The Weddell Sea presents unrivalled chances for exploration. It is renowned for its enormous tabular icebergs, year-round sea ice, intriguing fossils, and the crucial role it played in Shackleton's Endurance expedition. Explore the west Antarctic Peninsula with us as we go on a genuine Antarctic adventure. We'll also try to travel east to the Weddell Sea's icy edge, which is frequently surrounded by impenetrable pack ice and is home to breathtaking tabular icebergs.
On this 12 day cruise, embark on a true Antarctic expedition as we not only explore the west Antarctic Peninsula, but also attempt to venture east towards the icy perimeter of the Weddell Sea, often guarded by impenetrable pack ice and home to awe-inspiring icebergs, a large Adélie penguin colony, and mazes of sea ice. It’s a photographer’s dream, but also the perfect place for anyone who wants to be inspired by one of the planet’s most extreme landscapes. In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Save up to 20% on selected departures and cabins. Discounts are subject to availability and are available until 31 Mar 24 unless withdrawn prior. Discounts are not combinable with any other promotions except back-to-back voyage or loyalty discounts. Discounts and pricing are subject to change and may be withdrawn or varied at any time. Price based on triple share cabin.
PLEASE NOTE: Pricing is subject to change and availability at the time of booking. Contact us for more information.
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred with your fellow expeditioners to your assigned pre-voyage hotel. If you are already in Ushuaia, we ask you to make your way to your hotel. Check-in is from 3.00 pm. This afternoon, visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk in the lobby at Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, Luis Fernando Martial 1650, between 8.00 am and 12.00 pm, or 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm, to collect your luggage tags, and confirm if you wish to join our Beagle Channel and Isla de Los Lobos Cruise (sea lion island) tomorrow. Our team will confirm details regarding your embarkation day, answer any questions and provide you with information on where to dine or purchase last minute items.
Expeditioners arriving after 7.00 pm will find a welcome pack waiting for them at check-in. We ask you to visit our hospitality desk tomorrow between 8.00 am – 10.00 am.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
Assigned accommodation: Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort or Los Acebos Ushuaia Hotel (accommodation will be confirmed in your final documentation).
This morning, enjoy breakfast and check-out. Please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Take your cabin luggage to hotel reception, prior to, or at check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, to be placed in your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Your morning is at leisure to explore Ushuaia.
Those wishing to join our afternoon catamaran cruise, meet back at the hotel lobby at 12.45 pm ready to transfer to the port at 1.00 pm. Here we board our catamaran and sail the Beagle Channel, towards the city’s iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Crossing the Bridges Archipelago we’ll slow down to watch colonies of sea lions and imperial cormorants sun themselves on the rocky outcrops, while gulls, rock cormorants, skuas, petrels, albatrosses and cauquenes are often sighted. Our cruise offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountain range, in addition to hearing tales of the people and communities of the region.
Alternatively, enjoy your day at leisure and meet at your hotel lobby at 3.45 pm to be transferred to the pier for embarkation.
Once onboard, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
This evening get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following our vessel. On sea days, you may can enjoy the facilities on board the vessel including the gym, wellness centre or the relaxing in one of the observation lounges.
Nearing the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula on the afternoon of day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on one of the observation decks watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Time and weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley where large icebergs try to escape the Weddell Sea through Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.
We hope to experience memorable wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac excursions or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.
Enjoy a final morning landing in the South Shetland Islands before we re-enter the Drake Passage for our return journey to South America.
With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what we have seen and experienced. We hope you become ambassadors for Antarctica telling your family, friends and colleagues about your journey to this magical place, advocating for its conservation and preservation so that they might one day visit the region to experience what you have been lucky to see and do here.
As we approach the tip of South America, our Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.
On disembarkation, passengers on flights departing prior to 2.00 pm will be transferred directly to Ushuaia Airport, while those fortunate enough to be continuing their travels in this spectacular region of the world, will be transferred to their post-voyage Ushuaia accommodation. Passengers flying after 2.00 pm will have time to explore Ushuaia, prior to an afternoon airport transfer, the details of which will be provided onboard prior to disembarkation.
Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions. Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries an average of 132 passengers in a range of 76 well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and 85% of cabins also offering private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform. The Greg Mortimer operates with low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver a reduction in emissions. The ship can also utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimises the damage caused by conventional anchors.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions.
Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries an average of 132 passengers in a range of 76 well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and 85% of cabins also offering private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform.
The Greg Mortimer operates with low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver a reduction in emissions. The ship can also utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimises the damage caused by conventional anchors.
Breadth: 18.4 metresMax
Speed: 15.5 Knots
Electricity: 220V, 50HZ AC Passenger
Capacity:160 (120 in polar regions)
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.
Available upon request, contact us for more details.
Prices are based on per person, twin share* (unless otherwise stated for triple/quad cabins)
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time.
Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions
Departure date, fuel surcharges, cabin category, currency fluctuations, seasonality and availability.