ortelius antarctic circle cruise

Antarctic Peninsula - Polar Circle

  • Overview
    This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise will take you further south of Antarctica, crossing the Polar Circe. This expedition cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to hike, and dive in the iceberg-heavy waters.
    Duration: 14 days
    Passengers: 116 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Disembarkation Point: Ushuaia, Argentina
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Ushuaia; Embarkation Day

      In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

    • Day 2/3 - At sea

      During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Albatrosses, Cape Petrels, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs.

    • Day 4/11 - Antarctica

      We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. The Antarctic Peninsula is famed for its icy beauty and bountiful wildlife. During the days here, we will optimize the experience to get the best of everything.

      Sites that may be visited include: Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island where we will find a large colony of Gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of Brown skuas. In Neko Harbour, we may have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level. Zodiac cruising offers a spectacular way to enjoy the landscape surrounded by ice incrusted alpine peaks. In Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs, we may have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. Again, we may offer an opportunity for a zodiac cruise in the inner parts of this amazing waterway. In this area, we have good chances to see Humpback whales and Minke whales before heading south though the spectacular Lemaire Channel. After a long night of sailing west around the myriad of islands south of Lemaire Channel, we find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle.

      If ice conditions allow, we hope to sail through the narrow The Gullet between Adelaide Island and the Continent with spectacular scenery all around. We hope to get permission to land at Rothera, which is the primary British research station in Antarctica. Alternatively we explorer the area and make a landing one of the many islands in the area. Depending on the ice conditions, we may circumnavigate Pourqoui Pas Island named after the ship of the famous French explorer Charcot. The area is spectacular with narrow fjords and high mountains with cascading glaciers all around. On Horseshoe Island we find the former British Base Y from the 1950’ies, which now stands unmanned but almost fully equipped from the time it was in service. Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base (1939-41) and later the British Base E. Base E was occupied until 1975.

      We may attempt a landing here which will also mark our southernmost landing site of the trip. In the morning of day 9 we aim find ourselves near the Antarctic Circle once again as we head north into Crystal Sound. We have an excellent chance to see Humpback whales here as we approach Fish Islands for a Zodiac cruise and possible landing. As always, the scenery is unparalleled in beauty and we may well see more Adélie penguins among the myriads of icebergs large and small. Petermann and Pléneau Islands offer a great variety of bird life and some excellent opportunities to Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs with good chances to see both Leopard seal and Crabeater seals. Minke whales and Humpback whales are also often spotted in this area along with Gentoo penguins and Leopard seals. Further north, we reach the Melchior Islands; a beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard seals, Crabeater seals and more whales. From there we depart into the Drake Passage around noon.

    • Day 13/14 - At sea

      On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

    • Day 15 - Ushuaia; Disembarkation

      We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

    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

    Cross the Antarctic Circle

    The moment you step foot into the circle, you’ll have a deep sense of wonder knowing you’ve just trodden where few have gone before. When you’re this far south, nature bares its secrets.

    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.

    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

    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

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

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Gratuities
    - Expenses of personal nature including; Laundry / Bar / Beverages / Internet & Wifi
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Government arrival and departure taxes
    - Passport & Visa expenses
    - Pre and post-cruise arrangements
    - Any airfare (whether on itinerary or charter flights)
  • Map
    Screen shot 2017 07 04 at 5.26.55 pm
  • 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
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability

Quad Cabin

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 4
USD 8,300pp
USD 8,300pp

Triple Cabin

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 3
USD 9,250pp
USD 9,250pp

Twin Porthole

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
Twin private cabin with porthole
USD 10,200pp
USD 10,200pp

Twin Window

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
Twin private cabin with window
USD 10,750pp
USD 10,750pp

Twin Deluxe

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
Private corner cabin with private facilities
USD 11,500pp
USD 11,500pp

Superior

18 Mar 2019 - 31 Mar 2019
Superior suite cabin with excellent positioning
USD 12,400pp
USD 12,400pp