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About the Polar Circle Air Cruise Itinerary
Enjoy Antarctica in style — by flying and then cruising south of the Antarctic Circle! For those who don’t have the time or are not interested in cruising across the Drake Passage, this is the trip for you. Take a three-hour flight over Cape Horn and the mythical waters of the Drake Passage, landing you on one of the most spectacular places on earth: the coldest, highest, windiest, driest, and remotest continent – Antarctica. This trip takes you in-depth on the White Continent to explore below 66 degrees south. Prepare for incredible ice, curious wildlife and an adventure of a lifetime. Want to fly one Drake Passage and cruise the other? Check out the Fly & Cruise the Drake itineraries.
Day 1: Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, where you are welcomed and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you attend a briefing that provides important information about your voyage and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. Later, gather for a welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers while enjoying a typical regional menu.
Day 2: Fly the Drake
Your Antarctic adventure begins with a three-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. As you exit the airplane, the clear Antarctic air fills your lungs for the first time. Explore the area surrounding Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen station, before boarding a Zodiac to embark your expedition vessel.
Days 3-5: Antarctica Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
Cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Each day, disembark by Zodiac and explore the landscape together with expert polar guides. On board the ship, attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations, and enjoy spectacular views from ship while sharing your daily adventures with fellow guests.
No journey is the same as flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. The Expedition Team sets the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition, you will explore several spots that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment. Your voyage may include visits to sites such as Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, the Lemaire Channel, or many other magnificent places.
Days 6-7: Antarctic Circle
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not reach 66° 33’ S. You and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass of champagne! With a toast to the first explorers who ventured this far south, you can take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, Weddell seals and some of the most magical, odd ice formations you’ll see anywhere in Antarctica.
Days 8-9: Northbound along Peninsula
You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for any species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on the journey south.
Day 10: Return to Punta Arenas
Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas. The program ends upon arrival at the airport in Punta Arenas. Note: Transfer to the city will be available for passengers staying overnight in Punta Arenas. One complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas is offered.
Day 11: Departure
After breakfast, you are free to continue on your own travels or make your way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flights.
Welcome Aboard the Polar Pioneer
Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1982 as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the USSR’s northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 54 passengers.A combined bar/lounge/library area (stocked with a good collection of polar books) was also created by simple internal restructuring.
This class of vessel has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising, due to its strength, manoeuvrability and small number of cabins. All cabins have outside portholes plus ample storage space. The Russian captain and crew are among the most experienced ice-navigators in the world and their enthusiasm is legendary.
The spacious bridge is always open to us and the decks are ideal for viewing. The chefs are European, and the dining room is attended by Russian stewardesses.
Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel as such, but the accommodation is simple yet comfortable, and the meals are wholesome and uncomplicated. A small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors enable us to travel from ship to shore.
- Maximum Passengers: 54
- Staff & Crew: 25
- Place built: Finland
- Displacement: 2 140 tons
- Length: 71.6 meters
- Width: 12.8 meters
- Draft: 4.5 meters
- ISM and SOLAS certified as Ice Strengthened vessel
- Speed: 12.5 knots
- Refurbished: 2000
Cabins & Amenities
- All cabins are exterior, with porthole windows
- The public areas include a dining room which also act as lecture room.
- Cozy bar with reference books and fresh coffee and tea available at all times.
- Sauna that holds up to five passengers.
- Open bridge policy
- Email facilities available
- 220 volts power
- Laundry service available
- International Airfare Not Included.
- Flights included for Fly/Cruise itineraries.
- Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate.
- Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required.
- All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
- Must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.
- Kayaking : from $1050
- Camping Free
- Photography Free
- Snowshoeing $250
- Ski Touring $900
- Climbing $900
- South Georgia Alpine Crossing $2,150
Full - Twin Economy Private