Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands: the Realm of the Great Explorers

Sail in the wake of historical explorers and see Antarctica through their eyes – an endless while wilderness, and nature at its most sublime and haunting.

We travel in close contact with the elements and the sights of mighty glaciers calving in the sea, thousands of excited penguins, and humpback and killer whales will create memories to last a lifetime.

 Join one of many shore landings and feel like a true polar hero when participating in exciting outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking – or maybe spend a night ashore in a tent!

  • 20 days
  • 30 October 2015
    25 February 2016 (reverse route)
    28 October 2016
    23 February 2017 (reverse route)
From £4,536 per person

Day 1 - 2 Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo has a sly sophistication and surprising cultural diversity for such a small population, boasting a picturesque blend of colonial Spanish, Italian and Art Deco styles. Montevideo may be the only large city in Uruguay, but it's also one of South America's most interesting centers.

Home to almost half of the nation's population, Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital and a modern metropolis with a historical centre dating back to colonial times. Visit the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) with its 18th century buildings, the vibrant Mercado del Puerto, the bustling Avenida 18 de Julio with its numerous theatres, museums and art galleries, and the stretch of white, sandy beaches surrounding the city.

We depart from Montevideo at 16:00. Check-in opens at 14:00. Once onboard there will be a welcome meeting during which the Captain will present his officers and expedition staff. They will outline the program for the coming day. There will be conducted a mandatory safety drill for all passengers within 24 hrs of arrival.

Day 3 - 5 At Sea

We are heading south towards our first destination. On the way you will have fascinating and informative briefings into the history and biology to be found there.

We set course south to the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, located 772 kilometres north of Cape Horn and about 1,600 kilometres from Antarctica. The Falklands consist of two large islands and around 700 smaller ones and has a population of 2,967 inhabitants. Captain John Strong of HMS Welfare made the first recorded landing here in 1690.

Whilst we are at sea a number of presentations will be given about the history and wildlife of the areas we shall be visiting.

Day 6 At Sea/Falklands

Thanks to the unique sub-Antarctic ecology there are over 70 animal species to be found on these islands.

The islands have a unique ecosystem of about 70 different sub-Antarctic animal and bird species. The black-browed albatross, Brown-rumped karakara, Elephant seal, sea lion and five different species of penguin including King penguin are just a few of them. There are also about 347 wild plant species in the area. The landscape is majestic, with cliffs and needle-like stones covered in green grass.

We plan to visit the area around North West Falkland with their fascinating landscape and wildlife, and hope to arrive late afternoon.

Day 7 - 8 Falklands-Malvinas

We will explore further the North-West part of Falkland. We then continue to Stanley, the islands’ capital, which makes a wonderful starting point for various excursions in the area. You can choose to take an optional excursion or explore the town on your own.
In the early evening of day 8 we set a course for South Georgia.

Day 9 - 10 At Sea

The cruise southward to beautiful South Georgia takes two days. En route there will be a number of presentations about the area’s wildlife as well as some fascinating stories about Shackleton’s expeditions. The lecturers will tell us about the significance that the whaling station here had for the entire whaling industry.

Days 11 - 12 South Georgia

During our two-day stay in South Georgia you can expect to see some of the area’s numerous historic sites. South Georgia offers some good hiking opportunities, our favourite of which is walking the last part of the route that Sir Ernest Shackleton took on his brave journey across the island’s rugged mountains to find help for his 22 men left on the isolated Elephant Island.

In Grytviken we will visit the old whaling station museum, Shackleton’s final resting place, the whalers’ church dating from 1913, the old Norwegian whaling station at Strømness and the King penguin colony at Fortuna Bay. From here we sail south for the main event! 

Days 13 - 14 At Sea

As we continue to Antarctica we learn more about the wonders of the Deep South, focusing on the history, environment and wildlife of Antarctica. Our series includes a thorough introduction to the Antarctic visitor guidelines from the Antarctic Treaty and International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

Days 15 - 17 Antarctica

Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by thousands of miles of ocean. And even today, with all our technology, many parts of this continent remain unexplored. You find 99% of the world’s ice here, some of which is 4000 meters thick.  

The most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are thrown at you. Even MS Fram, one of the most comfortable expedition ships, needs to remain pragmatic and err on the side of caution. Sometimes we have to change landing sites, re-route and shift plans as we go along because of the ice, wind and weather. This also means that we will take advantage of the often great conditions – spending hours ashore, taking kayaks out on the water, hiking alpine mountains, traversing glaciers or watching in awe as a groups of whales breach the surface.

Merchant William Smith discovered the ring shaped Deception Island on the South Shetland Islands in 1819 after his ship got lost in a storm. The island used to harbour whaling ships until as recently as 1905. The Norwegian base”, Hektor” was established here in 1912 to process meat and bone waste from whaling. Cuverville Island is home to one of the largest known colonies of Chinstrap penguins.  The shallow water between the islands often causes icebergs to become stuck here - a real sight when it occurs! Neko Harbour is beautifully located in the innermost part of Andvord Bay named after a whaler who anchored here in the early 1900s.

