Make history by participating in a journey that is rarely available – an epic voyage that semi-circumnavigates Antarctica. This extraordinary expedition will start in Argentina’s Ushuaia, located at the southernmost tip of South America, and will end in Dunedin, New Zealand. Covering a distance of some 7,000 nautical miles, we will first visit the Antarctic Peninsula, a mountainous range lined with islands that are important habitats of penguins and other wildlife. We will then cross the Antarctic Circle to explore the shores of western Antarctica that face the Bellingshausen, Amundsen and Ross Seas, places that very few travelers have visited, following the routes and the footsteps of the legendary explorers of the 19th century.
- Pricing from
BONUS! Book early and pay no single supplement!
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Feb 6, 2022 - Mar 13, 2022
One night at the Hilton Buenos Aires (or similar), with full breakfast.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations
received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.
DEPART THE US
Depart the United States for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina
Arrive in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Transfer to the Hilton Buenos Aires (or similar). Meet fellow travelers in the evening at a
BUENOS AIRES/USHUAIA/ EMBARKATION ON MINERVA
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Ushuaia. Claimed to be the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia is located in Argentina’s Tiera del Fuego, between the famed Beagle Channel and the mountains. On arrival, transfer to the pier to embark on the Minerva. As the ship sails the Beagle Channel, enjoy a spectacular vista of glaciers and misted mountains.
Attend lectures and enjoy the ship’s facilities as the Minerva sails through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. Look for albatross, Cape petrels and whales that may accompany the ship on its passage.
Explore the pristine wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands. As the Minerva sails through scenic waterways, witness a breathtaking panorama of icebergs, blue glaciers and jagged snow-capped mountains. Aboard the ship’s Zodiacs, cruise among ice flows and explore penguin rockeries. We plan to land Paulet Island and Brown Bluff, where we meet thousands of Adelie penguins; Petermann Island, the habitat of Gentoo and Adelie penguins; and Paradise Harbor, where humpback and minke whales are often sighted ashore. We also plan to sail through the scenic ice-filled Garlache Strait and Lemaire Channel.
ANTARCTICA ALONG THE BELLINGSHAUSEN SEA
As the ship sails through this vast frozen wilderness, keep an eye out for wildlife. Cross the Polar Circle at 66 degrees south and experience the midnight sun. Take in the magnitude of translucent icebergs floating silently on crystal-clear seas. Aboard Zodiacs, and depending on weather and sea conditions, landings may include two of the largest islands in the Antarctic, Alexander and Thurston Islands; and Peter I, claimed by Norway and home to elephant seals, cape pigeons and southern fulmars.
ANTARCTICA ALONG THE AMUNDSEN SEA
One of the most remote areas of Antarctica, Amundsen Sea is named for the legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who led the first team to reach the South Pole. Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica’s western coast is the largest single unclaimed territory on earth. Chinstrap penguins and skuas inhabit the ice-capped Shepard Island. Spouting orca and minke whales frequent these icy waters. Emperor penguins and seals rest on the ice floes, while fulmar petrels guard the skies.
ANTARCTICA ALONG THE ROSS SEA
Exploring Antarctica’s shore along the Ross Sea, we approach the Bay of Whales. Located on the eastern side of the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest, which, at places soars over 200 feet. We will attempt to land on the shelf, where, on Roosevelt Island, Roald Amundsen began the first ever successful journey to the South Pole, arriving on December 14, 1911. Other landings we will attempt to make include Hut Point on Ross Island, the site of the US McMurdo Research Station, and New Zealand’s Scott Base. We will follow in the footsteps of Robert Scott, the great British explorer, to his cabin on the slopes of Mount Erebus, from where he set off for the South Pole, reaching it on January 17, 1912, five weeks after Amundsen.
As Minerva crosses the South Pacific Ocean, attend lectures, discussions and presentations conducted by the ship’s expert resident expedition leaders and naturalists. The ship’s spacious observation decks provide a panorama of the passing ocean.
MACQUARIE ISLAND, Australia
Arrive in Australia’s southernmost territory, the isolated Macquarie Island. “Macca,” as it is called, is a small island, but it is enormously important because its ecosystem supports a unique flora and fauna that has earned it the distinction of being designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Discovered by sealers in 1810, the island is home to large colonies of four species of penguins, including royal, king, Gentoo and southern rockhoppers, albatross, petrels and southern elephant seals. The island’s tundra ecosystem supports a large variety of plant species, many of them endemic. Macquarie is also the base for an Australian Antarctica research station.
Spend the day cruising toward New Zealand’s subantarctic islands.
AUCKLAND ISLANDS, New Zealand
Arrive in New Zealand’s Auckland Islands, places of great spiritual significance to the native Maori who are renowned for their seafaring traditions. Land at Port Ross, on the northern end of the main island in the group, which is a breeding site for southern right whales. The island is also inhabited by sea lions and some of the world’s rarest birds, including yellow-eyed penguins, white-capped mollymawk, and Gibson’s wandering albatross.
Enderby, one of the smallest islands in the group, is an ornithological and floral paradise. Birds include the Auckland Island snipe and teal, southern royal and light-mantled sooty albatrosses, among others. Incredibly, growing in this remote tiny island is an exceptionally rich flora of some 200 native species that include pink gentian, red rata blossoms, white tree daisies, and megaherbs such as the Campbell Island carrot.
Cruising toward New Zealand’s South Island.
DUNEDIN, New Zealand
Arrive in the morning in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island. Set along the shores of an attractive bay and backed by green hills, this attractive port city is known as the “Edinburgh of New Zealand” on account of its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its proud Celtic connections. Our tour of the city will focus on Dunedin’s most important landmark sites, its picturesque alleyways, the Otago Museum, and the Dunedin Garden. Overnight aboard docked in Dunedin.
Disembark in the morning and transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
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