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Antarctic Expedition

From $7,495

  • Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the "last continent," the most remote destination on earth!
  • See a spectacular wonderland of ice formations and soaring mountains in this vast and pristine wilderness
  • Hop aboard a small, maneuverable ice-class expedition ship, allowing you to get up close to a phenomenal variety of wildlife
  • Enjoy epic shore landings by Kodiac boat or paddle the icy waters by kayak

Antarctica is one of the most exciting and spectacular destinations in the world, the last frontier of raw wilderness. During the short austral summer, the Antarctic’s nutrient-rich waters attract thousands of penguins, seals, seabirds, and whales, who come here to breed and raise their young. While crossing the Drake Passage on our well-appointed, state-of-the-art expedition ships, you’ll enjoy educational lectures, slideshows, and presentations to prepare you for a personal encounter with nature as you explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea conditions determine the actual itinerary, but our ships call on remarkable places such as Deception Island—a volcanic caldera that we can sail into—and Paradise Bay, a favorite spot for Zodiac cruising to see fantastical iceberg sculptures and an ever-calving glacier. Come visit this frozen paradise now while it is still pure, wild, and entirely unspoiled.

Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia and set sail

Be sure to arrive the day before boarding the ship so you'll have time to explore the charming Argentinian town of Ushuaia. Jagged mountains tower above Ushuaia’s small harbor, which is situated at the base of a stunning mountain range.

In the mid-afternoon, we'll gather for an orientation briefing, then transfer by bus to the dock for embarkation. Once on board, we’ll get together for introductions to the expedition team, learn a bit about the ship and its layout, talk about our itinerary, and participate in a safety and lifeboat drill. Then, with a glass of champagne in hand, we'll begin our journey to Antarctica with a scenic sail through the Beagle Channel and enter the waters of the Drake Passage.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 2-3: At sea, crossing the Drake Passage

Sail across the 620 miles of the Drake Passage, passing over the Antarctic Convergence. Here the cold waters of the Antarctic meet the warmer seas of the Atlantic, and the surfacing nutrients attract a variety of species of seabirds and whales. The Drake Passage is noted as being some of the most treacherous water on the planet. Crossings can be rough, but are usually tolerable. (Seasickness medication helps.)

During the voyage, we’ll be entertained by many lectures, movies, and slide-show presentations on what we’re about to experience. As we get closer to the Peninsula, things begin to change. We'll feel a fresh cool air and see huge, tabular icebergs, soaring wandering albatrosses and cape petrels. The first icebergs and the South Shetland Islands will appear on the horizon in the afternoon of Day 4.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 4-8: Explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula

For the next several days, we'll cruise among the islands and into the bays and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula, leaving time to venture ashore by Zodiac for walks among the wildlife whenever possible.

We'll arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Bay (aka Neko Harbour). Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing, including oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal 'tabular' icebergs that break away from the continent's ice shelf. We hope the weather will be mild enough to allow us all to step foot on the White Continent itself. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.

Many factors play a role in shaping the expedition’s progress. Our goal is to give you the best possible active experience based on prevailing wind, weather, and ice conditions. We'll attempt to leave the ship to explore at least twice a day. Perhaps you’ll feel salt spray on your face as the Zodiac weaves in and around grounded icebergs, or you could scramble to the top of a craggy hill for an unforgettable view of an icy chasm. We also usually visit one or more research stations, possibly Frei (Chilean) and adjoining Bellingshausen (Russian), Arctowski (Polish), Vernadsky (Ukrainian), or Palmer Station (U.S.).

Over the course of the austral spring and summer, the sun lingers longer and longer, melting snow and ice. Wildlife grows in abundance: chicks hatch and fledge, and pods of whales breach in a deep bay where a calving iceberg has churned up krill, the local delicacy. The natural cycle of life ensures that every expedition is different and full of surprises!

