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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 Ocean Diamond
The Ocean Diamond is a modern, stable super-yacht, excellent for experiencing Antarctica. The ship carries a maximum of 189 passengers and features onboard amenities such as a massage and wellness program, a heated swimming pool and a well-stocked polar library. The Ocean Diamond is staffed with outstanding officers, expedition leaders, and guides.
- Guests: 189
- Staff & Crew: 144
- Length: 124 meters
- Breadth: 16 meters
- Draft: 4.9 meters
- Propulsion: 2 Wichmann Engines, 7375 horsepower
- Ice Class: 1D
- Cruising speed: 15.5 knots
- Lifeboats: 4 fully enclosed
Cabins & Amenities
- Remote headsets available for remote presentations.
- Massage & Wellness Program, Photography Program
- Optional camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, skiing & mountaineering.
- Polar Library & Expert in Residence Program
- One-year enrollment in Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI)
- All cabins and suites have private facilities & exterior views.
- All cabins have flat-screen TV, DVD player.
- Passenger elevator.
- Bar staffed by a professional bartender.
- Theater-style auditorium.
- Photography program includes the services of a resident photography instructor.
- Polar Library contains the largest collection of polar books & DVDs.
- Massage & Wellness program offers yoga classes, aromatherapy treatments & massage therapy.
- Cruise Price does not include international airfare. Port charges are included. All cabins are outside, with two lower beds and private shower and toilet. Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
- Single cabin prices are 1.7 times the cost of the appropriate twin-share prices listed above except for superior and above which are 2x the price listed above.
- All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
- Kayaking – $995 (for those who want to kayak during entire voyage & have previous experience) OR
- Paddling – $225 (for those w/o experience who want to kayak one time during the voyage)
- Camping – $295
- Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
- An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep
- Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person
- Pre-night hotel in Ushuaia with breakfast included
- Group transfer to hotel upon arrival in Ushuaia