The Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia is one of the most awesome and in-depth Antarctica experiences. Not only do you venture further south than other peninsula cruises, you also take in the amazing wildlife of both the Falklands and South Georgia. The cruise is one of the longer ones in the region and generally takes around the 23 day mark weather depending. This is definitely an experience of a lifetime and not many people can say that they’ve crossed the Antarctic Circle!
The cruise departs from Ushuaia before venturing out towards your first stop – the Falklands Islands. These islands have a lovely feel to them with bright blue water, long white beaches and lush green hills. The Falklands are also a haven for penguins with 5 species being found on the islands! From here your next stop is South Georgia. Here you will encounter more penguins and seals than you ca possibly imagine. On some beaches you can witness over a million seals pushing and bustling among each other! The island is a wildlife photographer’s dream and you’ll have plenty of chances to get up close to the amazing animals.
From South Georgia your cruise makes its way to Antarctica proper. The peninsula is a magical land of icebergs, towering glaciers and wildlife. You’ll be constantly amazed at the unearthly landscape that surrounds you. Weather permitting you’ll make frequent zodiac trips to search for seals, penguins and whales. You’ll also make several shore landings to stretch your legs and visit some of the larger colonies that inhabit the peninsula.
From here you push further south exploring a region that few have seen. Enjoy on-board lectures as you keep venturing south. Celebrate with the crew and passengers as you cross 66 degrees 33.7′ south!
The Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia is the perfect option for first timers or for people with a slightly tighter budget.
Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise – Route Map
Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise – Route Itinerary
Because of the cruise’s long sailing time, giving an exact itinerary is almost impossible. Ice and weather conditions will play a major part in where your ship can land and visit. The itinerary below therefore is simply a guide and cannot be take as an exact itinerary. Please also note that all operators offer slightly varying packages.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN USHUAIA
Today you arrive in the bustling port city of Ushuaia. Make sure to have a wander around the city and take in some of the cafes and shops. If you’re feeling energetic then a quick trip to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park is a great option.
DAY 2: EMBARKATION DAY
After a leisurely lunch you board your ship in the afternoon. Here you will greet your feelow passengers and crew members. Your cruise ship will then sail out through the famous Beagle Channel (named after Darwin’s own ship). As you sail your crew will take you through the on-board safety precautions.
DAY 3: CRUISING AT SEA
As you sail towards the Falkland Islands you will have the chance to get better acquainted with your fellow passengers and begin to watch out for wildlife – particularly whales and seabirds! Today your crew will go over any activities you may wish to sign up for and brief everyone on zodiac trip and shore landing procedures.
DAY 4-5: FALKLAND ISLANDS (Islas Malvinas)
Here you will have your first chance to go ashore and give your camera and legs a good work out! Yoyu’ll explore both the East Falkland and West Falkland areas via zodiac trips to shore. On these shore excursions your guide will take you to the best wildlife spots where your likely to spot gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper penguins and the black- browed albatross. If your group is lucky you may even spot some king penguins!
Your cruise will also visit the Falklands main town – Port Stanley. The town has a wonderful English feel to it and you’ll be given time to explore some of the artistic shops and even get a drink (or two) in the local pub!
As you sail around the Falklands your guides will give expert lectures on the local geology, history and eco-systems.
DAY 6-7: CRUISING AT SEA
As you sail away from the Falklands towards South Georgia you will officially cross into Antarctic waters! Your crew will begin giving lectures on South Georgia as you prepare to enter one of the most wildlife-rich areas on earth. The seas surrounding the island have huge amounts of krill in them and whales are frequently spotted during this sailing period – so keep a sharp eye out!
DAY 8-11: SOUTH GEORGIA
Made famous inn the late 18th century by the whaling industry, South Georgia has a dark past. Wildlife populations on the island during this period were almost wiped out and the remnants of the whaling industry, including whale bones and enormous oil drums, lie dotted around the island. Thanks to some stringent laws, the wildlife populations ave returned to the island and this is the main reason cruise goers visit South Georgia.
Millions of seals and penguins await you on the beaches! You will witness king penguin rookeries, elephant seal colonies over 10,000 strong and a wide array of animal displays that will keep your camera clicking for hours!
DAY 12-13: CRUISING AT SEA
Say goodbye to the enormous wildlife colonies and prepare to set sail for Antarctica! The next two days will be taken up with relaxation, on-board lectures and socializing and wildlife watching. If weather permits, some operators will try and make a shore landing on the South Orkney Islands – your first official stop in Antarctic.
DAY 14-16: SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS AND ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Reaching Antarctica cannot really be put into words. The general reaction is one of awe. The landscape is nothing like anything else on earth and you’ll be constantly surprised as you cruise through amazing channels and sail past enormous icebergs.
Your crew will stop at the most notable places along the peninsula and you’ll take several zodiac trips to explore smaller channels inaccessible to larger vessels. Maybe you’ll spot a leopard seal or get up close to a minke whales as you cruise the ice strewn waters.
This is also the period where you will be given the chance to do some kayaking, snowshoeing or camping (at extra cost). You’ll also visit the famous Deception Island where you will have the chance to go for a ‘polar plunge’ in the thermal springs. Word of warning here – the thermal springs are anything but thermal..!
DAY 17-18: CROSSING THE CIRCLE
Your cruise continues much further south now as you attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle. The ice becomes thicker here and the glaciers become taller – this is raw Antarctica.
Your lectures will continue as you keep sailing and exploring. Finally on the second day you reach the Antarctic Circle! Raise a glass of champagne with your crew and fellow passengers as you savour the thought that you are viewing a region very few people on earth have witnessed!
