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Quest for the Antarctic Circle

From: $8499
14 days • Level 1 (Details)Quest for the Antarctic Circle
A massive rookery of penguins shuffles across a frozen shore, a pod of whales glides through frigid waters, dramatic landscapes float off in the distance—welcome to Antarctica. Join us on a voyage of discovery to our planet’s last frontier—a mysterious and virtually pristine paradise. Our ice-strengthened expedition ship is ideally suited to cruising this icy wilderness and its exp ert staff are on hand to ensure you’ll fully appreciate all the majesty you encounter. You’ll sail the Drake Passage past the South Shetland Islands and then really explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other—more like a private expedition than a traditional cruise. read more A massive rookery of penguins shuffles across a frozen shore, a pod of whales glides through frigid waters, dramatic landscapes float off in the distance—welcome to Antarctica. Join us on a voyage of discovery to our planet’s last frontier—a mysterious and virtually pristine paradise. Our ice-strengthened expedition ship is ideally suited to cruising this icy wilderness and its expert staff are on hand to ensure you’ll fully appreciate all the majesty you encounter. You’ll sail the Drake Passage past the South Shetland Islands and then really explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other—more like a private expedition than a traditional cruise.
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From the Blog

My Quest for the Antarctic Circle

My Quest for the Antarctic Circle

AdventureSmith traveler Binod Thapa shares his travel journal from his 14-day Quest for the Antarctic Circle expedition.
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Day 1 - Arrive Ushuaia

Day 2 - Ushuaia

Days 3 - 4 - Beagle Channel & the Drake Passage

Days 5 - 6 - Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

Days 7 - 8 - The Polar Circle Crossing

Days 9 - 11 - The Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

Days 12 - 13 - The Drake Passage

Day 14 - Depart Ushuaia


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Day 1 - Arrive Ushuaia

Arrive at any time. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the world's most southerly city.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Ushuaia Hotel
MEALS:
n/a

Day 2 - Ushuaia

Embarkation on the M/S Expedition begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. We enjoy the evening sailing through the Beagle Channel.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast and dinner

Days 3 - 4 - Beagle Channel & the Drake Passage

Our adventure begins with a 400 mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The ship is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean. Take in daily lectures from your expedition team, and keep an eye out for the first sightings of icebergs, whales, and albatross following in the ship's wake.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Days 5 - 6 - Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

Experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing and inspiring scenery in the world as you set foot on the Antarctic continent. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather conditions permitting), and encounter gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries, Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, and orca, humpback and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters. The peninsula also has a remarkable human history. During the voyage we will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Days 7 - 8 - The Polar Circle Crossing

Set off southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguins.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Days 9 - 11 - The Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

We will turn north for the first time and head back through the 'inside passage' (depending on weather conditions) to continue our exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Days 12 - 13 - The Drake Passage

Begin your northbound journey to our home port of Ushuaia. Review the highlights of your Antarctic experience with our lecturers and staff, and keep your eyes open on the observation deck for some final whale sightings.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
M/S Expedition
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 14 - Depart Ushuaia

Disembark in the morning after breakfast, transfer to airport for flights home or extension.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
n/a
MEALS:
breakfast

Itinerary Notes

The itinerary presented here is for the 14-day Quest for the Antarctic Circle. Read this itinerary as a guide only; our exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife we encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Arrival & Departure

When considering flights for your Antarctic Circle cruise aboard the Expedition plan to arrive Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) at any time on day 1. We highly recommend you fly into Ushuaia at least 1 day prior to the sailing of the expedition ship to avoid any delay or luggage complications. Embarkation time is set for 4:00 pm on day 2 and passengers will not be able to board the ship before that time due to refueling, provisioning, and preparing the ship for your stay. Upon completion of the cruise, disembarkation in Ushuaia is at 8:00am. An optional one-time group airport transfer will be available for all passengers from the pier to Ushuaia airport (USH). Do not arrange any departing flights out of Ushuaia before 10:30 am on disembarkation day. Get a free flight quote.

