Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour)

Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour)

2,906 Views
11 Days From

$10250

$7975

Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour)

11 Days Starting and ending in Ushuaia

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

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

GQMDE

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

Interests:

Polar, Wildlife Tours

From: $10250 $7975 Operator discount: -$2050 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$226 -22%

NB: Prices correct on 24-Jun-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Enter a spellbinding world of snow and ice as you voyage to Antarctica, a continent that has long captivated explorers. Set sail aboard the comfortable, spacious and well-appointed Ocean Endeavour on an 11-day voyage, discovering unbelievable wildlife and the world’s most remarkable scenery. As you explore this icy wilderness, you’ll not only be accompanied by an expert expedition team, but also by penguins, seals, whales and seabirds, set against a backdrop of towering icebergs, snow-capped peaks, imposing glaciers and ice-choked waters. Adventures like this don’t come along every day – there’s simply nowhere else on earth like Antarctica.

Highlights

  • This is the extended, 11-day version of our classic Antarctica cruise, perfect for first time explorers or seasoned adventurers. With an extra day on the Antarctic Peninsula, you will experience more of the Great White Continent. (For the classic 10-day version of this trip, see trip code GQMDT or https://www.intrepidtravel.com/antarctica/discover-antarctica-10-days-122184)

  • Freezing is great but freedom is better. Customise your trip with a wide range of optional activities on top of regular Zodiac excursions. Explore the water by kayak, sign up for a photography masterclass, rejuvenate with some onboard yoga and a massage, take a refreshing polar plunge or camp overnight like a true polar explorer.

  • Whereas most polar expeditions of this kind have a crew-to-passenger ratio of ten, fifteen or twenty to one, Intrepid expeditions on the Ocean Endeavour have an expedition crew member for every 8 passengers for a greater personal touch.

  • Our experienced leaders have made hundreds of polar voyages between them. They’re experts in marine biology, glaciology and Antarctic history, and they’ll share their knowledge throughout the journey during a comprehensive lecture program.

  • Rest assured that footprints are all you’ll leave behind. Your Antarctica expedition is carbon offset, and we serve only sustainably sourced seafood, avoid single-use plastics and use biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaning products.

  • Travelling solo? This is your perfect Antarctic adventure, with single cabins at the same price as some twins.

  • This is the extended, 11-day version of our classic Antarctica cruise, perfect for first time explorers or seasoned adventurers. With an extra day on the Antarctic Peninsula, you will experience more of the Great White Continent. 

  • Explore an unspoiled wilderness, uninhabited by man, where penguins, seals, whales and seabirds in their abundance are the true rulers.

  • Emerging from winter, the density of wildlife is increasing, and penguin rookeries are at full capacity with penguin chicks beginning to hatch from mid-December.

  • Seal and whale sightings become more frequent as minke, southern right and humpback whales return to Antarctic waters to feed, ensuring extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities.

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Itinerary

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Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

Location: Ushuaia, Argentina

Accommodation: Hotel

Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. You will be briefed at your hotel this evening on the journey that lies ahead and the details for tomorrow’s embarkation. If you happen to arrive early there are many ways to entertain yourself at ‘the End of the World’. Check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on the region’s history or take a stroll down Avenida San Martin if you're after any last-minute essentials before departing for Antarctica. Enjoy a traditional meal at a local restaurant and sample some of Argentina's famous red wine.

Day 2: Embarkation In Ushuaia

Location: Embarkation in Ushuaia

Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

This afternoon you will board the Ocean Endeavour and your epic adventure south begins. Take some time to settle into your cabin as you begin cruising the stunning Beagle Channel, named after the famed vessel 'The Beagle' that facilitated some of Charles Darwin's most significant voyages. The channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and as the Ocean Endeavour pulls away from the port, there’s always an air of anticipation. Wave goodbye to Argentina and know that the next time you see land, you will be gazing upon the White Continent of Antarctica.

Included Activities:
-Welcome Briefing

Day 3-4: At Sea, Drake Passage

Location: At Sea, Drake Passage

Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

The infamous Drake Passage, named after the famous English explorer Sir Francis Drake, separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. It is often rough and turbulent, but sometimes as calm as a lake. It is unpredictable, so be prepared! The next two days at sea offer time to enjoy the fabulous onboard facilities. Maybe join a yoga class, or attend a presentation or two given by your expedition team to prepare you for what lies ahead, from the geology of Antarctica to the history, wildlife and even the ice!

