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Ponant: The Great Austral Loop

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Overview

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Leaving the lights of Ushuaia behind, the course is set for the wild and beautiful Falkland Islands as you embark on this exceptional 16-day cruise. Continuing east, you reach the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, with its impressive glaciers, rich history and vast colonies of king penguins that reside on black sand beaches. Continuing south across the Weddell Sea, a labyrinth of ice and majestic icebergs, sail to the Antarctic Peninsula. Here you are greeted by floating ice fields, iridescent icebergs, glaciers and snow-capped peaks, and an extraordinary wildlife that includes whales, seals and penguins. Return to Ushuaia via the Drake Passage - a memorable finale to an amazing voyage.

This voyage is also availale aboard Le Soleal on 03Nov2020, 28Nov2020

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACTSGAL

Location: Antarctica

Ship: L'Austral

CRUISE ITINERARY

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

Ushuaia

Travelling towards the Falkland Islands, you will spend the day at sea, anticipating the first site of land.

At Sea

Arrive at New Island. This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you'll feel like you've entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you'll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It's the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island.

Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white. A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you'll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you'll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.

Falkland Islands

Have some time on board to explore the ships amenities and offerings on board as you spend the next two days at sea, anticipating more amazing wildlife and landscapes at your next destination.

At Sea - Day 4 & 5

The magnificent South Georgia is a region formed by an underwater mountain range that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. This is a unique place where man and wildlife live harmoniously. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found on the island including King and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals and fur seals. You may see the majestic glaciers and blush, sheen waterfalls of Gold harbour, or the long grey sand beaches of Saint Andrews bay. With the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet, a captivating history and ruggedly beautiful terrain, the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is one of the jewels in the Southern Ocean’s crown.

South Georgia - Day 6 - 8

Take the time to rest up for your next spectacular destination as we cruise the seas for the next two days.

At Sea - Day 9 & 10

Succumb to the magic of a place that is unlike any other in the world. Experience the icy realm in the wake of legendary figures like Sir Ernest Shackleton, Jean-Baptiste Charcot and Adrian de Gerlache. You will be immersed in shades of crystal blue and endless seas of white. You may get the chance to observe exceptional wildlife including penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels all in their natural true habitat. Enchanting bays, volcanic beaches, crystal glaciers and magnificent icebergs await.

Antarctic Peninsula - Day 11 - 13

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As a convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

Drake Passage

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

Disembarkation in Ushuaia
DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Pricing & date

Departing Ending Duration
14 Nov 2019 29 Nov 2019 16
15 Nov 2019 30 Nov 2019 16
03 Nov 2020 18 Nov 2020 16
28 Nov 2020 13 Dec 2020 16
19 Jan 2021 03 Feb 2021 16
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Important Information

  • The rates of our cruises are per person and include all meals while on board the ship (from dinner on the day of embarkation to breakfast on the day of disembarkation), Open Bar, room service 24h, luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa and evening entertainment and events.

    Ushuaia - Ushuaia program rates are per person and include:
    * Flights Buenos-Aires/Ushuaia/Buenos-Aires in Economy-class
    * Meet and Greet by our representatives in Ushuaia and luggage direct transfer from the airport to the ship for port clearance
    * Choice between one full day in Arakur Resort located inside Cerro Alarken natural Reserve, Time at leisure, lunch and / or optional excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park OR direct transfer to the port for embarkation, buffet lunch and access to the Main Lounge (cabins/suites will not be accessible before 5pm)
    * On disembarkation days in Ushuaia: direct transfer from the ship to the airport (not included on Ushuaia – Montevideo cruise)

    Your program does not include:
    * Gratuities for driver and local guide
    * Personal expenses, and other services not mentioned in the program
    * The optional excursion to the Tierra del Fuego National Park which has to be booked at the moment you book your cruise
     

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

GUIDANCE FOR VISITORS TO THE ANTARCTIC

RECOMMENDATION XVIII-1, ADOPTED AT THE ANTARCTIC TREATY MEETING, KYOTO, 1994

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System. The Treaty established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science.

In 1991, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which designates the Antarctic as a natural reserve. The Protocol sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Consultative Parties have agreed that as far as possible and in accordance with their legal system, the provisions of the Protocol should be applied as appropriate. The Environmental Protocol was ratified in January 1998.

The Environmental Protocol applies to tourism and non-governmental activities, as well as governmental activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area. It is intended to ensure that these activities, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.
This Guidance for Visitors to the Antarctic is intended to ensure that all visitors are aware of, and are therefore able to comply with, the Treaty and the Protocol. Visitors are, of course, bound by national laws and regulations applicable to activities in the Antarctic.


PROTECT ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE

Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.

Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic, such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats, or house plants.


RESPECT PROTECTED AREAS

A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic, or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority.
Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.

Know the locations of areas that have been afforded special protection and any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.
Observe applicable restrictions.
Do not damage, remove, or destroy Historic Sites or Monuments or any artifacts associated with them.

RESPECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.

Obtain permission before visiting Antarctic science and support facilities; reconfirm arrangements 24-72 hours before arrival; and comply with the rules regarding such visits.
Do not interfere with, or remove, scientific equipment or marker posts, and do not disturb experimental study sites, field camps, or supplies.
BE SAFE

Be prepared for severe and changeable weather and ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.

Know your capabilities and the dangers posed by the Antarctic environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Take note of, and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders; do not stray from your group.
Do not walk onto glaciers or large snow fields without the proper equipment and experience; there is a real danger of falling into hidden crevasses.
Do not expect a rescue service. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment, and trained personnel.
Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies). If you use equipment or food from a refuge, inform the nearest research station or national authority once the emergency is over.
Respect any smoking restrictions, particularly around buildings, and take great care to safeguard against the danger of fire. This is a real hazard in the dry environment of Antarctica.

KEEP ANTARCTICA PRISTINE

Antarctica remains relatively pristine, the largest wilderness area on Earth. It has not yet been subjected to large-scale human perturbations. Please keep it that way.

Do not dispose of litter or garbage on land. Open burning is prohibited.
Do not disturb or pollute lakes or streams. Any materials discarded at sea must be disposed of properly.
Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings.
Do not collect or take away biological or geological specimens or man-made artifacts as a souvenir, including rocks, bones, eggs, fossils, and parts or contents of buildings.
Do not deface or vandalize buildings or emergency refuges, whether occupied, abandoned, or unoccupied.​​

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