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About the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula Itinerary
- Explore the world’s seventh continent on the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and on foot.
- Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with an expert team of lecturers.
- See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as ‘the Galapagos of the South’. This includes more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of Penguin.
- Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages on South Georgia and pause for a moment at his graveside.
- Explore the quaint, British town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
- On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar Specialists.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia offers you a small-town feel but has many shops, museums, cafes and restaurants to enjoy before your voyage. The nearby national park and Martial Glacier are must-sees and offer plenty of hiking and outdoor activities.
Day 2: Embarkation
As you embark, the anticipation and excitement grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers, Expedition Team and get acquainted with your ship. As every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, Embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They’re onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as help make your wildlife dreams come true.
Day 3: At Sea
There are many activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship or attend illustrated presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings as well as be given important biodiversity information for protecting the remote places.
Days 4-5: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of these remote islands. The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands – East and West, which you will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
One landing that will surely stick out in your memory is at Port Stanley. This unique British outpost has a ramshackle charm to it. The largest settlement in the Falklands, you’ll spend your day here visiting churches, museums, wandering around town and perhaps mingling with locals at a typical British pub.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to a variety of penguin species, including Magellanic, Gentoo and Rockhopper. If lucky, you may spot King Penguins here as well! Also expect to see Black-browed Albatross and many other bird species around the islands, including an opportunity to see the two endemic species; Cobb’s Wren and the Falklands flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most of a memorable time in the Falklands.
Days 6-7: At Sea
The lecture series and wildlife spotting will continue on the way to South Georgia as you prepare to visit the ‘Galapagos of the Polar regions.’
Days 8-10: South Georgia
This remote outpost has long been a center for exploratory expeditions and commercial exploitation. Many of first European inhabitants arrived to the island to hunt whales and elephant seals. Populations were once decimated, but thankfully populations have rebounded largely because whaling and sealing in South Georgia no longer exist. You will see many remnants of these past activities; including several whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, the museum and a small gift shop and church and a research station of approximately 20 scientists and support personnel.
While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will likely find the most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with thousands of King Penguins waddling on the beach. Another day could take you to a beach with jousting elephant or fur seal beachmasters fighting to retain their harems. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species, something that your Expedition Team will be pleased to tell you about during your excursions on this impressive and unique island.
Days 11-12: At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with seminars from your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival in Antarctica. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
Days 13-16: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Guided hikes with the Expedition Team will have you trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station, or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie penguins are found here, along with Fur, Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard Seals. Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra special Antarctic experience by partaking in a kayaking excursion.
Days 17-18: Drake Passage
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, which will complete your Antarctic adventure. Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.
Days 19: Ushuaia
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. A transfer to the airport for your homeward flight will be offered.
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.
SHIP CAPACITY UPDATE: Starting with 2020 Arctic & 2020-2021 Antarctica Season, the ship capacity will be reduced to 108 passengers & no triple cabins will be available. We can accommodate three passengers traveling together in a Superior Cabin + a sofa bed.