Best of Antarctica: Whale Journey (Ocean Endeavour)

Best of Antarctica: Whale Journey (Ocean Endeavour)

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Best of Antarctica: Whale Journey (Ocean Endeavour)

11 Days Starting and ending in Ushuaia

Visiting: Ushuaia, Argentina, Embarkation in Ushuaia,, At Sea, Drake Passage, South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula, At Sea, Drake Passage , Disembarkation in Ushuaia

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

GQMWJ

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 200

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

8-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Cruise, Sailing

Interests:

Polar, Wildlife Tours

Activities:

Whale Watching

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

All aboard for the adventure of a lifetime! Set sail towards the location where whales gather in their largest numbers on the Antarctic Peninsula on this 11-day journey designed for wildlife lovers. As you enter the frozen wilderness of the White Continent, sculptured icebergs, thunderous calving glaciers, imposing mountain ranges and ice-strewn waters all lie in wait. While sailing on the Ocean Endeavour and exploring by Zodiac, scan the icy waters for the silhouettes of these mighty marine mammals as they glide through ice floes or break the Antarctic silence with spectacular acrobatics. Add in encounters with curious penguins, basking seals and many fascinating seabirds and you’re on track for a journey you’ll never forget.

Highlights

  • We stop for whales! If conditions allow, take Zodiac excursions to get closer to whales spotted by your expert expedition crew.

  • Get the chance to encounter a range of other wildlife like king and chinstrap penguins, fur and elephant seals, albatross and more.

  • Intrepid expeditions on the Ocean Endeavour enjoy an enviable ratio of one expedition crew member for every eight passengers, allowing for a higher level of personal service.

  • Travelling solo? With single cabins at the same price as some twins, this adventure is perfect for independent explorers.

  • Care about the planet? Us too. We carbon-offset all trips, serve only sustainable seafood, avoid single-use plastics and more to help preserve Antarctica (and the world) for future generations.

  • Witness an incredible abundance of humpback whales as these serene marine mammals migrate to Antarctica to feed on krill each year. If conditions allow, take Zodiac excursions to get closer to whales spotted by your expert expedition crew.

  • Enjoy the amenities on board including expedition lounge, restaurant, bar, pool, jacuzzi, library, gym, sun deck, spa facilities and sauna.

  • Benefit from a variety of on board activities including educational lectures on history, geology and ecology by the expedition team.

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
Location: Ushuaia, Argentina
Accommodation: Hotel

Welcome to Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica. Take your included transfer from the airport to your hotel. Tonight, you’ll meet your fellow travellers and your local team in Ushuaia during a welcome briefing at your hotel. If you have some time to spare before the meeting, we suggest you head downtown to do some souvenir shopping or taste some classic Argentinian flavours at one of Ushuaia's fantastic local restaurants.

Day 2: Embarkation In Ushuaia,
Location: Embarkation in Ushuaia,
Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship
Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

This morning is yours to explore Ushuaia or the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the most southerly national park in South America. Tierra del Fuego National Park offers a range of hiking trails that lead you through the stunningly beautiful and dramatic scenery of snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, rugged coastline, glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. Look out for guanaco, Andean foxes, muskrats and the North American beaver. Birds found here include the Andean condor, Magellanic oystercatcher, kelp goose, austral parakeet and torrent duck. In the afternoon, transfer to the port of Ushuaia to embark the Ocean Endeavour, your home on the sea during your Antarctic adventure. After meeting your fellow passengers and Expedition Team and settling into your cabin, set sail through the historic Beagle Channel towards Antarctica. Soak up the incredible views as you glimpse your last sight of Argentina, then head inside to join the excitement and learn more about what’s to come over the coming days.

Included Activities:
-Welcome Briefing

Day 3-4: At Sea, Drake Passage
Location: At Sea, Drake Passage
Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

Spend two days travelling across the legendary waters of the Drake Passage, named after the British seafarer Sir Francis Drake, towards the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. If conditions allow, there will be a chance to enjoy the outer deck spaces, scouting for dolphins, whales and a variety of seabirds passing by, including the iconic wandering albatross, with its enormous three-meter wingspan. Your comprehensive lecture program will also get underway for you to join at your leisure, with our team of polar experts sharing fascinating insights into Antarctic history, geology, biology and everything in between. If the weather is on your side, you should reach the Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula by early evening on day four – the first sighting of land always builds great anticipation on any expedition south.

Included Activities:
-Citizen Science Program
-Onboard Lecture Program
-Daily Briefings and Recap

Optional Activities:
-Onboard Gym and Sauna - Free
-Photography Program
-Onboard Spa treatments (various prices apply) starting from
-Yoga and Meditation Classes - Free

Day 5-8: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Location: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

The Antarctic Peninsula is known for a high number of wildlife sightings in front of stunning backdrops of mountains, icy landscapes and water, which combine to provide incredible scenes as you search for whales migrating along the coast. The peak of the migration season (February and March) is the best opportunity to see these majestic ocean dwellers, as all Antarctic whale species migrate long distances, feeding in the cold, nutrient-rich Southern Ocean during the southern summer. The most common species found in the region are humpback, minke and fin whales, as well as orcas. As whale season is in full swing, you may like to participate in one of the exciting onboard citizen science projects, the Happy Whale Project, where you can upload photos of whale’s tails (flukes) online, along with details of where the images are taken, which are then used to analyse and identify the individual whale and track its movement across the oceans. Sightings can happen from the outer decks of the ship or during a Zodiac excursion, or on the ship's bridge with your captain, where our open bridge policy allows you into the command centre of the Ocean Endeavour for a look at the inner workings of your expedition and access to the best place to spot whales.

