l'austral luxury south georgia & antarctica circle cruise

Beyond the Polar Circle

  • Overview

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    Cross the mythical line of the Antarctic Circle during this 17-day polar expedition cruise to the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere, brought alive on L'Austral. After boarding your ship in Ushuaia, you will set sail for the Falkland Islands, whose wild beauty is sure to captivate you. You will then make your way to South Georgia. This subantarctic region formed by an underwater mountain chain is home to a diverse and wild fauna. King penguins, fur seals and elephant seals are its most emblematic representatives. Before crossing the Antarctic Circle, the highlight of your cruise, you will be dazzled by your stops in the Antarctic Peninsula, the realm of the unexpected. Weather and ice conditions permitting, the White Continent, an extreme environment where nature reigns supreme, will reveal to you its most beautiful secrets through numerous discoveries. Here, it is likely you will have the chance to observe Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins, humpback whales, seals and seabirds. Each day, whether on land, aboard your ship or during a Zodiac® outing, you will be surrounded by a grandiose decor ranging from icebergs to ice floe and ancient glaciers.

    Duration: 17 days
    Passengers: 200 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Ushuaia; Embarkation Day

      Emabarkation 06/02/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure 06/02/2019 at 18H00.

      Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

    • Day 2 - At Sea

      Sailing towards the Falkland Islands

    • Day 3 - New Island / Grave Cove

      This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you'll feel like you've entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you'll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It's the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island.

      Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white. A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you'll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you'll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.

    • Day 4/5 - At Sea

      Sailing towards South Georgia

    • Day 6 - Salisbury Plain / Fortuna Bay / Stromness

      Salisbury Plain is home to one of the most unforgettable natural vistas of South Georgia. Formed by the retreat of Grace Glacier, the same majestic peaks that once awed Shackleton still tower over the surrounding land. The island's bluish landscape exudes the magnificence and beauty of unspoilt nature. At the heart of this wild refuge, on the beaches of the bay, lies a colony of 250,000 king penguins. Amidst this sea of black and orange heads, fur seals and their young can be spotted nosing their way through the crowd. Under the pale austral sunlight that reflects off of the plain, flocks of birds are carried by the winds in a graceful show of nature's wonder.

      Situated at the foot of sharply-rising mountains, Fortuna Bay is a truly dazzling vision to behold. You’ll marvel at a panorama of cliffs rising up from the icy waters and small streams fed by melting mountain snow meandering through vast green plains. The bay itself bows inward to form a perfect crescent, indented by a torrent. During your excursion, you can follow in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton or even encounter the 50,000 king penguin couples who call the island their home and whose densely-packed silhouettes form a remarkable silver swath with a sprinkling of brown and bright orange.

      In May 1916 after a perilous two-week journey on the James Caird followed by an hours-long trek across South Georgia, Sir Ernest Shackleton arrived in Stromness. There, at long last, he found the help needed to rescue his men stranded on Elephant Island. A former Norwegian whaling station, Stromness is now off limits to visitors. Crumbling pieces of abandoned buildings can be swept up by the wind, posing a danger for visitors who get too close. From your Zodiac®, however, you'll still get a good glimpse of the island's fur seals, who have completely reclaimed the beach and village.

    • Day 7 - Saint Andrews Bay

      Facing out towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, you'll safely disembark along Saint Andrews Bay with the assistance of your naturalist guides. This bay bears a gift that is sure to enchant photographers. From the bay's long grey-sand beach, home to abundant fur seals and elephant seals, you can easily access a vast glacial trough bordered by steep mountainsides and enclosed by Ross Glacier. Here, at the heart of this valley, lies the climax of your visit: the largest colony of king penguins on the South Georgia Islands. You'll be witness to a surreal visual and auditory experience: entire hillsides covered with adult penguins dutifully going back and forth from land to water in order to feed their young.

