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Antarctica In Search of the Emperor Penguin Adventure Cruising

Weddell Sea Exploration by Polar Ship & Helicopter

 

A true adventure, this cruise in the Weddell Sea sets out to explore the range of the emperor penguins near Snow Hill Island. We visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and gentoos. Helicopters provide an advantage in reaching the emperor penguin colony, but nature makes the rules in Antarctica. Our itinerary will vary depending on the weather and ice pack.

  • Experience the bird's-eye-view of the magnificent scenery of the Antarctic wilderness with ship-to-shore helicopter transfers

  • Vie for the rare chance to see the famed emperor penguin rookery south of Snow Hill Island, numbering around 4,000 breeding pairs

  • Enjoy an enriching program of lectures by noted naturalists and by an expert Antarctic expedition team both on the ship and on the shore with guided hikes and snowshoeing excursions

Contact an Expert

Arrive:

Ushuaia, Argentina

Depart:

Ushuaia, Argentina

Price: from $12,900

Duration:

11 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

Up to 108 Guests

Min Age:

15 yrs

Activity:

Level 2

You can expect 1 or 2 half-day excursions for each day in Antarctica depending on weather conditions. During guided shore excursions, guests break up into smaller special interest groups with several options ranging from an easy shoreline walk to a strenuous hike (1-3 hours.) Excursions may include a Zodiac cruise to observe icebergs and wildlife (1-1.5 hours.)
Learn more here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

  • Embark from the "End of the World"

    Day 1

    Begin the journey on Tierra del Fuego in the small resort town of Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city on the planet, nicknamed "The End of the World." Board your ship, settle into your cabin, and then sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Dinner

  • Sail Drakes Passage, Path of the Polar Explorers

    Day 2

    Begin a two-day voyage across the 600 mile gateway to the white continent of Antarctic: the Drakes Passage. Experience sights encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions. The Drake is considered by many polar travelers as a rite of passage everyone must experience before enjoying the boundless natural wonders of Antarctica. Layers of cold seawater from the south and relatively warm seawater from the north collide to form powerful eddies. When paired with strong winds, common to this area, the Drake Passage has earned its reputation as one of Earth's roughest waterways and greatest adventures.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Continue on Drakes Passage

    Day 3

    Pass the Antarctic Convergence - Antarctica's natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas - into the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. En route, enjoy a program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff. The wealth of Drake Passage wildlife will give you no shortage of animals to gaze at. Keep an eye out for albatrosses like the wandering, grey-headed, black-browed, and light-mantled sooty albatrosses. Thick with plankton, the seas support populations of humpback, orca, minkie, and fin whales.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Enter the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea

    Day 4

    Sail into the Weddell Sea via the iceberg-dotted Antarctic Sound toward the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Search for emperor penguins from vantage points on the vessel and from helicopters. Expert guides lead all excursions and decide where to go and what to do each day depending on conditions.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Chart the Western Slopes of the Antarctic Sound

    Day 5

    Continue into the Weddell Sea. Leave the ship for helicopter flights, weather permitting. Enjoy breath-taking views of the layered sandstones, lava flows, glaciers, icebergs, and pack-ice extending as far as the eye can see. Zodiac to Devil Island, home to a large colony of Adélie penguins, and a magnificent vantage point for hikers at the top of the hill.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Journey to the Land of the Emperors

    Day 6

    Watch for Emperor Penguins on a sail further south, ice and weather permitting. Visit Seymour Island, where the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901 wintered, and home to sedimentary rock formations, fossils, and expansive views. Take a zodiac ride to Gourdin Island, where Chinstrap, gentoo, and Adélie penguins can be found.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Travel North through the Antarctic Sound

    Day 7

    Continue north, watching for whales, penguins, and sea birds. Zodiac to Brown Bluff, perhaps the most scenic location in the northern tip of the Antarctic Continent, with its sheer canyon walls, fallen boulders, and beautiful volcanic creations capped with ice. Enjoy viewing the large Adélie penguin rookery, also home to gentoo penguins and nesting snow petrels. Make way toward Deception Island.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Deception Island

    Day 8

    Awake in the South Shetland Islands archipelago and sail into the volcanic caldera of the crescent-shaped Deception Island through its narrow entrance, Neptune's Bellows. Admire the surrounding cliffs and spectacular mountain peaks towering above. Landing at either Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay, explore abandoned whaling station ruins including bleached whalebones, wooden barrels and other artefacts from 20th century whale hunters. Although the wildlife inside the caldera is not that abundant, several bird species breed on the caldera cliffs. Deception Island is not totally covered by ice, offering many walking opportunities. If conditions are right, hike to "Neptune's Window" and high up onto the rim of the crater, and experience what it's like to be "at the top" of the bottom of the world.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Return Journey across the Drake Passage

    Day 9

    Begin the 2-day journey back to Ushuaia across Drakes Passage. En route, watch for migratory sea birds Antarctic Petrels, Southern Giant Petrel, shags, skuas, and gulls. Expert ornithologists and keen birders are there to point out the different species on on-board lectures will help you with birdlife knowledge.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Final Crossing Day

    Day 10

    Cross the Drake, greeted by a vast array of seabirds and whales. Take advantage of the day to rest and reflect on the extraordinary journey of the days past. Cap off the trip with a sail past Cape Horn on the way into Ushuaia, weather permitting.