Without a doubt, this cruise offers some of Antarctica’s most dramatic scenery. Landing sites vary, of course, depending on the weather and other conditions, but our favorite places include the following:

Half Moon Island (62° 36’S, 59° 55’W) East side of Livingston Island
Right in the heart of the South Shetland Islands, the crescent-shaped Half Moon Island is located in a protected passage between Greenwich and Roberts Islands. The island was known to sealers as early as 1821, and sealers were notorious for keeping the location of valuable sites secret). Spectacular mountains tower all around the island, and many Antarctic birds breed here—including a colony of Chinstrap Penguins, in addition to blue-eyed shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Skua—all whom share their territory with fur seals.

Deception Island (62°58′S 60°39'W)
Deception Island is one of the few volcanic calderas in the world that large ships may sail into and anchor. There are numerous anchorages within the caldera such as Whaler’s Bay, where we can explore abandoned whaling station ruins, hike up volcanic slopes to view volcanic lakes, and even bathe in steaming thermal waters along the shore if the conditions are right. On the outside of Deception Island is Baily Head, where more than 100,000 chinstrap penguins pairs make their home, sometimes nesting nearly to the top of the crater rim itself. Because of the steep black sand beach, sea conditions must be just right for safe landings at Baily Head.

Paradise Bay (64° 53’S, 62° 52’W)
Its name is appropriate, as it is one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s best-known scenic locations! Here we can make a landing on the continent itself, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of a hill (and have fun sliding back down!). Along the cliffs you can see nesting seabirds, and you might also see whales in the bay. One of the highlights is taking a Zodiac ride around fantastic ice sculptures. These “bergy bits” have broken off of icebergs and been sculpted by wind and water into amazing shapes, with deep blue inner cores and turquoise bases. It is a spectacular place for viewing and photographing the surrounding glaciers and icebergs—from the shore, ship, and Zodiac!

Orne Harbor (64° 37’S, 62° 32’W)
A steep climb to the summit of Orne Island, located on the east side of the Gerlache Strait, provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the strait and the surrounding islands and mountains. Some chinstrap penguins nest at the very top; these are the “mountain climbers” of the penguin world, preferring a “room with a view” from the top of the cliffs.

Cuverville Island (64° 41’S, 62° 38’W) Errera Channel
We'll visit the peninsula's largest gentoo penguin colony—approximately 5,000 pairs nest here—situated on a rocky beach on the north end of Cuverville Island. Southern Giant Petrels, Kelp Gulls, and Antarctic Terns also breed on the island. We can also cruise by Zodiac or sea kayak among the large bergs, where you can sometimes see curious leopard seals checking you out and humpback whales feeding just offshore. Small coveys of gentoos sometimes swim by, their soft calls producing background music.

Paulet Island (63° 35’S, 55° 47’W) South of Dundee Island
Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large rookery with hundreds of thousands of Adélie penguin pairs and their chicks. Here you'll also find the remains of the hut of Captain Carl Anton Larsen of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, constructed in 1903 when the party lost its ship. Twenty men wintered here, surviving on penguins and seals. The island's volcanic cone rises 1,158 feet.

Lemaire Channel (65° 4’S, 63° 54’W)
A cruise through a breathtakingly narrow channel, with mountain walls rising thousands of feet straight out of the water, is one of the highlights of a trip to Antarctica. Minkes, humpbacks, and orcas are occasionally spotted, and leopard and crabeater seals sometimes frequent the ice floes. This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most scenic locations on the western coast of Antarctica. However, the 6.8 miles may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 9-10: At sea, crossing the Drake Passage

You’ll return via the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, having walked in the path of the great Antarctic adventurers. As Cook, Ross, Scott and Shackleton did, you’ve stared at the same skies and wondered at the same vast landscape. And now, like them, you understand the enduring lure of Antarctica.Near the end of our journey, we’ll sail past Cape Horn on our way to Ushuaia, weather permitting.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Day 11: Return to Ushuaia and fly home

We'll plan to arrive back in Ushuaia in the early morning. Our arrival is dramatic as dawn breaks over the town. The setting is spectacular, with sparkling mountains directly behind the city, and if it’s clear, we’ll see the higher peaks of Chile to the west. After breakfast on board the ship, we'll transfer to the airport and fly home. (Please book your flights for 11am or later, just to be safe.)

