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Embark on this 23-day expedition cruise where you’ll have time to really immerse yourself in exploring the Falklands, South Georgia, and ever-impressive Antarctica.
From the windswept green hills and the white-sand beaches to the friendly capital Stanley, there is much hidden beauty and charm in the Falkland Islands. And while the wildlife here is plentiful, it doesn’t come close to that of South Georgia where the beaches heave with seals, penguins and other seabirds. Our itineraries are not set in stone when we head for Antarctica. This gives us the freedom to take you where you’ll have the best experience in spite of the local wind and sea ice conditions. With more than 20 possible landing places, there are always plenty to choose from.
You’ll spend five days exploring the unique world of Antarctica. Its icescapes and wildlife change through its summer season. During the late-spring months of October and November there is more snow, and the penguins start courting and nesting. Whales are rarely seen until December and January. That’s also when the first penguin chicks hatch. February and March are the peak for whale-watching, and lovable penguin chicks will be waddling around. All season through, you can join the Expedition Team in lectures and landings, ice cruises, and optional activities.
Your expedition starts with an overnight stay in Santiago, the energetic and cultural core of Chile. Filled with museums, beautiful architecture and top-notch restaurants, the city has all the high notes you would expect of a capital. There is a wealth of sites and attractions to see, and you’ll only be limited by time, not choice.
Ride the historic funicular up to Cerro San Cristóbal for commanding views of the city and the Andean glaciers beyond. This is the largest park in the city and the site of the national zoo and botanic gardens. Surrounding the park is the hip Bella Vista neighbourhood which is great to wander around for chilled-out cafés by day and Latin-inspired bars and clubs by night. A walk to the 18th century presidential palace and historical heart Plaza de Armas will ensure you have enough snaps of the main landmarks. If you’ve time, head to Mercado Central fish market to sample classic Chilean seafood stew caldillo de congrio.
Should you feel you need more time to explore the capital, we recommend coming a few days early. Maybe you even want to go on our optional pre-programme to the amazing Atacama Desert or Chilean Patagonia?
You leave Santiago early in the morning, so make sure to set your alarm. From the airport, you fly to Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s southernmost region located on the Brunswick Peninsula, just north of the Strait of Magellan. What began as a penal colony boomed during the gold-rush and sheep-farming periods of the 1880s and early 1900s and is now one of only two low-tax ports in Chile.
MS Fram is waiting here for you, ready to get you started on your expedition cruise to Antarctica. Aboard the ship, you’ll meet and greet the Expedition Team and crew members. They’ll conduct a health and safety meeting for all guests before we set sail. Head out on the observation deck to catch a last glimpse of Punta Arenas as we begin our course south. Then sip on drinks and turn your eyes towards Antarctica while you enjoy views from the Explorer Lounge & Bar.
Long after your epic voyage is over and you’re flicking through your pictures, you’ll realise that it was here, the Strait of Magellan, where your adventure truly began. It was named after Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magallanes who discovered it when he captained a Spanish expedition to circumnavigate the world in 1520. As you soak up the mesmerising views all around you, spare a thought for Fernando and his crew charting these waters in a rickety ship 500 years ago.
With our course set for the Falkland Islands, you’ll now be in the hands of the expert Expedition Team. You’ll find that they are not just inspirational teachers and attentive hosts, but bonafide adventurers who’ve got their share of stories to tell. Whether it’s about marine biology, Arctic survival, oceanography or photography, you’ll feed off their enthusiasm in each lecture. You can join them in the lecture hall and in the Science Center to learn about the Falklands interesting history and fascinating wildlife. If you are interested in art, you can attend art classes and even learn how to tie knots for when you go on landings.
The Falkland Islands are probably best known for their chequered past. Discovered by the British, settled by the French and the Spanish, they were then fought over by Argentina and Great Britain in the Falklands War. You will understand why these islands are so desirable when you see the natural beauty hidden in these islands across the three days we explore here.
