The Antarctica via Falklands and South Georgia cruise is simply one of the best Antarctic experiences that can be had. It is our personal favourite and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
Not only will you explore the unforgettable Antarctic Peninsula, but you will also visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Both islands are packed full of penguin rookeries and seal colonies and you’ll be able to get some incredible pics as you venture right up close to these amazing creatures. This cruise is a definite must for wildlife lovers and adventurers!
Your cruise will set off from the port city of Ushuaia where you will head straight to the Falkland Islands. The island has a lovely feel about it with its green hills, long white beaches and clear blue waters. You’ll find 5 species of penguin on the Falkland islands alone!
From the Falklands you will sail to the island of South Georgia. Here you will encounter more penguins and seals than you would have thought imaginable. Over a million seals will be witnessed pushing and shoving for space on the crowded beaches!
From South Georgia you sail to the Antarctic Peninsula. A landscape of frozen ice, towering glaciers and sculptured ice-bergs greets you. This is a wild and harsh land where the weather will dictate your itinerary.
You’ll take daily zodiac excursions and venture ashore to witness the majesty of the continent for yourself. Keep a sharp eye out for whales and lounging seals on ice floes.
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Because of the cruise’s long sailing time and unpredictable weather, all operators will offer a slightly different itinerary. Please note that the itinerary provided below reflects what we have personally experienced and is not a direct reflection of all operator’s itineraries.
Today you arrive in the bustling city of Ushuaia. If you arrive early you will have the chance to explore the many shops and cafes on offer. If you’re feeling energetic then a quick trip to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park may be a good option.
Today you board your cruise ship and greet your fellow passengers and crew members. Your ship will sail out through the Beagle Channel (named after Charles Darwin’s ship) before reaching open sea. It’s now time to find your sea legs! Your crew will go over all safety operations and show you around the ship that will be your home for the next three weeks.
Today you will have the chance to get better acquainted with your fellow passengers and crew members. The guides will be more than happy to point out the variety of seabirds that are spotted and even a whale or two! You will be given info on any extra activities such as kayaking that you may wish to undertake. Your crew will also go over all zodiac safety procedures and shore landing procedures.
Here your camera will get its first official workout as you explore both the East Falkland and West Falkland via zodiac shore landings. You’ll get the chance to wander both islands and get up close and personal to some of the local wildlife including Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins and the black- browed albatross. If you’re lucky you might even spot a king penguin!
You will also visit Port Stanley – the Falklands Island’s main town. Port Stanley has a lovely English feel about it and it’s shops and cafes can only be described as eclectic! Make sure to grab a pint or cocktail in the local pub and say cheers to a wonderful expedition.
Your guides will give daily lectures on the local eco-system, history and geology of the landscape so you won’t miss a thing.
Cruising from the Falklands Islands to South Georgia is when you officially enter Antarctic waters. Encircling the Antarctic continent are the freezing Antarctic waters that meet with the warmer waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. This creates an incredible abundance of marine life and, more importantly, krill. The large amounts of krill attracts pods of whales to the area and your guides will give a loud shout whenever one is spotted!
The island of South Georgia was made famous by whalers who used the island as a base in the late 18th and early 19th century. The wildlife populations were almost decimated during these times, however, they have rebounded in recent years thanks to strict governing laws. Whale bones, oil drums and old whaling station can still be seen strewn across the island as a reminder of the island’s grim history.
The island is also known as one of the key landing spots for Antarctic explorers. The great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is actually buried on the island at the settlement of settlement of Grytviken.
However, whilst the history of South Georgia is fascinating, the real highlight is its wildlife. Seals and penguins breed on the island in their millions! You’ll witness king penguin rookeries and elephant seal colonies 10,000 strong. Your camera will not stop clicking as you stand on a beach covered entirely in wildlife!
Say goodbye to the enormous wildlife colonies and prepare to set sail for Antarctica! Your days will be filled with on-board lectures as your expert guides prepare you for what is in store on the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll have a chance to relax on the ship and identify sea-birds and marine wildlife as you venture closer to the White Continent. If weather permits, some operators will try and make landfall on the South Orkney Islands – your first official stop in Antarctic.
Reaching Antarctica cannot really be put into words. The general reaction is one of awe. The harsh frozen environment captivates people in a way that no other landscape can. Its sheer outlandishness draws you in and makes you feel like you have arrived on another planet.
Your crew will stop at the most notable places along the peninsula and you’ll be given the chance to hike up a glacier, photograph penguins and seals and go in search of whales. Your crew will always keep you up to speed on the environment and wildlife and take you to any notable historic points. One of the most beautiful moments is photographing a blue hued ice-berg that seems to light up the surrounding sea with a blue luminescence.
If you wish, you will be able to go kayaking, camping or snow-shoeing with an expert. This will come at an additional cost but is well worth it if you’re the active adventurous type who likes to experience something totally unique!
Today your cruise will begin its journey home. This involves crossing the infamous Drake Passage. Notoriously rough, you should pray for calm weather. This is your unofficial Antarctica rite-of-passage as you venture across the passage. Your lectures will continue and your guides will continue to point out any key wildlife encountered along the crossing.
All good things must come to an end. After eating breakfast on-board you will arrive back in Ushuaia. Here you will say your final farewells to your fellow shipmates and crew before heading on to your next adventure!
Antarctica Peninsula Circle cruise via Falklands and South Georgia
One of the best cruises in our opinion, the Antarctica Peninsula circle cruise via Falklands and South Georgia not only visits the peninsula and takes in the wildlife-rich islands of South Georgia and the Falklands, but it also crosses the Antarctic circle!
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The Antarctica via Falklands and South Georgia cruise varies quite dramatically in price depending on operator and season. Generally you should be looking to pay in the region of US$12,000 – $15,000 for a good operator. However, this is for basic, shared accommodation. For upper deck rooms and suites you should expect to pay in excess of US$18,000 pp.
Please do your research and read previous customer reviews as these are your best resources for choosing the right cruise. Although these cruises are expensive, price should not be your main factor. We have literally always found that you get what you pay for when it comes to Antarctica cruises.
Many websites and operators will offer seemingly low prices, however, this is usually just to get you in and inquire. You’ll soon find out that those rates are ‘fully booked’. We also get a lot of people asking us about last minute deals. Whilst these are occasionally offered, they are unpredictable and, as it say on the tin, ‘last minute’. This means you generally have to already be in Ushuaia! Something which most of us are not.
For a detailed page on Antarctica cruise cost, please click here.
Please note that all Antarctic operators offer varying packages that not all operators will provide the same package. The list provided below is what we believe should be included as standard for this particular cruise.
•1 night hotel stay in Ushuaia before departure
•19 nights on-board the ship
•Ratio of at least 1 expedition member per 10 guests
•Arrival and departure transfers to and from Ushuaia airport
•Expert on-board lectures
•Daily zodiac excursions in Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica
•Waterproof boots for shore landings
•20 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 19 dinners (note that some operators do not include food)
•Optional extra activities offered for additional cost – kayaking, hiking etc.
The Antarctica via Falklands and South Georgia cruise is run during the summer period – from early November through to late March. All Antarctica cruises are incredible whenever you go, however, choosing a certain period to sail definitely has its advantages.
For instance, if your main focus is seeing whales then you should consider sailing later in the season when pods of whales are seen far more frequently. However, by going later in the season you miss out on the penguin chicks being born and the mating and territory rituals that occur in the early part of the season. Also, the earlier in the season you depart the more ice-bergs you will encounter as they haven’t had the chance to melt yet.
By sailing in the high part of the season around December/January, you’ll be able to enjoy Antarctica at her warmest. On the peninsula, temperatures regularly exceed 10 degrees Celsius during this period!
To see our detailed page on when to visit Antarctica, please click here.
Camera gear and cold weather gear are your two main considerations. The weather is often very cold and you’ll need to bring several base layers, gloves, a warm fleece, beanie and a waterproof jacket. Good operators will provide you with an expedition parka which will be your main source of warmth during your shore landings.
Photographing in Antarctica is unlike normal photography and you will have to take into account weather considerations. You will need several weatherproof zipper bags to store your equipment in and several filters. For our detailed page on Antarctica photography tips, click here!
To see our full clothing packing list, please click here.
Absolutely. Travel insurance is mandatory on Antarctica cruises and your operator will need to see proof of purchase before allowing you on-board. Please read your policy closely as some insurers don’t actually cover you for shore landings! Also pay close attention to the emergency evacuation cover as this is extremely expensive in Antarctica and you will need to have the appropriate policy to cover you for this.
For our detailed article on Antarctica insurance, please click here.
The Antarctica via Falklands and South Georgia cruise require very little fitness. However, you will have numerous landing opportunities in which you will have the chance to hike the surrounding landscape. This is by no means mandatory, but a good level of fitness will allow you to explore further and longer.
Please remember that you are allowed to sit down at any point and there is absolutely no pressure to go to certain places if you don’t feel up to it. We always advise that a strong sense of curiosity is far more important any real fitness levels!
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.
The Ortelius is an ice-strengthened vessel designed for extreme cruises to the Polar regions. The Ortelius holds 116 passengers and has basic, but comfortable accommodation. The ship is equipped with two dining rooms, a bar and a lecture theater room and a good amount of deck space.
This luxury vessel houses 168 passengers and is one of the most state of the art polar ships out there! Fully stabilized and equipped with a Wellness Specialist and Spa Therapist, the National Geographic is a favorite among many. All 81 cabins are window facing and there is tons of deck space to wander about in comfort.
Slightly smaller than its Explorer brother, the Orion is extremely well appointed, cozy and elegant. The ship holds 102 passengers and comes equipped with a spa facility, outdoor cafe, library and dining rooms. Probably one of the most comfortable ships in Antarctica, the Orion is always highly recommended.
One of the larger research vessels, the Plancius can take up to 116 passengers and is fully ice-strengthened for those tough Polar regions! The ship has a comfortable feel and there is loads of deck space to wander around. The bar has large, panoramic views and the observation lounge also doubles as a presentation room. A basic, but tough and cozy ship with great views.
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.
With 116 passengers, the Sea Spirit is one of the smaller Expedition style vessels. However, the ship has a nice cozy and friendly feel because of this and the lounges are spacious and the library is well stocked. The outside deck area has a hot tub and area to serve bistro meals in good weather. Perfect and intimate vessel for Antarctica.
One of the more luxurious vessels in Antarctica, the Le Boreal can house just under 200 passengers and comes with several restaurants, several lounges, salon, steam room, spa and gym. The decor is modern and stylish and the ship even comes with an elevator! Expect large open deck space and well appointed cabins on this luxury Antarctica vessel.
The French Connection! The Le Lyrial is very similar to its sister ship – Le Boreal. Incredibly luxurious for an Antarctica ship, the Le Lyrial is equipped to handle 199 passengers and provides extensive deck space and seating areas throughout the ship. The vessel has a spa, gym, sauna, several restaurants and lounges, lecture theater and extensive library. Often, there is far more non-English speaking guests on board.
This small expedition ship carries a 132 passengers ans was completely refurbished in 2009. Thanks to this, the cabins are large and well appointed, each one being window facing! Deck space is large and ideal for wildlife viewing whilst the interior areas are comfortable and cozy. Much of the common space has large windows for ideal viewing.
Named after the ship used by Norwegian Explorer Fridtjof Nansen, the Fram was purpose built in 2009 and is one of the largest vessels in Antarctic waters with space for 269 passengers! Items from the original Fram are positioned around the ship which makes for a nice touch. As can be expected from a ship this size, the Fram contains several Jacuzzi’s, a gym, several restaurants and lounges and a full spa facility.
In June 2016, the 116 passenger ship underwent a multi-million dollar restoration project to bring the vessel into the modern age – and it worked. The Hebridean Sky now boasts state of the art stabilization, fuel efficiency and communications system. The ship is ideal for people looking for a feel of camaraderie, similar perhaps to a yacht experience.
Probably the most luxurious ship in the Polar Regions. The Silver Explorer takes only 132 passengers, but boasts facilities of a much larger vessel. Facilities include a spacious library, Internet Cafe, full-service spa, boutique shopping, beauty salon, fitness center, sauna and two top-deck Jacuzzi’s! The ship also boasts 8 zodiacs so no one ever has to wait for landings! If you can afford it, this is a very cool ship.
The Ocean 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.
Carrying just 200 passengers, the Silver Cloud is the smallest luxurious ship in Antarctica. Interior is modern and deck space in large. There are five dining options, including a Relais & Châteaux restaurant! The ships has a number of shops, internet cafes and panorama lounges. If you need to unwind then the full spa facility will do just that.
The Ushuaia is one the most respected vessels in the Polar region and well up to the task of the Weddell Sea! Ice-strengthened and originally built for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the boat has now been refurbished to accommodate 88 passengers and nearly 50 suites! Large deck space, open bridge policy, open plan lounge and full media lecture room make this one the most popular vessels.
Antarctica Guide do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.
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