Expedition
Ocean Albatros - 184 Guests
THE EPIC ANTARCTICA AND SOUTH GEORGIA ADVENTURE
Antarctica adventure

On this epic 18-day voyage through the Southern Ocean onboard Ocean Albatros, we explore breathtaking Antarctica before heading via the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea for an extended visit to the incredible isle of South Georgia. The adventure ends in the vibrant Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.

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Antarctica 2024 Season:

Save 30% on Select departures and cabin categories when you book by February 29th, 2024

• Valid on new bookings only. Promotion can change at anytime and is subject to availability



 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cross the mighty Drake Passage en-route to the South Shetland Islands
  • Delve deep into the inlets and bays of the Antarctic Peninsula, entering the famous Gerlache Strait, where glittering ice cliffs and precipitous peaks rise straight out of the frigid water
  • Explore the mighty tabular icebergs of the Antarctic Sound and enter the icebound wilderness of the Weddell Sea in search of wildlife
  • Follow the route made famous by legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who sailed the 1300 km course through treacherous seas to save his stranded crew
  • Visit South Georgia, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders with vast penguin colonies, seal-filled seas and albatross-packed skies
  • Venture into wildlife-packed beaches, nature-reclaimed whaling stations and perhaps even a visit to Shackleton’s final resting place

DATES / RATES

Rates are listed per person in USD. Promotional offers are not reflected in the rates below.
Start DateEnd DateCategory FCategory GCategory ECategory DCategory CCategory BCategory AFreydis Polar Premium SuiteBrynhilde Family Suite
Mar 18, 2024Apr 04, 202411,59019,09015,59013,59018,99020,99029,99031,99033,990
Rates are listed per person in USD. Promotional offers are not reflected in the rates below.
Start DateEnd Date(Starting from)
Category F
(Mid-range)
Category C
(High-end)
Brynhilde Family Suite
Mar 18, 2024Apr 04, 202411,59018,99033,990


ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN USHUAIA, EMBARKATION
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city. Explore this vibrant Patagonian city, or stretch your legs in the surrounding forests. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path into the raw nature of Tierra del Fuego. The island of Tierra del Fuego is a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and rich boggy wetlands. In the afternoon, we board our vessel, waiting to welcome us in port.

After our mandatory safety drill, our expedition begins as we navigate through the calm waters of the famous Beagle Channel (named for Charles Darwin's ship). This steep-sided strait divides southern Tierra del Fuego between Chile and Argentina, and has been the jumping-off point for thousands of expeditions into the unknown. Watch out for whales and dolphins as we sail off the edge of the map into the tempestuous Drake Passage.

DAY 2-3: AT SEA - CROSSING THE DRAKE PASSAGE SOUTHBOUND
Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - the body of water separating Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, nicknamed the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest comfortably aboard our expedition vessels, which are purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and manned by a highly-qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement - and you will complete the crossing twice!

Our days in the Drake Passage will be put to good use preparing for our arrival in Antarctica - your Expedition Leader will brief you comprehensively on how to stay safe and minimise your impact on this precious wilderness, as well as briefing you thoroughly on our plans for our time spent exploring, including hints and tips for wildlife watching. Our dedicated Expedition Team will assist you to biosecure your clothing and equipment (a vital process to protect Antarctica's delicate ecology), as well as sharing tailored lectures on Antarctic exploration history, wildlife, geology, glaciology and more!

We will cross into the Antarctic Convergence on the third day of our voyage - watch the mercury plummet as we sail southwards into Antarctic waters, an abrupt cooling that marks the intersection of Antarctic waters with the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As the sea cools, wildlife multiplies; these are some of the most biologically productive water on Earth, so expect to see petrels, albatrosses and potentially penguins, seals and whales in abundance. Weather permitting, we may be able to make landfall in the South Shetland Islands (a small but spectacular archipelago to the north of the Antarctic Peninsula) on the afternoon of our second day in the Drake Passage, marking the start of our exploration on the Last Continent.

DAY 4-6: SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS & THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Over the next days, we will enjoy a safe and exciting Antarctic experience explorers of yesteryear could only dream of.

Our Antarctic adventure begins in the South Shetland Islands, a chain of rugged rocks marking the northernmost point of Antarctica. It is also one of the richest in terms of wildlife, with large Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguin colonies, and an abundance of large seabirds such as predatory Giant Petrels. Landing sites which may be visited in the South Shetland Islands include the black steaming sands and rusting ruins of Deception Island (an active volcanic crater), the bustling penguin colonies of Aitcho and Half Moon Islands, or the old sealers' anchorage of Yankee Harbour.  

The following days will be spent exploring further south on the Antarctic Peninsula in the Gerlache Strait region. This region is typically icy, so our exact route will be subject to careful planning by the Expedition Leader and Captain, and explained to our guests through regular evening briefings. However we will aim to visit a range of sites which showcase the best of this staggeringly beautiful region.

