King penguin craning its neck with snow-covered tussock grass in the background.
Calm Antarctic waters reflecting the snow-covered hillsides on a sunny day.
One macaroni penguin stands amongst a group of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica.
A gray seal pops its head above Antarctic waters.
Two gentoo penguins sit on top of their rocky nests in Antarctica.
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Polar Regions Antarctica Cruise

Classic South Georgia

The 20-day Classic South Georgia Cruise offers spectacular scenery, outstanding wildlife and history of human endeavor in a remote island group at the bottom of the world. It is easy to think “small” with islands, but South Georgia is something very different. The mountain ranges offer a beguiling landscape. There are sheltered valleys with meltwater streams, tussac grass covered moraines with close-up wildlife. Glaciers cover the mountains and even huge tabular icebergs from the shelves of the far south thump along South Georgia´s weather shore to become features of its great landscape. This is an ideal small ship cruise to experience all that South Georgia has to offer.

Highlights include the large numbers of fur seal pups on all the beaches we are going to visit. King penguins are also around. As this species has an odd breeding cycle of 14 months, there are always huge groups of king penguins involved in the breeding process no matter when one visits South Georgia. Macaroni penguins are also busy with their offspring as well. Red eyes and golden crests make these little, 28-inch birds quite spectacular. Their efforts at leaping out of angry seas onto slippery, rocky ledges and then climbing high up a dauntingly steep hillside with stumpy bright pink legs is admirable.

Black-browed albatross, grey-headed and light-mantled sooty albatross are also tending to their nests. The wandering albatross has been breeding since the previous year, so the chicks are sitting on the nest and waiting for their parents to come in and feed them. Their most important breeding sites will just be open again, right in time for your visit.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Antarctica cruises and South Georgia cruises.



Itinerary

Classic South Georgia Cruise Itinerary

The 20-day Classic South Georgia Cruise offers spectacular scenery, outstanding wildlife and history of human endeavor in a remote island group at the bottom of the world. It begins and ends in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Route map for 20-Day Classic South Georgia small ship cruise itinerary, operating round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, with visits to the Falklands & Antarctic Peninsula.
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Day 1
Embark Ushuaia, Argentina

In the afternoon, board the ship Ushuaia. A welcome drink and then an introduction to the crew and expedition staff will follow, with time to get to know your new shipmates. Set sail towards the Western Falkland Islands (Malvinas), known for their rugged beauty and wealth of seabirds and waterfowl.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
At Sea

Join the officers on the bridge to learn about navigation, watch for marine life, and enjoy the views of the open ocean. These waters are also home to an interesting group of seabirds, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship, such as albatrosses and petrels. Join the expedition staff and naturalists on deck whilst at sea in search for seabirds and other local wildlife, such as orcas and dolphins. Enjoy an interesting selection of lectures to help prepare for your first excursions in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Western Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

With favorable conditions, possibly visit the following islands:

West Point Island

West Point Island lies off the most north-westerly point of mainland West Falkland (Malvinas). The attractive settlement sits on the edge of a small harbor on the eastern side of the Island, in the lee of Black Bog Hill and Michael´s Mount. The valley between these two peaks rolls over the center of the island to the dramatic Devil´s Nose, one of the Island´s main attractions. From here, be treated to splendid views of Cliff Mountain, the Island´s highest point at 1,250 ft, and the highest cliffs in the Falklands (Malvinas). Encounter a vast colony of rockhopper penguins and black-browed albatrosses nesting together in close vicinity.

Carcass Island

Carcass Island lies to the north-west of the Falklands archipelago (Malvinas). A mature tussac plantation covers much of the lower ground below Jason Hill to the east. The availability of abundant cover and the absence of cats, rats and mice throughout the island have made for a spectacularly large population of small birds, which is one of Carcass Island´s most delightful features. Gentoo and Magellanic penguins do also nest here. Peale´s and Commerson´s dolphins come frequently close to the shoreline to get a glimpse of the visitors as well. At the settlement with its beautiful gardens, enjoy tea and cookies with the locals. Sail overnight around the northern islands of the archipelago in an easterly direction to reach the capital, Stanley, the following morning.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Eastern Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

In the morning hours, have time to explore the quaint little town of Stanley and its wonderful museum, souvenir shops and pubs. The town was established in the early 1840s. Isolation and the weather conditions made life hard, but progress was gradual and punctuated by the extremely eventful times of involvement in two world wars.

