Join us for this spectacular 14-day journey featuring a nine‑night exclusively chartered cruise to Antarctica, Earth’s last frontier. Cruise aboard the intimate m.s. Le Austral, one of the finest vessels in Antarctic waters, featuring private balconies in 95% of the deluxe, ocean-view accommodations. Experience the White Continent in its unspoiled state—fantastically shaped icebergs, turquoise glaciers, bustling penguin rookeries and breaching whales. Accompanied by the ship’s expert team of naturalists, board sturdy Zodiac watercraft for excursions ashore and observe Antarctica’s abundant wildlife. Spend two nights in vibrant Buenos Aires. Extend your journey with the exclusive three-night Iguazú Falls Post-Program Option.
Other dates available. January 5-18, 2019
Complementary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
U.S. Day 1
Depart the U.S.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Arrive in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires and check into the Five‑Star InterContinental Buenos Aires Hotel, ideally located within walking distance of the landmark Palace of the Argentine National Congress. This evening, attend the Welcome Reception. (r)
Birthplace of the tango, Buenos Aires is a city of diverse and dynamic barrios (neighborhoods). See the colorful La Boca district, Monserrat’s grand public buildings, historic Plaza de Mayo, Palermo’s lavish parks, Puerto Madero’s lively riverfront community and the charming old quarter of San Telmo. Visit the city’s renowned Recoleta Cemetery—lined with ornate vaults and sculptures, this is the final resting place of Eva Perón, the legendary former First Lady of Argentina. (b)
This morning, fly to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, capital of Tierra del Fuego and the gateway to Antarctica. Board your Five-Star ship this afternoon and cruise through storied Beagle Channel, named for the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his South American voyages. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. (b,l,d)
Cruising Drake Passage
Day 5 to 6
Cross the legendary Drake Passage and, upon reaching the Antarctic Convergence, watch for seabirds and breaching fin and humpback whales feeding on plankton and krill brought to the surface by cold Antarctic currents merging with warmer waters of the South Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Your expedition team of naturalists will present insightful lectures, preparing you for your first landing in Antarctica. During the evening, enjoy the lingering twilight of the Antarctic summer. (2b,2l,2d)
Day 7 to 11
Cruise below the 60th parallel south to the outer shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula, Earth’s last frontier. Here, explore some of the world’s most pristine wilderness, where towering mountains of ice and volcanic rock create precipitous coastlines and islands, and ever-changing patterns of ice stretch toward the boundless blue horizon. In this seemingly harsh environment, a vast array of marine wildlife flourishes, including millions of penguins, countless seabirds and thousands of seals and whales. An otherworldly topography of volcanoes and glaciers, populated with riveting wildlife and historic outposts, unfolds—completely immersing you in the irresistible nuances of Earth’s most inaccessible continent for the complete Antarctic experience. Cruise through breathtaking, glacier‑lined Neumayer Channel to rugged Goudier Island. Visit Port Lockroy; nestled among serene mountain peaks as high as 6000 feet, the port was originally constructed in 1944 by an eight‑man team as an intelligence post for British espionage during World War II and converted into a whaling station and scientific base in the 1950s, and its surrounding grounds are populated by blue-eye shags and gentoo penguins. Gain insight into the daily activities of past researchers at the living museum known as “Base A” and mail a postcard stamped with an Antarctica postmark from the official British Post Office. Rocky Jougla Point on Wiencke Island offers a rare opportunity to view the skeletal remains of an adult blue whale and to see populous colonies of gentoo penguins and kelp gulls that inhabit the entire region. Call at Petermann Island, the southernmost point of your journey, and watch its thriving rookeries of Adélie and gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Flanked by sheer cliffs of towering glaciers between the Antarctic Peninsula and Booth Island, cruise through the Lemaire Channel, where seven majestic miles of mountains and interweaving patterns of ice floes brim with wildlife. Listen for the low rumbling of Rudolf Glacier as it calves slabs of ice into Neko Harbor, named for an early 20th‑century whaling boat. Surrounded by soaring glaciers and snow‑covered mountains, this spectacular harbor is one of the most dramatic sights on your expedition. Here, make your first “continental landing” in Antarctica. In Paradise Bay, crystal cliffs of ice descend from sky-bent mountains into the iceberg‑laden waters along the Antarctic Peninsula’s western coast. Named by 19th‑century whalers who sought shelter in its coves, it is an ideal sanctuary for marine wildlife including humpback whales, crabeater seals and Cape petrels. Deception Island, actually the rim of a dormant volcano crater, encircles the Port Foster caldera, where the ship enters through Neptune’s Bellows, a sublime harbor ringed by snowcapped peaks and sheer cliffs. In Pendulum Cove, see the steaming, geothermally heated shallows. Observe the amazing colony of tens of thousands of chinstrap penguins at Baily Head. Then walk along the black sand beaches of Telefon Bay to nearby craters, for firsthand insight into the pivotal volcanic activity that created the island and shaped the natural history of the region. One of the smallest but most beautiful of the South Shetland Islands, crescent‑shaped Half Moon Island is known for its craggy volcanic rock formations and tranquil lagoons. It is also the site of Cámara Station, a base monitored by Argentine biologists studying regional wildlife. Here, observe the antics of the island’s colony of chinstrap penguins. Relax and reflect on board as the ship turns north, and attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (5b,5l,1r,5d)
Cruising Drake Passage/Ushuaia, Argentina
Cross the Drake Passage and enjoy lively, informative discussions with the ship’s naturalists. Watch for endangered albatross and the many different species of petrels as you cruise across the Antarctic Convergence. (b,l,d)
Disembark in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires. Continue on the Iguazú Falls Post‑Program Option with an overnight stay in Buenos Aires or depart for the U.S. (b)
Arrive in the U.S.
Please note that the ship’s cruising pattern and positionings are dependent on weather, ice and sea conditions and are subject to change.