ortelius christmas south georgia and antarctica cruise

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctica

  • Overview

    All (sub-)Antarctic highlights in one voyage, with spectacular landing sites on the Falkland Islands and encounters with black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper pinguins. You’ll have the chance to meet at least six different penguin species. You’ll explore the transition from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Polar Region, experiencing how the drop in temperature can make a huge impact on the colours of the surrounding landscapes; from the warmer tones of the sub-Antarctic side to the icy rugged beauty of the true Antarctic. Witness how those few degrees of difference in the transition zone can make the difference between an animal or plant species choosing to live on one side of the Antarctic Convergence (the Polar Front) or the other. This cruise includes also four days on South Georgia, probably the most beautiful place on earth. Be prepared for ten thousands of king penguins and their chicks, sea lions on the beaches, elephant seals, wandering albatrosses and Gentoo penguins and great historical sites including the trails of British Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. We plan a visit to Orcadas station on South Orkney Islands and If the ice permits we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Duration: 21 days
    Passengers: 116 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Puerto Madryn
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.6x - 1.7x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Puerto Madryn

      You embark from Puerto Madryn in the afternoon, your prow aimed for the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is renowned for its visiting southern right whales, so you have a good chance of spotting one as you sail toward the open ocean.

    • Day 2/3 - Sailing to Falkland Islands

      Though you’re now at sea, there’s rarely a lonesome moment here. Several species of bird follow the vessel southeast, such as albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.

    • Day 4 - Falkland Islands

      The Falkland Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems, the site of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina. Not only do various species of bird live here, but chances are great you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.



      During this segment of the voyage, you may visit the following sites:



      Steeple Jason – Home to the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony (roughly 113,000), Steeple Jason is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions dictate the journey here.



      Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife and many endemic species. Anything from breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos to numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds) live here.



      Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here. 

    • Day 5 - Falkland Islands

      The capital of the Falklands and center of its culture, Port Stanley has some Victorian-era charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Admission to the museum is included. 

    • Day 6/7 - Sailing to South Georgia

      En route to South Georgia, you now cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.

    • Day 8/11 - South Georgia

      Today you arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program. 



      Sites you might visit include:



      Prion Island – This location is closed during the early part of the wandering albatross breeding season (November 20 – January 7). The previous summer’s wandering albatross chicks are almost ready to fledge, and adults are seeking out their old partners after a year and a half at sea.



      Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here during the breeding season (December – January).



      Fortuna Bay – A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. Here you may also have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.

      Grytviken – In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do. Here you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

      In the afternoon of day 11 and depending on the conditions, we will start sailing southwards in the direction of the South Orkney Islands.

    • Day 12 - Sailing to Antarctic Peninsula

      There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds trailing the vessel south.

    • Day 13 - South Orkney Islands

      Depending on the conditions, you might visit Orcadas Base, an Argentine scientific station on Laurie Island in the South Orkney archipelago. The personnel here will happily show you their facility, where you can enjoy expansive views of the surrounding glaciers. If a visit isn’t possible, you may instead land at Signy Island’s Shingle Cove.

    • Day 14 - Sailing to Antarctic Peninsula

      Enormous icebergs and a fair chance of fin whale sightings ensure there’s never a dull moment on this last sea voyage south. Also, your best chance to spot Antarctic petrels is here.

    • Day 15/18 - Sailing along Antarctic Peninsula

      If the ice conditions permit, you now sail into the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins, is a possible stop. You might also visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could get the chance to set foot on the Antarctic Continent itself. 



      If conditions aren’t favorable to enter the Weddell Sea from the east, the ship will set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait, between the South Shetland Island's and the Antarctic Peninsula. 



      The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they nonetheless offer many subtle pleasures. A wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels) live here.

       


      On Half Moon Island, Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals often haul out onto the beach near Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station.



      On Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you can find an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels. A number of kelp gulls, brown skuas, south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns can be spotted too. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. As an alternative, you can take part in activities near Telefon Bay, further inside the caldera.



      This extended voyage gives you the chance to sail even farther down the icy coast of the western Antarctic Peninsula. There are several opportunities for great landings where you might set foot on the Antarctic Continent, surrounded by an epic landscape of alpine peaks and mammoth glaciers calving at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here.

       

      The breathtaking scenery continues in the Bransfield Straight and, if conditions allow further South in the Gerlache Strait. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

    • Day 19/20 - Sailing to Ushuaia

      Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

    • Day 21 - Ushuaia

      You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.

    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

    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.

    Wandering Albatross

    Spectacular in flight and on the ground, with the largest wingspan of any bird on the planet; gracefully and effortlessly glides for thousands of kilometres across the Southern Ocean to their nesting site on South Georgia.

    South Georgia; Wildlife Mecca

    Walk amidst tens of thousands of king penguins on a single beach. Hike in the footsteps of ‘the Boss’, Sir Ernest Shackleton and hear his tale of survival.

  • Inclusions

    All meals on board

    Onboard your expedition all meals are included and prepared by our chefs. Meals are prepared to a restaurant standard and to cater for most diet requirements.

    All Zodiac excursions

    During the course of your expedition, you will have direct access to our onboard expedition team. Our expedition team members are a wealth of information, they have backgrounds in exploration or science based backgrounds. Our teams will usually comprise of naturalists, historians, geologists and ornithologists.

    Your expedition team members will expertly guide you off the ship and provide you with firsthand knowledge about the geology and wildlife of the region. Back onboard the vessel, team members hold lectures about their studies or the wildlife that was seen during the course of the day.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Pre-departure information
    - Ushuaia transfer to port
    - Expedition boots & snowshoes
    - All shore excursions and lectures
    - All accommodation and meals on board

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
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  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    ORTELIUS

    “Ortelius” was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named “Marina Svetaeva”, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed “Ortelius”. “Ortelius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Cyprus flag. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. “Ortelius” is a great expedition vessel for 116 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces. The vessel is manned by 22 highly experienced international nautical crew, 19 international hotel crew, 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader, 1 assistant expedition leader and 6 guides/lecturers), and 1 doctor. Ortelius offers a comfortable hotel standard, with a u-shaped, a bar and a lecture room. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 116 on the “Ortelius”, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. “Ortelius” carries 10 zodiacs. The zodiac engines are 60hp Yamaha.

    Features & Facilities
    • Comfotable hotel standard
    • Bar
    • Lecture Room
    • Spacious Observation Decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Helipad
    • Small gym
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 116
    Crew #: 52
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 91m
    Width: 17
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 4575
    Registry: Cyprus
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
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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.

Quadruple Porthole

21 Oct 2023 - 10 Nov 2023
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21 Oct 2023 - 10 Nov 2023
Cabin features 2 x Lower and 1 x Upper bunk, private facilities and a porthole.
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Private corner cabin with private facilities.
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Suite cabins with mid-ship locations on deck 5 & 6.
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