This is the rare opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the great explorer, Ernest Shackleton.   Visit the gigantic tabular icebergs of the Weddell Sea, explore Elephant Island, keep watch for blue, sei and fin whales and immerse yourself in the wildlife mecca of South Georgia – home to the largest king penguin rookeries in the world, mating elephant seals and wandering albatross nests.

Highlights

  • Retrace Shacklton’s courageous voyage
  • Discover the largest colonies of King Penguins on earth at South Georgia
  • Set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula amidst penguins and seals
  • Attempt to land on historic Elephant Island aboard Zodiacs
  • Cruise past enormous tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea
  • Keep watch for blue, sei and fin whales in the Scotia Sea
  • Opportunity to trek across South Georgia following Shacklton’s footsteps

Quick Itinerary

Day 1 – Ushuaia
Days 2 to 3 – Drake Passage
Days 4 to 6 – Antarctica Peninsula, Weddell Sea
Day 7 – Elephant Island
Days 8 to 9 – Scotia Sea
Day 10 – South Georgia
Days 11 to 15 South Georgia
Days 16 to 17 – Scotia Sea
Day 18 – Falkland Islands to Santiago (or Punta Arenas)

Day 1 – Embarkation, Ushuaia
Late afternoon, you will be welcomed aboard the Polar Pioneer at the world’s southernmost city in Ushuaia, where you will set sail and transit through the Beagle Channel en-route to Antarctica.

Days 2 to 3 – Drake Passage
Following the great explorers of the past, you head south en-route to Antarctica, crossing the Drake Passage, keeping an eye out for wandering and black-browed albatross and giant petrels.   Your onboard historian introduces you to the story of the great polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and the expert guides offer talks in preparation of your first landing in the South Shetland Islands.

Days 4 to 6 – Antarctica Peninsula, Weddell Sea
Awaken at dawn to the wonderful landscapes of the Antarctic Sound.  Weather and conditions permitting, you may make a continental landing on the Tabarin Peninsula, home to the steep-sided volcano of “Brown Bluff”.   Your Captain will lead your expedition to the fabled Weddell Sea, famous for the ginormous tabular icebergs where Shackleton’s ship ‘Endurance’ was crushed.  Ice conditions permitting, you may visit the world-renowned fossil beds on Vega, Seymour or James Ross islands, or even Snow Hill Island.  This is home to the Antarctic Peninsular’s oldest remaining building and another infamous survival story, the Nordenskj hut.

Day 7 – Elephant Island
If conditions allow, your guides will Zodiac cruise you as close as possible to Point Wild, where Shackleton’s crew survived in such an inhospitable environment for four winter months awaiting rescue.  

Days 8 to 9 – Scotia Sea
Keep watch for fin and sei, and potentially blue whales as your voyage continues to South Georgia.  As you retrace the rescue voyage of Shackleton crossing the Scotia Sea, your expedition team will provide fascinating talks about his voyage, as well as informative talks to prepare you for the wildlife mecca of South Georgia.

Day 10 – South Georgia
Your expedition team will aim to land in Cave Cove, conditions permitting, to grasp first-hand the extraordinary skills of Worsely, Shacklton’s navigator, in mooring the James Caird.  Your expedition then heads to Peggotty Bluff, where Shackleton and his team began their trek across the island.  For experienced hikers or climbers, the option to join the crossing party to trek 50km over three days and retrace Shackleton’s footsteps is available for a supplement, weather permitting.

Days 11 to 15 – South Georgia
For those not hiking, witness one of the great wildlife spectacles on earth at South Georgia.   Most famously, South Georgia is home to king penguin rookeries 400,000 strong!  See countless Gentoo, chinstrap, macaroni penguins, and beautiful rugged coastlines adorned with fur and elephant seals.  South Georgia is also home to many birds, including the nesting site for wandering albatross.   Subject to local conditions, you will join the mountaineers on the final inspirational leg of the Shackleton Crossing from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, visiting Shacklton’s grave and the whaling museum in Grytviken.

Days 16 to 17 – Scotia Sea
As you cross the Scotia Sea and head to the Falkland Islands, you will enjoy keeping watch for dolphins, whales and seabirds.    Over the final few days, the ship is buzzing with reflective conversation, sharing photos and stories with your travelling companions.  You are invited to share a farewell drink with the Captain and your newfound friends, with a toast to your remarkable adventure.

Day 18 – Falkland Islands to Santiago or Punta Arenas
Following breakfast, we bid farewell to the expedition and transfer to Stanley airport for your onward travels.  The option to extend your trip in the Falklands is also possible (please note that flights departing Stanley to Santiago, via Punta Arenas, depart just once a week).


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About Us
  • We can compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators to find your perfect cruise.

  • Never pay more! Our prices are amongst the best in the business, with full package protection as standard.

  • We are the expedition cruise specialists and know the destinations, ships and operators inside out

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Why book with Polar Routes?

CHOICE
  • We can compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators.
  • From former Russian research vessels to larger and luxurious ships - there is an expedition cruise to suit you. 
  • Our Travel Specialists will help you choose the perfect expedition cruise for your requirements.
SPECIALISTS
  • We are the expedition cruise specialists and know all the polar destinations inside out.
  • Our expert team of Travel Specialists have extensive knowledge of all the expedition ships & operators.
  • All of our Travel Specialists have first-hand experience of expedition cruising to the polar regions.
VALUE
  • Never pay more! Our prices are the amongst the best in the business, with full package protection as standard.
  • Our holidays are protected by ATOL and ABTOT, for your complete peace of mind.
  • As supporters of the Marine Conservation Society, booking with us helps support the protection of our oceans.