RCGS Resolute Antarctica peninsula cruise

Marine Mammals of Antarctica

  • Overview

    VIEW ANTARCTICA'S WHALES IN CLOSE PROXIMITY ON THIS UNIQUE EXPEDITION

     

    March is a time of great activity in Antarctic waters and historically we encounter a higher concentration of whales during this period. They are busy feeding prior to their annual migrations to tropical waters. However, scientists are now discovering that some whale species remain in the ice-free sections of Antarctica over winter. This is also a fascinating time to experience the change of seasons, with a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks, and sea ice returning.


    On this voyage we plan to visit several known locations along the Antarctic Peninsula that are the focus of long-term research projects by esteemed academic institutions including University of California (Santa Cruz), California
    Ocean Alliance and the Australian Antarctic Division's Marine Mammal Centre. We are joined on the ship by several world-renowned cetacean (whale) experts and observe their important scientific fieldwork in close proximity. They share with us unique underwater footage and scientific data and interpret the behaviour, migration characteristics and feeding patterns of adult whales and their calves. Their participation on our voyage is greatly valued and provides a fascinating 
    glimpse into cutting-edge Antarctic research.


    Antarctica’s seals are also found in sizable numbers late in the season, resting and storing energy that will sustain them over winter. For those with a passion for Antarctica's marine mammals, this unique voyage should not be missed. Oh, and did we mention it’s also our favourite time of the year for blazing orange and pink Antarctic sunrises and sunsets?

    Duration: 11 days
    Passengers: 146 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Santiago, Chile
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: 1.5x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Santiago, Chile: Embarkation day

      We depart Santiago this morning on our special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town, or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides our first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making our way to the port, we board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote islands on Earth.

      IMPORTANT JOINING INSTRUCTIONS
      This trip commences in Santiago – Chile’s elegant capital city. We recommend you arrive in Santiago at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. From Santiago we fly south to Stanley in the Falkland Islands via a special charter flight service. We transfer into town and have time to explore or enjoy a visit to Gypsy Cove prior to ship embarkation.

      At the conclusion of the trip, we fly from Stanley back to Santiago. A transfer is provided from the airport to a central downtown location. This return flight arrives in the late afternoon and onward international flight connections may be possible.

      Full joining instructions are provided in your final travel documentation. If you have questions before this time, please ask us.

    • Day 2/3 - AT SEA – TOWARDS ANTARCTICA

      We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Scotia Sea is rich in bio-diversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. We are joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history of the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.

      There is great excitement when the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. This is one of Antarctica's most important historic locations and a fitting introduction. On the rocky beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and his men camped here for many months under their three upturned life boats, having lost their ship, HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. It was from this location that Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing and crossing of South Georgia on foot is considered one of the greatest tales in polar history. If weather conditions permit, we aim for a Zodiac cruise to view the site from close proximity. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and sets the scene for an exciting expedition.

    • Day 4/6 - SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS AND NORTHERN GERLACHE STRAIT

      We head south overnight, navigating into the Bransfield Strait, wondering about the days of exploration ahead. The coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula provides literally a hundred or more sites for potential shore landings and excursions. The expedition team will be looking forward to showcasing some of the well-known locations, and visiting a few hidden gems we have discovered over the years.

      Approaching the South Shetland Islands on our way south, we may aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island – home to a boisterous colony of nesting chin strap penguins. A short hike brings us to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behavior. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point which we may chose as alternative landing sites. A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here – one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black-sand beach where an old aircraft hanger can be viewed. It’s from here, the
      very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.

      It’s an awe-inspiring site as we approach with glacier covered mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. We enter the maze of islands and waterways and enjoy shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Willhelmina Bay is always an impressive location and one we often find large pods of humpack whales. Ship cruising into the Errera Channel, we have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island – with its sizeable Gentoo penguin rookery. Nearby Danco Island, has a fantastic hike to the snow-covered summit, providing staggering views. Neko Harbour is another possibility for a landing and maybe our very first opportunity to step foot on the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.

    • Day 7/8 - SOUTHERN GERLACHE STRAIT EXPLORATION

      While we’re enjoying the fabulous surroundings and revelling in our busy activity program, the research team will be out in the Zodiac’s observing and recording the movements of the migrating whales. This is done through non-invasive tags which attach to the animals using suction cups for around 12-24 hours. The digitally recorded data provides great insight into the feeding behavior, dive profiles and migration patterns of several whale species. The science team will share their observations and findings once back on board the ship and are happy to discuss their important work. It provides a fascinating insight into the current scientific field research happening in Antarctica.

      As we push further south we have a few more glorious locations to explore. Paradise Harbour provides us with another opportunity for a continental landing. A climb to the top of hill above the old Argentine refuge reveals another spectacular viewpoint. Zodiac cruising under the cliffs here allows us to observe nesting imperial cormorants, and after a short distance we come to Skontorp Cove. This narrow body of water is surrounded by immense glaciers on three sides – one guest likening it to a ‘heavenly ice cathedral’. It's easy to see why.

