Polar Circle Quest

An exciting and extended cruise of 12 days that visits the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and aims to reach as far south as the Polar Circle. The itinerary gives a comprehensive idea of the wildlife and scenery to be found in the deepest south.

12 days/11 nights from $6,570

Departures 22 Feb 2014
Ships Ushuaia (84 pax)
Ports Departs and returns to Ushuaia

Places visited:-

Ushuaia
Antarctic Peninsula
Polar Circle
South Shetlands

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Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Days 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Days 4-9: Exploring South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Days 10-11: North across the Drake Passage
Day 12: Arrival at Ushuaia

Route of the Polar Circle Quest itinerary

Route of the Polar Circle Quest itinerary

Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

Days 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Frances Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds.

As we sail across the passage, our lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA's open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view. A full program of lectures will be offered as well.

The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that we have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on Day 3.

Days 4-9: Exploring South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Exquisite beauty and pristine landscapes are waiting for you on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Myriads of icebergs with different shades and shapes are floating free in the waterways around the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula´s remarkable history will also provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Apart from Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and other seabirds you are likely to encounter Weddell, crabeater, fur and leopard seals as well as Minke whales and orcas at close range. At this time of year it is also very likely to encounter big cetaceans, such as humpback, Finn and Sei whales in the area.

We hope to navigate some of the most beautiful waterways the area has to offer, such as: the Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel, Neumayer Channel and the extremely narrow Lemaire Channel. Possible landing sites may include: Paradise Bay, which is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world with its impressive glacial fronts and mountains, Cuverville Island, home of the biggest Gentoo Penguin colony in the Peninsula surrounded by glaciers and castellated icebergs, and the British Museum and Post office Port Lockroy.

As further exploration will lead us far South of the Lemaire Channel in quest of the Polar Circle, we might also visit the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky, the former British base Faradey, where the ozone hole was first spotted, the rugged Yalour Islands and south of the Polar Circle Detaille Island.

On our way North we plan to explore the South Shetland Islands. The volcanic island group is a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries and seals hauling out on the shorelines make every day spent here unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing, so is visiting the crescent shaped island Half Moon, home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.

Days 10-11: North across the Drake Passage
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

Day 12: Arrival at Ushuaia
We arrive at Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast.

Included in the cruise price:
Voyage aboard the USHUAIA as indicated in the itinerary.
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the USHUAIA.
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Detailed post-expedition log.
 

Not included in the cruise price:
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to / from the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages (guidelines will be provided).

Notes:
Special Rates For Families A Child (Under 16 Years) Accompanied By Two Adults Will Be Free Of Charge In A Triple Superior Cabin Or Triple Suite.

N.B. All Rates Are Subject To Change, Especially Possible Fuel Surcharges. However, There Will Be No Fuel Surcharge For The 2012-13 Season If The Price Of The Barrel Of Crude Oil Is Us$100 Or Lower.

Rates:
All rates are quoted per person in US Dollars, based on twin occupancy. A limited amount of twin cabins (except suites) are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the share rate. Suites may be reserved at 2 times the share rate. A third berth in two of the suites maybe occupied at 50% of the published twin share rate. Shared accommodation can be arranged on request.

All rates are subject to change and reserves the right to modify the published rates without prior notice.