12 days - 11 nights
Day 1 - Ushuaia, en la Isla de Tierra del Fuego
We will embark in the morning in the city of Tierra del Fuego (Ushuaia), the southern city of the world. We will navigate by the Beagle Channel the rest of the night.
Day 2 to 3 - Through the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands
With the prow heading south, the M/V Ushuaia crosses the Drake Passage in the first two days of the trip. This famous passage, named after the intrepid navigator Sir Francis Drake who has crossed the rough waters in 1578. This marks the boundary of the Antarctic Convergence, It is a biological barrier demarcated by the cold polar waters submerged beneath the warm northern waters, this generates a large amount of nutrients capable of sustaining the biodiversity of the region. Related to this phenomenon, the Drake Passage is the border to many Antarctic seabirds.
As it approaches the convergence, the expedition team of the M/V Ushuaia gives the first talks about the island's ecosystem and wildlife, in addition to the first sightings of birds like the cormorant and the imperial royal, kelp gulls and some species petrel that can easily be seen from the deck. The first icebergs and snow peaks indicate the arrival at South Shetland Islands archipelago, a group of 20 islands and islets whose first sighting was made by Captain William Smith, in February 1819. On the third day of sailing, whether conditions are favorable, they can enjoy the first sightings of marine fauna, mainly penguins and seals in the company of the biologists of the M/V Ushuaia.
Day 4 to 6 - A tour through the Weddell Sea
We will give a great ride through the Antarctic Weddell Sea waters, to discover and marvel at the incredible natural attractions. The secret is to get up very early around 3:30 am; and go to the deck where the show will compensate all sleepless, Sunrise in the Weddell Sea is one of the most wonderful and unforgettable memories of the trip. The Weddell emerges from the Glacial Antarctic sea between South Orkneys and the Antarctic Peninsula. When navigating the icy surface we will enjoy the marine environment, its wildlife and magnificent icebergs glide silently. The tour begins on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, across the Antarctic Strait, a passage of only 11 to 19 km wide that extends for 48 km long from northwest to southeast.
On the way we can see huge tabular icebergs and flying over the sky different kinds of petrels: white head and snow along the Antarctic petrel ready to nest on the hillsides near the sea in the beginning of spring. To the west of the strait and the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a vast glacier ice tongue of the Depot originated a wide continental valley and a large bay: Esperanza. At the tip Foca is located the Argentinian Antarctic base is located. Along the Chilean "Villas las Estrellas" are the only two settlements stable across Antarctica. Esperanza works since December 17, 1952 and is the largest base of the peninsula, with 66 inhabitants.
If the daily organization consents, the official guide will show us around, including a small church and the school that attends the 16 children of the 9 families living there today. Approaching the Tabarin Peninsula, south of Bahia Esperanza (Hope Bay), emerges a reddish color rocky: Brown Bluff. In its wide beach there is a large colony of Adelie penguins (about 20,000) and a significantly smaller group of Papuan. Among them, are flying and seeking for carrion kelp gulls, petrels and snow spotted, eager to take advantage of the careless penguins. But besides the ecological diversity offered by the Weddell region, this sea was the star of the most bold and fantastic feats of Antarctic expeditions.
Located northwest of the Weddell and just 4km east of Dundee Island, is the Paulet Island, We will visit the small piece of land involves to travel back in time, because it was the first landing of the famous Antarctic expedition of the Swedish explorer Nordenskiöld, between 1901 and 1904. The entire coast is populated by a large colony of Adelie penguins and petrel’s snow, storm petrels and besides Antarctic doves. Northwest of James Ross Island, the small island Vega rises above the others with craggy stone cliffs up to 500m high. The Cape Well Met, also known as Encuentro Feliz, was the place where the rescuers Uruguay gunboat met the patrol exploration of Nordenskjold. On the hill of the island of Cerro Nevado in the northwest of the Antarctic Peninsula, is located the refuge of the legendary Swedish expedition. While we walk around the area we need to be very careful because it might be fossils scattered among the rocks.