  • Breakfast

Dec 10 - 20, 2015 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Dec 20 - 30, 2015 On board the Akademik Ioffe. WAITLIST ONLY

Feb 18 - 28, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Feb 28, 2016 - Mar 09, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Mar 08 - 18, 2016 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

Mar 09 - 19, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe. WAITLIST ONLY

Mar 18 - 28, 2016 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

pricing

Winter 2015-2016 Prices (all prices are US$ per person):

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT of $750 per person for Winter 2015/16 departures!

Dec 10 and all March Voyages:
$ 7,495 Triple Cabin with Shared Bath
$ 9,795 Twin Cabin with Semi-Private Bath
$ 10,695 Twin Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,495 Superior Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,995 Shackleton Suite
$ 13,195 One Ocean Suite

Dec 20, Feb 18, Feb 28 Voyages:
$ 8,495 Triple Cabin with Shared Bath
$ 10,795 Twin Cabin with Semi-Private Bath
$ 11,295 Twin Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,795 Superior Cabin with Private Bath
$ 12,495 Shackleton Suite
$ 13,995 One Ocean Suite
___________________________________________________

$795 Sea Kayaking program (Spaces are strictly limited and need to be reserved at time of booking!)
Free Overnight Camping Option (weather and conditions permitting)

Single Supplement is 1.5 times the Twin cabin price or 2 times the Suite price (singles cannot take over a Triple Cabin).  If you are willing to share with a roommate of the same gender, we will waive the single supplement fee (even if no roommate is found).

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Expedition Ship

The sister ships Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 passengers) and Akademik Ioffe (96 passengers) are modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, these sister ships were designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ships are maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. They feature  an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. These expedition ships are designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic.

From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.

The ship’s bridge is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.

Amenities

One dining room with unreserved seating. 
Theatre-style presentation room. 
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits. 
Library with a collection of polar-themed books. 
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite. 
Clinic with licensed doctor. 
Gym, sauna and swimming pool. 
Elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

  • Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the "last continent," the most remote destination on earth!
  • See a spectacular wonderland of ice formations and soaring mountains in this vast and pristine wilderness
  • Hop aboard a small, maneuverable ice-class expedition ship, allowing you to get up close to a phenomenal variety of wildlife
  • Enjoy epic shore landings by Kodiac boat or paddle the icy waters by kayak

Antarctica is one of the most exciting and spectacular destinations in the world, the last frontier of raw wilderness. During the short austral summer, the Antarctic’s nutrient-rich waters attract thousands of penguins, seals, seabirds, and whales, who come here to breed and raise their young. While crossing the Drake Passage on our well-appointed, state-of-the-art expedition ships, you’ll enjoy educational lectures, slideshows, and presentations to prepare you for a personal encounter with nature as you explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea conditions determine the actual itinerary, but our ships call on remarkable places such as Deception Island—a volcanic caldera that we can sail into—and Paradise Bay, a favorite spot for Zodiac cruising to see fantastical iceberg sculptures and an ever-calving glacier. Come visit this frozen paradise now while it is still pure, wild, and entirely unspoiled.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia and set sail

Be sure to arrive the day before boarding the ship so you'll have time to explore the charming Argentinian town of Ushuaia. Jagged mountains tower above Ushuaia’s small harbor, which is situated at the base of a stunning mountain range.

In the mid-afternoon, we'll gather for an orientation briefing, then transfer by bus to the dock for embarkation. Once on board, we’ll get together for introductions to the expedition team, learn a bit about the ship and its layout, talk about our itinerary, and participate in a safety and lifeboat drill. Then, with a glass of champagne in hand, we'll begin our journey to Antarctica with a scenic sail through the Beagle Channel and enter the waters of the Drake Passage.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 2-3: At sea, crossing the Drake Passage

Sail across the 620 miles of the Drake Passage, passing over the Antarctic Convergence. Here the cold waters of the Antarctic meet the warmer seas of the Atlantic, and the surfacing nutrients attract a variety of species of seabirds and whales. The Drake Passage is noted as being some of the most treacherous water on the planet. Crossings can be rough, but are usually tolerable. (Seasickness medication helps.)

