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Emperor Penguin Quest: Snow Hill | Ultramarine

14 Days FROM USD 34,990



Snow Hill Island is home for up to 10,000 Emperor Penguins and is the northernmost location these iconic Penguins can be found on the continent. Venture into the Weddell Sea onbaord the luxurious Ultramarine and travel by helicopter to the otherwise inaccessable Snow Hill Island and be one of the very few lucky people in the worth that get to experince these giant penguins up close in their own natural environment.

Every consideration is taken into account to have minimal impact on these penguin colonies, requiring passengers to walk distances up to 1km from where Helicopters touch down so the penguin's environments are unaffected and disturbed when guests visit. Contact us for more information.

Optional Activities : Kayaking, Camping, Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Trip Code: ACQEEPQ

Location: Weddell Sea

Ship: Ultramarine



  • Experience a bucketlist encounter with Antarctica's iconic Emperor Penguins.

  • Snow Hill Island is only accessible by Helicopter and is one of the only sites tourists can witness Emperor Penguins in their natural habitat

  • The state-of-the-art and sustainable Ultramarine is operated by one of the best and most experienced Expedition teams in the industry


Upon arriving in this fascinating city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel. Your pre-expedition hotel night is included in mandatory transfer package. Why not arrive early and spend some time exploring this remarkable city? Contact us for some ideas.

Arrive in Buenos Aires

After an early breakfast at the hotel, your group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to enjoy time on your own to explore quaint Ushuaia—the world’s southernmost city—before making your way to the pier. After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Enjoy the air of anticipation as you depart—the next land you see will be the Antarctic!

Fly to Ushuaia & Embark

The unpredictable and exciting Drake Passage, which lies at the confluence of the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, is an adventure unto itself. While being well taken care of by our expert onboard staff and expedition team, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the expansive ocean waters, photograph seabirds as they swoop around the ship, and get to know your Expedition Team and fellow travellers.

At Sea Crossing the Drake Days 3-4

Onboard presentations by world-respected experts will enrich your polar quest, conveying what it was like a century ago for the brave polar heroes who embraced the unknown. You’ll also learn more about the ice-dwelling emperor penguins.

Weddell Sea

The journey toward Snow Hill Island will put you in explorer mode as the captain and Expedition Leader keep you updated through weather briefings, meteorological and sea ice condition reports. The thickness of ice will determine how close Ultramarine can get to Snow Hill Island, then our twin-engine helicopters will take over.

Like summitting a mountain from base camp, parties will set out from Ultramarine towards the emperor penguin colony. Their adventure begins with an extended helicopter transfer that will reveal a landscape of snow-capped peaks and apartment-building-sized tabular icebergs. The rookery itself is located on the sea ice off the south coast of Snow Hill Island and the landing will be as close to the penguins as possible, yet at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Upon landing, your party will walk across the ice to the fabled emperor penguin colony. The wind. The ice beneath your feet. Walking next to paths in the snow carved by penguins that came before. And then there are the incredible sounds of the penguins in the distance as you march toward one of the rarest wildlife opportunities on the planet: the colony of thousands and thousands of rarely-seen emperor penguins.

The goal of the expedition is to get every guest to the remote rookery once. The Expedition Team and special experts will be close by to answer your questions and ensure you take in everything there is to see. You’ll observe close up how the emperor penguins behave as a tight-knit community, how they care for their young, and how they body surf across the ice in a way that can only be described as quirky yet efficient. The helicopter expedition in search of the emperor colony might just be the adventure of a lifetime

And while at base on Ultramarine with your attentive Expedition Team, you’ll be immersed each day in the polar experience of the Weddell Sea. Daily activities will include Zodiac cruising among the icebergs, adventuring and learning while atop the ice, paddle-on-top kayaking, or working with our team to observe the weather forecasting and ship operations up close.

A particularly enriching component of your voyage will be the bespoke educational programs tailored specifically for this expedition that offer both traditional (lecture format) and hands-on opportunities for learning about this fascinating region. Each day our polar experts, who include penguin scientists, biologists and polar historians, will present on various aspects of emperor penguins and their behaviors, ice formations such as the tabular icebergs which you’ll see from the deck of your ship, and the experiences of polar explorers who braved the Weddell Sea over a century ago. Or you might, on one of these days, decide to take the polar plunge, or test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Then again, maybe you’ll enjoy a little pampering. If so, you can choose from Ultramarine’s excellent onboard amenities, including the spa, sauna and fitness room.

The emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill is the goal of this expedition. However, if weather or ice conditions prevent us from visiting the colony or shorten the duration of our visit, we may explore some other sites. Your possible landings in Antarctica will take place on the eastern side of the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic Mountains and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land.

Weddell Sea & the Quest for Snow Hill Days 6-10

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides a final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Southern Ocean air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, and celebrate the experiences you've shared getting off the beaten track in the remarkable world of Antarctica.

At Sea: Crossing the Drake Days 11-13

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park for a taste of Patagonia, after which you’ll transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

Disembark in Ushuaia & Fly to Buenos Aires

Pricing per person & date

Emperor Penguin Quest: Snow Hill | Ultramarine from USD 34,990
Departing Ending Duration
12 Nov 2023 25 Nov 2023 14
24 Nov 2023 07 Dec 2023 14






Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Important Information

  • All Zodiac transfers, shore landings and cruising as per the itinerary with an experienced Expedition Team
    10 nights accommodation onbaord with daily housekeeping
    All meals, snacks, soft drinks, tea, coffee hot chocolate and juices on board 
    Selected beer and wine during dinner
    Schduled presentations by an experienced Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
    A photographic journal documenting the expedition
    Complementary waterproof expedition boots hire 
    An Expedition parka to keep
    All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
    Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
    1 x 10- to 15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion (weather and logistics permitting)


    Mandatory Transfer Package
    International airfares
    Passport and applicable visa expenses
    Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
    Meals unless otherwise specified
    Travel insurance
    Excess-baggage fees on domestic flights
    Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions,
    Any other gear not mentioned
    Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
    Phone and Internet charges 
    Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
    Arrival and departure transfers, except where stated
    Optional adventure activities such as Kayaking, ice camping, stand-up paddleboarding and day paddling

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request. Contact us for more info

  • Maximum of 150 people per voyage.

    Please note this itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions

  • Season and availability.



We appreciate that voyages to the Antarctic to have an impact on this pristine environment. In light of this, all our voyages are double carbon offset. In addition, we strive to eliminate as many single use plastics as possible from our supply chain. In choosing this voyage you are also supporting the fantastic work done by the Antarctic Science Foundation (ASF) and their work in understanding and protecting this unique destination. In addition all voyages support the Mawsons Huts Foundation (MHF). The MHF support the legacy of Sir Douglas Mawson, the legendary Antarctic explorer and scientist. As a member of IAATO we follow strict guidelines appointed by the Antarctic Treaty System to go above and beyond in support of minimizing negative impacts on this pristine landscape. We also encourage clients to look to book pre-and post- accommodation with us, where local businesses will be supported. Our clients also receive restaurant recommendations which support locally owned restaurants.

We carefully select all ships we work with and choose smaller sized vessels to create less impact. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in the Antarctic’s delicate ecosystem. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller ships such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste. The waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE

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