Where will you explore?
From adventures on the Antarctic Peninsula to relaxing in the tranquil Falkland Islands via witnessing a carpet of penguins in South Georgia there is more to Antarctica than you may imagine.
Below we have listed the major route options available for an Antarctica Expedition with WILDFOOT. If you'd like to know more about any area, or you'd just like to talk through your plans for an Antarctica cruise, just give us a call.
Antarctica Cruise Route Options
Antarctic Peninsula/Polar Circle
This is the classic Antarctica cruise itinerary taking in all the highlights of the region with lots of optional extras depending on your choice of cruise ship. Start by crossing the Drake Passage and immediately encounter accompanying seabirds, including various albatrosses, petrels and prions. Whale sightings are also expected as you cruise across this infamous stretch of water.
As you cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, you can take Zodiac rides around massive icebergs and watch penguins galore on the ice, on the shore and in the water. Spot leopard seals and other seals basking on the ice. Experience more adventurous activities like kayaking, camping on ice, snowshoeing, mountaineering, snorkelling and scuba and, for the ultimate tick box, choose a sailing that actually crosses the Antarctic Circle. An Antarctic Peninsula trip typically lasts around 10 days and never fails to impress.View Trips
The Weddell Sea is on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula and has historical associations with the great Polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, whose ship, the Endurance, was crushed in the ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship and begin their great quest for survival. The entrance to Antarctica's Weddell Sea is marked by immense tabular icebergs and is one of the great scenic wonders of Antarctica. This is also one of the areas where emperor penguins breed and there are occasional sightings of these amazing birds close to the ice edge. For those on a quest to definitely see the emperors, some Antarctic expedition cruise vessels do have helicopter options which will land within walking distance of emperor rookeries. Other penguins and Antarctic birds as well as whales, orcas, seals and other marine mammals can also be seen in this less-visited, but equally spectacular region.View Trips
The Falkland Islands are one of the world’s best kept wildlife secret locations, teeming with accessible birds and marine mammals. The islands and small communities are linked with the capital, Stanley, by regular semi-scheduled flights, so it is easy to get around. Highlights for birders are colonies of five species of penguin, king, gentoo, rockhopper, macaroni and Magellenic. black-browed albatross, southern giant petrels, night herons, various shags and more. Amongst these are the endemic Falklands flightless steamer duck and Cobb’s wren, striated caracaras, tussacbirds and several unique sub-species. Along the shores, it is possible to walk amongst colonies of elephant and fur seals, whilst offshore, orca and Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins can be seen. Add to this brooding scenery and evocative battlefield sites from the 1982 conflict and combine with great hospitality for a quite unique visitor experience.Learn MoreView Trips
Fly Cruise Antarctica
If you are short of time for your Antarctica cruise, flying from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island in the South Shetlands is a great option to save two days in either or both directions, crossing the Drake Passage from the mainland.
The Drake Passage is also known for its bad weather and stormy seas (although this is by no means always the case), so opting to fly is also a perfect way to reach Antarctica for those with dubious sea-legs! There are options for flying just one way or both, with all itineraries offering time on or around the Antarctic Peninsula and opportunities for Zodiac cruises and landings, wildlife viewing and encounters and, of course, magnificent polar scenery.View Trips
Commonwealth Bay/Ross Sea
Eastern Antarctica is even more remote than the Antarctic Peninsula and is therefore much less visited, but nevertheless it sits firmly on many people’s wish-lists. There are two areas for exploration, the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay, both of which have historic associations with great explorers. Commonwealth Bay is where the Australian, Douglas Mawson wintered in 1912 and 1913 and named the area ‘home of the blizzard’ because of its exceptionally high and katabatic winds. The Ross Sea area is where the ill-fated Scott and Shackleton quest for Antacrtica's South Pole was based and their evocative, time capsule huts are there to be visited. Sailings start or finish in Hobart or Invercargill with some continuing to (or starting at) Ushuaia. One expedition cruise vessel visiting the region has helicopters, which allow landings on the ice shelf and the continent itself, enabling viewings of emperor penguins amongst other wildlife and scenery.View Trips
This extended voyage is one of the last in the Antarctic season and is especially popular with birders. Departing in March from Ushuaia, travellers have the option of a round trip down to the Antarctic Peninsula before setting sail for South Georgia, where a number of landings are planned to see colonies of king penguins, nesting albatross, the rare South Georgia pipit, elephant seals and, of course, the grave of the explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Then on to Tristan da Cunha, via Gough Island, for more rare birding and to experience one of the most remote communities in the world. The cruise ship then enters the tropics and spends time on Saint Helena, from where there is an option to disembark and fly to Cape Town. Most travel on to Ascension Island and leave there to fly back to the UK, whilst others take the opportunity for some pelagic birding on the way to Cape Verde.View Trips
South Georgia has probably the highest concentration of wildlife of anywhere on earth. Combine this with spectacular scenery and you understand why it is dubbed the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Antarctica. The island is home to massive rookeries of king penguins – step ashore at Salisbury Plain and the birds and their young stretch as far as the eye can see. There are also nesting colonies of other penguins and several species of albatross, all of which are approachable with care. An endemic land bird and birders’ target is the readily-seen South Georgia pipit. On the shores are elephant and fur seals and inland, large herds of feral reindeer . At Grytviken, the only settlement on the island, is the grave of Ernest Shackleton and, in the museum, a replica of the James Caird, the small boat in which he and his crew made their epic crossing from Elephant Island.Learn More View Trips
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