Paradise Harbour got its descriptive name from the whalers during the last century. When the storms were at their worst, this is where they came to seek shelter. On its shores we will also visit Almirante Brown and Gonzáles Videla, Antarctic bases owned by Argentina and Chile respectively. Port Lockroy is a British station from the 2nd World War that got turned into the museum in 1996. Wilhelmina Bay has spectacular scenery and is often called "Whale-mina Bay", because of the large numbers of humpback whales spotted in its vicinity.

Visitors fondly refer to The Antarctic Sound as Iceberg Alley due to the astounding assortment of floating ice that is visible. The sound did not get its name from its location but from the ship used by Otto Nordenskjöld´s Swedish Antarctic expedition in 1903, led by the legendary Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen. Brown Bluff lies on the coast of the Antarctic Sound, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As the name suggests,  the area is recognisable by the 750m cliffs that dominate the landscape. After exploring this superlative-exhausting continent, we leave and set course for Ushuaia.

Day 18 - 19 Drake Passage

The Drake Passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which only a few have had the chance to experience. In good weather, it takes us about 35 hours to make the crossing.

Day 20 Ushuaia/Buenos Aires

After spectacular journey, we make landfall at the world’s southernmost town. Disembark after breakfast and join an optional excursion to Lake Escondido. You can also extend your stay in Buenos Aires with one of our optional post-voyage extensions. Choose from a night or two in the “Tigre Delta” or fly to Iguazu to see possibly the most impressive falls in the world.

Day 1 Buenos Aires

Your voyage starts with an overnight at a first class hotel in Buenos Aires. After check-in possibility to discover Buenos Aires during an optional City Tour in the afternoon. Evening at own leisure and overnight.

Day 2 Buenos Aires/Ushuaia

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before being transferred to the pier of MS Fram. 

We depart from Buenos Aires at 12:00. Check-in opens at 10:00. Once onboard there will be a welcome meeting during which the Captain will present his officers and expedition staff. They will outline the program for the coming day. There will be conducted a mandatory safety drill for all passengers within 24 hrs of arrival.

Day 3 - 5 At Sea

We set course south to the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, located 772 kilometres north of Cape Horn and about 1,600 kilometres from Antarctica. The Falklands consist of two large islands and around 700 smaller ones and has a population of 2,967 inhabitants. Captain John Strong of HMS Welfare made the first recorded landing here in 1690.

Whilst we are at sea a number of presentations will be given about the history and wildlife of the areas we shall be visiting.

Day 6 At Sea/Falklands

The islands have a unique ecosystem of about 70 different sub-Antarctic animal and bird species. The black-browed albatross, Brown-rumped karakara, Elephant seal, sea lion and five different species of penguin including King penguin are just a few of them. There are also about 347 wild plant species in the area. The landscape is majestic, with cliffs and needle-like stones covered in green grass.

We plan to visit the area around North West Falkland with their fascinating landscape and wildlife, and hope to arrive late afternoon.

Day 7 - 8 Falklands

We will explore further the North-West part of Falkland. We then continue to Stanley, the islands’ capital, which makes a wonderful starting point for various excursions in the area. You can choose to take an optional excursion or explore the town on your own.
In the early evening of day 8 we set a course for South Georgia.

Day 9 - 10 At Sea

En route to South Georgia there will be a number of presentations about the area we shall visit and its wildlife, as well as some fascinating stories about Shackleton’s expeditions. The lecturers will tell us about the significance the whaling station here had for the entire whaling industry.

Days 11 - 12 South Georgia

We will be in South Georgia for two days, during which we will try to see some of the many historic places. We hope to visit Grytviken whaling station, its museum, Shackleton’s grave and the whalers’ church dating from 1913. Next day we will attempt to visit the old Norwegian whaling station at Strømness and the king penguin colony at Fortuna Bay. Then we will sail south.

The wildlife on South Georgia is different from what we will see in Antarctica, including many different bird and animal species. We hope to see albatross, Cape petrel, Southern giant petrel, Antarctic whale bird, King penguin, Fur seal and Elephant seal among others. The whalers introduced several animal species to South Georgia, but today there are just two herds of reindeer remaining.

Days 13 - 14 At Sea

Whilst we cross the sea to Antarctica a number of presentations will be given about various topics of the Antarctic’s history and wildlife, as well as guidelines for visitors to Antarctica.

The Antarctic Treaty has made the continent an area without military activity and it is the treaty, which regulates all activities in the area. Hurtigruten ASA follows these regulations to the letter to ensure that the vulnerable environment will not be disturbed. Our programme of presentations on board helps in this, since we aim to prepare you for this unique experience, so that you will derive the greatest possible benefit from your Antarctic experience. 

