About the Ultimate Antarctica: Weddell Sea, Antarctica and the Falklands Itinerary
This exciting expedition provides great diversity and will appeal to those seeking a truly comprehensive Antarctic experience. It includes visits to the South Shetland Islands, the western and northern sections of the Antarctic Peninsula, the stunning Weddell Sea region, and the historic location of Elephant Island – a place forever connected to the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Adding to the experience will be a visit to several locations in the Falkland Islands, including the homes of nesting albatross and the colorful King penguin. Throughout the voyage, our expedition ship acts as a floating wilderness lodge, which we reposition every day to yet another exciting location. You will be spoiled for choice by all of the activities we have planned. We maximize our time on this voyage by flying from South America to Antarctica, saving a two day crossing of the Drake Passage. A further day and a half is saved by flying back to South America at the end of the voyage. The time saved by flying allows us to spend maximum time exploring the magnificent Antarctic. You can expect to be off the ship exploring for nine out of the twelve days This voyage is unique and has been designed for those who want the most in-depth Antarctic experience possible.
Day 1: Fly to King George Island
Our journey commences in Punta Arenas, located in southern Chile, where we board our two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Upon arrival at the King George Island in Antarctica, we embark our ship via Zodiac inflatable crafts.
Days 2 - 4: Antarctic Peninsula
Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline of Antarctica. If ice conditionsallow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel. Planned visits might include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour, or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. We chart a course towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a visit at Deception Island.
Days 5-7: Weddell Sea
Navigating into the Weddell Sea, we see the vast sweep of the Antarctic icecap for the first time and will find ourselves increasingly surrounded by tabular icebergs. These gargantuan icebergs break from the ice shelves and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation and stunning photographic opportunities. If weather conditions co-operate we spend the night camping in Antarctica.
Day 8: Elephant Island
Point Lookout, on the southern tip of Elephant Island, is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. If conditions permit we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia. Landings at this location are tricky due to the currents and surf on the beach.
Days 9-10: At Sea
Sailing north to the Falkland Islands, the spectacular seabirds are our constant companions soaring above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and we enjoy interactive presentations and lively discussions.
Day 11: Falkland Islands
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore West Point or neighboring Carcass Island. These locations are best known for rockhopper penguins and nesting black browed albatross colonies. One final highlight awaits –Saunders Island, where we hope to encounter four penguin species living in close quarters, including the mighty king penguin. Charting a course for the port of Stanley tonight, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 12: Disembarkation & Flight to Punta Arenas
This morning we navigate through the narrows and into the port of Stanley. We have time to explore before we make our way to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile.
*Plan to stay in Punta Arenas for this night.
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.
$15,495 – $24,995
$7,999 – $13,999
$4,995 – $8,595