trip
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1
Discovery and Cruising
Activities
  • 32 days cruising
Accommodation
  • 31 nights aboard Ortelius
Meals
  • 32 Dinners
  • 31 Lunches
  • 32 Breakfasts

33 Days$28450USD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
Stress free booking, learn more about our flexible terms

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: ORA

Trip highlights


  • Sail through the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea
  • Discover the Ross Ice shelf
  • Visit historic huts and research stations
  • Experience wildlife and unique flora on the Sub-antarctic islands
  • Zodiac near large glaciers and fantastic tabular bergs
  • Adélie and Emperor penguins, whales, seals and sea birds
  • Explore the abundant wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Cross the fabled Drake Passage

A true voyage of discovery following the paths of the early explorers, offering insight into the history of Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott's expeditions, to name just a few. Combine this with abundant wildlife encounters including King, Gentoo and Southern Rockhopper penguin rookeries, along with Minke and Orca whale sightings, and you have a complete Antarctic odyssey. Commencing our journey with a crossing of the Drake Passage we arrive along the Antarctic Peninsula sailing through the Pendleton Straight Channel. Over the coming days we hope to visit volcanic Peter I Island, Detaille and Fish Island. Sailing north we will follow an exploratory program as we make our way through the Amundsen Sea to the Ross Sea. Here we hope to visit the huts of British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott (ice-permitting), along with visits to the US and New Zealand research bases at Ross Island. Stopping at both Macquarie and Campbell Island we will have a chance to get up close with large numbers of the islands fauna before continuing on to Bluff where we disembark the ship.


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Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Meals:  D

Some of us will approach this historic crossing with more than a little trepidation. But despite its reputation, there are many times when the Drake Passage resembles a lake, with lazy Southern Ocean swells rolling under the keel. On the other hand, we sometimes encounter rough crossings with large waves. The size of the waves and the force of the gale will take on gigantic proportions when related around the fire back home. The mood on board is definitely casual. A favourite pastime is to stand at the stern deck watching the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, following in our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. During our Drake crossing, we will commence our lecture program about the wildlife, geology, history and geography of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica is a photographers’ paradise, for the professional and amateur alike. There will be discussions about how to protect your equipment from salt water, and tips about taking good pictures. Nearing the tip of the Peninsula towards the end of day three, excitement reaches fever pitch with everyone on the bridge 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 forever.

Meals:  B,L,D

You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing through Bellingshausen Sea, where we may see our first pack-ice.

Meals:  B,L,D

Peter I Island or in Norwegian Peter I Øy is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometres long ) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I. It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory by its own. It is sporadically visited by passenger vessels.

Meals:  B,L,D

These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which - depending of ice-conditions - will give us glimpses of the Antarctic Continent, while we take advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also Orca's and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmar petrels. If the sea-ice allows, we will try to land on Shephard Island in Marie Byrd Land among colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and South Polar Skua's. Shephard Island was discovered by the US Antarctic Expeditions (USAS) of 1939-41 and was named after one of the promoters of this expedition: John Shephard.

Meals:  B,L,D

The next goal is to enter the Ross Sea from the east, venturing south toward the Bay of Whales and close to Roosevelt Island (named in 1934 by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd for President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Bay of Whales is part of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in the world, and is constantly changing with the receding ice masses. Large icebergs are present here, along with great wildlife opportunities. Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf en route to the South Pole, which he reached on December 14, 1911. Also, the Japanese explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area in 1912, at Kainan Bay. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Meals:  B,L,D

Keeping to the Ross Sea, the aim is now to visit Ross Island. From here you can see Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd, as well as many other famous spots that played an important role in the British expeditions of the last century: Cape Royds, where Ernest Shackleton’s cabin still stands; Cape Evans, where the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott can still be seen; and Hut Point, from which Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. If ice is blocking the way but weather conditions are favourable, you may use the helicopters to land in one or more spots in this area. The American scientific base of McMurdo Station and New Zealand’s Scott Base are other possible locations you might visit. From McMurdo Station you could also make a 10-km hike (6 miles) to Castle Rock, where there are great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Additionally, you may make a helicopter landing in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where conditions are closer to Mars than anywhere else on Earth.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, you then land at Inexpressible Island, which has a fascinating history in connection to the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott’s expedition. It is also home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adélie rookery.

Meals:  B,L,D

Cape Adare is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899, is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie Penguins in the World.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing towards the Balleny Islands and continuing through the Southern Ocean towards Macquarie Island.