Those interested in the outstanding wildlife the islands have to offer do not even have to leave town to enjoy it. Southern giant petrels often fly close to the shoreline. The endemic Falkland steamer ducks abound on the shorelines while kelp gulls can often be seen flying together with dolphin gulls. The less obvious but frequent visitors to Stanley area are black-crowned night herons, red-backed hawks and peregrine falcons. Turkey vultures are regularly seen on top of any prominent building. Many pairs of upland geese frequent the park and it might be nice to take a stroll around the gardens of town to see some of the singing birds as well. In the early afternoon, set sail and head for South Georgia.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 5 - 6
At Sea

Partake in an extensive lecture program during these days at sea. Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems encountered throughout our voyage. South Georgia is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
South Georgia

Today, South Georgia comes into sight! Though extremely isolated, South Georgia Island has amazing scenery ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. If the weather is favorable, aim to visit one of the following sites in the late afternoon:

Elsehul

Situated at the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of Parydian Peninsula, Elsehul is a beautiful little harbor. It is the only visitor site on the island, where colonies of black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses can be viewed from Zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters.

Right Whale Bay

Right Whale Bay is a bay 1.5 miles wide, entered between Craigie Point and Nameless Point along the north coast of South Georgia. The name dates back to 1922 at least, when South Georgia was still a center for commercial whaling. Hope to encounter a small colony of king penguins, along with giant petrels, gulls and breeding elephant seals on the black ashen beach.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 11
South Georgia

The exact itinerary depends on local land and sea conditions, but the following destinations are among those likely to be explored:

Salisbury Plain

Sometimes called the “Serengeti of the South,” Salisbury Plain is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of king penguins that nest in the tussac grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking while visiting the colony, literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant seals also abound, as well as southern giant petrels and the occasional wandering gentoo penguin. Prepare for an awe-inspiring experience.

Prion Island

Prion Island is a beautiful tussac-grass covered islet. With luck, have the opportunity to see a breeding colony of wandering albatross on top of it. Climb to the summit on a wooden boardwalk, to get closer to their nests, with comfortable viewing platforms.

Grytviken

Grytviken lies within King Edward Cove, a sheltered harbor tucked between Hope Point and Hobart Rock on the western shore of Cumberland East Bay. The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove, backed by steep hills and mountains. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does Sir Ernest Shackleton´s grave in the nearby whaler´s cemetery and his memorial cross on Hope Point.

The scenery in this area is exceptionally beautiful even by South Georgia standards: the glaciers and snow-covered peaks of the Allardyce Range. Mt. Sugartop, Mt. Paget, Mt. Roots, Nordenskjöld Peak, Mt. Kling and Mt. Brooker form a magnificent backdrop to the cove, and the views from King Edward Point in particular must be among the finest on earth.

Godthul

Situated 5.6 miles east of Cumberland East Bay on the eastern shores of Barff Peninsula, Godthul is a 1.8-mile-long inlet that lies between Cape George and Long Point. Gentoo penguins are abundant on the tussac plateau and light-mantled sooty albatrosses echo off the natural cliff amphitheater that encircles the harbor. A floating factory ship serviced by two whale catchers was stationed here each summer between 1908 and 1929. A small shore depot supporting the whaling operations was established close by the stream in the southeast corner of the harbor, and the rusting barrels, wooden shed and boats are fascinating relics of the whaling era, as is the impressive collection of whale and elephant seal bones scattered along the beach.

St. Andrews Bay

The surf beaten coastline at St. Andrews Bay runs north-south in a 1.8-mile-long uninterrupted sweep of fine dark sand, covered in penguins and seals and bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers. The bay hosts the biggest colony of king penguins on South Georgia. Early in the season, the beach is also carpeted with fur and elephant seals. Such a large assemblage of wildlife attracts an entourage of persistent and voracious scavengers. Sheathbills dart in and around the penguin colony. Cape petrels nest in a small number on the cliffs north of St. Andrews Bay. Leopard seals patrol the rocks at this end of the beach too, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds. A few white-chinned petrels and light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest on the tussac slopes. Brown skuas and Antarctic terns breed on the outwash plain and scree slopes at the north end of the beach, defending their nest sites with their characteristic noise and vigor.

Cooper Bay

Cooper Bay is found at the southeast extremity of South Georgia. There is a wealth of wildlife at this site, in a spectacular setting. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, giving a stunning invitation for a thrilling Zodiac cruise to watch wildlife from the waterfront. Watch out for chinstrap and macaroni penguins.

