ANTARCTICA & THE SOUTH SHETLANDS

10 days departing USHUAIA from

Style: Cruising
Destination: Antarctica
Tour Code: PSX

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Trip Overview

This is an astonishing adventure into the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula. It's a heady and inspiring cocktail of towering blue icebergs which refract searing blues and greens, whether against piercing clear skies or slate grey ones. It's home to an extraordinary array of wildlife; penguins of almost all descriptions, seals, including the magnificent Leopard Seal, and whales are all seen from the shore and on aboard the Zodiac. This is a journey that appeals to photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, ornithologists or those who simply want to marvel at the peaks of Deception Island or the striking colours of Iceberg Alley in the most immaculate wilderness unlike anywhere else on earth.

Included Highlights
  • Series of presentations, discussing various aspects of conservation and history of Antarctic exploration
  • Frequent shore excursions by inflatable zodiac boats
  • Explore the South Shetland islands
  • Common areas with viewing windows
  • Endless wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Observation deck and viewing lounge
  • Crossing of the Drake Passage
  • Opportunity to swim in Antarctic waters
  • Incredible photography opportunities
  • Expedition guides and naturalists
  • Detailed post-expedition log
Guaranteed departures

All departures of this tour are guaranteed, so once you've booked you can be sure you're going! This guarantee gives you the confidence to book all of your travel arrangements and simply look forward to your holiday.

Tour Facts and Features
Accommodation: 9 or 10 on board cabin nights in twin or triple share cabins depending on the departure date chosen. Single travellers can be matched with another passenger of the same sex subject to availability. For your own cabin request our optional Solo Sleeper (see Dates & Prices tab). Please note there are limited twin and triple cabins available on a reduced price basis (early booking recommended). There are upgraded cabins available, please see our website for more details
Transport: Polar expedition ship. Please see link on the itinerary tab for specific details on the ship.
Meals: 10 day tour: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners
11 day tour: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
Guided: Services of qualified Expedition Staff
Group size: Maximum 76 passengers on board
Age range: 12+

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Trip Itinerary

Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, the following itinerary should be used as a guideline.


Download Trip Dossier

Download the Antarctica and the South Shetlands trip dossier for tour-specific details including full itinerary, pre-departure information, packing tips and more about our style of travel.

Download Dossier >



Ship Information and Expedition FAQs

To download more information about the ship click here >

To download frequently asked questions for this expedition, click here >

Optional Activities (paid locally)

Our optional activities offer the flexibility to do the things you want to and leave out the things you don't. Below are the main optional activities for this trip which can be arranged once you are on tour via your tour leader and paid for locally. Please note that not all optional activities may available on every tour and prices are subject to change.

  • There are no optional activities available for this tour.


Day 1: Depart from Ushuaia

Beginning your journey at the port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, you embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition crew. Enjoy welcome drinks and canapés, then after you have settled into your cabin you set sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass. On board there's ample viewing space, on the top deck, middle deck or in the observation lounge.

You'll need little money whilst on board as your meals are on a full board basis. Drinks can be purchased on board for evening meals and at the bar. You may also want a bit of cash for souvenirs and for tipping your crew. Upon booking this Antarctic Cruise we will email you a booking form, general medical form and signed contract. All final documents including packing list will be sent one month prior to departure.
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2-3: Crossing the Drake Passage

Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As you sail across the passage, your expedition crew will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of the amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA's open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime views. A full program of lectures about this fascinating area will be offered as well. Keep your eyes peeled for larger whales and sea birds which follow your path and guide safe passage.

The first sightings of icebergs and snow-capped mountains indicate that you have reached the South Shetland Islands, a group of twenty islands and islets first sighted in February 1819 by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams. The first sightings of these icebergs is a memory which'll stay with you forever, it's beauty in its raw and extreme form. With favourable conditions in the Drake Passage our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you ashore as you experience your first encounter with the penguins and seals on day three. Being up close and personal to the wildlife is a life changing experience, and you'll find you never tire of watching penguins, seals and birdlife in its natural habitat.
Meals: Breakfast (x2), lunch (x2), dinner (x2) included

Day 4-8: Exploring South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula

The South Shetland Islands are a natural haven and sanctuary for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern Elephant Seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing.