Day 7 to 9 - Discovering the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
The boat moves through the calm waters approaching the peninsula and the first expedition stories. While the weather is favorable, the course of the M/V Ushuaia continues by Gerlache, Neumayer and Errera channels, known for its ice, mountains and glaciers that make surreal scenarios. Probably we may land at Bahia Paraiso (Paradise Bay), one of the southernmost corners of the itinerary. With the feet on the Antarctic continent, a beautiful bay surrounded by glaciers, where groups of Minke whales swim near the peaceful coast. We will also visit the Cuverville Island, the habitat of the largest colony of Gentoo Penguins Port Lockroy, where there is a post office by the British Museum. The ship is heading to the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago of volcanic origin that holds an abundance of wildlife.
We will visit one of the most unique travel spots: Deception Island. Long ago, the pressure of the volcano caused an eruption that caused the crater explosion and was submerged in the sea, giving as a result a unique landscape. If the courage and adventure are accompanying us, you can take a swim in Antarctica, exclusive only in this area due to the existence of geothermal waters around the island. Another of the highlights of the Shetland Island is Media Luna, which concentrates a large colony of chinstrap penguins and beautiful natural views. It is also possible to land Elefante Island. In this remote place in 1916 is where the intrepid expeditioner Ernest Shackletonse was forced to leave part of his crew to go for help after their boat was destroyed by the ice. The story of the rescue became one of the most exciting chapters of Antarctic exploration.
Day 10 to 11 - Drake Passage
In the Drake Passage, we will have the possibility to watch many sea birds, again.
Day 12 - Ushuaia
We will get by the morning and we will disembark in Ushuaia´s Port, again, the southern city in the world.
Map of Route
The navigational route can vary and depends upon the climate and other factors
The itinerary of the described route is only a reference, there is never an exact repeat of a cruise because it depends on the weather and accessibility of some of the regions in respect of the ice. As a consequence, the program varies, but it serves as a guide for the visitor. The boat captain makes any pertinent change and every day sets out the itinerary for that day. The ship's company reserves the right to cancel any of the cruises before sailing and in this case will return all payments without any indemnification.
The described tariffs are per person, in American dollars, and in separate cabins. The double cabins can be sold as single cabins with an increment of 50% of the single cabin price. For the suites that can be occupied by a single person the increase is 100%. Of the available cabin suites there are two that can occupy a third person and can be reserved for an extra 50% of the per person price for a double cabin. For those people that wish to sail alone but wish to share a cabin please consult the company as regards this possibility.
The tariffs can be subject to increases and the ship's company reserves the right to do so without previous notification.
- The cruise with selected cabin requirement on board the M/V Ushuaia
- Entry into the ObservatioN
- RoomUse of the Conference Room equipped with multimedia facilities, the library and the hospital
- Excursions in the Zodiac boats and all landings and activities that are made during the Antarctic expedition
- Conferences by the ship's on board experts on the Antarctic and the environment
- The port taxes and chargesInformation material that is at the disposition of the clients
- Daily diary that includes all of the day's activities
Services not included:
- Air tickets
- Services before or after the voyage
- Transfers In/Out of the boat
- Costs of visas or passports
- Government arrival and departure taxes
- Food outside of the M/V Ushuaia
- Insurance of personal baggageCosts of cancellation. It is advised to take out an insurance for this
- Baggage excess
- Personal consumption in the bar, telephone calls, internet, tips. It is recommended to give the tips at the end of the cruise
Deposit and payment
A deposit of 30% per person for the elected cabin facilities is required at the time of booking with the remainder paid 90 Days before sailing. The payments cannot be made by credit card.
