on a wide range of subjects, from the history of 15th-century Portuguese and Spanish navigators to talks from our photography team on how to organize and share your images. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Santo Antão, Cape Verde
Arrive in the isolated Cape Verde archipelago, one of the world’s smallest independent nations. See impressive landscapes on Santo Antão, where terraced hillsides give way to deep valleys and thick eucalyptus forests. Travel by van over cobblestone roads to the summit of the island. Choose a challenging hike down the crater of an extinct volcano, through the lush, sub-tropical Paul Valley to a remote village for a traditional lunch. Alternatively, take a scenic island drive along the rim of the caldera to the north side of the island, where small huts cling to the steep, terraced terrain. Stop for lunch at a charming villa in the valley of Ribeira Grande, and taste the local spirit known as grogue before returning to the ship in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)
Days 9 through 12 — At Sea: Crossing the Equator
Navigate south across the Equatorial Countercurrent, and celebrate our equator crossing as mariners have for centuries. If conditions permit, we may launch Zodiacs mid-ocean for an equator crossing to remember. Spend time on deck, soaking up the sea air, mild weather, and beautiful views, perhaps with a book or a drink in hand. Tap into the tonic of wellness during on board yoga and sauna sessions. Plus, enjoy your choice of a rejuvenating wellness treatment at the spa—it’s on us. (B,L,D)
Days 13 through 25 — At Sea, Southern Hemisphere
As we continue south, search for wintering humpback whales along the Abrolhos Shelf off the coast of Brazil. Look for marine life on deck, peruse the books in the library, or visit the fitness center. Attend talks by our Lightroom Photo Specialist, and benefit from the time and expertise of a mentor to help you edit your photos. Spend evenings stargazing on deck learning about the southern constellations. (B,L,D)
Day 26 — Punta Arenas, Chile
Be on deck this morning as the National Geographic Orion navigates the Stait of Magellan en route to Isla Magdalena. Spend the morning ashore at the Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos (Penguins Natural Monument), home to 120,000 nesting Magellanic penguins. One of the largest and most important Magellanic penguin breeding colonies in the world, the reserve abounds with fantastic photo opportunities. This afternoon, the Orion will dock in Punta Arenas, where we’ll explore the historic city center, Plaza de Armas, and a local handicraft market. Visit the Patagonia Institute and the Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum learn the region’s ethnology, archaeology, and wildlife. Alternatively, go for a hike in the Magallanes National Reserve, which offers outstanding views of Punta Arenas and the valley below. (B,L,D)
Day 27 — Punta Arenas, Chile
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for an overnight flight home. Guests who have booked the Torres del Paine extension, and those wishing to be our guest for two extra nights, remain aboard as the National Geographic Orion navigates the western reaches of the Strait of Magellan.
(B,L,D; Disembarking guests: B,L)
Day 28 — Kirke Narrows/Puerto Natales
Join our naturalists on deck this morning as the National Geographic Orion navigates the Kirke Narrows at the southern end of the Chilean Fjords. This narrow passage can only be transited in daylight and at slack tide by smaller vessels, and is one of two passages providing access to Puerto Natales. Arrive at Puerto Natales at midday, and disembark to continue on the Torres del Paine extension. Or, be our guest for a night at a local hotel before transferring back to Punta Arenas the following day and connecting to your flight home.
Hotel Singular (B,L,D)
Book now and we will waive the 50% solo premium for independent travelers—a savings of up to
Complimentary Bar Tab and Gratuities
Book this voyage and we'll cover your bar tab on board and all tips for the crew.
Offers are for new bookings only and are subject to availability. Please call for details.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.