    • Day 8 - Grytviken

      The Grytviken stopover is a highlight of South Georgia Island. This former whaling station, now a ghost town, is set against a serene backdrop of ochre-coloured earth. Vestiges of the whaling industry are still very much present, particularly old whale bones and remnants of shipwrecks. Grytviken's other historical point of interest is the grave of famous adventurer Sir Ernest Shackleton. During the legendary Endurance expedition (1914-1917) Shackleton and his men survived against all odds after having been trapped in pack ice for several months. The series of exploits leading to their rescue will remain forever etched in the annals of Antarctic exploration.

    • Day 9 - Gold Harbour / Cooper Bay

      Majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, pitch-black volcanic sand beaches: these are just a few of the wonders to be found in Gold Harbour's landscape. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussocks and framed by snow-capped peaks. On this island where summer days are endless, the wildlife stays up with the sun. Fur seals, elephant seals and king penguins move about the island like tiny black dots along the landscape. Those humans who enter this kaleidoscope of colours and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

      Take a seat in one of our Zodiac® dinghies and head out to explore Cooper Bay, near Gold Harbour. It was named after the first lieutenant of the famous sailor, Captain James Cook, and the bay offers a quite unexpected sight, with long basalt canyons forming high cliffs that loom over a turquoise-blue water. In the centre of the bay, a magical atmosphere reigns when just a few rays of sunshine pierce the gauzy layer formed by the morning mist. The craggy coastlines are home to colonies of macaroni penguins who pay close attention to the arrival of our tiny crafts.

    • Day 10 - At Sea

      Sailing towards Antarctica.

    • Day 11 - Elephant Island

      This mythic island, one of the northernmost of the South Shetland Islands, served as a refuge for part of the crew of Shackleton's Endurance expedition. From there, the James Caird, a rescue boat from the Endurance, embarked on the perilous journey to South Georgia to rescue the men left behind. All survived despite the inhospitable nature of the island. Indeed, Elephant Island's steep, ice-covered mountainsides bear no trace of man. Yet these rough conditions haven't deterred a colony of chinstrap penguins from settling at Point Wild or gentoo penguins and elephant seals from taking shelter at Cape Lookout.

    • Day 12 - Astrolabe Island

      This small, rugged island was discovered by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville and named after the ship aboard which he led multiple expeditions. Rogach Peak, the highest point on the island with an elevation of over 500 metres, offers visitors an impressive view of the surrounding blue icebergs. Though excursions are not always possible on this rugged terrain, a Zodiac® tour will allow you to glimpse the local inhabitants, from numerous chinstrap penguins to Weddell seals.

    • Day 13 - Neko Harbour / Peterman Island

      A little corner of paradise in the shadow of a towering glacier, Neko Harbour is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by Belgian navigator Adrien de Gerlache during his 1897-1899 expedition. Mountains, ice and wildlife combine to form a truly unique landscape. Animals are as abundant as they are exotic: among others, you'll encounter seabirds (gulls, Cape petrels, cormorants) and marine mammals (seals, orcas and other whale species). Head out on a Zodiac® excursion to get up close to the icebergs, stop over near a penguin colony, watch a leopard seal sunbathe between dives and enjoy an impromptu aerial show from passing Antarctic terns.

      Located at the end of the famed Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island played a key role in the history of Antarctic exploration. In the early 20th century, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot chose to ride out his second winter aboard the Pourquoi Pas? on the shores of this round, little island. The initials ‘PP’, engraved on the rocks by Charcot's crew, can still be seen at the spot where the ship was anchored. Today, the island is a privileged refuge for a rich and diverse fauna: numerous gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, imperial shags and other bird species settle here.

    • Day 14 - Crossing the Polar Circle

      Weather permitting, we'll cross the mythic line of the Antarctic Polar Circle, located along 66°33’ south of the Equator. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within this circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise through the polar regions.