Without exception, all notifications have to be made in writing. Bear in mind that the cancellations more than 90 Days before sailing will be mostly returned apart from a discount of US$600 per person for all of the operative and administrative costs realised. On the other hand there will not be returns for those cancellations made within 89 Days of sailing (without elimination of the day of sailing). In the case that there was not the full payment before the 89 Days then the cancellation penalty will be adjusted to the full payment and it has to be paid immediately. We suggest that a cancellation insurance is taken out to prevent the loss of money. Moreover, an important point is that the company can cancel whichever of its voyages before sailing and that the company will return the client payments without indemnification.
Contracting a cancellation insurance
We recommend to contract an insurance that covers medical evacuation and repatriation and cancellation of the voyage. The ship's company does not accept any responsibility in case of a passenger accident, nor in the loss or damage to personal objects. In the case of required medical attention during the cruise and anything that provokes evacuation costs, the use of airplanes or body repatriation etc. all the costs we be the responsibility of the affected passenger. Even if the company is not responsible it is legally responsible and can be exposed to the justice system.
Every passenger is obliged to sign a cruise contract in which he accepts all of the terms and conditions imposed by the shipping company. When the passenger gives in the cruise voucher he approves all of the terms and conditions. Apart from this contract, the sailing company cannot negate its legal responsibility that it assumes and is vigil in the protection of the passengers during the cruise.
Time of embarkation and disembarkation
The transfer to and from the boat has to be paid for by the passenger and is not covered by the shipping company. The time of embarkation is 16.00 hrs on the day of sailing. It is always recommended to arrive in Ushuaia one day before sailing in order to avoid any possible delays and reprogramming of flights or loss of baggage. It is important to be punctual and the boat begins its voyage at 18.00 hrs and cannot wait under any circumstances for the delays of passengers.
Check-in at the port of Ushuaia
The Port of the City of Ushuaia is situated in the Avenida Maipú but the entry is in the calle Lassere. It is only 15 minutes from the airport assuming normal conditions. The Port entry opens at 15.30 hrs and the embarkation is 30 minutes later at 16.00 hrs. At boarding time you need to have all of the required documentation. Each passenger has to have a passport or DNI together with the voucher containing the cruise details.
In case there is a problem and you have lost your voucher you need to go to the shipping offices in Avenida Gobernador Paz 633 1st Floor or also can call +54(2901)433636/436747. At the port entry all of the baggage is scanned and once the check-in is complete, and you have boarded, it is not possible to disembark except in the case of need for personal reasons. On the last day of the expedition the boat arrives at 7.00 hrs and check-out and disembarkation is between 8 and 8.30 hrs.
Weddell Sea is part of the southern Atlantic Ocean, bounded in the west by the Antarctic Peninsula, in the north by the South Orkney Islands and in the east by Coats Land. At its widest, the sea is around 2,000 km (1250 miles) across. It is in the southeastern part of the Antarctic Peninsula, and it is under the influence of the cold climate of the Antarctic Continent. The south-western and southern borders of the sea are formed by the Larsen and Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelves. These ice shelves produce huge icebergs which are very abundant in the Weddell Sea. Filchner-Ronne ice shelf is the second biggest ice barrier in the world, and the Larsen shelf is melting due to climate change. Weddell Sea was discovered in 1823 by the British James Weddell. It was in this sea that Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed by ice in 1915 because, before winter had started, he turned off the engine and so the ice affected the hull of the ship which caused it to get destroyed due to the force produced.
Shakleton knew he had made a mistake, but it was too late. After 15 months Shackleton and his men managed to arrive at Elephant Island and, finally, they returned safe and sound, which was the most famous survival story of all times. Shakleton was one of a kind. Another survival story in the Weddell Sea that is less famous but not less remarkable is the following: It happened even before Shackleton's epic survival story, in 1902, when Otto Nordenskjöld led the Swedish expedition to the Antarctica from 1901 to 1904. Nordenskiöld's team of four men spent the winter in Snow Hill Island to conduct some scientific explorations while their Antarctic expedition ship sailed back to Malvinas. The following summer the ship sailed back into the Weddell Sea with the aim of relieving the team, but got stuck in the ice and was finally crushed. The crew managed to reach Paulet Island, where they spent the winter in a primitive hut. Nordenskjöld and the others finally met in Hope Bay, where they were picked up by the Argentine Navy. All survived but one. There were no dead in Shackleton's expedition.
