About the Antarctica Off the Beaten Track Itinerary
Like the ‘Antarctica Classic’, this 13-day expedition will introduce you to the magic of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula during the pristine Antarctic spring, and offers you two additional days to explore the Peninsula. Anticipate exciting ice navigation on the ship and be among the first to visit many of the well known sites this season. What makes this journey so special is the enhanced program of off-ship activities available. Taking advantage of the optimal snow conditions in November, this voyage offers a range of additional activities which complement the already busy schedule. For those with some experience, back-country ski touring is offered. Snow-shoeing is another exciting option with maximum snow coverage and hard packed base. The expedition also plans to camp ashore at least one night and a full day ‘field photography’ workshop. All this is complemented with an exceptional series of onboard presentations, led by adventurers, marine biologists, naturalists, historians and a resident photography professional.
Day 1: Embarkation
Embarkation begins in the afternoon at the port in Ushuaia. Enjoy the evening sailing through the Beagle Channel.
Days 2-3: Drake Passage
The adventure begins with a 400 mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The ship is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean. Take in daily lectures from your expedition team and keep an eye out for the first sightings of icebergs, whales, and albatross following in the ship’s wake.
Days 4-5: Northern Antarctic Peninsula
We awaken today and the magnificent snowy peaks of Antarctica are laid out before us. Over the next week, our itinerary is intentionally flexible to account for early season ice conditions and to take advantage of optimal snow conditions. Our planned exploration starts in vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour and neighboring Cierva Cove – both beautiful locations and the perfect introduction to Antarctica.
Days 6-11: Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
Our days are spent exploring on and off the ship in the company of our expert guides. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and exploration of historic huts and science stations. Zodiac cruising in the ice is always a thrill. Based on site conditions, the ski touring group may set off to explore the pristine terrain with our experienced mountaineering guides. The expedition snow-shoe group may follow in the tracks of the skiers, climbing to high points which afford breathtaking views. The sea kayakers will head out on excursions which may last all day. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the chance to spend an entire day with our expedition photographer on an all-day field workshop. Everyone aboard will have an opportunity to camp onshore for the night in Antarctica if the weather co-operates. In the comfort and safety of our expedition ship, we range as far south as ice conditions permit; hopefully we are able to navigate to Neko Harbour and into the Errera Channel. Witnessing the migration of the penguins early in the season, as they busily re-establish their rookeries and prepare nests, is a fascinating experience. Cuverville Island is always a highlight and is home to one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies on this stretch of coastline. Orne Harbour is dominated by Spiggot Peak – a towering landmark seen from miles away. There’s a great hike here up to a colony of chinstrap penguins. The adventure is not over and we plan an additional day of exploration in the South Shetland Islands. Prevailing weather conditions will dictate our landing locations which may include Hannah Point on Livingston Island. In the evening, we navigate into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
Days 12-13: Drake Passage
Today begins the journey north to our home port of Ushuaia. Review the highlights of your Antarctic experience with our lecturers and staff. Keep your eyes open on the observation deck for some final whale sightings.
Day 14: Disembarkation
Disembark in the morning.
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.
$5,900 – $8,650
$14,295 – $27,795
$12,500 – $24,900