Consisting of the 'spine' of the Antarctic Peninsula and a large number of glaciated and mountainous islands, the Gerlache Strait is what comes to mind when most people think of Antarctica. Marvel at the massive icebergs and vast glaciers on a Zodiac cruise in Paradise Bay. Be moved by penguins tenderly caring for their precious eggs, and fiercely defending their nests on Cuverville Island. Watch cataracts of ice tumble into clear blue ocean on a hike over the active glaciers of Neko Harbour. Experience the Antarctica of old at historic huts such as Damoy Point, lovingly restored and open to all. Feel the spray of water from the blow of a humpback whale on a Zodiac safari in Wilhelmina Bay. Wonder at awe-inspiring scenery on a ship cruise through the Lemaire Channel. Wherever we go on the Antarctic Peninsula, endemic wildlife, tantalising history and breathtaking natural beauty abound.

On Antarctica, all human activity is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. While we will make every possible effort to maximise opportunities for exploration off the vessel, the safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. We therefore ask all our guests to join the expedition spirit and be flexible - harsh weather offers the opportunity to expand your knowledge of Antarctica with lectures from our expert Expedition Team, or to enjoy the superlative comfort of our vessels, be it wine-tasting, relaxing in the hot tubs, or recharging with a relaxing massage in our Polar Spa.

DAY 7-8: ANTARCTIC SOUND, WEDDELL SEA AND ELEPHANT ISLAND
Over the coming days, we will begin exploring the exciting region at the very tip of the continent, beginning with the Antarctic Sound.  Named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic (itself named, confusingly, for the Antarctic region), the Antarctic sound is much colder than the rest of the Peninsula. Despite its northerly location, the area is subject to winds and currents which arrive from much further south in the Weddell Sea, bringing freezing temperatures, rafts of sea ice and vast tabular icebergs, which can only form from the vast ice shelves fringing the continent's interior. Though challenging to reach, this region hosts some of the Peninsula's most spectacular sites, from the vast Adelie Penguin colonies of Hope Bay and Devil's Island, to the historical sites of Esperanza Base and the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Brown Bluff.

From here we venture further south into the Weddell Sea, which takes its name from the early British explorer and sealer James Weddell, who reached the southernmost point of his day in the area. As we enter the Weddell Sea of today, we can expect to see numerous city-sized tabular icebergs, and catch a glimpse of the icepack - the vast mosaic of never-melting floating ice which stretches to the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. This sea ice is the nursery of the Antarctic krill, the tiny crustaceans which form the base of the food chain: where krill can be found, predators are not far behind. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell, leopard and elephant seals, vast numbers of seabirds, and often large numbers of humpback whales, all of which come to feast on the bountiful krill.

Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible. Your seasoned Captain and Expedition Leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the best opportunities to explore.  This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, undertaking a true expedition into the unknown and visiting an area few humans have ever been lucky enough to see.

We plan to finalize our time in Antarctica by navigating to Elephant Island, legendary as the scene of Shackleton’s daring lifeboat escape (sea conditions permitting). While landing here is almost impossible, we hope to see where the Elephant Island party waited for rescue at Point Wild. A famous part of expedition history, the ideal finale to the Antarctic segment of our voyage.

DAY 9-10: AT SEA TOWARDS SOUTH GEORGIA
From Antarctica, we set out again into the mighty Drake Passage, this time following the furious seas towards South Georgia, mirroring the route of Sir Ernest Shackleton onboard the James Caird. His voyage took an agonizing seventeen days in the tiny wooden lifeboat - still considered one of the greatest ever feats of navigation and seamanship. Your crossing will benefit from our vessels' powerful engines, and the stability provided by the specially-designed X-Bow, making the journey in just two days!

In order to protect the extremely delicate and rich ecosystem of South Georgia, our dedicated Expedition Team will again assist you to biosecure your clothing and equipment, while continuing with their in-depth lecture program, now focussing on the fascinating history, biology and wildlife of South Georgia. Be sure to wrap up warm and join your Expedition Team out on deck - this section of the Scotia Sea (of which the Drake Passage constitutes the western portion) is one of the most biologically productive on Earth, and is a haven for vast quantities of wildlife - from whales and albatross to penguins and seals. Watch the waves carefully - in this region, sub-Antarctic species (such as fur seal) mingle with true polar species (such as Adelie Penguins), creating a fascinating ecological mix.

Additionally, a raffle or auction onboard usually takes place during this time, to raise funds for charitable organizations focused on global issues and local environmental solutions. In this case, for example we may choose to donate to the South Georgia Heritage Trust or other charities carrying out conservation in the region. Take this opportunity to give back to the world while educating yourself on the subjects that these organizations support in a fun and enjoyable way - ideally with a hand-crafted cocktail in hand!

