polar pioneer south georgia cruise

South Georgia Explorer: Photography & Wildlife Expedition

  • Overview

    Join the Polar Pioneer on a 15-day in-depth wildlife viewing and photography exploration of South Georgia’s spectacular nature. This expedition is aimed at those wanting to spend the maximum amount of unhurried time ashore observing wildlife and is suited for photographers and wildlife watchers.

    What makes this trip even more special is our vessel takes just 48 guests and when you are ashore you will be in a small group of just 12 guests for an intimate wildlife and photography experience. Travelling on a small expedition vessel allows us to visit many sites along the coast that larger ships are not allowed to land and get closer to South Georgia’s incredible nature.

    South Georgia Photo Tour Highlights

    • A rare opportunity to join a in-depth exploration of South Georgia with extended time ashore to view and photograph wildlife.
    • Explore key wildlife sites including Saint Andrews Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour.
    • Develop your photography skills in the field with our highly experienced photography guides.
    • Comfortable, and intimate ice-strengthened expedition vessel.
    • Encounter South Georgia’s wildlife. This trip has the most time spent ashore viewing king penguin colonies, elephant seals, fur seals and an abundance of birdlife including albatrosses.
    • Numerous opportunities to photograph South Georgia’s wild and stunning landscapes from the ship and shore.
    • Led by highly experienced expedition leaders and photography guides.
    • Small, intimate group size. The ship takes just 48 and ashore guests are in a group of 12

    Voyage Currency: Please consider this voyage is priced in USD$ and the AUD$ rates shown are indicative only at today's exchange rate. You may ask us about securing your invoice in AUD$.  

    Duration: 15 days
    Passengers: 48 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Stanley, Falkland Is
    Disembarkation Point: Stanley, Falkland Is
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 0.0x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Falkland Islands: Embarkation Day

      In the afternoon we embark Polar Pioneer in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands ready for an adventure of a life time. The Falkland Islands is accessible by flights from Chile and the UK. We will depart late afternoon and set sail towards South Georgia.

    • Day 2/3 - Sailing to South Georgia

      As we sail across the Scotia sea towards South Georgia we will spend time on deck looking out for wildlife. Wandering Albatrosses often follow the ship. In the water it is possible to see whales and Orcas. During the sea days our guiding team will do lectures on the wildlife, history and geology of South Georgia. In the afternoon of day 3 we will sight South Georgia for the first time.

    • Day 4/7 - Exploring South Georgia

      The plan is to sail along the entire coast of South Georgia and to make landings on all the days. The main focuses of this expedition is to visit as many wildlife sites as possible. South Georgia is home to 450,000 king penguins offering some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. We aim to visit key penguin breeding colonies at St Andrew’s Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour. An advantage of a longer trip allows is that it allows us a much larger weather to visit different sites.

    • Day 8/12 - Exploring South Georgia

      Other landing sites could include Prion Island to see nesting albatrosses, a site that is only accessible to ships carrying under 50 guests. Cooper Bay on the islands south is home to Macaroni penguins living in the tussock grass. Alongside wildlife, South Georgia is home to fascinating history and we will visit Grytviken, a former whaling station on South Georgia and home to the grave of explorer Ernest Shackleton. We also plan to explore the Drygalski fjord home to some of the islands most breathtaking landscapes.

    • Day 13/14 - At Sea towards the Falkland Islands

      As we sail towards the Falkland Islands our guiding team will do a series of lectures to finish off our exciting adventure. The final 2 sailing days offers a chance to relax onboard, take a sauna and share stories from the expedition with fellow guests.

    • Day 15 - Falkland Islands: Disembarkation Day

      On safe arrival in Port Stanley we will disembark after breakfast on the final day.

      * You will need to organise your own flight back to South America.

      **The above itinerary is a guide only. A part of any expedition is the flexibility to take advantage of the weather conditions which are highly variable in South Georgia. Our expedition team will make sure you see as much a possible.

    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

    Photography

    All of our expeditions and itineraries offer fantastic photography experiences, however on selected expeditions we offer specialised photography workshops with our expert photography guides.

    Included

    Falkland Islands

    Boasting rugged scenery and excellent wildlife opportunities, including the Black-browed albatross, Elephant seals and a number of penguin species not found in Antarctica.

