Shackleton Route in Luxury
Shackleton Route in Luxury 19 days aboard Silver Explorer
A classic voyage on board a purpose built, luxury expedition ship with an in-depth itinerary covering the Falklands, South Georgia, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
While the Falkland Islands will offer varied birding experiences and have a decidedly British flavour, South Georgia is almost uninhabited except for a very small contingency of British officials and staff of the British Antarctic Survey near Grytviken. Antarctica on the other hand is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with penguins and marine mammals. Each day in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia or Antarctica we will attempt Zodiac departures. Conditions permitting, we will visit albatross colonies and local homes in the Falkland Islands, look for King Penguin colonies and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave in South Georgia and cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries in Antarctica.
- Falklands Islands
- Spectacular South Georgia
- Pristine Antarctica
- Amazing avian and marine wildlife
- The wilderness in luxury
- Highly qualified expedition team
- Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac
- Complimentary expedition gear: parka, backpack and water bottle on every voyage
- Personalised service with a butler for all suites
- Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
- Free WIFI throughout the ship
- Onboard Gratuities
ITINERARY18 Nights 19 Days
- Day 1 | Ushuaia
- Day 2 | At Sea
- Day 3 | Falkland Islands
- Day 4 | Port Stanley
- Days 5 - 6 | At Sea
- Days 7 - 9 | South Georgia
- Days 10 - 11 | At Sea
- Day 12 | Elephant Island
- Days 13 - 16 | Antarctic Peninsula
- Days 17 - 18 | At Sea - Drake Passage
- Day 19 | Ushuaia
Embark Silver Explorer and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. A mandatory safety drill will take place before you set sail. During the afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and important members of the crew. At sail-away enjoy the mountain-lined shoreline of the Beagle Channel while you leave Ushuaia and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the Land at the End of the World.
The Expedition Team’s expert lecturers will present ornithological and historical insights into the Falkland Islands, our first destination. You might hear about the early European explorers and the different attempts at settling the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Get introduced to the specific birdlife we expect to see during our stay by our onboard Ornithologist.
Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers.
Today’s adventure introduces you to the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands.
In the morning, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as Silver Explorer approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty Rockhopper Penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
During lunch Silver Explorer will reposition to Saunders Island, the second-largest of the offshore islands. Apart from its historical importance –this is where the first British settlement was located- Saunders’ wildlife is quite varied. Depending on the weather conditions we will attempt a landing at the Neck, to see several penguin species, as well as other seabirds and land birds. Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins reside in the open dune and sand flat area, while Rockhopper Penguins (with the odd pair of Macaroni Penguins in between them), Imperial Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses frequent Mount Richards. Other key bird species are the Black–throated Finch, Ruddy-headed Goose and Falkland Steamer Duck.
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambience.
A classic ‘City Highlights’ tour which covers Stanley and surrounding environs will be offered this morning. This excursion passes by older and newer portions of Stanley, stopping at the local harbor for small boats, both in current operations as well as half sunken hulks from 100 years ago -some of which are now being used as docks. Additional stops will be the shipwreck of the Lady Elizabeth, the peat cutting area, an outdoor whale bone display, war memorials and the museum.
Stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs, and visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral. Some lingering reminders of the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina may still be seen though the island has settled back to its quiet business of raising sheep.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theatre to perhaps hear about Captain Cook’s first visit to South Georgia or to learn about the region’s wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable onboard experts will present lectures and seminars in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions may include photography workshops, Spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including Black-browed, Light-mantled Sooty, Grey-headed and the spectacular Wandering Albatross, plus thousands of King and Macaroni Penguins.
South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship Endurance. Visit the graves of Shackleton and Frank Wild, and the whaling museum at Grytviken. Here are some of the places we may visit:
Cooper’s Bay: Enjoy a Zodiac cruise to see Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins on the rocks and in the water.
Gold Harbour: A large King Penguin colony can be found near Bertrab Glacier. Seals can also be seen sunning on the beaches.
Grytviken: Grytviken is a historic whaling station. You can still see the remains of the activity, including rusted hulls of long abandoned whaling and sealing ships, and some of the working areas. In the museum guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery. At the burial site of famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton we will toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments. The remains of his faithful companion Frank Wild have been brought here too.
Salisbury Plain: Salisbury Plain is a favourite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of King Penguins. It is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.
Participate in onboard activities, listen to some of the lectures given, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendour of the vast sea and sky. During the cruise towards the Antarctic Peninsula we might see some of the giant tabular icebergs coming from the Weddell Sea.
Awesome glaciers greet us as we approach Elephant Island – so named for its former abundance of elephant seals. In 1916, when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, the crew was stranded here for 137 days. Elephant Island is home to several Chinstrap Penguin rookeries, as well as old moss colonies. Weddell seals and Macaroni Penguins can also be found on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named Point Wild. A solitary statue can be seen there, honouring the Chilean pilot Luis Pardo, who took the cutter Yelcho across the Drake Passage to rescue Shackleton’s men.
While sailing along the Antarctic Peninsula, every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it’s apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals.
A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter.
Here are some of the places we may visit:
Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on mainland Antarctica): Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Coming ashore you will be on the Antarctic mainland. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use this as a breeding area and as you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight. If you wait long enough and you might see the Adelie Penguins standing along the shore, finally making their way into the surf.
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel: The island was discovered by de Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice-admiral in the French navy. Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels may be seen, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. During Zodiac tours, we hope to see hauled-out Weddell and leopard seals and conditions permitting, we will attempt to hike to the top of the island for some spectacular panoramic views.