During the voyage, we’ll be entertained by many lectures, movies, and slide-show presentations on what we’re about to experience. As we get closer to the Peninsula, things begin to change. We'll feel a fresh cool air and see huge, tabular icebergs, soaring wandering albatrosses and cape petrels. The first icebergs and the South Shetland Islands will appear on the horizon in the afternoon of Day 4.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 4-8: Explore the islands, bays, and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula

For the next several days, we'll cruise among the islands and into the bays and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula, leaving time to venture ashore by Zodiac for walks among the wildlife whenever possible.

We'll arrive on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Bay (aka Neko Harbour). Prepare to be dazzled by your first glimpse of the continent. The scenery here is amazing, including oddly-shaped icebergs that look like sculptures, as well as the colossal 'tabular' icebergs that break away from the continent's ice shelf. We hope the weather will be mild enough to allow us all to step foot on the White Continent itself. Some may wish to camp on shore overnight. Whatever your vantage point, whether it is onboard or onshore, expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.

Many factors play a role in shaping the expedition’s progress. Our goal is to give you the best possible active experience based on prevailing wind, weather, and ice conditions. We'll attempt to leave the ship to explore at least twice a day. Perhaps you’ll feel salt spray on your face as the Zodiac weaves in and around grounded icebergs, or you could scramble to the top of a craggy hill for an unforgettable view of an icy chasm. We also usually visit one or more research stations, possibly Frei (Chilean) and adjoining Bellingshausen (Russian), Arctowski (Polish), Vernadsky (Ukrainian), or Palmer Station (U.S.).

Over the course of the austral spring and summer, the sun lingers longer and longer, melting snow and ice. Wildlife grows in abundance: chicks hatch and fledge, and pods of whales breach in a deep bay where a calving iceberg has churned up krill, the local delicacy. The natural cycle of life ensures that every expedition is different and full of surprises!

Without a doubt, this cruise offers some of Antarctica’s most dramatic scenery. Landing sites vary, of course, depending on the weather and other conditions, but our favorite places include the following:

Half Moon Island (62° 36’S, 59° 55’W) East side of Livingston Island
Right in the heart of the South Shetland Islands, the crescent-shaped Half Moon Island is located in a protected passage between Greenwich and Roberts Islands. The island was known to sealers as early as 1821, and sealers were notorious for keeping the location of valuable sites secret). Spectacular mountains tower all around the island, and many Antarctic birds breed here—including a colony of Chinstrap Penguins, in addition to blue-eyed shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Skua—all whom share their territory with fur seals.

Deception Island (62°58′S 60°39'W)
Deception Island is one of the few volcanic calderas in the world that large ships may sail into and anchor. There are numerous anchorages within the caldera such as Whaler’s Bay, where we can explore abandoned whaling station ruins, hike up volcanic slopes to view volcanic lakes, and even bathe in steaming thermal waters along the shore if the conditions are right. On the outside of Deception Island is Baily Head, where more than 100,000 chinstrap penguins pairs make their home, sometimes nesting nearly to the top of the crater rim itself. Because of the steep black sand beach, sea conditions must be just right for safe landings at Baily Head.

Paradise Bay (64° 53’S, 62° 52’W)
Its name is appropriate, as it is one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s best-known scenic locations! Here we can make a landing on the continent itself, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of a hill (and have fun sliding back down!). Along the cliffs you can see nesting seabirds, and you might also see whales in the bay. One of the highlights is taking a Zodiac ride around fantastic ice sculptures. These “bergy bits” have broken off of icebergs and been sculpted by wind and water into amazing shapes, with deep blue inner cores and turquoise bases. It is a spectacular place for viewing and photographing the surrounding glaciers and icebergs—from the shore, ship, and Zodiac!

Orne Harbor (64° 37’S, 62° 32’W)
A steep climb to the summit of Orne Island, located on the east side of the Gerlache Strait, provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the strait and the surrounding islands and mountains. Some chinstrap penguins nest at the very top; these are the “mountain climbers” of the penguin world, preferring a “room with a view” from the top of the cliffs.