We will be on course for the northern tip of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.

Days 15 - 17 Antarctica

This enormous white and weather bitten continent is almost as big as North America. Weather, wind and ice conditions have a great influence on our programme and our schedule. Safety is always the first priority and the final sailing schedule will be decided by the ship’s captain during the voyage. 

Day 18 - 19 Drake Passage

During the voyage we will summarise the Antarctic and Southern Ocean themes. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to Ushuaia is about 800 kilometres – about 35 hours sailing in good weather. This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which only a few have the chance to experience.

Day 20 Ushuaia/Buenos Aires

We arrive at the Argentinean town of Ushuaia in the morning. Ushuaia is counted as the world’s southernmost town and lies on Tierra del Fuego, south of the Magellan Strait and here our voyage ends.

Disembark after breakfast and possibility to join an optional excursion to Escondido Lake (end at the airport) or transfer to the airport for the flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires (approx. 4 hours). If time allows, we include a stop at the city center on our way to the airport. Onboard the flight, a light snack is served.

Extend your stay in Buenos Aires and select one of our optional post voyage extensions that are available in conjunction with your Antarctica voyage. You can choose among hotel nights, private transfers, an excursion to “Tigre Delta” or fly to Iguazu to see the most impressive falls in the world.

2015/2016 Pricing

Dates Cabin Types

Inside Outside Suite
 30 October 2015 Twin from 4536 5373 7776
Single from 7626 9090 13296
 25 February 2016 Twin from SOLD OUT SOLD OUT 7800
Single from SOLD OUT SOLD OUT 13317

2016/2017 Pricing

Dates Cabin Types
  Inside Outside
28 October 2016
23 February 2017 (reverse route)
Twin from 5030 5479
Single from 8497 9282

There are a number of cabin grades, the above prices indicate the lead in price and are subject to availability. 

Included in price:

  • Expedition Voyage in cabin grade of your choice.
  • Full board and free tea and coffee.
  • Wind and water-resistant jacket.
  • Landings with Polarcirkel boats.
  • Activities on board and ashore.
  • Lectures and landings with Expedition Team.
  • Hotel night + breakfast in Buenos Aires. Transfers between hotel, ship and airport.
  • 30 October 2015 and 25 February 2016: Return flights from Buenos Aires-Ushuaia
  • 28 October 2016 and 23 February 2017 voyages only: Flights from Buenos Aires-Montevideo and Ushuaia-Buenos Aires. 

Price does not include:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions and gratuities

Please note:

Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system. All prices are capacity controlled and subject to availability. Prices may change at any time before departure date. The applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking. Prices are in £ per person.

Important information

Areas we explore:       Falklands, South Georgia and  Antarctica
Vessel:                         MS Fram
Sailing Distance:         Approx. 4250 nautical miles (7870 kilometres)

Antarctica Explorer voyage day-by-day, 29. October 2016                                             

Day 1: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day 2: Montevideo, Uruguay
Day 3-5: At Sea
Day 6: At Sea/Falklands
Day 7-8: Falklands
Day 9-10: At Sea
Day 11-12: South Georgia
Day 13-14: At Sea
Day 15-17: Antarctica
Day 18 -19: Drake Passage
Day 20: Ushuaia/Buenos Aires

Antarctica Explorer voyage day-by-day, 24. February 2017                               

Day 1: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day 2: Buenos Aires/Ushuaia
Day 3-4: Drake Passage
Day 5-7: Antarctica
Day 8-9: At sea
Day 10–11: South Georgia
Day 12–13: At sea
Day 14–15: Falklands
Day 16–19: At sea
Day 20: Montevideo, Uruguay

Expect the unexpected

Planned landings will depend on weather and ice conditions. We reserve the right to change the scheduled programme and itinerary.

Some activities and excursions will only be sold on board. Rubber boots are available to rent on board. We recommend purchasing travel insurance.

What to bring:

  • Wind and water resistant trousers
  • Shoes with a good grip sole
  • Warm cap or headband
  • Scarf
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm sweaters/jacket
  • Warm socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Small backpack

Expedition Team and Lectures

Our Expedition Team will prime your knowledge with lectures and talks so that you are as prepared as possible before you set foot on this great white continent. You will learn a lot about biology, geology and ice, but they will also talk about how we can minimise our impact on the fragile environment.

While in Antarctica, we will attempt to land on several sites. On land, our Expedition Team will explain what you see and help you to avoid disturbing nature and wildlife. When conditions allow, excursions and activities on land and sea may be offered. Participation on any hike requires a good level of fitness, and that you are accustomed to hiking in uneven terrain.

Safety is always the first priority and the captain will decide the final sailing schedule during the voyage. The final itinerary will be introduced during daily briefings.