hondius south georgia and antarctica cruise

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Elephant Island - Antarctica - Polar Circle

  • Overview
    All (sub-)Antarctic highlights in one voyage, with spectacular landing sites on the Falkland Islands and encounters with black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. 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, experience 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 in 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 the 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. This extended 23-day voyage also hopes to stop at Elephant Island.
    Duration: 23 days
    Passengers: 176 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Ushuaia
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.6x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Ushuaia

      Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

    • Day 2 - Sailing to Falkland Islands

      Several species of albatross follow the vessel into the westerlies, along with storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.

    • Day 3 - 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:



      Westpoint Island – This beautiful island hosts a bounty of birdlife, from shore birds near the landing site to black-browed albatrosses on the nest. Among them is a rookery of rockhopper penguins who have to undertake an incredible climb from the sea to get to their nests among the albatrosses.

      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 4 - 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 5/6 - 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 7/10 - 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.



      Over the next several days, you have a chance to visit the following sites:



      Prion Island – This location is closed during the early part of the wandering albatross breeding season (November 20 – January 7). From January on, the breeding adults have found their partners and are sitting on eggs or nursing their chicks. Enjoy witnessing the gentle nature of these animals, which possess the largest wingspan of any birds in the world.



      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.



      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 Antarctic fur seals. Literarily millions breed on South Georgia during December and January. By February the young fur seals are curious and playful and fill the surf with life and fun and large elephant seals come to the beaches to moult.



      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 10 and depending on the conditions, we will start sailing southwards in the direction of the South Orkney Islands.

    • Day 11 - 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 12 - 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 in Coronation Island’s Shingle Cove.

    • Day 13 - Sailing along Antarctic Peninsula

      You‘ve now completed roughly the same route (albeit in the opposite direction) as Sir Ernest Shackleton did using only a small life boat, the James Caird, in spring of 1916. Watching Elephant Island materialize on the horizon after crossing all that water, it’s hard not to marvel at how he and his five-man crew accomplished that feat.

       

      The purpose of Shackleton’s crossing was to rescue 22 shipwrecked members of his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, also known as the Endurance Expedition, who were stranded on Elephant Island. For four and a half months, Shackleton undertook this legendary rescue.

       

      Conditions on Elephant Island are severe. The coastline is mostly made up of vertical rock and ice cliffs highly exposed to the elements. If possible you will take the Zodiacs to Point Wild, where the marooned members of Shackleton’s expedition miraculously managed to survive.

    • Day 14 - Sailing along Antarctic Peninsula

      If ice permits, you sail into the Antarctic Sound at the northwestern edge of the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern edges of the Antarctic Peninsula. Brown Bluff is a potential location for a landing, where you may get the chance to set foot on the continent.

    • Day 15 - South Shetland Islands

      The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they do offer subtle pleasures: There’s a wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and no small amount of fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels).



      In Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here you find an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels – along with kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. A good hike is a possibility in this fascinating and desolate volcanic landscape.

    • Day 16/20 - Sailing along Antarctic Peninsula

      Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and unique polar wildlife below and above welcome you into the otherworldly expanse of Antarctica. You enter the area around Gerlache Strait, venturing into one of the most beautiful settings Antarctica has to offer. 



      Sites you may visit here include: 



      Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.



      Paradise Bay – You may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where there’s a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales. 

      The aim is then to head south. If conditions allow, sites you can visit ‘over’ the polar circle  include:

      Crystal Sound – Your journey takes you south along the Argentine Islands to this ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning.

      Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty mountains and imposing glaciers.

      Pourquoi Pas Island – You might circumnavigate this island, named after the ship of the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This location is known for its tight fjords and lofty, glacier-crowded mountains.

      Horseshoe Island – This is the location of the former British Base Y, a remnant of the 1950s that is now unmanned though still equipped with almost all the technology it had while in service. 


      As with all of our Antarctic trips, conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

    • Day 21/22 - 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 23 - Ushuaia

      Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany 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

    Polar Diving

    As if visiting the Artic or Antarctic wasn’t other-worldly enough there is a whole other world for you to explore – under the surface of the seas.

    Aiming for 1 or 2 dives per day (depending on weather and ice conditions) you will dive under shallow ice, down along walls, from the beach, or from a Zodiac. You’ll reach a maximum depth of 20 metres (60 feet). Diving under Polar waters is like no other dive – the combination of water, sunlight, and ice formations creates an ever-shifting spectacle of colours.

    Min. Experience Requirements: A high level of experience is required.

    USD$ 700 per person

    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.

    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.

    Adelie Penguins

    Adelie penguins are the most abundant of all penguin species and are there estimated to be some 5 million birds. They have been an incredibly successful species living further south than any other species and have one of the oldest continually used rookeries, which has existed for some 6,000 years.

  • 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

    HONDIUS

    Hondius will be the first vessel to be built to class “LR PC6”, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for “Polar Class 6” vessels, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels. The vessel will also fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for safe ship operation and the protection of the Polar environment. Hondius will be the strongest ice-strengthened vessel in the Polar Regions and will be equipped with stabilizers, and very suitable for advanced, innovative exploratory quality voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions.

    Features & Facilities
    • Brand new vessel (2019)
    • Deluxe comfort level
    • Lecture and Presentation rooms
    • Large observation decks
    • Open bridge
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 4
    Guests #: 176
    Crew #: 75
    Ice Class: 1A Super
    Speed: 15
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 2019
    Length: 107m
    Width: 18
    Draft: 5
    Tonnage: 5590
    Registry: The Netherlands
    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

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 4
USD$ 16,700pp
USD$ 16,700pp
hondius quad cabin

Triple Porthole

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Cabin features 2 x Lower and 1 x Upper bunk, private facilities and a porthole.
USD$ 18,850pp
USD$ 18,850pp

Twin Porthole

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Twin porthole cabin with private facilities
USD$ 20,200pp
USD$ 20,200pp
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ortelius twin window cabin

Twin Window

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Twin private cabin with window.
USD$ 21,100pp
USD$ 21,100pp
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ortelius twin deluxe cabin

Twin Deluxe

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Private corner cabin with private facilities.
USD$ 22,300pp
USD$ 22,300pp
plancius superior cabin

Superior

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Suite cabins with mid-ship locations on deck 5 & 6.
USD$ 24,000pp
USD$ 24,000pp

Junior Suite

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Double bed, private bathroom and large picture window
USD$ 25,500pp
USD$ 25,500pp
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hondius grand balcony suite

Grand Suite with private balcony

20 Feb 2024 - 13 Mar 2024
Large private cabin with balcony.
USD$ 29,000pp
USD$ 29,000pp