An average day on board begins with a wake-up call from your expedition leader around 7 am, giving you time to prepare for the day before joining your fellow expeditioners for breakfast in the Polaris restaurant. You will usually have two excursions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with a delicious lunch served on the Ocean Endeavour in between excursions.

Included Activities:
-Zodiac Excursion/Cruising
-Guided walking Excursions
-Daily Briefings and Recap
-Citizen Science Program
-Onboard Lecture Program

Optional Activities:
-Kayaking Program
-Day Paddle
-Polar Plunge - Free
-Stand Up Paddleboarding
-Photography Program
-Onboard Spa treatments (various prices apply) starting from
-Yoga and Meditation Classes - Free
-Onboard Gym and Sauna - Free

Day 9-10: At Sea, Drake Passage
Location: At Sea, Drake Passage
Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

As the Ocean Endeavour starts its return journey north to your home port of Ushuaia, now is your time to reflect on your amazing adventure. You're scheduled to reach the relatively calm waters of the Beagle Channel by the evening of day 10. This evening, your final meal together in the Polaris restaurant is often a highlight of our Antarctic adventurers, so live it up and enjoy as you celebrate an incredible adventure with your fellow travellers and expedition team.

Included Activities:
-Daily Briefings and Recap
-Onboard Lecture Program
-Citizen Science Program

Optional Activities:
-Yoga and Meditation Classes - Free
-Onboard Spa treatments (various prices apply) starting from
-Onboard Gym and Sauna - Free
-Photography Program

Day 11: Disembarkation In Ushuaia
Location: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
Meals Included: breaksfast

Disembark the Ocean Endeavour after breakfast as your Antarctic expedition comes to an end and the memories of an amazing adventure begin. A morning transfer to Ushuaia airport is included if you are departing today.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    1 night comfortable hotel, 9 nights expedition cruise ship

  • Meals

    10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

  • Transport

    Expedition Cruise Ship, Zodiac

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Available on the last day of tour

  • Welcome Briefing

  • Citizen Science Program

  • Onboard Lecture Program

  • Daily Briefings and Recap

  • Zodiac Excursion/Cruising

  • Guided walking Excursions

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

Included Activities

    Transport

    • The Ocean Endeavour has a fleet of 20 Zodiacs which means that all passengers can enjoy a landing at the same time.

    Accommodation

    • 1 night comfortable hotel, 9 nights expedition cruise ship

    Important Information

    • SPECIAL BOOKING CONDITIONS
    • You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of AUD1500, USD1000, EUR900, NZD1600, GBP800, CAD1300, CHF900 or ZAR17,000 per person per trip for your booking to be confirmed. Full payment is required 95 days prior to departure.
    • Please refer to our “Booking and Conditions” section on our website including the special conditions that apply to Antarctica Voyages (Ocean Endeavour)
    • COVID 19 VACCINATION
    • COVID-19 vaccination is a pre-embarkation requirement for all guests, staff, and crew on all Ocean Endeavour voyages. We will request a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination status on Day 1
    • ADVENTURE OPTIONS
    • Approaching a looming glacier in a sea kayak, strapping on snowshoes to reach the best icy viewpoints, capturing the perfect photo of a seal hunting its prey or camping under an Antarctic perpetual twilight – these are just some of the ways you can enrich your exploration of the great White Continent with our additional activities. A range of Paid Adventure Options is available on the Ocean Endeavour, on selected voyages, subject to availability. Your booking agent can assist with availability and pricing.
    • • Kayaking or Photography Program - Voyage-duration program available on all voyages. Pre-book via your booking agent.
    • • Day Paddle or Stand Up Paddleboarding - One-off excursion available on all voyages. Pre-book via your booking agent. Additional spaces may be available to book on board via the Expedition Team

    Check out our Q&As

    • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

      Yes

    • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

      Yes

    • Is this trip right for you

      The Ocean Endeavour is an ice-strengthened ship – large, sturdy and suited to the unpredictable Antarctic waters. Some people may experience seasickness in occasional rough seas however, we do have a doctor on board should you need assistance. Over-the-counter seasickness medication is usually an easy fix.

      Temperatures in the Antarctic can get very cold, but it also can get surprisingly warm when the sun comes out. We recommend dressing in layers when you journey outside. We’ll provide you with waterproof boots on loan that are sturdy and warm, as well as an inner jacket that is yours to keep. Please see the Essential Trip Information for notes on what to pack.

      Depending on the weather, you’ll be travelling around in a Zodiac boat quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife. It can get cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry. A fair level of mobility is needed for wet and dry landings from the boat, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. The Ocean Endeavour has a lift, but you’ll need to take the stairs to get to the gangway and some other parts of the ship that the lift does not provide access to.

      The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and, although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially in such a remote area like the Antarctic. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to other locations – which are just as interesting and beautiful! We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather, but there are plenty on onboard resources and activities. The ship’s library and educational lectures are ideal ways to stay entertained, while the wellness spa, saunas, gym and yoga classes will keep you fresh for when the weather clears.

    • Are international flights included in this tour?

      No

    • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

      Yes, available on the last day

    • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

      Yes if aged 8+ and accompanied by an adult

    • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

      Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

    • How long has the tour company been trading?

      Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

    • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

      Yes

    • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

      Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

    • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

      Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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    Book with Confidence

    • Free Date Changes

      Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

    • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

      Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

    • Low Deposit

      Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

    • Cancellation Policy

      We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

      Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

      At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

      At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

      At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

    • COVID Protection

      Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
      From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

      However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

      This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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