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Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands

M/V Ortelius M/V Ortelius

Priced from $7,200   Days: 11

If you want to visit the Antarctic Peninsula to see penguins as well as other wildlife, but your time and budget are limited, this is the expedition for you.  On this 11 day cruise you will have ample opportunity for wildlife viewing as you cross the Drake Passage and as you sail around the Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.  On this voyage, you will probably see Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, Weddell and crabeater seals, humpback, minke, and fin whales, and countless birds including  brown skuas, imperial shags, antarctic terns, storm petrels, and cape pigeons.

You will also have several opportunities to set foot on Continental Antarctica, where few humans have ever been.  You will visit several active research stations and an abandoned whaling station, you will have opportunities to kayak and hike as weather conditions permit, and you will sail through the famed Neptune Bellows.

In the High Antarctic, you will explore stunningly beautiful waters by Zodiac, marveling at the colors of the ice in glaciers and icebergs all around.  In short, you will experience Antarctica - and for a lot less money than you may think.

  • Itinerary
  • Date & Rates
  • Vessel
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Day 1: Ushuaia

We embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. In the evening, we sail through the scenic Beagle Channel, headed for Drake Passage.

Days 2 and 3: At sea

We navigate the Drake Passage, crossing the Antarctic Convergence.  As we approach, we will spot our first icebergs. We may see several species of albatrosses, including gray headed, wandering, black- browed, and sooty albatrosses. Other seabirds include Cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels and antarctic petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.

Days 4 – 8: Antarctica

We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, past the Melchior Islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island.  On Cuverville Island, we will find a large colony of Gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas. Conditions permitting, we may land on Danco Island where we will be able to observe chinstrap penguins as well as crabeater and Weddell seals.  As we enter Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the actual Antarctic Continent itsell, in a landscape of enormous calving glaciers. We will explore by Zodiac here, and continue our exploration in Paradise Bay, where the deef cut fjords are filled with numerous icebergs.  In this area, we are likely to see humpback and minke whales.

As we sail through the beautiful Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island, we will see Adelie penguins and blue-eyed shags. In this area we will also have a good chance of seeinging humpback, minke, and also fin whales.  A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you some insight about the day to day life of Antarcticans working on this remote continent. Further south we may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where we will receive a warm welcome from the station crew. (This stop is excluded on PLA24.) We will sail north through Neumayer Channel, where we hope to get permission to visit the British research station and the Port Lockroy post office on Goudier Island. We may also offer a landing on Jougla Point, where we will again have the opportunity to see gentoo penguins and imperial shags.

We sail North through the Gerlache Strait to the South Shetland Islands. We will sail to Deception Island, where our ship enters the sub-ducted crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the natural harbor of Deception Island. Conditions permitting, we plan a hike and kayak excursion. On Deception Island we will find hot springs and an abandoned whaling station in Whalers Bay.  Here, thousands of cape pigeons, Dominican gulls, brown and South Polar skuas and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels nest.

From Deception, we sail to Half Moon Island, where we will find a variety of chinstrap penguins and seals on the windswept beach. The climate here is foggy and misty, and provide good conditions for an excellent variety of mosses, lichens and flowering grasses as well as fauna, including gentoo and chinstrap penguins.Our voyage continues through a narrow Strait to the open sea.

Days 9-10: At sea

Followed by numerous seabirds as we cross the Drake again, heading north.

Day 11: Ushuaia

We arrive in Ushuaia and disembark.


Date & Rates:
 Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands
2017 Dates/Rates

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Tour Code







Twin Porthole

Twin Window

Twin Deluxe




Dec 6 - 16, 2017





Now $5,750


Now $6,500


Now $7,050


Now $7,500


Now $7,900


Now $8550

C: Camping: minimum of 8, maximum of 30 campers. $180 per person

K: Kayaking: group size minimum of 4 with max of 14 kayakers. $465 per person

S: Snowshoeing: free of charge, inlcudes showshoes

Prices are per person based on double, triple or quad occupancy depending on category room purchased. 

Single supplement: 1.7 times share price.

Registration: To confirm your space on these tours, please contact our office. 1.800.808.4492 or 575.524.0084

Deposit: 30% of trip cost

Cancellation Policy: In the event you must cancel your reservation, refunds will be made according to the following schedule: Deposit is nonrefundable. 90 to 61 days prior to departure, 50% of total is nonrefundable; less than 60 days prior to departure, 100% nonrefundable.

Fuel surcharge: If world fuel prices reach or exceed US Dollar $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure then the boat operator reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of $25 USD per night per passenger to be paid prior to travel.

Insurance: Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy. Cancellation/medical evacuation is required up to $100,000 per person. An application form will be sent to you upon request, or you may purchase it on your own. Because of the remote location, emergency medical evacuation insurance is required. Please check your personal insurance coverage and make sure it is applicable in foreign countries. Emergency medical evacuation insurance is a component of the insurance program IWA offers.




Antarctica and the South Shetlands voyage ships

Click for details:  M/V Plancius

Plancius in the ice

Click for details:  M/V Ortelius

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