Since the Weddell Sea is under the direct influence of the harsh continental Antarctic climate, the average temperatures are lower than in the northeast part of the Antarctic Peninsula, about 1º C (34º F). From February to March, end of the southern summer, temperatures drop below zero. Strong winds can occur at any time, and so can alter our program.
Note: The ice packs formed in the Weddell Sea at the beginning of the winter season can stay up to the end of summer. We expect to be able to enter this area, but it all depends on nature. Pack-ice is unpredictable and may prevent our ships from completing the planned itinerary.
Flora and Fauna
Wildlife in the Weddell Sea is different from that in the northeast coast of the Peninsula. Vegetation is even scarcer and animal species, such as the Adélie and Emperor Penguins slowly replace their more low-Antarctic cousins, the Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins. The Weddell Sea is blocked by the ice packs during many months of the year; therefore, it can be hard or even impossible for some species to find a place to mate.
Antarctic Sound it is named after the ship of Otto Nordenskjöld's expedition. The sound that separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from Dundee Island is also called "Ice-berg Alley," because of the huge ice-bergs that are often seen there.
There we will find Gentoo and Adélie penguins under the steep rocks. Leopard seals often escape from the coast.
Paulet Island is a volcanic island, situated just at 5 km (3 miles) southeast of Dundee Island. The island has a diameter of about 3 km (1.8 miles) and the summit crater is 353 meters (660 feet) high. The geothermal heat keeps the island free of ice. The island is home to a rookery of more than 100,000 pairs of Adélie penguins. The remains of the primitive hut in which 22 men of the Swedish expedition to the Antarctica spend the winter of 1903 can still be seen.
Snow Hill Island
Snow Hill Island is located east of the Antarctic Peninsula, and it is completely ice-covered, hence its name. In 1902 the Swedish expedition led by Otto Nordenskjöld built a hut on the island. Nordenskjöld and the three members of the expedition crew had to spend two winters, one was planned and the other unexpected.
How to communicate on board the M/V Ushuaia?
The communications are not of the highest quality and can be unstable because they are subject to satellite coverage and the climate conditions. The ship could be staying outside of the satellite range limit of 70-74 degrees South. In the M/V Ushuaia it is possible to send and receive email messages, fax and telex, there will be a charge for these services.
How to contact the ship?
The M/V Ushuaia has a mailbox: email@example.com If you want to send emails, you should avoid sending attachments to the services, it´s not as expensive and doesn´t delay.
By telephone, FAX or Telex:
- Telephone/FAXInternational Access Code + Appropriate CRO + 335 491 610 or 611
- FAXInternational Access Code + Appropriate CRO + 335 491 612
- TelexInternational Access Code + Appropriate CRO + 354916000
Child Facilities on board the M/V Ushuaia
In reference to the well being of children on the M/V Ushuaia, the parents are responsible for taking care of their children on and off board. To be precise the parents are the persons in charge of the supervision of their children. It is not prohibited to run inside and outside of the cabins if there is a responsible person present. For the younger children they need to be accompanied by their parents and wear a harness when on deck. Depending on the climatic conditions it is the Captain who decides whether the children can disembark for land expeditions. Always the security is to the utmost importance. This type of boat does not cater for children and therefore there are not children's toys or books on board. For this reason our advice to the parents is to bring what they believe necessary to occupy them in their free time. Moreover one must not forget all the children's medicines that may be required for the trip. There is no special tariff discount for children.
Air conditioning and heating
There is climate conditioning and each cabin has its own heating
The boat has a library that can be found in cabin F where there are books on the Antarctic for the use of the passengers.