DAY 11-15: SOUTH GEORGIA
A strip of jagged mountains pierce the brooding clouds of the Southern Ocean. Icebound peaks loom over storm-washed beaches, while glaciers peek from the head of deep fjords. First believed to have been landed on by legendary explorer Captain James Cook, even to modern explorers, South Georgia presents a forbidding aura. But peer closer, and you will see greenery among the ice; movement on the beaches; wings in the skies above.

While it seems hard to believe today, South Georgia was once one of the most degraded environments on Earth. Hearing of the rich pickings, sealers flocked to the island after Cook, slaughtering wantonly. Once the seals had been almost exterminated, visiting ships sought larger prey, and South Georgia became the world's largest whaling destination, with several settlements built to carry out this industrialised slaughter. Whalers from Norway introduced reindeer as game, which soon destroyed the islands native vegetation, while brown rats (accidentally introduced by Europeans and their boats) feasted upon seabirds and their eggs - a horror against which these naive birds had no defence.

Thankfully, extensive conservation (including a painstaking eradication of reindeer and rats) has restored this magnificent island to its former glory - and glory it truly is. Beaches throng with hundreds of thousands of King Penguins, arguably some of Earth's most elegant animals. They must vie for space with the abundant Antarctic fur seals, all desperately defending territories and competing furiously for mates - and they themselves must avoid the southern elephant seals, Earth's largest seals (weighing up to a staggering four tonnes). Tiny South Georgia Pippits and Pintail Ducks (once almost extinct) are now abundant, and petrels, albatross and shags nest on the steep hillsides and wheel in the air above. In the sea, leopard seals stalk for their next penguin meal, fur seal pups play in the shallows, and offshore, a huge variety of whale species gorge on krill. Nowhere else on Earth can boast such a diversity of wildlife, or in such quantities; South Georgia truly has to be experienced to be believed.

As in Antarctica, our exact itinerary will be dictated by weather and sea conditions, but especially by the wind and swell - nevertheless, our experienced Expedition Team and Captain will work their hardest to maximise opportunities to explore. Options include visiting the vast penguin colonies of Salisbury Plain and St Andrew's Bay, seeing the former whaling stations of Lieth and Stromness, drinking in the scenery and seal colonies of Gold Harbour, or exploring this island's fascinating exploration heritage at Grytviken (where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried). South Georgia is one of those locations which grabs hold of the senses and never lets go; even long after departure, the jewel of the South Atlantic will captivate visitors for years to come.

DAY 16-17: AT SEA TOWARD SOUTH AMERICA. MONTEVIDEO, DISEMBARKATION
We are now into the last leg of this adventurous voyage, heading northwestwards towards Montevideo, Uruguay - one of the most important ports for historical Antarctic expeditions, as it is for ours today.

During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board to provide our guests with the chance to reflect on their voyage. Relax with an expertly crafted cocktail in the Nordic Bar in the company of new friends, soak up the knowledge and passion of our Expedition Team during lectures in the Shackleton Lounge, or simply enjoy the flight of the albatross which accompany us westward.

During your last evening onboard, join the Captain and Senior Officers for the Farewell Cocktail Party, followed by a presentation of photos and video by our onboard photographer - the ideal opportunity to re-live your Southern Ocean adventure. Skål!

DAY 18: MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - DISEMBARKATION
The city of Montevideo sits at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, the vast estuary which holds not one but two capital cities. We will head for the northern, Uruguayan shore, where our voyage ends. Trees, cars, grass and a bustling capital city may seem strange to you after the white wilderness of Antarctica! After a hearty breakfast, it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Crew and Albatros Expedition Team, and descend the gangway back to dry land with memories of the voyage of a lifetime. 

Ocean Albatros (Luxury Expedition, 184-guests)

With a total of 95 comfortable staterooms and suites, all with unobstructed sea view, most with their own balcony, the Ocean Albatros will definitely become one of the most popular expedition cruise vessels in the world. Like it's sistership the Ocean Victory it offers two restaurants, a wellness area, an Albatros Nordic Bar, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenities.

(Click image to view Ship details)

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 18-day/17-night cruise with accommodation in a shared double stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
  • Embarkation shuttle transfer to the vessel from Ushuaia city centre
  • Shuttle transfer after disembarkation from the ship to Ushuaia city centre or airport
  • All Zodiac landings and excursions, as per itinerary, guided by our Expedition Team
  • Expedition parka
  • Rubber boots loan scheme
  • Briefings and lectures by our Expedition Leader and Team
  • English-speaking Expedition Team
  • Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner (selected labels and brands, served at our a-la-carte dinners)
  • Free tea and coffee available 24 hours
  • Taxes and landing fees
  • Special photo workshops
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktail Parties
  • Digital visual journal link distributed after the voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
EXCLUSIONS
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. Albatros Polar Spa services, Albatros Ocean Boutique purchases)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'Inclusions'

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
  • Kayaking
  • Lectures
  • Photography
  • Zodiac Cruising
  • Wildlife observations

 

Contact Epic Polar!
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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person and subject to change.