Paradise Bay: The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in your Zodiac with one of our experienced Expedition Team members. There is a good chance you will come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe. Blue-eyed Shags nest in the cliffs close to Almirante Brown, while Brown Skuas like to be around the Base. Minke whales frequent the area.
Port Lockroy, Goudier Island: The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop. Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum. You may sight a whale or two during the Zodiac transfer and because of the penguin colony leopard seals are quite often found in the vicinity.
Paulet Island: The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelies that come here to breed. On a nearby hill you can view a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags. Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are amongst the birds that breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels are regularly seen.
Listen as a member of your Expedition Team tells of Otto Nordenskjold and his party that over-wintered on the island in 1903. Remnants of their hut still remain. If time permits, hike to view Crater Lake or take a Zodiac cruise, to see impossibly blue icebergs and Adelie Penguins making themselves at home on the ice floes.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island): Deception Island is home to a collapsed volcano and an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Our resident Geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area, while our Historian might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
The British base’s Biscoe House was destroyed by a mudflow after a volcanic eruption in the late 1960s and both the mudflow and the volcanic ash having covered extensive areas can still clearly be seen. Depending on weather conditions several hikes to viewpoints might be offered.
At Sea - Drake Passage
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to strong westerly winds and the currents pushed through the ‘narrow’ gap between South American and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic Convergence is a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward. When these currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake such as the Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters, and White-chinned Petrels. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Arrive in Ushuaia and disembark after breakfast.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We had the time of our lives on board ship...if anybody wants to go to Antarctica, we will certainly advise to go with you.
Huge congratulations to you and all the team for the perfect organisation throughout the trip. From the early planning to the last transfer, everything went without a hitch.
Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
The adventure really was a 'trip of a lifetime' and we are so glad we tagged an extra day in Buenos Aires at either end and that we went Premium Economy, it made all the difference. The ship Sea Explorer was exactly as Simon had described and was very comfortable. South Georgia was the highlight but we were surprised how much wildlife there was to see on the Falklands and we might well book one of your nature trips to the Falklands in the future.
I want to thank you for all you did to make my recent Falklands trip run so smoothly and comfortably. Thank you for all your help over the diet too.
• I wanted to send you a quick thank you email. We had a fantastic trip, the boat, staff, scenery, itinerary, and pretty much everything else was incredible! Thank you so much for arranging the cabin upgrade, we were delighted to have our own room! We had a really brilliant time, and wanted to say thanks so much for being so helpful throughout, we're lucky to have found you.
We had a very special experience organized by you in Feb, especially the wedding in Antarctica and our stay in Patagonia. Thank you.
Many thanks for all you help with our polar trip which exceeded all expectations. We will certainly recommend your company and seriously consider yourselves for future trips.
I just want to thank you for all your help with my Ross Sea trip. It was really the trip of a lifetime & the ship & crew were excellent.
Overall I think that it was an excellent trip that was well worth the price paid and I would have no hesitation recommending your company to others.
I'm sure you get plenty of compliments, but I just want to follow up telling you what a great time we had on the MS Expedition Antarctica Classic cruise. We were very pleased with all of the staff, on the ground and on the ship. Everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable. We greatly appreciated their experience and expertise. Their very careful attention to all of the environmental rules and precautions should also be lauded. Thank you for all of your service and attention. If we're planning on one of the other regions that you serve, we'll definitely be in touch!!
We would like to thank you with all our heart for our fabulous trip. It was amazing. Everything was perfect. I recommend Antarctica and South America to everybody. Doing business with you was also a great experience. You are the best travel agent I ever met. I hope to have the chance to do business with you again in the future.
We've just got back from out trip to Patagonia and the Antarctic and want to say a big thank you to all of you at Wildfoot but specifically you, Tina and Sara, for organising our trip and sorting out all my queries before we went. You've all been thoroughly professional - and friendly with it. I always get concerned that hotels won't have received the booking, the air e-tickets won't be recognised or luggage ends up somewhere other that where we are, but I didn't need to worry as everything was well planned in advance and the various elements, air travel, two cruises, hotels etc, fitted seamlessly. You can take this as a 10 out of 10 satisfaction rating and recommendation for your company. You will certainly be my 'go to' provider if we ever do anything similar in the future. Thanks once again for our trip of a lifetime.
I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your help with my trip. It was the best two weeks of my life! MS Expedition was amazing – their itinerary, their crew, their spirit. It was truly exceptional.One of the best things was how they arranged the rooms, I just had the best roommates and that really made a big difference to the trip. We got to see some fast ice and got out to walk on it – literally walking on the frozen sea. Amazing! I am saving for my next trip and I would not dream of going with anyone but you guys again. Good work! A dream very much come true.
I hope you’re well. I wanted to drop you a line to say we are back from Antarctica and had a wonderful time with Ponant. The trip exceeded our expectations in every respect, and I haven’t yet found enough superlatives to describe it to friends! Antarctica was breathtaking (as you know), and we loved pretty-much everything about Ponant. It was the perfect fit for us and I’m very grateful to you for taking the time to help with the booking. Having read the nightmares that Silversea have been having with the Silver Cloud, we felt lucky to be onboard Le Lyrial. Of course the only downside of a trip like this is we want to go back - best start saving now! Thanks again for all of your help and support with the booking process. Ponant was exactly as you described it. We have our eye on a couple of other cruises with them so I might be in touch soon.
Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.
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