This Polar Circle Cruise travels from Ushuaia to the Shetland Islands and then far south down the Antarctic Peninsula to Detaille Island, crossing the Polar Circle. This border, located at Latitude 66° 33′ South, marks the Antarctic Territory according to one of the definitions. Sea mammals such as killer whales, humpback whales, minke whales, leopard seals, crab-eater seals and Weddell seals are frequently seen during Antarctic Circle voyages.
The Antarctic Circle experiences a period of 24 hours of continuous daylight at least once in the year. The reason for this phenomenon is that the axis of the earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees. South of the Polar Circle at Detaille Island in Crystal Sound is the farthest south that this excursion will probably reach at Latitude 66°52' South. The farther south in Antarctica, the colder it gets. Temperatures slightly below 0ºC (32ºF) can be expected on these journeys.
A typical itinerary to the Polar Circle is illustrated below. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises like this Polar Circle Cruise.
Day 1 - Ushuaia - Embark
In the late afternoon, embark in Ushuaia and sail through the Beagle Channel in the evening.Accommodations: M/V PlanciusIncluded Meals:
Days 2-3 - Drake Passage
During these two days sail across the Drake Passage. After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area, expect to see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. The Master of the vessel may decide to sail the narrow English Strait between Robert Island and Greenwich Island if the conditions are favorable. This will take us to Aitcho Island at the South Shetlands in the late evening of the third day. If the conditions do not allow us to maneuver through the English Strait then continue sailing South of Livingston. These volcanic islands or the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and southern Giant Petrels.Accommodations: M/V PlanciusIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Days 4-9 - Antarctica
Depending on conditions, our first day in Antarctica may begin with a landing at Hannah Point, where you will find a nice variety of Gentoo Penguins, Chinstraps and southern Giant Petrels, as well as Elephant Seals hauling out on the beach.
Next we will try to land at Deception Island. Deception itself is a sub ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here there are hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. On our way further South, sail to Orne Islands with large colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and a beautiful view across the Gerlache Strait or to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbor and Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. We shall have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords.
Sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island offering Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Also, we will try to land at Pleneau Island with Elephant Seals and fair chances to encounter Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales. Head south along the Argentine Islands to Crystal Sound, south of the polar circle. The landscape is very impressive with very high mountains and huge glaciers. At the Fish Islands, land at one of the southernmost Adelie Penguin and Blue-eyed Shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. At Detaille Island, south of the Polar Circle, in Crystal Sound we reach probably our farthest south. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, we arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.Accommodations: M/V PlanciusIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Days 10-11 - At sea
Head back to the Drake Passage for more sightings of many seabirds.Accommodations: M/V PlanciusIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 12 - Ushuaia - Disembark
We arrive in the morning and disembark in Ushuaia.Accommodations:
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife encountered. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes; Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance, including mandatory emergency evacuation insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
If world fuel prices will reach or exceed US $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure, we reserve the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $25 per night per passenger, to be paid.
Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a quadruple, triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth or berths goes unsold, you will not be penalized. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the twin rate.
Families & Children:
Children under 16 years old in Superior, Family Triple and/or Family Quadruple cabins receive a 40% discount. Parents are entirely responsible for their children at all times, on land and on board; there is no onboard day care or nursery facility.
Arrival & Departure:
Polar Circle Cruise aboard M/V Plancius begins and ends in Ushuaia. Embarkation time is between 4:00 – 5:00pm on day of departure. We strongly advise all passengers to arrive the night prior to departure and get a hotel in Ushuaia to avoid baggage and flight delays. The ship sails around 6:00pm on day of departure. Disembarkation is after breakfast on final day between 8:30 – 9:00am. Plan flights to depart Ushuaia anytime after noon on the final day. Get a free flight quote
Payment & Cancellation:
In order to confirm this trip, a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form
, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
90 or more days - 20% of the total price
89 to 60 days - 50% of the total price
59 to 0 days - 100% of the total price
Terms & Conditions:
This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions
. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.
Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $100,000 per person. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Please note that you must purchase your travel insurance policy within 14 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Click the link below for a selection of policies from our partners at Travelex.
Hiking time for most landings will be a couple of hours roundtrip with lots of time to stop to study, photograph and enjoy the flora and fauna. Various add-on activities are available on the Polar Circle aboard Plancius cruise. For the 2013/14 season, the following may be available: scuba diving $500pp, kayaking $430pp.
The Polar Circle Cruise aboard Plancius will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health, has full mobility, and leads an active life. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join any off-vessel excursions, passengers must be able to navigate the steep, 30-stair, gang-way, un-assisted both down and up. Daily excursions from the boat will be made in Zodiacs. Some landings are dry but many are "wet," requiring cautious footing on slippery rocks. The boat staff will be on hand to assist. You are traveling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.
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