      We continue to push further south, hoping that ice conditions allow for a transit of the Lemaire Channel. Snow covered cliffs tower about the Lemaire on both sides and slowly navigating on the ship through here is a thrilling experience. At Pleneau Island, we visit and observe a substantial gentoo penguin rookery. In the shallow waters nearby, we witness a vast field of icebergs which have run aground after drifting on the current and the winds. For many, a Zodiac cruise here will be a highlight of the trip. A working science station is located in the vicinity and a visit to the base provides an intriguing insight into the life of permanent residents in Antarctica. The station staff welcome us ashore and provide a tour of the facilities and explain the important climate change research work taking place

    • Day 9/10 - At sea

      As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions
      allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

    • Day 11 - Ushuaia, Argentina: Disembarkation day

      In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

    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

    Kayaking

    Gear up with the best kayaking gear in the industry, to experience one of the best paddling in the world for intimate experiences.

    USD 795 per person

    Photography

    Photographer in residence provides presentations, critiques, informal instruction and assists on Zodiacs and shore landing to help you get the best shots!

    Included

    Charter Flight (To Stanley)

    This voyage includes a charter flight from Santiago, Chile to Stanley on the Falkland Islands where you'll join the RCGS Resolute.

    Included

    The great Antarctic Safari

    No matter which itinerary you choose to undertake, you are destined to spot a wonderful array of wildlife, including sea elephants and sea lions, Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, and Minke, killer and humpback whales and the magnificent wandering albatrosses.

    An iceberg in your whiskey

    Don’t miss your chance for a whiskey or water refreshed by millenary Antarctic ice. While luxury bars in the world’s top cities can double the menu price for adding glacier ice on your whiskey, here it’s quite at hand. What could better than contemplating the latitude you have reached with a noble drink in hand as your expedition cruise heads back to port.

    Whales

    Whale numbers swell in Antarctica over the southern summer. Arriving in Antarctica from November onwards, whale numbers reach their peak around December and January. Sightings and particularly breachings reach a pinnacle in February and March, when the Krill is closer to the surface. Some 10 species of whales are found in Antarctic water each summer, with the most abundant species being the Humpack.

  • Inclusions

    Expedition Gear Package

    A complementary expedition package is provided on a loan basis, upon boarding. Your package will include;

    - Windproof / waterproof expedition jacket and bib pants
    - Waterproof backpack
    - Comfortable insulated rubber boots
    - Water resistant binoculars
    - Trekking poles

    Digital Media Lab

    Use of multimedia room to download images. Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers

    On board photographers

    On board photographer will provide polar photography advice and assist in the multimedia room where you can download images to Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - All meals onboard
    - Fitness & Yoga
    - Hiking & guided walks
    - Zodiac and shore excursions
    - Photography advice from experienced professionals
    - All onboard educational presentations
    - Extensive pre-departure information package
    - Hot beverages

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
    Map   11
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    RCGS RESOLUTE

    Designed for passenger comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. Take a look at some of the superb facilities aboard, including numerous passenger areas designed for relaxation and our onboard educational programming. Quite simply, she is one of the most comfortable and capable expedition ships in the world today. Built in Rauma Finland in 1993, RCGS Resolute offers a Lloyds 1AS ice class (the highest ice rating possible for passenger ships), external stabilizers, incredible comfort and a variety of spacious interior and exterior viewing areas. The most recent refurbishment of the vessel included a complete cabin redecoration featuring new carpet and furniture throughout. One Ocean Suites feature queen beds. In all other cabins, the bed configuration is available in either a queen or two single beds (triple cabins feature two single beds and an additional lower single berth). All cabins include: private washroom, ample storage, writing desk and chair, fridge, flat screen entertainment system with in-house intranet, sectional corner lounge, 100% cotton OOE bathrobes, custom blend natural Canadian made amenities, black out blinds, complimentary water bottle and in room tea and coffee station. Superior cabins and above feature additional inclusions. For all guests, a full expedition gear package is included and features a waterproof jacket and pants, rubber boots, Nordic trekking pole, binoculars and water proof backpack.

    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 146
    Crew #: 100
    Ice Class: 1A Super
    Speed: 16
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1993
    Length: 112m
    Width: 17
    Draft: 4
    Tonnage: 6752
    Registry:
    Elec Outlets: 2 Round Plugs
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise triple cabin

Triple Private Cabin

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
These cabins are a popular choice for solo travellers willing to share, a family, or a group of friends travelling together. NOTE: Cabin prices are inclusive of the mandatory charter flights.
USD 11,790pp
USD 10,590pp
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise twin private cabin

Twin Private

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
Spacious and well appointed, these cabins are situated on Deck 4. NOTE: Cabin price is inclusive of the required charter flight supplement.
USD 13,490pp
USD 12,290pp
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise superior cabin

Superior Cabin

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
Located forward on Deck 5 the Superior cabins have the option for either a queen or two single beds. NOTE: Cabin price is inclusive of the charter flight supplement.
USD 14,590pp
USD 13,390pp
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise superior plus cabin

Superior Plus

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
Located on deck 5 these cabins are spacious and well appointed with the option for either a queen or two single beds. NOTE: Cabin price is inclusive of the charter flight supplement.
USD 14,890pp
USD 13,690pp
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise Shackleton Suite cabin

Shackleton Suite

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
Suites include the comfort of a sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor to ceiling cabinetry, and washroom facilities with shower. NOTE: Cabin price is inclusive of the charter flight supplement.
USD 15,890pp
USD 14,690pp
rcgs resolute antarctica cruise one ocean Suite cabin

One Ocean Suite

18 Mar 2020 - 28 Mar 2020
The One Ocean Suites are situated on Deck 6 and offer an indulgent amount of space. NOTE: Cabin price is inclusive of the charter flight supplement.
USD 18,290pp
USD 17,090pp