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About the Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition Itinerary
- Extend your time in Antarctica and make landings in less frequented sites south of the Antarctic Circle;
- Incredible icebergs
- Millions of penguins – Adélie, gentoo, chinstrap
- 5 species of seals – crabeater, Weddell, leopard, fur and southern elephant
- Whales – humpback, minke, orca
- Visit historic research stations in the area of Marguerite Bay
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Today is the first day of your adventure in the world’s southernmost city at the tip of Argentina. Embark in the afternoon. Start to become familiar with the expedition staff and ship. In the early evening, set sail and begin the voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Day 2-3: Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage, there is so much excitement in the air as you get ever closer to the white continent. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere on board as our numerous Polar experts prepare you for your adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, cross the Antarctic Convergence where you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Along the way, witness many spectacular sights from icebergs to an array of seabirds and even several whale species some of which are known on occasion to fully breach from the sea.
Days 4-8: Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, the goal is to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. The first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and into Matha Strait or Marguerite Bay. Given favorable ice conditions, the captain will push our exploration even further southward, looking for historic and wildlife sites. From the most southerly point (south of the Antarctic Circle), we will make our way north along the Antarctic Peninsula, cruising through the narrow waterways and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. Spectacular waterways such as Crystal Sound, the Lemaire Channel, the Neumeyer Channel and the Gerlache Strait will all feature in the itinerary. Landing sites might include Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Petermann Island and the Yalours, where you will observe Weddell, crabeater and elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds as well as an abundance of penguins including some very large colonies of the comical Adelie penguin.
At Half Moon Island you will visit a breeding colony of chinstrap penguins that share their territory with fur seals and blue-eyed shags. The team also hopes to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill in its feeding grounds and possibly have an opportunity to spot orcas and Minke whales as the trip goes. The expedition staff plan on walking ashore on the continent of Antarctica at Paradise Harbour or Neko Harbour. Although it will not be your first glimpse of the Antarctic, a walk ashore on the Continent will evoke emotions to carry with you for the rest of your life. The scenery here is amazing. In particular the oddly shaped icebergs looking like sculptures, as well as the colossal ‘tabular’ icebergs that break away from the continent’s ice shelf. Expect to feel transformed as you experience twilight from the very bottom of the planet.
Days 9-10: Crossing the Antarctic Circle
By now, your knowledge of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, fur or Weddell seal. Terms like bergy bits and pancake ice will seem normal, yet there are still many tales to be told. As you head north, Zodiac excursions will fill your days, and your Expedition Team will continue offering presentations while giving you time to reflect on everything you’ve experienced.
Days 11-12: Drake Passage
As you leave this magical place and make your way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of the Polar expedition at a special dinner.
Day 13: Ushuaia
In the early morning, arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.
Welcome Aboard the Ioffe
Built for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is a modern, comfortable and safe vessel that carries a maximum of 96 passengers. The ship underwent extensive renovation of cabins and the bar in 2011, giving it a new feel.
She has public spaces ideally suited for small group lectures to full ship briefings. The bar or the lounge are great places to have a drink and take in the scenery, and the library provides a spot to relax or catch up on some reading. The Ioffe and her sister ship, the Akademik Vavilov are two of the most stable, advanced vessels in the expedition cruise business.
- Guests: 96
- Staff & Crew: 65
- Length: 117 m
- Breadth: 18.2 m
- Draft: 6 m
- Propulsion: 5,000 KW diesel twin engine
- Ice Class: Lloyds 1A
- Hull Classification: Ice Strengthened
- Cruising Speed: 13.5 knots in open water/ Max Speed: 14.5 knots
- Electrical Supply: 220 volts/ European pin
- Registered: Russia
- Zodiac boats: 10
Cabins & Amenities
- All cabins have exterior views
- Cabins have either shared, semi-private or private facilities (see deck plan)
- One dining room with unreserved seating
- Theater-style presentation room
- Lounge and bar with 180-degree views, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits
- Library with excellent outdoor viewing and a collection of polar-themed books
- Ship-to-shore communications via satellite
- Clinic with licensed doctor
- Gym, sauna and swimming pool
- Wellness centre with registered massage therapist, fitness trainer and yoga instructor (on selected departures)
- One elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level
Join us on the Bridge
There is an open-bridge policy and guests are welcome to meet the navigating crew at virtually any time of day; there’s always something to learn from the officers on watch and the bridge is one of the best places on the ship for spotting whales and sea birds.
An expedition gear package is included
An expedition cruise requires a fair bit of planning and some special items of clothing and equipment are needed. You will have use of an expedition wet weather gear package free of charge, which includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants as well as insulated, comfortable rubber boots designed for extended walking. A set of expedition binoculars and a walking pole are also available for the duration of your voyage. This saves you buying expensive items you may only ever use once and eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear all the way to the ship. If you do have your own gear, of course you are welcome to bring it. Make sure it is wind and waterproof. If you have questions about gear, feel free to ask.
- Camping is offered free of charge to all passengers.
- Photography – Free of Charge
- Kayaking – $795
- Rates are per person, based on twin-share.
- The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for twin-semi private, twin private and superior cabins. Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins. No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share.
- Voyages commencing/ending in Stanley (Falkland Islands) or King George Island (Antarctica) include flights from Punta Arenas (Chile).
- Voyages ending in King George Island (Antarctica) include one night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas at the end of the trip.
- Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.
- All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
Costs for standard adventure options:
- Photography – Free of charge
- Snowshoeing – Free of charge
- Camping – Free of charge [Please note – camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages.]
- Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795.
Costs for Off the Beaten Track adventure options (must be pre-booked):
- Standard Kayaking (maximum 16 participants) – $795
- Overnight Kayaking – Additional $300 add-on to standard kayaking program (maximum 6, minimum 4 participants)
- Ski Touring (maximum 16, minimum 6 participants) – $750
- Expedition Snowshoeing (maximum 12 participants) – free
- Expedition Field Photography (maximum 18 participants) – $45.
- Additional options (No pre-booking/no fee): Overnight Camping, Hiking, Classic Snowshoeing.
Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.