Drygalski Fjord

Drygalski Fjord is also located in the far south east of the island. The glaciers found in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they still remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, perhaps see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg from on board the ship.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 12 - 13
At Sea

Spend the next two days crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula, with opportunities to be out on deck, catch up on some reading, check through and edit photos, or simply reflect on the magical experiences of the last days on South Georgia. Lectures and other activities are offered throughout these days.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Elephant Island & South Shetland Islands

Hope to have a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916, Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 15
Antarctic Peninsula & Antarctic Sound

The expedition team prepares you for the upcoming experience in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Later today, hope to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula in the area of the scenic Antarctic Sound and try to land at one of the following landing sites:

Argentine Antarctic Station Esperanza

Attempt to sail the passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which traverses the Antarctic Sound and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza are located on the western side of the Sound.

Brown Bluff

Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay; both are possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the peninsula’s Adélie penguin population.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 16 - 17
Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

The expedition team prepares you for an experience in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.

Gerlache Strait

This region of broad straits, mountainous islands, protected bays and narrow channels offer moments of solitude. A profusion of tall peaks humans have never climbed and vast glaciers flowing inexorably seaward are the physical features here.

Hydrurga Rocks

Perhaps visit Hydrurga Rocks, a small group of islets, which lie east of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago, at the northern entrance of the Gerlache Strait. Chinstrap penguins, blue-eyed shags and kelp gulls are confirmed breeders here.

Cuverville Island

It’s possible to also go to Cuverville Island, which lies in the scenic Errera Channel, in the center of the Gerlache Strait. A well-defined raised beach forms a nesting site for many gentoo penguins here. On the way north, plan to explore the South Shetland Islands.

Deception Island

Sail through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island, the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands, which is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point.

Half Moon Island

This crescent-shaped island, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands, is home to chinstrap penguins in breathtaking surroundings.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 18 - 19
At Sea

Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join lecturers and naturalists on deck while searching for seabirds and whales. Enjoy some final lectures and take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures from the past days.

Accommodations

Ushuaia

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 20
Disembark Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the ship after breakfast.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Voyage aboard the Ushuaia as indicated in the itinerary; all meals throughout the voyage aboard the Ushuaia; 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; detailed post-expedition log.

Exclusions

Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to/from the vessel; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation, personal insurance and insurance of any kind (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages (guidelines will be provided); possible fuel surcharge if price of crude oil is higher than USD $100/barrel.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of 30% is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied as a future cruise credit)
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

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 Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

All Classic South Georgia itineraries begin and end in Ushuaia, Argentina (USH). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. No ground transfers are provided in Ushuaia. Embarkation is at 4:00pm on day 1 of the itinerary. The vessel will sail at 6:00pm and is not able to wait for missing passengers or luggage. Ushuaia’s port is located on Maipu Avenue. The main entrance to the pier is on Lasserre Street, opposite of the Hotel Albatross, about 15 minutes’ drive from the airport. The ship arrives at 7:00am on the final day of the expedition and disembarkation is normally at 8:00 or 8:30am. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking, land treks, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Single cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.5x the per-person listed rate for twin cabins and 2x the per-person listed rate for suites in select cabins based upon availability. Suites and Superior #301 receive a 50% fare reduction for the third person. Shared accommodation can be arranged on request.

Families & Children

AdventureSmith recommends children be at least 12 years old to enjoy the Classic Antarctica cruise. A child (under 16 years) accompanied by two adults will be free of charge in a triple Superior cabin or triple Suite.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $100,000 USD per person. In addition to the emergency evacuation insurance, we highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Antarctica expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Oct 15 - Nov 03, 2022
Ushuaia • 20 days
From $9350USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn about the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Ushuaia

The 90-guest Ushuaia is known for her excellent expedition staff and is one of the smallest ships operating in Antarctica, maximizing her passengers’ time on land. A true science-focused vessel, she was originally built for use by NOAA.

Expert Review

Reviews From Our Experts So You Know What To Expect

Andrew Browning • December 1st, 2020
Expert Review: The South Georgia Expedition Experience

An AdventureSmith expert returns to Antarctica—this time stopping at the wildlife Mecca of South Georgia Island. Learn all about the Island's wildlife, landscape, trip highlights to differences and see if South Georgia should be part of your Antarctica expedition.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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Classic South Georgia

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