Meals:  B,L,D

Macca, also known as 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, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

Meals:  B,L,D

Heading northwest to Campbell Island, you’re once again followed by numerous seabirds.

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses on the main island and breeding Wandering, Campbell, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Meals:  B,L,D

The Sub-Antarctic Convergence zone is very close to the area we will sail through, so we expect the bird life to reflect this as we depart Campbell Island. Birds we may spot include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, and Little Shearwater. We will endeavour to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion – never an easy task – but we should get some great views. There are also many species of Petrel to be on the look-out for including the Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Black-bellied Storm Petrel and Common Diving Petrel.

Meals:  B,L,D

We arrive in Bluff (New Zealand) where we clear customs and our trip concludes. (A scheduled group transfer will be arranged to Invercargill)

Meals:  B

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We arrive in Bluff (New Zealand) where board the ship in the afternoon. (A scheduled group transfer will be arranged from Invercargill to Bluff if required)

Meals:  D

We get acquainted with life at sea as we set sail towards Campbell Island.

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses on the main island and breeding Wandering, Campbell, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing south to Macquarie Island

Meals:  B,L,D

Macca, also known as 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, which Australian sealer Frederick Hasselborough discovered while searching for new sealing grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins – as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

Meals:  B,L,D

You once again enter the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean. Sea birds are also prolific on this leg, during which we hope to enjoy good weather conditions. We sail past the remote Balleny Islands. The intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Meals:  B,L,D

Cape Adare is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899, is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie Penguins in the World.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing southward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we may attempt a landing at the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie Penguin rookery. Further south we find Terra Nova Bay where we aim to stop at the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station if the ice conditions allow.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the Ross Sea we will visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Bird with all the famous spots which played such an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the last century such as Cape Royds with the cabin of Ernest Shackleton. If ice-conditions are favourable, we will also visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favourable, we will use the helicopters to offer landings. From Castle Rock we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will have a view into Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where on our planet you are closest to the conditions on Mars. For the Dry Valleys we plan to use our helicopters. This is just one example of helicopter use during this epic voyage.

Meals:  B,L,D

We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front of 30 meters high. Should conditions allow, we will land our helicopters on the Ross Ice shelf. 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 gained access to the Shelf and ventured to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911. We will continue sailing along the Ross Ice Shelf as we head to the west.

Meals:  B,L,D

These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which - depending of ice-conditions - will give us glimpses of the Antarctic Continent, while we take advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also Orca's and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmar petrels. If the sea-ice allows, we will try to land on Shephard Island in Marie Byrd Land among colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and South Polar Skua's. Shephard Island was discovered by the US Antarctic Expeditions (USAS) of 1939-41 and was named after one of the promoters of this expedition: John Shephard.

Meals:  B,L,D

Peter I Island or in Norwegian Peter I Øy is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometres long ) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I. It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory by its own. It is sporadically visited by passenger vessels.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing through Bellingshausen Sea

Meals:  B,L,D

You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adélie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Meals:  B,L,D

Over the following days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Meals:  B,L,D

Sailing up the Beagle Channel we will disembark the ship in Ushuaia just after breakfast. Our trip concludes in Ushuaia.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 32 breakfasts, 31 lunches and 32 dinners
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
  • Services of expedition leaders
  • All sightseeing and shore excursions from the ship including the use of zodiacs
  • Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
  • All landing fees and permits
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
  • Pre-departure information
  • The use of helicopters for ship to shore transfers, subject to weather conditions

  • International travel to and from start /end point of trip
  • Visa, passport and vaccination charges, and airport departure taxes
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges, wine and phone calls
  • Emergency evacuation charges
  • Customary end of voyage tips

Cabins


Departure dates


Notes

IT2
trip operates in reverse, Embark Bluff disembark Ushuaia
2
Voyages include the use of helicopters for ship to shore transfers, subject to weather conditions.
3
Both trips have a duration of 33 days and 32 nights. However, looking at the start and end dates, it appears the duration varies. This is due to the fact our voyages will cross the international date line at 180 degrees longitude. Both are in fact identical in regards to duration.

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Total Priceper person from

$28450USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Twin private with PortholeUSD$35800
  • Twin private with WindowUSD$37150
  • Twin DeluxeUSD$38950
  • SuperiorUSD$40950
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Ross Sea Exploration trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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