Antarctica (12 days)

Exploring the White Continent

Antarctica holds a captivating mystique unlike anywhere else on the planet. Harsh and beautiful, the continent is an otherworldly landscape of jagged mountains and towering icebergs, flourishing with wildlife despite some of the most unforgiving weather on Earth. It’s at the top of any adventurer’s bucket list.

Board the National Geographic Orion as we embark on an expedition to explore the world’s last great wilderness. See Antarctica’s natural wonders and inhabitants up close. Talk with veteran voyagers and renowned experts. Glimpse the seldom-seen Antarctic undersea. There’s no other experience like this one, period.

Trip Highlights:

  • Kayak within feet of entire penguin colonies and seals dozing on icebergs
  • Watch for humpback whales—if you find one, listen to its voice through the ship’s hydrophone
  • See Antarctica through the eyes of some of the world’s foremost experts
  • Take a quick polar plunge—followed very closely by a dip in the ship’s hot tub

Included:

  • Services of Lindblad Expedition Team (10 staff), including dedicated Expedition Leader, Naturalist staff, Video Chronicler, Undersea Specialist, National Geographic Photographer, Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor, and more
  • Round-trip charter flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, Argentina
  • All accommodations
  • All meals onboard National Geographic Orion
  • Beer, wine, and spirits (local and house) onboard National Geographic Orion
  • All shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Ground transportation throughout, including private airport transfer upon arrival in Buenos Aires
  • Use of kayaks and Zodiac landing equipment in Antarctica
  • One parka per traveler (for you to keep) and one boot rental per traveler
  • All gratuities

Not Included:

  • International airfare to and from the destination, please contact us for the best available prices from your home city.
  • Travel Insurance is not included, but available, please contact us for the best options for your family.
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary below.
  • Tours not mentioned in the itinerary below.
  • Gratuities (optional).

Itinerary & Highlights Accommodations & Details

Day 1 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere, and the sophisticated city of Buenos Aires. Enjoy a welcome reception to celebrate your arrival. You’ll spend a night at the Sofitel Arroyo in the heart of the city before your real adventure begins.

Day 2 – Ushuaia, Argentina & Embarkation

After breakfast and a morning tour of Buenos Aires, you’ll board a charter plane and fly to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world and your jumping-off point for Antarctica. You’ll have lunch as you cruise the Beagle Channel on a catamaran and take in the dramatic scenery of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. After lunch, you’ll board a ship of an entirely different kind—the National Geographic Orion, your transportation to Antarctica and your home base for the next ten nights.

About National Geographic Orion

Go anywhere and see everything up close, all without sacrificing comfort. You may remember the National Geographic Orion from our 2013 journey to Borneo. The National Geographic Orion was purpose-built to explore the Earth’s most remote locations in elegant, safe, and environmentally compliant fashion. The ship accommodates just 102 guests in 53 cabins, all with large beds, sitting areas and marble bathroom fixtures, and some with private balconies. The vessel is equipped with the latest technology for navigating occasionally tumultuous channels and obstacle-filled Antarctic waters, including large retractable stabilizers, radar, sonar and a special ice-strengthened hull. The ship’s small size, shallow draft, and bow and stern thrusters enable it to maneuver surprisingly close to shore. Spacious public rooms offer panoramic views of the passing landscape, and advanced design features and technology ensure sustainable marine environmental practices.

Day 3 – At Sea

When you awake this morning, you’ll find yourself well on your way through the Drake Passage, legendary in maritime lore. Before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, the stormy seas and icy conditions of the passage were a dreaded but necessary evil for trade ships and, before them, the first global explorers who had to make their way around Cape Horn. Aboard National Geographic Orion, the passage is sometimes gray and choppy, other times calm and clear—that said, a stash of Dramamine is a good precautionary measure. Whatever the weather forecast, crossing the Drake Passage is a milestone in any adventurer’s personal travel history.

Days 4 — 9 – Antarctica

First you’ll spot a few small icebergs. Those smaller bergs soon give way to bigger chunks of ice sitting like islands in the blue sea. If you’re lucky, a humpback whale may join you for part of your journey. Finally, you’ll get your first glimpse of land as you approach the Antarctic continent.

It’s summer, so you’ll have nearly constant daylight during your stay in Antarctica and plenty of activities to keep you busy. The beauty of this small expedition ship is its ability to maneuver into small, tricky harbors in a way that large cruise ships cannot, providing multiple ways to witness the marvels of nature up close.