The windswept green hills are home to large farms that have been family-owned for generations. And the beaches! The white sands and clear waters could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean.You will see penguin colonies alongside grazing sheep, while caracaras patrol overhead and geese forage at the water’s edge.
Sailing from the Falklands, we spend two days cruising towards beautiful South Georgia. Known as the Galápagos of the Poles, you can look forward to seeing an archipelago of impressive and diverse wildlife.
But that’s still a couple of days away, so meet up with your friends in the Expedition Team and listen as they give you a heads up on what you can expect. They will tell you everything they know about South Georgia, including information about the area’s wildlife, polar history, its geology, glaciology and legends of Norwegian whalers.
If you love wildlife, you’re going to love South Georgia. Nicknames like ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ and ‘Galápagos of the Poles’ promise a lot, but the islands more than live up to their reputation. Coming here, you’ll understand why South Georgia is a top spot for wildlife photographers from all over the world.
Uniquely positioned inside the Antarctic ecosystem yet outside the reach of sea ice, South Georgia is an ideal home for thousands of breeding penguins and seals. There are notable populations of king penguins who prefer the warmer weather here than their emperor cousins in Antarctica. Both South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands have also been identified as Important Bird Areas, supporting many seabirds including albatross, penguins, petrels, shags, skuas and terns.
With lengthy stays in both the Falklands and South Georgia, you have had time to really immerse yourself in the destinations and their wildlife. Our Expedition Team now focuses your attention on the main event of your expedition – Antarctica. You’ll take in comprehensive lectures and presentations covering polar explorer history, environment and, of course, the wildlife of the region.
Throughout our journey, the Expedition Team will also be taking water samples for you to study under the microscopes in the Science Center, allowing you to see wildlife at the cellular level.
Forget everything you have ever experienced before. Antarctica is in a league of its own. No matter how high your expectations are, Antarctica never disappoints. Holding 90% of the world’s ice, it’s massive in every sense of the word. The only country in the world with more surface area is Russia. There is actually land to be found underneath all the ice, but in some places, you would have to dig your way through four kilometres of snow and ice to reach it.
You will probably see your first seals and penguins from the ship, and that in itself is a fantastic experience. But wait until you stand on the very same shore as a colony of thousands of penguins. Or if a seal shows up beside you as you enjoy an optional activity of kayaking among the icebergs. Caught up in the thrill of the moment, you might not even remember to reach for your camera to take a picture!
Five unforgettable days in Antarctica are over, and MS Fram has turned around to take you back north over the Drake Passage. Known for its potentially high winds and strong currents, the passage can also be silent and still, inspiring the nicknames ‘The Drake Shake’ and ‘The Drake Lake’ respectively. But don’t worry, even if we experience rough seas, you will be perfectly safe on our purpose-built expedition ship.
During our crossing, the Expedition Team will recap our experiences of Antarctica, making it possible to keep your head in Antarctica for a little while longer. As your cruise is coming close to its end, this is also the perfect time to go through the pictures you have taken on your cruise. And for all the things you have loved to do so far on the ship, there is still time to do all of them a couple of times more.
We arrive in Punta Arenas in the morning, back to civilisation again. You’ll transfer to the airport for a flight back to Santiago where you’ll have a second chance to explore the capital of Chile. Or maybe you would rather extend your vacation with a Post-Programme adventure to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads? The choice is yours. Before that though, you’ll first make your fond farewells to one another, the crew and the Expedition Team.
How do you end an experience of 23 days at sea surrounded by some of the most remote, awe-inspiring scenery known to humankind? The answer is: you don’t. The experience will continue on with the memories and knowledge you now carry with you. It lives in the photos and stories you’ll bring back to your friends and family. We hope your experience of sustainable expedition cruising has been an inspiring one, renewing your awe for nature and reigniting a passion to protect it.
4th January 2024 - 26th January 2024
25th January 2024 - 16th February 2024
15th February 2024 - 9th March 2024
9th November 2024 - 27th November 2024
30th November 2024 - 21st December 2024
21st December 2024 - 11th January 2025
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