About the Quest for the Antarctic Circle 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: Embarkation in Ushuaia
Arriving at the ship in the afternoon, you will be greeted by Expedition Team and ships’ officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the mountainous scenery on our early evening sail down the Beagle Channel past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.
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 4-10: 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 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 Ortelius
The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, capable of visiting remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land in the Arctic. Ortelius was built in Poland in 1989 and worked as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science.
The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. Ortelius is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to the passengers. Ortelius offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar, lecture room and a sauna.
Though our voyages are primarily meant to offer our passengers an exploratory wildlife program with as much time ashore as possible, Ortelius offers all the comforts of a standard hotel ― along with a bar and lecture room. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. As such, Ortelius carries 10 Zodiacs with 60hp Yamaha engines.
- Passengers: 116
- Staff & Crew: 47
- Length: 91.25 meters
- Breadth: 17.61 meters
- Draft: 5.8 meters
- Ice class: UL1 (equivalent to 1A)
- Displacement: 4575 tonnes
- Engines: 6 ZL 40/48 SULZER
- Speed: 12 knots (14.3 knots max)
Ortelius can accommodate up to 116-123 passengers and has an abundance of open-deck spaces. It is manned by 22 highly experienced nautical crew members, 19 hotel staff, eight expedition specialists (one expedition leader, one assistant, and six lecturer-guides), and one doctor.
Cabins & Amenities
- Two restaurants with open seating
- Bar / observation lounge
- Internet access
- Private facilities – sink, toilet shower, hairdryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- Multi-purpose presentation room with state-of-the-art equipment
- Stabilizers for smooth sailing
- 10 zodiacs onboard
- Rates are per person, based on twin share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.7 times the twin rate.
- Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.
- Camping – USD$190 per night, max 30 people
- Kayaking – USD$465 per trip, max 14 people
- Snowshoe – no charge but sign up required
- Adventure Activities for the “Base Camp” voyages are free of charge
- There is always a possibility of an added fuel surcharge if marine oil prices raise significantly.
$7,895 – $17,395
$9,499 – $15,499
$7,895 – $15,595