Now begins the journey home.
DAY 19-20: NORTHBOUND ALONG THE PENINSULA
If you still haven’t had enough of the frozen landscape, you have another chance to witness the magical land once more as you head home. Your cruise leaders will still attempt several zodiac trip each day as you explore the region in more detail.
DAY 20-22: CROSSING THE DRAKE PASSAGE
This is your final chance to take in the fresh salt air and spot some whales before arriving back. Your lectures will continue and you’ll be able to relax out on the sun deck as you cruise through the ever increasing temperatures.
DAY 23: ARRIVAL BACK TO USHUAIA
All good things must come to an end. Today you arrive back in the port city of Ushuaia just after breakfast. Say goodbye to your crew and fellow passengers as you make your way to the airport for your onward journey.
How much fitness is required for the Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise?
The Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia is by no means a physically tough cruise. However, there will be plenty of opportunities to walk around the islands and explore. Having a good fitness level is not essential bu will increase your enjoyment. Your under no obligations to walk anywhere far and if you need rests the guides will always help you. The cruise often has many retirees who are not as fit as they once were and all of them absolutely love it! If you plan on kayaking or snowshoeing then a good level of fitness is required. No real fitness is required for the cruise in general, just a strong sense of curiosity!
What is included in the Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise?
Please note here that all operators offer slightly different packages. The list below is what we would expect to be included for the Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia – 23 days.
•1 night hotel stay in Ushuaia before departure
•22 nights on-board the vessel
•Arrival and departure transfers to and from airport
•Daily zodiac excursions on peninsula and sub-Antarctic islands
•Expert on-board lectures
•Waterproof boots for shore landings (on loan)
•23 breakfasts, 21 lunches, 22 dinners (some operators do not include food in price)
•Ratio of at least 1 expedition member per 10 guests
•Optional extra activities offered for additional cost – kayaking, hiking etc.
Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise – Cost
The Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia is generally one of the more expensive cruises. The cheapest option available for people willing to share rooms is around US$14,000 – $15,000. However, if you want a room on the upper deck or want to book a suite, you should expect to pay upwards of US$25,000 per person.
Please make sure you do some research on the type of ship you want and what you want to get out of your cruise. Operators are all different and you’ll want to know what each operator offers in terms of service, food, zodiac landings etc. We generally find that you get what you pay for an an Antarctica cruise.
People often discuss securing last minute trips for much cheaper prices, however, this actually requires being in Ushuaia for a long duration as you wait for a cruise to have a last minute space. Most people don’t have the luxury of being able to do this sadly.
For a detailed page on Antarctica cruise cost, please click here.
Best time to do the Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise
Unlike many other cruises, the Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia is only run during the peak period of December and January. Because of the itinerary length and cost, this particular cruise is only run a few times a year.
The good thing about sailing during this period is that the peak season is when all the activity happens! Penguins and seals are both giving birth and you’ll be able to witness cute family life as you visit the more notable wildlife points. This period is also high summer and temperatures during this period can reach a barmy 10 degrees Celsius on the peninsula!
This is also the best time for photographers as daylight hours are the longest during this period, roughly around 20 hours per day!
To see our detailed page on when to visit Antarctica, please click here.
What gear will I need for the Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Cruise?
Weather is the major factor on all Antarctica cruises. Having the right cold weather gear is vitally important as much of your cruise will be spent outside. You’ll need to have appropriate clothing including, gloves, parka, beanie, weather proof boots and thermal layers.
We also recommend bringing some select camera gear such as zip lock bags, weather proof seal-able bags, filters and tripods. Please see our Antarctica photography tips page for more detailed information.
To see our full packing list, please click here.
Do I need travel insurance?
Absolutely. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Antarctica cruises. You will need to look closely at the insurance policy offered to you as many insurers don’t actually cover you whilst you are on-shore! You also need proper emergency evacuation cover. For our detailed article on Antarctica insurance, please click here.
Ships that sail the Antarctica Circle via Falklands and South Georgia Itinerary
One of the most modern ships in the region, the Ocean Diamond is a classy vessel that offers space for 189 passengers. The ship is equipped with a wellness program, several bars, polar library, theater-style auditorium and gym. Rooms are comfortable and spacious and the deck area is large and perfect for viewing wildlife.
Click here for more detailed information on the Ocean Diamond, including photos and deck plans.
One of the larger expedition ships in Antarctica, the Ocean Endeavour can take up to 199 passengers. perfectly equipped for polar sailing and passenger comfort, the Endeavour comes with a full ice-strengthened hull, large sundeck, spacious restaurant and several large lounges! The sauna, gym, juice bar and many zodiacs make the Endeavour one of our favorites.
Click here for more detailed information on the Ocean Endeavour.
The Sea adventurer carries 132 passengers and was purpose built for Polar cruises. This fact can be seen everywhere – the cabins are all window facing and the large lounge, dining room and library are all totally lined in glass so you never miss a single view point! Food is to die for and the staff are extremely friendly. Deck space is considerable and there are several zodiacs for frequent shore landings.
Click here for more information on the Sea Adventurer.
Recommended Antarctica Cruise specialist
Having traveled to Antarctica often, we know what a good trip looks like. One Antarctica specialist stood out above all other operators for us in terms of knowledge, professionalism and range of choices! These guys work with every single operator in Antarctica. This allows you to compare cruise, itineraries and prices to find the best fitting cruise for you.
Further Antarctica cruise itineraries
If you have any further questions or queries regarding the Antarctica Circle Cruise via Falklands and South Georgia, please just leave a message below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you and happy travels!