    • Day 15/16 - Drake Passage

      If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As a convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

    • Day 17 - Ushuaia; Disembarkation

      Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your Captain and Expedition Leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    Antarctica's Babies

    During January and February Antarctica's babies are born and fledging, its a magical time as new
    life comes to Antarctica. The experience of seeing newly hatched penguins and seals pups just days old, is an
    experience that will last forever.

    Send a postcard home from Port Lockroy

    This British base, established in 1944, on arrival you will receive a warm accolade both by the volunteers of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the colony of Gentoo penguins that nestles just by the old timber structure. Get small denomination US$ notes to buy a few postcards and send them home with Antarctic stamps from one of the southernmost Post Offices in the world.

    Shoot to your shutter's content!

    For aspiring photographers, the best time to shoot the Antarctic landscape is definitely October, November and March. At these times the sun is much lower in the sky and thus creates beautiful twilight hues and shadows, which contrast the landscape magnificently.

    Of course, if it is wildlife and Antarctica’s babies you are hoping to shoot, then January and February are the best times. Alternatively, consider an early season South Georgia & Antarctica expedition for the best of wildlife and photo opportunities in Antarctica.

  • Inclusions

    Expedition Gear

    Comfortable expedition boots and a high quality expedition parka, specifically designed for the polar regions.

    Charter Flights

    Return charter flights are provided from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

    Flight number and time schedule are to be advised about 30 days prior to departure.

    Dynamic Cabin Pricing

    Cabin prices on board this vessel are dynamic, that is the cabin pricing fluctuates with changes in bookings and exchange rates. Cabin prices below are not guaranteed and are subject to change and availability at the operators discretion. Please feel free to contact us for the most accurate pricing on this voyage.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
    Screen shot 2017 07 04 at 5.25.45 pm
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    L'AUSTRAL

    This superb mega-yacht with 132 cabins is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral remains faithful to our philosophy - to create a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy, and well-being. A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. A welcoming atmosphere of relaxed sophistication revolves around shades of grey, taupe, white and ivory enlivened by touches of cinnamon, caramel, and tan.. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht.” You will encounter unique itineraries, calls inaccessible to large ships, chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalized service as well as gastronomic cuisine.

    Features & Facilities
    • Luxury accommodation
    • Open air bar
    • Sun deck
    • Pool
    • Internet
    • Library
    • Panoramic Lounge
    • Panoramic Deck
    • Live entertainment
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 200
    Crew #: 136
    Ice Class: 1C
    Speed: 16
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 142m
    Width: 18
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 10944
    Registry: France
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
l'austral superior stateroom

Superior Stateroom

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Twin or king beds, window and private facilities, with 24hr room service.
AUD 26,710pp
AUD 26,710pp
l'austral deluxe stateroom

Deluxe Stateroom

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Twin or king beds, private facilities, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 28,710pp
AUD 28,710pp
l'austral prestige deck 4 cabin

Prestige Deck 4

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Twin or king beds, private facilities, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 31,950pp
AUD 31,950pp
l'austral prestige deck 5 cabin

Prestige Deck 5

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Twin or king beds, private facilities, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 33,460pp
AUD 33,460pp
l'austral prestige deck 6 cabin

Prestige Deck 6

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Twin or king beds, private facilities, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 35,050pp
AUD 35,050pp
l'austral deluxe suite cabin

Deluxe Suite

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Deluxe Suite with balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 48,390pp
AUD 48,390pp
l'austral prestige suite deck 5 cabin

Prestige Suite Deck 5

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Separate sitting room, twin or king beds, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 56,320pp
AUD 56,320pp
l'austral prestige suite deck 6 cabin

Prestige Suite Deck 6

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Separate sitting room, twin or king beds, balcony and 24hr room service.
AUD 59,050pp
AUD 59,050pp
l'austral owner's suite cabin

Owner's Suite

15 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020
Opulent suite with panoramic ocean views.
AUD 67,650pp
AUD 67,650pp