    Accommodation: M/V Ortelius

    The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating and a broad, heavy design. It offers a choice of recently refurbished and spacious 190 square-foot cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. Extensive open-deck space maximizes wildlife viewing, It offers a wide range of adventure activities, including diving. It also offers a helicopter pad used on select Weddell & Ross Seas voyages.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart Ushuaia

    Day 11

    This morning disembark and transfer to the airport. We strongly recommend booking flights no earlier than 12:00 pm to account for possible delays getting back to port.

    Meals: Breakfast

Antarctica In Search of the Emperor Penguin Adventure Cruising

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

Over 30 years offering polar voyages we have built strong relationships with polar outfitters and ships that cruise the 7th continent.

Reason #02

We choose ships and operators that maintain a high level of commitment to safety, people, value, quality, environment, well-being, and customer service.

Reason #03

MT Sobek's Polar Value Promise means that we offer in-house services to help plan and execute you polar adventure for no added cost.

Meet your guides

Martin Berg

Martin Berg

Martin's passion for birds and mammals has taken him all over the world in his search for rare species. He has always been drawn to adventures and has participated in many expeditions and conservation projects into the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic, Caucasus, and the Himalayas to study poorly known and endangered bird species. He has also spent several seasons studying seabirds on islands in the North Atlantic Ocean and around New Zealand and as well as conducted at-sea surveys on seabirds and marine mammals in waters around Antarctica. Martin holds an Honours degree in Biology from Lund University in Sweden and a Master's degree in Marine Biology from Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in Canada. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, but most of his time is currently spent either in the Arctic or Antarctica where he guides and gives lectures in a wide range of topics related to natural history. rn

Marijke de Boer

Marijke de Boer

Marijke grew up in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany before completed a MSc in Marine Ecology at the University of Utrecht and a Ph.D in Marine Mammal Ecology at the University of Wageningen. Marijke is fascinated by cetaceans, and has worked with Minke whales in Scotland, Killer whales, Blue whales and Belugas in Canada, Bottlenose whales in the Arctic Labrador Sea, Risso's dolphins in the Irish Sea and Sperm whales off the Azores. She has also participated in various ocean-crossing surveys, namely the Davis Strait, Indian Ocean, South China Sea, Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Whilst she very much enjoys the academic side of her career, her first love is sharing her knowledge in the field. She has worked as a wildlife guide during multiple oceanic expeditions and is always happy to return to the ocean.

Celine Clement

Celine Clement

line was born in the south west of France, in the vineyard region of Bordeaux. She grew up with a passion for travel, the natural world especially ocean wildlife...and wine! Celine was started out as a Research Manager at the Department of Geography of the University of Bergen, before various contracts for France's national scientific research center led her to participate as a cartographer for scientific missions in the Arctic and Antarctic Peninsula. This work was primarily conducted as part of research programs funded by the French Polar Institute and focused on the adaptations of polar seabirds to changes in their environment. It was during this time that Celine got a taste for sharing her knowledge through science outreach programs, which led her to becoming a Polar guide. rn

Activities

Expert polar interpretation and presentations, professional navigation through Antarctic waters, and up-close wildlife experiences on shore and by Zodiac. Optional kayaking for a fee.

Lodging

Ortelius is an ice-strengthened and well-appointed polar expedition ship that offers a comfortable and safe way to explore Antarctica.

Climate

Antarctica is unpredictable. There may be days of warm sunshine, but be prepared for wind, rain, and snow. Daytime temperatures are 20-32F.

FAQ

Will I get seasick?

There may be rough sea conditions while crossing the Drake Passage, but the rough conditions are still usually tolerable. We recommend consulting your doctor or bringing seasickness medication.

What are meals like?

Large variety of options at buffet breakfasts and lunches. Dinners include plated entrée choices (including vegetarian) appetizers, and desserts. Full-bar onboard payable with onboard account.

Are we guaranteed the helicopter ride to see the penguins?

Trips to Antarctica embody the expedition experience. All activities, including the helicopter ride, are dependent on the weather, sea conditions, and ice pack. The farther south we go, the more sea ice we are likely to encounter and the change in weather occur more rapidly. We recommend packing your adventurous spirit!

Are pre- & post- land arrangements and airport transfers included?

These services are not included. Guests will make their way to the ship in Ushuaia on Day 1 and services end on disembarkation on Day 11.

What cabin types are available?

The Ortelius cabins are configured in quadruple, triple, twin and superior layouts. Pricing varies by cabin type. Inquire with our Regional Specialists for details.

What animals can I expect to see?

Besides the chance to see Emperor Penguins, there's an array of other wildlife in Antarctica to get excited about! Adelie penguin, Chinstrap Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, Killer Whales, Humpbacks, minke whales, leopard seals, Weddell seal, Crabeater seals. Not to mention the amazing birdlife such as Skuas, petrels, albatross, shags, Sheathbills, and Sternidea - be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars!

2021

Scheduled Dates

  • Nov 14 - 24, 2021
    $12,900 price per person dbl occ
    +$9,030 single supplement

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage
  • Pricing based on double occupancy in a Twin Porthole Cabin

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

2022

Scheduled Dates

  • Nov 14 - 24, 2022
    $12,900 price per person dbl occ
    +$9,030 single supplement

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage
  • Pricing based on double occupancy in a Twin Porthole Cabin

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

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Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.