On an expedition to the Antarctic Circle, passengers crowd the ship's bow as they motor toward icebergs in the distance
A view over sea ice toward the ship that carries passengers on the quest to the antarctic circle
A sea leopard lounges on ice with the ocean and the quest for the antarctic circle ship in the background
An iceberg crests above the ocean, while a large population of penguins run and walk on top of the snow in the antarctic circle
Part of the quest to the antarctic circle, penguins screech and flock on an iceberg with the ocean in the background
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Polar Regions Antarctica Cruise

Quest for the Antarctic Circle

Join this 14-day Quest for the Antarctic Circle aboard M/S Expedition to our planet’s last frontier—a mysterious and virtually pristine paradise. If weather allows, cross into this rarely visited location and celebrate with fellow travelers as one of the few who have traveled as far south as the Antarctic Circle. Meanwhile, 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. 

Spend seven full days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, traveling farther south than most have ever gone. Spend time on deck searching for whales, watching soaring albatross and viewing colossal icebergs pass by. With two attempted shore landings a day at the Antarctic Peninsula, get up close to a variety of penguin and seal species. Discover the history and intricacies of the Antarctic region through the onboard lecture program.

Guests can also partake in the Citizen Science program, an interactive information gathering initiative aimed at better understanding marine mammals in Antarctica. With a little guidance beforehand, learn which angles and types of wildlife the program is looking for during your voyage and put your photography skills to the test! The reward is making a meaningful contribution to science.

The ice-strengthened, 134-guest Expedition small ship is ideally suited for cruising this icy wilderness. Her expert staff are on hand at all times to ensure guests fully appreciate the majesty of Antarctica. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other—more like a private expedition than a traditional small ship cruise.

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



Itinerary

Quest for the Antarctic Circle Itinerary

The 14-day Quest for the Antarctic Circle operates round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, with 7 full days exploring the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, plus an attempt to cross the rarely visited Antarctic Circle.

Quest for the Antarctic Circle cruise route map, operating round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina..
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Day 1
Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive at any time; your airport transfer is included. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Ushuaia, the world’s most southerly city. There will be a welcome desk in the lobby of the start hotel that will provide more specific information on the M/S Expedition and the upcoming adventure.

Accommodations

Albatros Hotel or similar

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Embark Ushuaia

Enjoy a free morning in Ushuaia. Do any last minute shopping, explore the town or visit the surrounding countryside. Embarkation begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. Enjoy the evening sailing through the Beagle Channel. Optional day 2 activities (additional cost) are a visit to Tierra del Fuego Park to explore the stunning coastal national park that extends nearly 400 square miles or a hike on Martial Glacier, one of the most outstanding attractions with fabulous views.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, dinner

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Days 3 - 4
Drake Passage

Your adventure begins with a 497-mile crossing of the passage named in honor of 16th-century English sea captain and privateer, Sir Francis Drake. Enjoy daily lectures from the expedition team and keep an eye out for icebergs, whales and albatross following in the ship’s wake. Become acquainted with the ship by frequenting common areas that include the lounge, dining hall, library and lecture hall, and meet your guides, ship’s crew and expedition staff.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 5 - 6
Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

Over the next few days navigate southwards, making stops in the South Shetland Islands then through the Bransfield Strait and to the Antarctic Peninsula. Encounter some of the region’s unique wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery while setting foot on the Antarctic continent. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather permitting) and encounter gentoo, chinstrap and adélie penguin rookeries. Search for Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, as well as orca, humpback and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters. The Antarctic Peninsula also has a remarkable human history. During the voyage, learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world. Depending on weather conditions, opt to do the polar plunge and jump into the frigid waters of the Antarctic.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 7 - 8
Polar Circle Crossing

With a close eye on weather conditions, continue southward along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. While passing colossal icebergs and countless colonies of penguins, the ship pushes on with one goal in mind: crossing the Antarctic Polar Circle. Few travelers have ventured this far south, but with a fully equipped, ice-strengthened vessel and favorable sea conditions, the M/S Expedition can access many remote locations other ships just can’t reach.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 9 - 11
Antarctic Peninsula & the South Shetland Islands

Turn north for the first time to continue exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Keep an eye out for wildlife and possible opportunities for whale watching or even, weather permitting, a polar plunge in the southern waters.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 12 - 13
Drake Passage

Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching and whale watching and enjoying some final lectures by the expedition staff, this is your chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia. Be sure to visit the observation deck for some final whale sightings.

Accommodations

M/S Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Ushuaia, Argentina

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for flights home or a trip extension.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard M/S Expedition; all meals as indicated in itinerary; one night hotel in Ushuaia; arrival and departure transfers; Zodiac excursions with expert expedition team; lectures and educational programs; waterproof boots supplied for USA size 6-16; expedition parka (see MS Expedition Parka Sizing Chart).

