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In Search of Emperor Penguins

from £10348 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • Nov
Home Destinations Polar Antarctica In Search of Emperor Penguins
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Cruise in the shadow of vast icebergs

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Enjoy the excitement of searching for the elusive emperor penguin

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Explore the more remote eastern side of the Peninsula, the Weddell Sea

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Enjoy spectacular aerial views on helicopter excursions

Why 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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Expertly guided

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

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Special interest

Leading experts from renowned scientists to professional photographers accompany select departures


Journey to the bottom of the world, through a realm of creaking glaciers and vast icebergs, to the scene of countless stories from historic polar expeditions. This voyage focuses on the Weddell Sea side of the Antarctic Peninsula, where you may find Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins, along with other bird species such as albatross, petrels and gulls. Conditions permitting, the highlight of the voyage will be the rare opportunity to observe one of the most spectacular sights in the wild: the elusive emperor penguin colony off the coast of Snow Hill Island. A helicopter will take you from the ship to the vicinity of this astounding rookery, before you walk across the sea ice to come within several feet of these penguins and their chicks.


Your journey begins with an overnight stay in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. Relax at the hotel or take the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of Argentina’s capital city.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for the charter flight to Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina. Here you will enjoy a short city tour before embarking your expedition ship and setting sail for Antarctica.

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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.

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No two polar expeditions are alike and on this voyage through the icy Weddell Sea, all shore landings and wildlife sightings will be determined by weather and ice conditions, as well as the natural cycles of the wildlife. It is this element of the unknown that makes expedition-style travel so exhilarating and adventurous, as well as unpredictable.

Located on the sea ice, the emperor penguin rookery is situated off the south coast of Snow Hill Island. Should conditions be favourable, the ship will try to creep close enough for helicopter transfers to take you to a carefully selected landing site that takes you as close to the penguins as possible, yet keeps you at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Upon landing, the chance to spend time with these regal looking birds and their fluff-ball chicks will be a highlight of your expedition. If it is not possible to reach Snow Hill Island, there may be an opportunity to see individual emperor penguins at sea and experience Antarctica from above on a helicopter excursion.

During your time in the Weddell Sea other landing sites may include Devil Island, home to a large colony of Adélie penguins, spectacular Brown Bluff with its steep canyon walls, or the old refuge hut at Duse Bay. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins may also put in an appearance, along with seals and whales.

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The Drake Passage crossing is a fitting end to your visit to Antarctica – there may be a chance to see a variety of seabirds on this final stretch of your journey.

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After breakfast disembark and enjoy a brief tour of Tierra del Fuego, before catching the flight back to Buenos Aires.

  • 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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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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The spacious Ultramarine is a purpose-built expedition ship, offering a choice of adventure activities as well as the chance to explore by…

  • Passengers: 199
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Sauna
  • Helicopter: on board
  • Jacket: Jacket to keep
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities
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M/V Ortelius

A former scientific-research vessel, the Ortelius offers the classic small ship experience.

  • Passengers: 116
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Helicopter: on selected dates
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities

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Prices and Departures

Price from £10348 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.

What's Included

  • One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast, in Buenos Aires
  • Return flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia
  • 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

2023/24 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Due to fluctuating currencies our advertised voyage prices are indicative, and where applicable will be recalculated based on the exchange rate of the day at the time of enquiry.

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Price
10 Nov 2023 11 days Ortelius £10,348
12 Nov 2023 14 days Ultramarine £28,750
20 Nov 2023 11 days Ortelius £10,348
24 Nov 2023 14 days Ultramarine £28,750

2024/25 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Due to fluctuating currencies our advertised voyage prices are indicative, and where applicable will be recalculated based on the exchange rate of the day at the time of enquiry.

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Price
10 Nov 2024 11 days Ortelius £11,591
30 Nov 2024 11 days Ortelius £11,591

Activity Icon Key

  • Kayak taster session
  • Paddleboarding

Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.


Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.