Activities

Camping and kayaking may be available on Quest for the Antarctic Circle aboard Expedition, but must be booked in advance as space is limited. Camping is limited to just 20 people and includes time to enjoy the beauty of Antarctica from the campsite with ample photography and star-gazing opportunities. Kayaking is limited to just 10 people per excursion (multiple excursions included). Venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters and take part in a group kayaking experience led by experienced and skilled leaders. No other activity gets you as close to the natural environment! For the 2014/15 season, kayaking costs an additional $749 and camping costs $249. Call AdventureSmith for more details and to reserve an activity.
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Start/End DateShipPrice 
1       Dec 20 - Jan 02, 2015Expedition$9499 - $14999View Details

Category 1A Quad - $9499

2 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 1 Triple

Category 1 Triple - $9999

1 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 2

Category 2 - $11499

2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 3

Category 3 - $12499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 3, approx 160 square feet
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Category 4

Category 4 - $13499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 4, approx 160 square feet
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Category 5

Category 5 - $14999

Four suites onboard feature floor-to-ceiling windows, separate entrances and living and sleeping areas. Each living area boasts a two-seater coach, armchair, coffee table and desk, while the bedroom contains a queen bed and vanity area. Upgraded en-suite baths include full-body misting steam showers. Approx 320 square feet. Located on Deck 4.
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2       Feb 07 - Feb 20, 2015Expedition$8499 - $13999View Details

Category 1A Quad - $8499

2 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 1 Triple

Category 1 Triple - $9199

1 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 2

Category 2 - $10499

2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 3

Category 3 - $11499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 3, approx 160 square feet
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Category 4

Category 4 - $12499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 4, approx 160 square feet
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Category 5

Category 5 - $13999

Four suites onboard feature floor-to-ceiling windows, separate entrances and living and sleeping areas. Each living area boasts a two-seater coach, armchair, coffee table and desk, while the bedroom contains a queen bed and vanity area. Upgraded en-suite baths include full-body misting steam showers. Approx 320 square feet. Located on Deck 4.
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3       Feb 19 - Mar 04, 2015Expedition$8499 - $13999View Details

Category 1A Quad - $8499

2 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 1 Triple

Category 1 Triple - $9199

1 upper and 2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 2

Category 2 - $10499

2 lower berths, porthole view, Deck 2, approx 160 square feet
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Category 3

Category 3 - $11499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 3, approx 160 square feet
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Category 4

Category 4 - $12499

2 lower berths, window view, Deck 4, approx 160 square feet
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Category 5

Category 5 - $13999

Four suites onboard feature floor-to-ceiling windows, separate entrances and living and sleeping areas. Each living area boasts a two-seater coach, armchair, coffee table and desk, while the bedroom contains a queen bed and vanity area. Upgraded en-suite baths include full-body misting steam showers. Approx 320 square feet. Located on Deck 4.
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Included

12 nights on board the M/S Expedition, all meals included on board the ship; use of complimentary rubber boots on board; complimentary exclusive MS Expedition Parka, see the MS Expedition Parka Sizing Chart; 10:1 ratio of expedition staff and naturalists; scheduled visits to modern scientific research stations; all shore landings and Zodiac cruises in Antarctica; Ushuaia airport transfer when arriving/departing on regularly scheduled flights and days; 1 twin share hotel night with breakfast in Ushuaia.

Exclusions

Airfares to the embarkation point and from the disembarkation point; adventure options of kayaking or diving; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; hotel accommodations; supplement for single hotel accommodations; meals while in Ushuaia; Trip Cancellation Insurance with emergency medical evacuation insurance (required); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for those who have served you aboard (guidelines will be provided). Note: Should the price of marine fuel increase dramatically, we may have to institute a fuel surcharge.

Room Configuration

Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.6 times the twin rate, excluding Category 1 (and also excluding Category 1A for the 2013/14 season).

Families & Children

Minimum age for children is 12 years old. An adult over the age of 21 must accompany every 2 children under the age of 18. The ratio of adults to children traveling together must be one adult per two children and two adults per four children (17 and under).

