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Ross Sea Voyage

from £26750 excluding flights

  • 27 nights
  • Jan-Feb
Home Destinations Polar Antarctica Ross Sea Voyage

Highlights

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Discover East Antarctica, a region rarely visited

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Trace the steps of legendary explorers Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott

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Witness the spectacular Dry Valleys

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Observe penguin rookieres and embrace the search for the elusive emperor penguin

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Marvell at glacial ice tongues and ice shelves

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Visit the sub-Antarctic islands and encounter endemic bird species

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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Style of vessel

This holiday is based on a ship ideally suited to the areas visited and the conditions

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Expertly guided

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

Overview

One of the most remote places on earth, the Ross Sea is rich in distinct wildlife, dramatic scenery and legendary stories of the expedition heroes of the past. As the gateway to the South Pole, this voyage includes visits to the huts of the famous explorers, Borchgrevink, Scott and Shackleton, as well as various international scientific bases.

In addition to the countless penguin rookeries you will encounter, there are also opportunities to catch a glimpse of the elusive emperor penguin. This voyage also includes time on the sub-Antarctic islands of The Snares, Auckland Islands and Campbell Island, all perfectly primed to provide numerous sightings of endemic flora and fauna.

Itinerary

Begin your journey to the Ross Sea with an overnight stay in New Zealand’s famous resort town of Queenstown. A pre-voyage briefing will be held at your hotel this evening.

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

This afternoon you will transfer to Bluff, located in New Zealand’s far south, before embarking ship and setting sail.

The closest sub-Antarctic Islands to New Zealand, The Snares comprise two uninhabited and highly protected islands. North East Island is the largest of The Snares and is home to endemic birdlife including Snares crested penguins, Snares Island tomtit, sooty shearwaters, fernbirds and Antarctic terns.

The northern most island in the Auckland Islands archipelago, Enderby Island is also one of its most beautiful and easily accessible. An outstanding wildlife and birding location, the island was cleared of all non-endemic wildlife in 1994, resulting with the successful recovery of its native bird and vegetation species. Possible landing sites here include Sandy Bay, one of three breeding areas for the Hooker’s or New Zealand sea lion, a rare member of the seal family.

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Plot a course for Macquarie Island. Along the way, your Expedition Team will provide lectures and presentations about some of the landscapes, wildlife and legends that will feature in the days to come. Out on deck, keep watch for numerous and varied albatross and petrel species.

Macquarie Island is a Tasmanian State Reserve that in 1997 became a World Heritage Site. The Australian Antarctic Division has its permanent base on this island at Buckles Bay, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The island supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Ocean. Vast colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin can be found on the island. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

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Continue across the expanse of the Southern Ocean. On-board lectures will concentrate on Antarctica and the Ross Sea region. Your guides will also be paying close attention to the water temperatures, so that they can inform you when you cross over the Antarctic Convergence.

Explore the highlights of the Ross Sea. Many factors play a role in shaping the expedition’s itinerary here, including sea, ice and weather conditions. Each day will be different, but your Expedition Team will be on hand throughout to entertain and educate you about this fascinating part of the world. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore local bays, visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species.

Possible landing sites here include Cape Adare, which is where people, for the very first time, wintered on the Antarctic continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in back in 1899 is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world. Sailing south along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you may attempt a landing at the protected area of Cape Hallett to visit its large Adélie penguin rookery. Franklin Island and the Possession Islands are also both home to sizable Adélie penguin rookeries. Perhaps visit Ross Island, a huge expanse of highly elevated terrain situated at the base of the Ross Sea and guarded by looming Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Byrd. You may also visit the US-station McMurdo and New Zealand’s Scott Base. From McMurdo Station it is sometimes possible to take a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock where you will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole.

As you approach the Ross Ice Shelf, be sure to sit out on deck and observe the awesome spectacle of this vast mass of land-ice, with a front 30 metres high. In the Bay of Whales at the eastern side of the shelf, close to Roosevelt Island (named by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd in 1934 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Roald Amundsen set off on his expedition to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911.

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The ship will work its way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start the long journey north through the Southern Ocean.

Visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, with its abundance of luxuriant, blooming vegetation. The island is home to a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatross on the main island and breeding wandering, Campbell, grey-headed, black-browed, and lightmantled albatross on the satellite islands. Three penguin species – eastern rockhopper, erect-crested and yellow-eyed – also breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but since their re-introduction, populations of elephant seals, fur seals and sea lions have recovered.

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At sea en-route to Bluff, New Zealand

Arrive in Bluff where you depart for your homebound journey.

  • 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 28-day voyage on the Heritage Adventurer. Other departures may vary in duration and routing, i.e. alternative embarkation or disembarkation ports, or do not include the pre-voyage hotel night. Please contact us for specific details.
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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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Heritage Adventurer

Purpose-built for authentic polar expedition cruising, the Heritage Adventurer has the highest passenger ice-class rating and has held records for the most…

  • Passengers: 140
  • Class: 1A Super
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Sauna
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Douglas Mawson

The sister ship to the Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle, the Douglas Mawson features the same cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally…

  • Passengers: 154
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony Cabins
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Sauna
  • Jacket: Jacket to keep
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities

Select 2-3 items to compare.

Prices and Departures

Price from £26750 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

  • One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Queenstown, with ship transfer
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • Select alcoholic drinks included with lunch and dinner
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • 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 Prices from (pp)
07 Jan 2025 28 days Heritage Adventurer £26,750
02 Feb 2025 28 days Heritage Adventurer £26,750

2025/26 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)
16 Jan 2026 25 days Douglas Mawson £26,996

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  • Kayaking

As Standard, Complete Piece of Mind

We’re listening. We always care what our fellow travellers think and love building strong customer relationships so we continuously focus on improving future experiences based on feedback. How incredible for the last three years we have received the Feefo Platinum Award.

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The World's Great. Pass it On

To mark our 40th anniversary, we've launched our Education Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged school children experience the wonders of travel. A percentage of revenue from every holiday booked will go into the bursary fund to pay for at least 40 students to join one of our school trips abroad.