Depart on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires (National Geographic Explorer) or Santiago (National Geographic Orion). Settle into the Sofitel Buenos Aires before seeing the city’s Beaux-Arts palaces and the famous balcony associated with Eva Peron. Or settle in to Santiago’s Grand Hyatt Hotel before our guided overview of this vibrant city backed by the inspiring Andes.
This morning’s charter flight offers some rare views of Patagonia en route to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Take a catamaran cruise through Patagonia’s scenic Beagle Channel before embarking our ship.
Awake well into our journey across the Drake Passage—a milestone in any adventurer's personal travel history—with time to hear talks preparing you for the exciting days ahead.
With long daylight hours, we make the most of our six days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. In keeping with the nature of an expedition, our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected—pausing to watch whales off the bow, taking an after-dinner Zodiac cruise or an extra landing during the day. Those interested may have the opportunity to kayak.
We anticipate making several landings each day in Zodiacs to explore this vast land. Depending on weather and sea conditions, we plan to make some or all of the following stops:
The bay is aptly named because the surrounding mountains look as though they rise straight to heaven. Stretch your legs on a hike to a nearby summit for a breathtaking view, or slip into a kayak to quietly paddle along a cliffside rookery in search of blue-eyed shags.
Lemaire Channel and Petermann Island
Cruise through the narrow Lemaire Channel between towering snow-covered mountains and spectacular blue icebergs. Step ashore at Petermann Island to the cries of thousands of gentoo penguins that stand along the coast as if awaiting your arrival.
Drop anchor in beautiful Neko Harbor. Enjoy an up close encounter with the penguins on the beach or climb high onto an ice field for a panoramic vista of untouched peaks surrounding this idyllic bay.
Historic Port Lockroy
The great French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot named Port Lockroy a century ago. In 1944 the British government instituted the top-secret expedition code-named Operation Tabarin, creating a series of base stations in Antarctica. Base A, at Port Lockroy, was the first and now serves as a museum and Antarctica's only public post office where we can send mail to be postmarked in Antarctica.
Watch for whales from the ship's bridge, attend talks by our experts, and enjoy the amenities on board.
The following days are devoted to exploring the magnificent coastline of South Georgia Island. The schedule is flexible, and throughout our journey there will be opportunities for walking, hiking, kayaking, and taking Zodiac excursions. Depending on weather and sea conditions, we plan to make some or all of the following stops:
King Haakon Bay
This is the site of Shackleton's landfall after his rigorous voyage in the 23-foot lifeboat, James Caird. The untouched beaches, headlands, mountains, glaciers, and nesting wandering albatrosses are a great introduction to the wilds of South Georgia.
Wander on foot, visiting the ruins of the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken and its fine museum about whaling and the island's natural history. A host of seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals can be seen as we hike along the coast to the cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
Salisbury Plain/Elsehul Bay
At the height of breeding season, the northern tip of South Georgia is said to have more wildlife per square foot than any place else on Earth. We are likely to be greeted by thousands of king penguins. Visit a colony of wandering albatrosses and see colorfully crested macaroni penguins, fur and elephant seals, and gray-headed and black-browed albatrosses on their nests.
Right Whale Bay
Land on black-sand beaches, inhabited by southern fur seals, elephant seals, and king penguins, plus dozens of other bird species.
St. Andrews Bay
St. Andrews Bay is teeming with wildlife. Hike past fur and elephant seals and a colony of more than 200,000 king penguins.
Gold Harbour is home to elephant seals, thousands of fur seals and tens of thousands of penguins, including a colony of aristocratic king penguins.
Whalers once sought shelter in this small bay. Here we are likely to encounter king, gentoo, and macaroni penguins; prions; petrels; and terns; and perhaps Weddell seals.
Stromness offers views of cliffs and glaciers that legendary captain Ernest Shackleton and his companions descended to complete their famed crossing with the Endurance in 1916. Shackleton and a crew of five men had set sail in a 22-foot wooden sailboat on a 700-mile voyage across the Southern Oceanâa journey that became one of the most incredible stories of survival at sea. Explore the glacier's ice face by Zodiac. Walk along a pebble beach, passing king and gentoo penguins, and hundreds of fur seals.
Enjoy talks by our experts and National Geographic photographer, and unwind in the spa, library, or on deck.
Dock in Port Stanley, and stroll along the streets lined with Victorian-style houses. See an archway made of whalebone at the Anglican Cathedral, and visit the Falkland Islands Museum. Hike and kayak along rocky coasts, spotting Magellanic penguins burrowing in tussock grass, herds of enormous elephant seals, and the largest albatross colony in the world.
On our final day at sea, enjoy one last chance to view the marine life of these southern waters. Toast our epic voyage at a festive farewell dinner tonight.
Disembark in Ushuaia with time to explore before our charter flight to Buenos Aires or Santiago. Continue on an overnight flight to the U.S.