On Land and Sea

Take a Zodiac cruise, navigating between towering, monolithic bergs. Hike to a mountain summit and enjoy the view of the surreal landscape. Walk just feet away from a penguin colony onshore. Kayak next to a cliff side rookery in search of blue-eyed shags. Watch onboard as the ship navigates through thick pack ice and hear the cacophonous cries of thousands of Gentoo penguins. Expert naturalists will teach you how to identify the six species of penguins you could see during your trip. And the onboard National Geographic photographer can teach you how to get a perfect shot of them, and the rest of the amazing things you’ll see.

Underwater

Explore the beautiful Antarctic undersea without getting wet. With equipment designed for polar waters, the ship’s undersea specialist dives each day to capture video footage of Antarctica underwater in vivid HD—exotic marine life, bright corals, and seals and penguins frolicking in their underwater playground. In addition, a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) travels deep beneath the sea, up to 1,000 feet down, to film where no diver can go. You can see it all on large plasma screens in the ship’s lounge, accompanied by engaging narrative and cocktails.

Aboard Ship

You’ll be traveling with ice masters, naturalists, and expedition leaders who have literally written the book (many books, in fact) on travel to Antarctica. Between them they have decades of experience in the region and hundreds of expeditions’ worth of experience. Evenings are filled with guest speakers and interesting discussions, and a recap of the day’s adventures. Or, if you prefer, just relax with a book and reflect on each amazing day.

Days 10 — 11 – Antarctica To Ushuaia, Argentina

On your return sail through the Drake Passage, take some time to enjoy the creature comforts of National Geographic Orion. Have a massage in the onboard spa. Nestle into one of the library’s leather armchairs and read a book. Take afternoon tea in the observation lounge and watch an albatross or two fly alongside the ship. Squeeze in a workout at the gym. You’ll be back in Ushuaia before you know it.

Day 12 – Home Again

You’ll disembark in Ushuaia and head back by air to Buenos Aires for your trip home. Safe travels!

The “Locals”

While penguins, seals, and other wildlife are Antarctica’s only permanent residents, the continent is home to around 100 research stations, which accommodate more than 4,000 people per year. The largest research station, McMurdo Station (run by the United States Antarctic Program), sits on volcanic rock at a far southern point of Antarctica, near the original Discovery Hut that explorer Robert Scott built more than a century ago. It hosts, among other things, a post office, a coffeehouse and three bars.

ACCOMMODATIONS & DETAILS

This one-of-a-kind adventure will leave you feeling like the luckiest explorer, combining all the exhilaration of a hands-on expedition with comforts and luxuries you might not expect.

National Geographic Orion

Designed to offer both an elegant onboard experience and unprecedented, up-close access to natural wonders, National Geographic Orion accommodates just 102 guests in 53 cabins, all with large beds, sitting areas and marble bathroom fixtures, and some with private balconies. Onboard amenities include excellent dining, a library, several observation decks and an observation lounge.

Ideal for: Adults and families with children age 12 or older who are active travelers—this expedition is ideal for those who like to go off the beaten path and enjoy experiences that involve some flexibility and spontaneity.

Travel with: Up to four people in two double-occupancy accommodation units. (There are a limited number of single-occupancy accommodation units available as well.)

Getting there: Fly into and out of Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE). Internal chartered flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) are arranged on your behalf and included in the Daily Fees for this experience.

Why You’ll Love It: Aboard a small expedition ship, you’ll have unmatched, up-close access to the terrain and wildlife of Antarctica—no cruise ship can compare. On your own Zodiac or kayak, you’ll get within feet of wildlife, including penguins, seals, and even humpback whales. Lindblad Expeditions pioneered eco-travel in Antarctica, and you’ll be accompanied by experts and expedition leaders with decades of experience, as well as an onboard National Geographic Photographer to give you camera tips. There is truly no better way to experience the continent—from land, sea, and even undersea via HD video footage.

Prices starting from:   Enquire for 2016/2017 prices.

Above pricing includes taxes where stated. In Canada, GST/HST included. Country taxes that must be paid locally are not included.  Prices listed were correct at time of publication.  Prices can change to reflect exchange rate changes. Custom World Vacations reserves the right to amend prices at any time without prior notice.  All vacations are subject to availability.

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