Spirit of Antarctica
- 12 Days
- Ushuaia, Argentina, South America - Ushuaia, Argentina, South America
- Voyage code:
- Greg Mortimer
from USD $12,240.00/pp Save 10%*
Embrace the spirit of polar exploration on this classic expedition to the coveted white continent. Sail across the famed Drake Passage, admiring spectacular seabirds and approaching the ice as the explorers of old did: by sea. With a chance to Zodiac-cruise through pack ice, set foot on the continent, choose from a range of adventure options and even perhaps camp under pastel polar skies, this is the quintessential Antarctic voyage for adventure lovers.
- Hone your ice and wildlife photography skills
- Search for orcas and minke whales in the icy bays
- Observe busy penguin colonies building their nests, and perhaps catch a glimpse of penguin chicks as they hatch
- Join the exclusive polar plunge club and dive into the beautiful antarctic waters
Number of passengers (ANP134G, ANP147S, ANP140G, ANP148S, ANP141G, ANP142G, ANP149S): 126 passengers (including kayakers)
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Day 1 Arrival airport transfer and overnight in Ushuaia
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your group hotel (preferred flights only). Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
Day 2 Embarkation Day
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Please take your cabin luggage down to hotel reception by 8.00 AM. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel by 11.00 AM, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 PM to commence a tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.
On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.
During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.
After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)
Day 3 Drake Passage Crossing
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Day 4 Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks, watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a long time. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Day 5-9 Antarctic Peninsula
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Day 10-11 Drake Passage crossing
Today, our landings come to an end as we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to Ushuaia. With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on our attitude to life.
As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.
Day 12 Disembark Ushuaia
During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
- Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1
- City tour in Ushuaia on Day 2 (lunch not included)
- Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to ship on Day 2
- Transfer from pier to downtown Ushuaia or to airport on Day 12
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Free access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- International or domestic flights, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’."
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Whale and mammal spotting
From USD $1,260.00/pp
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of …
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages.
The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each group of 4 to 10 kayakers will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to the Zodiacs and will also make time for their own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
When we visit the poles, the elements play an important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.
Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Kayakers should be aged 14 years or over.
- Kayak & Paddle
- Neoprene boots
- Safety gear
- A 15-litre dry bag
- Life jackets
- Dry suits
- Pogies (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle)
Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across. You can view our sea kayaking guides’ profiles here or see below.
How to Book
Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional sea kayaking activity for your expedition. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your place early.View more details
From USD $320.00/pp
Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarcticas soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places others …
Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarcticas soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, youll be led by our expert guides who will provide all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to ascend to some of Antarcticas best vantage points, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica!
Required Experience & Fitness
This popular alpine activity is easy to learn. No experience is necessary all you need is a willingness to try. All training is provided and our team of guides will have you trained and ready to go in no more than half an hour.
Participants should be confident in their footing and have an average level of fitness outings may be up to three hours in duration. Those who enjoy hiking trails or taking long walks at home will possess enough fitness to enjoy this activity. As with any other activity, you will get more enjoyment out of it with some preparation in advance, such as long walks with uphill sections or bike riding.
The minimum age for this activity is 14.
Our highly-qualified guides have many years of climbing, skiing and snowshoeing experience and all hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certificates . They aim to provide a personalised and unique experience for every customer whilst maintaining safety to the highest standards. We have one snow shoeing guide for every 10 guests.
While we aim to get out as often as possible, the number of outings will be dependent on weather and our itinerarys landing points. The average number of outings is usually six or more per voyage, lasting up to three hours per outing. Every voyage is different but some of our typical landings spots have been:
- Ronge Island Georges Point
- Neko Harbour
- Almirante Brown Base Paradise Harbour
- Port Lockeroy
- Brown Bluff
- Jougla Point
Equipment and clothing requirements
Aurora Expeditions will supply all snowshoes and ski poles for all participants. As well as the general packing list provided by Aurora Expeditions, we also recommend:
- Breathable fabric outerwear as you will be exercising
- Thick pair of socks and sheep wool inner soles
- Snow gaiters are optional
You should also ensure your insurance policy covers snowshoeing. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.
How to book
If you would like to partake in our snowshoeing option on your voyage please return a snowshoeing form at time of booking. Our guides will review your form for suitability and experience before approving your place in the group.View more details
From USD $1,260.00/pp
Ski/Snowboard Touring offers keen adventurers a chance to take on some of the worlds most incredible slopes. Experienced participants will …
Ski/Snowboard Touring offers keen adventurers a chance to take on some of the worlds most incredible slopes. Experienced participants will have the chance to enjoy day-trips to traverse across remote, snow-capped peaks to descend into pristine bays filled with floating bergs, penguin rookeries or even a breaching whale! Those interested in a multi-day ski adventure can opt to attempt Shackletons route across South Georgia.
From alpine bowls and crevassed glaciers, to long open slopes, join us to summit and ski a range of Antarctic landscapes, venturing to some amazing wild and remote corners. A spirit of adventure is a must. After all, when you strap on your skis, youll be exploring places where few have ever skied before!
Our Ski/Snowboard Touring program requires a reasonable level of fitness and previous experience. The snow conditions will be varied and the terrain can be challenging at times. While you dont need to be a back-country athlete to participate, and there are opportunities to develop skills during the expedition.
