Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Circle via Falklands & South Georgia
The Epic Antarctica voyage is called so for a reason - it includes all of the major Antarctic highlights you can imagine. The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) to South Georgia to the Antarctic Peninsula, you will have countless unforgettable moments on this adventure-packed, 23-day voyage. Start with the Falklands, reminiscent of both sandy Cape Cod and the English moors, home to albatross, dolphins, and five species of penguins.
From there, venture to South Georgia where you'll enter the home of 300,000 breeding king penguins, 50 million other seabirds and 5 million seals. Then, explore the stunning Antarctic Peninsula, and finally cross the Antarctic Circle - a significant milestone for any world traveler.
Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on this diverse expedition - you'll experience the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia. Whether you're visiting Antarctic research stations, witnessing a sudden minke whale breach from your Zodiac, sharing a magical moment with king penguins, or celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle with like-minded travelers and crew, you'll know this experience will live on in you forever.
Highlights Include: • Explore the Falkland Islands home to albatross, dolphins and five species of penguins • Venture to South Georgia where you'll enter the home of 300,000 breeding king penguins • Visit Shackleton's grave site at the settlement of Grytviken • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula • Cross the Antarctic Circle - a significant milestone for any world traveler
Your Ship: The vessels in Quark Expeditions fleet accommodation anywhere from 128 to 199 passengers. They never exceed more than 200 passengers which gives guests the best polar experience on a smaller ship. Quark Expeditions boasts the largest polar-class fleet of any polar operator, and the ability to offer you this incredible voyage on one of their ice strengthened vessels. The entire Quark Expeditions fleet is built for challenging polar environments, allowing Quark to take you to places ordinary cruise companies wouldn't dream of going.
Ultramarine: The newest ship in the Quark Expeditions fleet, Ultramarine is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters and offers guests the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry and the most spacious suites in its category. Ultramarine also features breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. Guests: 199
Ocean Diamond: Both a comfortable and capable ship with all rooms enjoying exterior views, TV, fridge, and one double or two single beds, with some suites sporting a private balcony. Relax with a book in the polar library, head to the gym for a workout, enjoy a drink at the bar, or soak in the scenery from the panoramic observation lounge, or on one of the outer decks. Guests: 189
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you're feeling adventurous, the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.
Day 2: Embarkation Day Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. On board to ensure your comfort and safety, your team will also help make your wildlife dreams come true. As the ship sets sail in the late afternoon, you will begin your Antarctic journey, passing through the Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities to capture seabirds hovering overhead.
Day 3: At Sea There are many activities to keep you engaged while we're at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, chat with your shipmates at the bar, or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
Day 4 & 5: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings. Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You'll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit the cathedral and museum.
The Archipelago is rich in wildlife, especially birds, and home to Magellanic, gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. If you're lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species"”the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb's wren. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands. The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore thanks to Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier feel to them. This is especially true of the largest settlement, Stanley, an interesting British outpost-type place, where you could just as easily wander into a pub as you could a church or museum.
Have your camera handy, as your wildlife sightings in the Falklands (Malvinas) should include at least three species of penguins, plus two endemic bird species - Cobb's wren and the Falkland's flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you have the most memorable time.
Day 6 & 7: At Sea Sailing southeast to South Georgia, you'll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, helps nourish the abundance of krill that attracts whales, seals, and birdlife to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line, and also look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales, to the area.
Days 8 - 11: South Georgia Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heyday is still found throughout the island. You'll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once decimated here. Today, their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Your visit to his gravesite at the Grytviken settlement, also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers of this unforgiving yet beautiful environment.
Although South Georgia's history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on the island will open your eyes to a new wonder: one day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach; the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals.
The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share its knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Day 12 & 13: At Sea Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you're at sea, you can enjoy quiet time or take in presentations by your Expedition Team, who will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.
Days 14 - 16 : South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you'll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and solitude; the next, you'll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Zodiac cruising, visits to historical sites and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you'll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you'll come eye to eye with a humpback whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, treat yourself to an optional kayaking adventure (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or a swim in Antarctic waters during the Polar Plunge!
Day 17 & 18: Antarctic Circle Crossing the Antarctic Circle is both a memorable experience and impressive achievement, as few travelers reach so far south. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66Â°33Â´ S, we'll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass and take pride in knowing you've made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals, and your best chances of encountering sea ice "“ the foundation of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
Day 19 & 20 : Northbound Along the Peninsula If you haven't had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you'll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to make excursions by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south. .
Day 21 & 22: Crossing the Drake Passage After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Day 23: Disembark in Ushuaia After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.
NB: Cruise itineraries aboard the Ultramarine commence and end in Buenos Aires. A mandatory transfer package applies, at additional cost
• One night pre-night expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia with breakfast • Group transfer from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day • Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage • All shore landings per the daily program • Leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings • An official parka to keep • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program • All luggage handling aboard the ship • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person • Cruise itineraries aboard Ultramarine commence in Buenos Aires, and a mandatory transfer package is an additional cost
Pricing (per person) $USD
Ocean Diamond, 27 Dec, from Ushuaia
Ultramarine, 21 Jan, from Buenos Aires
2021 Ocean Diamond, 27 Dec, from Ushuaia 2022 Ultramarine, 21 Jan, from Buenos Aires