Payment & Cancellation

At time of booking a non-refundable deposit of $750 per person is required to confirm a reservation on this Antarctic voyage. The deposit may be paid by bank wire transfer, check, money order or major credit card. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Final payment can be made by check, credit, money order or bank wire transfer. All prices and payments are in US dollars and no other currencies can be accepted.

Cancellation Policy: A special cancellation policy applies to all Antarctic and Arctic trips, which is stricter than the AdventureSmith Explorations policy. All requests for cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received:
Cancellation 90 days or more before departure: Loss of deposit
Cancellation 89-60 days before departure: 50% of the cost of services booked
Cancellation less than 60 days before departure: 100% of cost of services booked

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.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.
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Expedition

Expedition

The 132-passenger M/S Expedition is a top-of-the-line polar vessel at an affordable price. Unlike many expedition ships, where public space is at a premium, there are multiple large public areas aboard to enjoy.
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Trip Reviews

OVERALL: 5 stars ACCOMMODATIONS: 5 stars MEALS: 5 stars

Overall Trip Review

Everything went great from start to finish - Crossing the circle, kayaking (I did six times), eight total landings and continent landings (2), polar plunge. Few days we had great weather but few of days were like Antarctic weather which was expected. Only thing we were not able to do was the camping because of 2-3 cancellations, even though we had set the tent one day and they had to cancel the last minute. I was also able to bring my 7-iron all the way from Washington (four airports) and able to swing the golf club on the landing. Probably it was unique and nobody had tried before. So few other people I knew asked me and I let them use it after I used them and took some pictures - probably it was special for them as well. Even staff members asked me why I had brought the club and asked me whether they could use pictures for their slides. I gave them 2 golf pictures. I told them every continent I go, I play golf and since we can't play golf in Antarctica, I wanted just to swing and have the experience.

Crew & Guides Review

Staff members were always good and food was great. I met lot of nice people who had been to Nepal as well. Probably 50% were from Australia, then England and others were from European countries. Not many from US and Canada.

AdventureSmith Explorations Review

You have been very helpful to me and thanks for your support. Since I have been to Antarctica now, probably I can provide you guys some good information for future travelers. I have everything great and positive to say about my trip and dealing with You/Adventure Smith Explorations. My traveling to all seven continents now completed. Thanks again for your help. Probably, I took 1500 pictures.

B. Thapa - South Riding, VA
OVERALL: 5 stars ACCOMMODATIONS: 5 stars MEALS: 5 stars

Overall Trip Review

The size of the group was about right and the staff was able to handle everyone effectively. All were very efficient. My favorite experience were the zodiac rides through the ice fields and landings in the penguin rockeries. The research stations could have been more interesting if we would have been provided information on the mission, perhaps in a briefing onboard. Taking 30 people at a time into the facilities was more or less a disaster. Only the few people in front could understand. I would like to know more about the research being done. Ended up using these visits to just see more wildlife. The handling of the kayaking should be done differently. It became a daily event for a few die hard kayakers. It could have been offered to more people doing fewer trips each. The crew could do nothing but sputter it is rules it is attorneys . . . etc. Sorry that was a real disappointment and the few that did it were dropping like flies after a few days. The wisdom of doing it that way escapes me.

Accommodations Review

The rooms were good for the trip. Not much time is spent in the cabin anyway. The lounge was nice it could accommodate all. The dining area was fine. The vessel was kept in tip top shape. The bridge was very interesting. All overnight stays were on boat, too late to get on the camping trip.

Meals Review

Great variety, excellent job. Fresh fruits and vegetables all journey long

Crew & Guides Review

After a few days we knew which zodiac drivers to get, those who would not mind taking reasonable personal request for a special photo. Most were pretty good.

AdventureSmith Explorations Review

I was disappointed to have spent money on a parka that I did not need to. The packing list was fine.

Traveler Advice

Pack enough lounge clothes for boat, and one a set or two of cold weather gear. Bring lots of money for drinks. Take LAN air if possible

F. Batey