Exclusions

Airfares to the embarkation point and from the disembarkation point; adventure options; 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, there may be a fuel surcharge.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $1000 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may 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 to future trip by trip operator)
89 to 60 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 50% of the remainder of payments made
59 to 0 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 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

The Quest for the Antarctic Circle cruise begins and ends in Ushuaia, Argentina (USH). Plan flights to arrive to Ushuaia anytime on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Ushuaia no earlier than 11:00am on the final day. Upon completion of the morning disembarkation in Ushuaia, passengers will receive a complimentary transfer to either the airport or a central location where luggage can be stored. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Various optional activities may be available on your Quest for the Antarctica Circle voyage, including a polar plunge and the Citizen Science program, an interactive information gathering initiative aimed at better understanding marine mammals in Antarctica. With a little guidance beforehand, learn which angles and types of wildlife the program is looking for during your voyage and put your photography skills to the test! The reward is making meaningful contributions to science.

The following table details which optional activities may be available on each departure and their per-person cost each cruising season. Please note camping is limited to 60 people and kayaking is limited to 10 people per excursion (multiple excursions included). Please contact AdventureSmith to reserve activity space with your booking.

Key: (K) kayaking (C) camping.

2021-22 Season: Kayaking $1,299; Camping $379
Dec 21 – Jan 03, 2021 – K, C
Feb 2 – Feb 21, 2022 – K, C
Feb 20 – Mar 5, 2022 – K, C

2022-23 Season: Kayaking $1,299; Camping $379
Dec 21 – Jan 3, 2023 – K, C
Feb 8 – Feb 21, 2023 – K, C
Feb 20 – Mar 5, 2023 – K, C

Room Configuration

Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a quad, 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 rate with no single supplement. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.75x the twin rate (2021-22 & 2022-23), excluding Category 1 and 1A cabins.

Families & Children

Minimum age for children is 10 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).

Travel Insurance

Travelers are required to have travel insurance with a minimum medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage of USD $200,000 covering all applicable dates of travel, personal injury and emergency medical evacuation. It is strongly recommended that you extend coverage to include personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and all other expenses that may arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience while traveling. 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 and the wildlife encountered. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Antarctica expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Brown icons indicate added-cost activities available by departure. See Itinerary Details for additional information.

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

Dec 21 - Jan 03, 2022
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $10799USD
Per Person
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Feb 08 - Feb 21, 2022
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $10299USD
Per Person
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Feb 20 - Mar 05, 2022
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $9799USD
Per Person
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Dec 21 - Jan 03, 2023
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $10799USD
Per Person
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Feb 08 - Feb 21, 2023
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $10299USD
Per Person
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Feb 20 - Mar 05, 2023
Expedition • 14 days
brown tent icon depicting camping activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $9799USD
Per Person
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brown tent icon depicting camping activity Camping
brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity Kayaking
Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Expedition

The 134-passenger 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.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Arielle Lightcap • October 21st, 2019
Expert Aboard: Expedition Ship Review

An AdventureSmith Specialist writes this detailed ship review of the 134-guest Expedition polar vessel. Read about her favorite features and cabin insights.

Testimonials

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Everything Went Great From Start to Finish"

Everything went great from start to finish - Crossing the circle, kayaking (I did six times), eight total landings and continent landings (2), polar plunge.

Overall
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Accommodations
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Meals
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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"Zodiac Rides Through the Ice Fields"

My favorite experience were the zodiac rides through the ice fields and landings in the penguin rockeries.

Overall
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Accommodations
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Meals
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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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.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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4 - 7 Day Land Tour
Explora Patagonia

This 4-, 5-, 6- or 7-day lodge-based trip in the center of Torres del Paine National Park offers over 40 unique explorations to choose from, including Base Torres and Grey Glacier. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Paine Massif and Salto Chico waterfall from home base.

Special Offer
From $1766USD
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4 - 7 Day Land Tour
Patagonia Wildlife Safari

Discover the magic at the end of the world on a 4- to 7-day Patagonia Wildlife Safari! No matter the length of your stay, you will be blown away by the unlimited beauty of the world heritage site Torres del Paine National Park.

Special Offer
From $900USD
Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec
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7 Day Land Tour
Torres Del Paine Trek

The trails amongst the famous Torres del Paine craggy mountains are among the world's classic trekking routes. By day, explore nature in its raw form while winding through these exceptional mountains. By night, enjoy the cozy luxury of EcoCamp's unique dome accommodations, or camping.

Special Offer
From $1305USD
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Quest for the Antarctic Circle

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