No travellers visit Antarctica during the winter when the temperature plummets and the polar ice becomes hard to traverse. Most vessels sail from November to March.
Hear all about one of our client’s recent trips to Antarctica, Falkland Islands and South Georgia, where she discovered some of the most remote, magical and stunningly beautiful places in the world.
Antarctica is well-known for being the coldest, driest and windiest location on earth, making it a continent of extremes and pretty inhospitable to life. But despite this, this ice-crowned wilderness is home to a variety of species of wildlife that have adapted to this harsh environment and are surviving despite the odds. Wildlife peaks in the austral summer months, when seals, whales, penguins and a large diversity of other seabirds migrate to the continent to breed and feed on the virtually unlimited supply of krill, crustaceans and fish. Here’s our lowdown on the continent’s unique wildlife...
For our Latin America specialist Grant, visiting Antarctica was a real trip of a lifetime. Here, he explains why the ‘White Continent’ is so worth a visit and shares some of his favourite photos from his voyage of discovery…
We have a selection of guidebooks to some of our most popular countries in Latin America. Written by our specialists, they detail destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send this via a PDF to your email.
Best for: Highlights, Spectacular scenery, Wildlife
The M/V Ortelius is a classic expedition vessel operating wildlife cruises in Antarctica. With a basic rugged feel inside, the Ortelius is sensibly priced and offers good facilities and many open-deck spaces for viewing Antarctica’s amazing wildlife.
Call us on (646) 757-1485 or Enquire now
Able to navigate through the toughest sea ice, the ice-strengthened M/V Ortelius is ideally equipped for expeditions to Antarctica. The vessel accommodates a maximum of 106 passengers in 48 spacious cabins, all with private facilities, windows or portholes, and fitted with a desk and chair, and ample storage space for clothes and equipment. Quadruple cabins have two bunk beds, while triple cabins have two lower beds and a top bunk. Superior cabins have a double bed, a single bed and a separate day room with a sofa and TV.
The vessel is manned by 20 highly experienced international nautical crew, 19 international hotel crew, seven expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 6 guides/lecturers), and an on-board doctor. Good quality meals are served in the ship’s two dining rooms, and there is a bar-cum-observation lounge with large windows for enjoying the scenery as it passes by. Here, and in the lecture room, the knowledgeable expedition guides give talks on the area’s flora, fauna and history. There is also a very welcome sauna on board. Passengers are welcome on the bridge around the clock and there is always something to see or search for out on the ship’s spacious decks. There is a friendly and informal atmosphere on board. Travelling with this small expedition ship offers a greater focus on the destination than is the case with larger vessels.
The M/V Ortelius is tough enough to navigate solid sea ice in search of the abundant Antarctic wildlife, and eleven zodiacs are carried on board (two of which are kept in reserve, for ship-to-shore transfers and mini-expeditions. These safe and sturdy rubber boats allow you to navigate amongst icebergs and cruise along glaciers, looking out for the amazing wildlife. The Ortelius is also equipped with on-board helicopters, allowing for access to more remote areas. Itineraries range from a classic 12-day Antarctic Peninsula trip, to expeditions that include the emperor penguin colonies on the Weddell Sea. Although Antarctica is not generally regarded as a family destination (and we wouldn’t really recommend taking children under 12), the Ortelius has no minimum age policy for guests unlike many other vessels.
When to go
Antarctic weather is a lesson in extremes. Antarctica is the world’s coldest, windiest and driest continent. During the summer months the winds abate considerably and the weather is surprisingly comfortable, averaging between 20 and 50F. Summertime also means 18-24 hours of sunlight which allows life to flourish for a brief summer period. Long days also allow extensive exploration by small ship cruise to Antarctica. Antarctic weather allows for a short season of cruising from November to March each year.
Call us on (646) 757-1485 or Enquire now
Things to do
From the Falkands to South Georgia
As you travel from the Falklands to South Georgia you cross the Antarctic Convergence, a biological boundary unique to this region. Found at the meeting point of oceans, this boundary is responsible for an abundance of marine life.
Return across the Southern Ocean
Bid farewell to your Antarctic adventure as you cross the Southern Ocean, with time to attend lectures, wrap up your journey with your guides and fellow travellers and of course reflect on incredible scenes you have witnessed.
Across the Drake Passage
You will spend the next couple of days crossing the Drake Passage, including traversing the Antarctic Convergence, a biological boundary with exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.
South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
With some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery and unrivalled wildlife, the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands are a frozen landscape of soaring white mountain peaks and glaciers that tumble down to ice-strewn bays and channels.
Scoresbysund & Danmark Island
Day 3: Today you’ll cross the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst bound for Danmark Island, home to the remains of an ancient Inuit settlement. Get up close to the vast glacier face on a Zodiac trip on the icy waters of Scoresbysund.
Turner Sound and Rømer Fjord
Day 7: Unobstructed by glaciers, today you’ll sail through the calm waters of Turner Sound and Rømer Fjord, spotting pods of narwhals and polar bears stalking the scree-laden slopes and edges of the ice floe.
Southern Ocean: South Georgia to Antarctica
Travelling southwest towards the Antarctic Peninsula, you may come across sea ice, and should have the opportunity to spot seabirds, including petrels, wandering albatross, south polar skuas and other seabirds that follow the ship on its journey.
Explore the Falkland Islands
With an extraordinary wealth of bird life, the Falkland Islands are a dream for ornithologists. Remote and sparsely populated, you’ll discover a haven for wildlife as you step ashore to explore the marine mammals and bids of the islands.
Cross the Polar Circle
This special voyage allows time to attempt a crossing of the Antarctic Circle. At 66°33’ S, the Antarctic Circle is the home of the midnight sun and dramatic, eerie ice formations.
Røde Ø or 'Red Island'
Day 4: Icebergs are the focus of today’s zodiac expedition to Røde Ø, a stunning red sandstone island that is often described as resembling mars. The red slopes provide a stark contrast to the white and blue ice monoliths that float past the island.
Day 5: With your cameras at the ready, today you’ll get up close to some of the Arctic’s most colossal icebergs. Many of these ice giants are stationary, anchored to the floor of Scoresbysund that only reaches 400 metres in depth.
Set Sail from Ushuaia
Today is the first day of your Antarctic adventure as you board the ship and set sail down the historic Beagle Channel, through the beautiful Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the very tip of South America towards the world’s southernmost continent.
Cross the Arctic Circle
Day 2: Bound for East Greenland, you’ll spend today at sea. From the ship’s observation deck, keep your eyes on the sea, looking for the whales that frequent these chilly Arctic waters as you cross the Arctic Circle.
Reykjavik to Akureyri & set sail
Day 1: Departing Reykjavik, you’ll travel by road through northern Iceland to Akureyri, the embarkation point for your expedition ship.
Days in South Georgia
Spending a few days exploring the incredible scenery and wildlife of South Georgia, you’ll have the opportunity to observe king penguin colonies, visit abandoned whaling stations, and follow in the footsteps of early explorers such as Shackleton.
Sail the Denmark Strait back to Iceland
Day 8: Leaving the spectacular landscapes of east Greenland behind, the ship will chart a course bound for Iceland once more. Spend your day at sea reflecting on the incredible adventures you’ve had inside the magical Arctic Circle.
Towards the Falklands
As you begin your journey across the South Atlantic you can spend your time finding your sea legs and listening to lectures given by the expedition team that will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes you’ll encounter.