King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adelie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as Elephant Seals await you at Livingston Island.

The Antarctic Peninsula's remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You'll have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals as well as Minke, Killer (Orca) and Humpback Whales at close range.

You'll navigate some of the most beautiful waterways (depending on the ice conditions); the Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel and the Lemaire Channel. The latter are narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. The plan is to make at least two landings per day.

Paradise Bay is perhaps the most aptly named place in the world and you attempt a landing on the continent proper. After negotiating the iceberg-strewn waters of the Antarctic Sound, we hope to visit the bustling Adelie Penguin (over 100,000 pairs breed here) and Blue-eyed Cormorant colonies on Paulet Island. The Nordenskjold expedition built a stone survival hut here in 1903. Today its ruins have been taken over by nesting penguins. Further exploration may take you to Melchior Island, Cuverville Island, Portal Point, Neko Harbour, Pleneau Island and if ice conditions permit, to Petermann Island for a visit to the southernmost colony of Gentoo Penguins.
Meals: Breakfast (x5), lunch (x5), dinner (x5) included

Day 9-10: Crossing the Drake Passage Northbound

You leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage can at times be rough and it's advised to bring sea sickness tablets if you are inclined. Join your lecturers and naturalists on deck as you search for more seabirds and whales and enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.
Meals: Breakfast (x2), lunch (x2), dinner (x2) included

Day 11: Arrival into Ushuaia

You arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the ship after breakfast.
Meals: Breakfast included

This tour is operated by our local cruise specialist partner. Prices may fluctuate marginally due to fuel increases, this does not occur frequently.

Photo Credits:
Photographers: Andres Camacho, Claudio Suter, Lopez Tapia, Moniker Schillat, Paul O'Neill, Tim Fisher, Weisheng Lin

Tour Notes

The itinerary shown here is a guide only. Our exact route and program is ultimately dictated by the local weather and ice conditions as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the most up to date weather conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board. Flexibility is the key to success!

As flights in and out of Ushuaia can be changeable at times due to the weather we highly recommend you plan to arrive the day before departure.

Book Your Trip
No credit card fees
  • A 30% deposit per person is required to confirm your booking.
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
  • We charge no credit card fees or hidden surcharges
  • ABTA & ATOL licensed operator offering financial security for our tours
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7965 for a flight inclusive quote (UK)

Solo Sleepers   Optional Solo Sleeper

There are no forced supplements for single travellers. Accommodation is based on twin-share, so if you're travelling on your own, you'll share with a fellow passenger of the same sex. However, if you would prefer your own space our Solo Sleeper Option can be requested from per person. This will guarantee you your own cabin for every night of the tour. Single cabins on are very limited so this option is on a request basis only. Please call us to enquire about this.

Important Notes

This cruise can be either 10 or 11 days in duration depending on departure date. Hover over the info icon in the dates & prices table below for specific durations.

There are four categories of cabins available. The prices displayed below are for the lowest class category. Should you be interested in a higher standard please do not hesitate to contact us for a quote.


Status Key
ABTA member

Guaranteed: Tour is guaranteed to operate once you book.
Available: Seats are available. Book Online now!
Limited: Limited seats only. Book Online now!
Contact Us: Seats may be available. Please contact us.

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Tour Extras

We've offer a whole range of travel extras with everything from city sightseeing, additional hotel nights, insurance and more so you can organise everything you'll need for your trip in one easy place

Book Flights

Our specialist flights department can offer UK customers a great airline fare to all of our travel destinations.

Book Flights

We have preferred contracts with many international carriers and have secured some of the most competitive prices in the industry. We are also ATOL protected and IATA licensed.

Special offers are regularly available, so call us now on +44 208 682 8921 or click below to request a flight quote by email.

> Request a flight quote now

Travel Insurance

At Grand American Adventures we believe that your safety and enjoyment are the most important parts of your holiday.

Travel Insurance

We recommend you take out insurance as soon as your booking is confirmed. You MUST be covered by insurance that includes adequate coverage for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation. We can offer you a comprehensive travel insurance policy which is completely tailored for your trip and is specially designed to include all the activities listed.

See our insurance page for more information.


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0333 999 7965
Call us
1800 873-5872
Call us 1300 030 714
Call us 0800 102 364
+44 208 682 8921
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