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Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

from £10773 excluding flights

  • 11-14 nights
  • Mar, Dec
Home Destinations Polar Antarctica Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea

Highlights

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Cruise in the shadow of vast icebergs

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Encounter cheeky Adélies and other penguin species

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Get involved with the Citizen Science programme

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Search for seals, whales and seabirds

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Camp on the 7th continent or kayak across icy bays

Why this trip...

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Immersive exploration

Immerse yourself in your surroundings on a true exploration of remote and spectacular areas

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Like-minded travellers

Share your travel experiences with fellow travellers

Overview

This voyage showcases the best of the Antarctic Peninsula, combining an exploration of the western side with a discovery of the less-visited, more remote eastern side – the Weddell Sea. Here you will find abundant penguin rookeries, incredible icebergs and unforgettable landing sites.

This variation on our Classic Antarctica itinerary allows a more wide-spread exploration of the peninsula, providing a fantastic opportunity to experience the continent’s scenery, wildlife and history.

Forever synonymous with Shackleton’s ill-fated ‘Endurance’ expedition, the Weddell Sea is home to vast icebergs and a Zodiac cruise amongst these impressive structures is a memorable experience. Other highlights include the countless Adélie penguins to be found on Paulet Island, as well as an insight into early polar exploration.

In addition is the opportunity to visit the sheltered western side of the peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, making this a comprehensive introduction to Antarctica.

Itinerary

Begin your journey to the Antarctic Circle with a night in a pre-departure hotel in the busy little port town of Ushuaia. Take the opportunity to relax at the hotel or explore the town.

In the morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour. After embarkation in the late afternoon, you will cruise down the historic Beagle Channel towards open sea. Stay on deck to keep watch for seabirds, penguins and rainbows.

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The Drake Passage, named after Sir Francis Drake, is the infamous body of water that separates South America and Antarctica. Smooth or rough, the crossing of the Drake is a rite of passage for any true Antarctic adventurer. These two days will give you time to get to know the Expedition Team and your fellow shipmates.

Your time in Antarctica will be divided, subject to conditions, between the eastern and western sides of the Peninsula. Possible landing sites along the west coast include Melchiors, Wilhelmina Bay, Cuverville Island and Orne Harbour. Glaciers, penguin colonies and breaching humpback whales will highlight your days, while friendly seals are plentiful in these waters. You can also expect to encounter what is arguably the most formidable Antarctic predator – the leopard seal.

The Antarctic Sound separates the western side of the Peninsula from the Weddell Sea and is often riddled with huge pieces of ice emanating from the Larsen Ice Shelf. The Antarctic Sound itself offers great places to get ashore and stretch your legs at landing sites that are home to nesting Adélie and gentoo penguins. Snow and pintado petrels as well as kelp gulls also call this area home.

The Weddell Sea is as stunning as it is remote, and is best known as the location where Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ came to its end, crushed by sea ice. Take a zodiac cruise amongst huge tabular icebergs and perhaps land on Paulet Island. The island is a 350 meter high volcanic cone that juts dramatically out of the sea. Over 100,000 pairs of Adélie penguins breed here, along with blue-eyed shags, snowy sheathbills and kelp gulls. Fur seals and Weddell seals haul out onshore, while leopard seals often hunt offshore.

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Weddell seal in Antarctica

As you cross the Drake on the way back to Ushuaia, keep an eye out for seabirds, attend some final lectures or simply reflect on your experiences of the past few days.

After breakfast aboard the ship, disembark in Ushuaia.

  • All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only – embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!
  • The above sample itinerary is based on the 14-day voyage aboard the Sylvia Earle. Other departures may vary in duration and routing, ie alternative embarkation or disembarkation ports, or do not include the pre-voyage hotel night. Please contact us for specific details.

Vessel Finder

There are a choice of vessels available for this voyage. Compare the facilities of up to three ships at a glance then talk to our Travel Specialists who will be happy to advise which one is right for you.

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Greg Mortimer

A custom-built expedition ship featuring cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally friendly technology.

  • Passengers: 120
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Sauna
  • Jacket: Jacket to keep
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities
sylvia-earle-expedition-ship-exterior

Sylvia Earle

The sister ship to the Greg Mortimer, the Sylvia Earle features the same cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally friendly technology.

  • Passengers: 126
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Sauna
  • Jacket: Jacket to keep
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities
ms-seaventure-exterior-front

Seaventure

A classic and strong Polar expedition ship, the MS Seaventure immerses passengers in their surroundings with opportunities to participate in important scientific…

  • Passengers: 139
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Sauna
  • Jacket: Jacket to keep
  • Rubber Boots: Load of Rubber boots
  • Optional Activities

Select 2-3 items to compare.

Special Interest Departures

On the following unforgettable departure, embrace navigating the icy landscapes of the Weddell Sea alongside the following special guest:

Sylvia Earle – 24 March 2024 – Saunders Carmichael-Brown

An award winning digital and broadcast presenter, Saunders was part of the small media team that documented the 2022 Antarctic Expedition that found the famous wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance. A feature documentary about the expedition has since been commissioned by National Geographic.

Learn all about this intriguing expedition, as Saunders and the rest of the on-board experts bring to life the most remarkable survival story of Shackleton and his men.

Prices and Departures

Price from £10773 excluding flights

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

Voyage prices shown are standard but you can be assured that any relevant offers will be applied with your quote.

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Expedition jacket - yours to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

2024-25 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. The indicative prices shown in the table below are the standard voyage fare and do not reflect any applicable special offers or discounts. Single, triple and quad cabins are also available. Please get in touch for a tailored quote based on the best available price for your preferred voyage and cabin type.

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp) Special Interest
18 Dec 2024 13 days MS Seaventure £12,121 Citizen Science
06 Mar 2025 12 days Greg Mortimer £12,246
09 Mar 2025 15 days Plancius £10,773
24 Mar 2025 12 days Sylvia Earle £12,163

Activity Icon Key

  • Camping
  • Diving
  • Kayak taster session
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only – embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions.

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