Below are the minimum ability requirements:
- Advanced level of skiing or snowboarding ability (ability to ski/ride in advanced terrain-black run resorts runs is required)
- Off-piste experience in a variety of snow conditions
- Previous touring experience is an advantage, but not essential (depending on your off-piste experience and overall ability)
Our guides can teach you the required touring skills from day one, as well as important mountaineering skills including ice axe and crampon use, roped glacier travel, constructing snow and ice anchors, assessing and moving in avalanche terrain, personal avalanche equipment and rescue, constructing emergency shelters, navigation and interpreting weather.
You can expect to tour from two to six hours each day, some of which will include an ascent of a small peak or two. Participants must be fit and prepared for this activity. Ideally, you will have trained with outdoor carry packs, however uphill walks or riding bikes is also ideal for backcountry training.
You will enjoy your touring much more if you have prepared adequately. If you have any queries regarding your suitability or fitness please dont hesitate to contact us. One of our mountain guides will be able to assess your ability and offer advice on training and preparation.
The minimum age for this activity is 14.
Group size is limited to 10 skiers in Antarctica and 8 skiers on the South Georgia Crossing, plus two guides.
Ski/Snowboard Touring Outings
While we aim to get out as often as possible, the number of outings will be dependent on weather and other factors. The average number of outings is usually six or more per voyage depending on your itinerary. Every voyage is different but some of our typical landings spots have been:
- Tour up and ski off Mt Tennant, Ronge Island 700m descent
- Mt Hoegh down to Andvord Bay 800m descent
- Mt Pond to Whalers Bay 540m descent
- Port Lockroy from Doumer Peak 550m descent
Our highly-qualified guides have many years of climbing, ski and snowboard touring experience. Most of our guides have an extensive knowledge of the areas we plan to ski or snowboard. They aim to provide a personalised and unique experience for every participant whilst managing safety to the highest standards. Group sizes are limited to ten, with the average group size between 4 and 10.
Wind, Ice and Weather in Antarctica & South Georgia
You can expect to experience a variety of weather, from blue skies and sunshine through to snow, rain and grey clouds. The weather in some places can change extremely fast, ranging from sunshine to gale force winds. We usually begin our tours from sheltered landings, however wind and ice build up at higher altitudes may disrupt, change or cancel planned outings.
Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages. You will need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for Ski Touring activity and related equipment. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.
Touring is available for an additional surcharge and includes your guide, permits, outings and some equipment.
How to book
If you would like to participate in this activity, please request a Ski/Snowboard Touring Activity Form at the time of booking for submission or download here. Our guides will review your form for suitability and experience before approving your place in the activity.View more details
From USD $640.00/pp
Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic! Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through …
Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic!
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
With a longstanding tradition of pushing the boundaries, Aurora Expeditions launched our Antarctic snorkelling adventures in 2014. In 2016 the activity has also been added to a range of our Arctic expeditions. This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth.
This latest innovative activity option is led by our expert polar diving guides, and utilises state of the art equipment including drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle.
Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.
Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years polar diving experience and provide snorkellers and divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling and diving experience.
Polar snorkelling requires at least 6 snorkellers for the activity to proceed. Please ask our team for numbers at time of booking.
How to Book
Please return the polar snorkelling activity form at the time of booking. Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Places are limited.
For voyages on the Greg Mortimer:View more details
From USD $0.00/pp
One of our most popular activities, camping offers you the unique opportunity to roll out your sleeping mat and wriggle into …
One of our most popular activities, camping offers you the unique opportunity to roll out your sleeping mat and wriggle into your thermal sleeping bag for a night out on the ice – no camping experience necessary! Once you’ve settled in, prepare to witness the stunning beauty of the Antarctic night sky, as well as the sounds of ice cracking in the distance and wildlife carrying on their busy schedule around you. This is the activity for the ultimate bragging rights!
How will I stay warm?
Your expedition team will advise you on the appropriate clothing to wear ashore and will provide you with a mat and thermal sleeping bag for your night out on the ice.
Is it safe?
Yes, we’ve taken hundreds of adventurous souls out overnight and our expert expedition team know where to find the best spots for your camping experience.
Will I sleep much?
Possibly not! Many passengers don’t camp out to sleep – they’re there to soak in the amazing surrounds, witness incredible vistas and enjoy the sounds of nearby penguin colonies and possibly even a calving glacier. We’ll do our best to make sure you get the chance for a cat nap the next day.
Will I get the chance to sleep under the stars?
Our camping trips take place in the middle of the Austral summer, and on the Antarctic Peninsula we’ll be experiencing almost 24 hours of daylight. This means that instead of a starry night, you’ll instead be treated to an extended sunset and sunrise as the sun briefly dips below the horizon, filling the sky with an endless palette of colours.
What should I bring?
Aurora Expeditions provides all the necessary equipment including a camping mat and thermal sleeping bag, so you only need to bring yourself. Please note: we don’t use tents for our camping experience. We believe that the experience is best enjoyed without blocking the amazing surrounds we’ve come to admire.
How do I book?
Camping is subject to weather, time and operational conditions. Places are limited to 40 campers on a first-come first-served basis, so early booking is encouraged. This activity will only be offered on board if there is still availability at the time of embarkation. If you are interested in our camping activity, simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking.View more details
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*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid on select ship voyages only and select cabin categories. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle which must be booked and deposited by March 31st 2020, or until sold out, whichever comes first. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is not available in conjunction with any other offer, can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Prices and offers correct at time of printing and subject to change. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/terms-and-conditions for full terms and conditions.