Cuverville Island (64° 41’S, 62° 38’W) Errera Channel
We'll visit the peninsula's largest gentoo penguin colony—approximately 5,000 pairs nest here—situated on a rocky beach on the north end of Cuverville Island. Southern Giant Petrels, Kelp Gulls, and Antarctic Terns also breed on the island. We can also cruise by Zodiac or sea kayak among the large bergs, where you can sometimes see curious leopard seals checking you out and humpback whales feeding just offshore. Small coveys of gentoos sometimes swim by, their soft calls producing background music.

Paulet Island (63° 35’S, 55° 47’W) South of Dundee Island
Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large rookery with hundreds of thousands of Adélie penguin pairs and their chicks. Here you'll also find the remains of the hut of Captain Carl Anton Larsen of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, constructed in 1903 when the party lost its ship. Twenty men wintered here, surviving on penguins and seals. The island's volcanic cone rises 1,158 feet.

Lemaire Channel (65° 4’S, 63° 54’W)
A cruise through a breathtakingly narrow channel, with mountain walls rising thousands of feet straight out of the water, is one of the highlights of a trip to Antarctica. Minkes, humpbacks, and orcas are occasionally spotted, and leopard and crabeater seals sometimes frequent the ice floes. This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most scenic locations on the western coast of Antarctica. However, the 6.8 miles may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Days 9-10: At sea, crossing the Drake Passage

You’ll return via the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, having walked in the path of the great Antarctic adventurers. As Cook, Ross, Scott and Shackleton did, you’ve stared at the same skies and wondered at the same vast landscape. And now, like them, you understand the enduring lure of Antarctica.Near the end of our journey, we’ll sail past Cape Horn on our way to Ushuaia, weather permitting.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Expedition Ship

Day 11: Return to Ushuaia and fly home

We'll plan to arrive back in Ushuaia in the early morning. Our arrival is dramatic as dawn breaks over the town. The setting is spectacular, with sparkling mountains directly behind the city, and if it’s clear, we’ll see the higher peaks of Chile to the west. After breakfast on board the ship, we'll transfer to the airport and fly home. (Please book your flights for 11am or later, just to be safe.)

  • Breakfast

Expedition Ship

The sister ships Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 passengers) and Akademik Ioffe (96 passengers) are modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, these sister ships were designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ships are maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. They feature  an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. These expedition ships are designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic.

From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.

The ship’s bridge is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.

Amenities

One dining room with unreserved seating. 
Theatre-style presentation room. 
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits. 
Library with a collection of polar-themed books. 
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite. 
Clinic with licensed doctor. 
Gym, sauna and swimming pool. 
Elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

Dates and Pricing

Dec 10 - 20, 2015 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Dec 20 - 30, 2015 On board the Akademik Ioffe. WAITLIST ONLY

Feb 18 - 28, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Feb 28, 2016 - Mar 09, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe.

Mar 08 - 18, 2016 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

Mar 09 - 19, 2016 On board the Akademik Ioffe. WAITLIST ONLY

Mar 18 - 28, 2016 On board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

pricing

Winter 2015-2016 Prices (all prices are US$ per person):

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT of $750 per person for Winter 2015/16 departures!

Dec 10 and all March Voyages:
$ 7,495 Triple Cabin with Shared Bath
$ 9,795 Twin Cabin with Semi-Private Bath
$ 10,695 Twin Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,495 Superior Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,995 Shackleton Suite
$ 13,195 One Ocean Suite

Dec 20, Feb 18, Feb 28 Voyages:
$ 8,495 Triple Cabin with Shared Bath
$ 10,795 Twin Cabin with Semi-Private Bath
$ 11,295 Twin Cabin with Private Bath
$ 11,795 Superior Cabin with Private Bath
$ 12,495 Shackleton Suite
$ 13,995 One Ocean Suite
___________________________________________________

$795 Sea Kayaking program (Spaces are strictly limited and need to be reserved at time of booking!)
Free Overnight Camping Option (weather and conditions permitting)

Single Supplement is 1.5 times the Twin cabin price or 2 times the Suite price (singles cannot take over a Triple Cabin).  If you are willing to share with a roommate of the same gender, we will waive the single supplement fee (even if no roommate is found).

Select Trip Type Before Requesting Reservation

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Call us at 1-888-687-6235
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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure