* Great for the time poor traveller
* Reaching Antarctica quickly and safely
* Avoid getting seasick on the Drake Passage
* Extended time exploring Antarctica
Exploring Antarctica can be as much about the journey, as it is the final destination.
For some, crossing the Drake Passage is exciting and about earning their right to explore Antarctica, while for others, the thought of being at sea in huge waves and strong winds is simply unbearable. The Drake Passage is the body of ocean separating South America from the Antarctic Peninsula and is thought to be one of the most treacherous ocean passages on Earth. So if cruising across the ocean is not your thing, or if you are just short on time, then the Fly/Cruise trips are the expeditions for you. With the option to fly direct from Chile to King George Island, it means less time spent at sea and more time exploring Antarctica. Flights are a mere 2 hours and give you a bird’s eye view of the vast Drake Passage. If you find yourself sitting on the fence, then we have a number of voyages, which cruise one way and fly the other, giving you the option to experience it all.
How do the flights work?
Fly/Cruise voyaged were first pioneered in 2003 by the operators of the Ocean Nova and since then have operated 140+ successful voyages with very few delays. The purpose of these unique voyages are to fly passengers across the Drake Passage, avoiding the long sea crossing and saving time. Flights to Antarctica are operated by DAP Antarctic Airways on board a BAe 146-200 aircraft, with a capacity for just 70 passengers. The flight departs Punta Arenas, Chile and takes just two hours to reach King George Island, where you will join the cruise ship. King George Island is located 130km off the coast of Antarctica and is considered one of the most multicultural places on earth, with permanent bases set up by 8 countries. It is even home to the most southern Marathon in the world!
Images courtesy of the Ocean Nova.
How likely are flight delays?
Flight delays to King George Island (KGI) are rare, however they do occur due to the extreme weather conditions of the Antarctic. The airport was originally set up on the Island, because of its unusually stable weather compared to the Antarctic Peninsula, making regular flights possible. King George Island is still susceptible to low lying cloud or fog and extreme winds, meaning delays are still a small risk. However, since 2003, 81% of Ocean Nova’s flights have departed on the scheduled day, while 26%, left a day earlier or within 2 days of scheduled departure. Only two flights in 14years of operation have been delayed so significantly, the voyage had to be cancelled.
What happens if my flight is cancelled?
If your flight is delayed, your expedition operator will have contingency plans in place.
Whether you are departing Chile or King George Island, accommodation and food will be supplied and depending on the length of delay, they may organise some short tours in your region. If your flight is delayed so significantly that the tour operator has to cancel the voyage altogether, you will in most cases, be completely refunded. This is subject to the conditions outlined by the expedition operator you choose to travel with.
Which ships offer Fly/Cruise programs?
iExpedition has Fly/Cruise programs across 8 different expedition vessels, with some of these vessels only offering flights in one direction across the Drake passage. You can easily check this by viewing the voyage map on the voyages you are interested in.
Expedition vessels with Fly / Cruise programs include;
Magellan Explorer (Brand New Expedition Vessel)
World Explorer (Brand New Expedition Vessel)
Greg Mortimer (Brand New Expedition Vessel)
Ocean Nova (Fly/Cruise pioneers) / (Expedition Standard Vessel)
Hans Hansson (Expedition Standard Vessel)
Hebridean Sky (Luxury Expedition Vessel)
Ocean Adventurer (Expedition Standard Vessel)
Ocean Tramp (Sailing Vessel)
If an Antarctica expedition has been something on the bucket list but time seems to always get away, or sailing long stretches of treacherous sea is all too much, then our Fly/Cruise programs are the solution for you. Its an amazing way to experience the best of Antarctica and in many cases, you will see your time on the continent extended. This well-established flight route is safe, fast and rarely ever experiences delays.