    South Georgia; Wildlife Mecca

    One of the true wildlife experiences on our planet, often the wildlife displays here are referred to as the greatest on Earth. Set amongst awe inspiring scenery and home to King penguins, Wondering albatross and Elephant seals, it’s hard to imagine how early pioneers survived in this harsh landscape.

    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.

    Fly/Cruise voyage

    Our Fly/Cruise programs an excellent choice to navigate the Drake Passage quickly. This expedition comprises of 1 or 2 charter flights across the Drake Passage, so you need not worry about crossing the passage by sea. These expeditions are great options and often allow for an increased amount of time around the continent.

  • Inclusions

    Photography Workshops

    Catering to both amateurs and the more experienced photographers, our onboard team of photography guides deliver photography workshops and one-on-one instruction from the deck or Zodiacs and during landings.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Entry and landing fees while on board
    - Port taxes and charges
    - All shore excursions and lectures
    - All accommodation and meals on board

    Not included in your Expedition

    - International and domestic airfares to or from ship unless specified
    - Transfers not specified in the itinerary
    - Arrival and departure taxes
    - Visa & Passport charges
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Optional excursion and activity surcharges
    - Items of a personal nature such as; Beverages / Laundry / Medical expenses / Gratuities / Internet & Wifi
  • Map
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  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    POLAR PIONEER

    The legendary MV Polar Pioneer is a strong, capable veteran expedition ship loved by guests and expedition leaders for her capability in ice and her small size with a proven track record exploring the remote polar regions over the last 19 seasons.

    Her new Scandinavian owners are currently doing an extensive refit upgrading her to today’s standards and she will be ready for the 2022 Arctic season. 

    She benefits from taking just 48 guests on an authentic expedition adventure free from the crowds of larger vessels. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs at the same time ensuring there is no waiting to go ashore and all guests can explore at the same time.

    The MV Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1982, and the ship was originally an ice-strengthened research vessel with ice class 1A Super, which is perfect for navigation in polar regions with heavy sea ice.

    She can transit open water crossings with ease and comfort due to the integrated dynamic water ballast system, which guarantees a great reduction of rolling in heavy seas. Her ingenious stability system works marvellously also during the zodiac’s loading/unloading operations or while sitting at anchor. As a result, the Polar Pioneer is one of the most stable vessels currently in operations in the Polar regions.

     

     Why We Love Polar Pioneer

    • True polar expedition vessel – tough design with highest ice-class capable of exploring in ice (something most ships can’t do)
    • Smallest group size in Antarctica and South Georgia
    • Access landing sites larger ships cannot reach
    • Room for all guests in Zodiacs – No waiting time to go ashore
    • Takes just 48 guests – Intimate experience with the natural environment
      Sauna – Warm up after a day in the cold
    • Newly refurbished vessel – Enjoy comfortable cabins, bar, and saloon
    • Open Bridge – Enjoy the views from the best place on board
    • Authentic Expedition Experience – Only possible on a small ship
    Features & Facilities
    • Basic accommodation
    • Lounge bar
    • Spacious viewing platforms and decks
    • Presentation room
    • Sauna
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 52
    Crew #: 20
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 14
    Refurbished: 2000
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1982
    Length: 71m
    Width: 13
    Draft: 4
    Tonnage: 1753
    Registry: Cyprus
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
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Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just USD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.
polar pioneer triple cabin

Triple Porthole

24 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024
Triple public cabin, 3 x berths and shared facilities
USD$ 13,995pp
USD$ 13,995pp
polar pioneer twin public cabin

Twin Public

24 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024
Twin cabin with shared facilities.
USD$ 15,795pp
USD$ 15,795pp
polar pioneer twin private cabin

Twin Private

24 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024
Twin cabin, with private facilities and window.
USD$ 16,995pp
USD$ 16,995pp
polar pioneer mini suite cabin

Mini-Suite

24 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities.
USD$ 17,995pp
USD$ 17,995pp
polar pioneer owner's suite cabin

Owner's Suite

24 Feb 2024 - 09 Mar 2024
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities.
USD$ 18,995pp
USD$ 18,995pp