Sailing towards Antarctica, the temperature falls as you cross the Antarctic Convergence and enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. The Antarctic Convergence is marked by an increased number of seabirds, whales and other species that are attracted by the nutrient-rich waters pushed to the surface by the colder waters of the polar region flowing north and meeting the warmer equatorial waters flowing south.

Head out on one of the spacious outer decks to look out for the mighty albatrosses that fly overhead. Scan the waters for breaching whales and icebergs or gaze out from the panoramic windows of the Ocean Endeavour's observation deck. Keep on the lookout for the first sighting of land early evening on day four – heralding your arrival to the White Continent!


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

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

Day 5-8: South Shetland Islands & Antarctica Peninsula

Location: South Shetland Islands & Antarctica Peninsula

Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

You will spend the next four incredible days exploring the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, a region that has captivated explorers for centuries and now enthrals travellers.

Explore the region by Zodiac, cruising among the magnificently sculpted icebergs and making shore landings where you’ll mingle with penguins, climb to vantage points to absorb the spectacular panoramic views, and maybe visit a scientific or historic base. There may even be opportunities to day-paddle, snowshoe and learn more about photography with your talented expedition photographer capturing the moments as they unfold.

Antarctica will enchant you with its incredible scenery, from imposing glaciers to towering snow-capped peaks, vast icebergs and ice strewn channels. Not to mention the wildlife – from extensive colonies of chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins, to crabeater, Weddell, fur and elephant seals and a plethora of fascinating birds. Look and listen for the mighty crack of a glacier calving. Maybe you will be one of the brave few to take a polar plunge into the icy Antarctic waters! Every day brings a new experience and new landing sites to explore.

As you cruise from one landing site to the next, enjoy the continued lecture program and take in the scenery from the outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour. Make the most of the Ocean Endeavour's wellness facilities, from the relaxing spa and saunas to the saltwater pool and gym.

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

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

Day 9-10: At Sea, Drake Passage

Location: At Sea, Drake Passage

Accommodation: Expedition Cruise Ship

Leave the Antarctic Peninsula behind as you set sail across the Drake Passage, enjoying some final lectures and presentations from your expedition team. Look out for wildlife from the observation lounge, outer decks, or the Ocean Endeavour's bridge as you head north across the Antarctic Convergence. Having crossed the Drake Passage once more, enter the calm and tranquil waters of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy a final dinner and approach your home port of Ushuaia.

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

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

Day 11: Disembarkation In Ushuaia, Argentina

Location: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

Meals Included: breaksfast

Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close as you disembark the Ocean Endeavour following breakfast. Farewell your fellow guests and your expedition team and join a transfer to Ushuaia airport for your onward journey today. Or perhaps extend your stay to spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world.

What's Included

  • Meals

    10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

  • Accommodation

    1 night comfortable hotel, 9 nights expedition cruise ship

  • Transport

    Expedition Cruise Ship, Zodiac

  • Welcome Briefing

  • Citizen Science Program

  • Daily Briefings and Recap

  • Guided walking Excursions

  • Onboard Lecture Program

  • Zodiac Excursion/Cruising

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

Transport

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

Included Activities

    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)
    • This trip used to be called "Best of Antarctica"
    • For the 23/24 season we now have 4 "Best of Antarctica" trips as follows:
    • Best of Antarctica: Pristine Wilderness (trip code GQMDW)
    • Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (trip code GQMDE)
    • Best of Antarctica: A White Christmas (trip code GQMAC)
    • Best of Antarctica: Whale Journey (trip code GQMWJ)
    • We also have a longer trip available with a duration of 14 days called
    • Best of Antarctica In Depth (GQMAW)
    • SPECIAL INFORMATION for the 27TH OF JANUARY 2024 DEPARTURE
    • We love travelling the world with like-minded travelers and Antarctica is no different. This sometimes means that our Antarctica vessel, the Ocean Endeavour, and our world- renowned expedition team join forces with other adventurers, such as Intrepid’s Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures. Please read the Itinerary Disclaimer in the Essential Trip Information for important details on who you’ll be travelling with and how this will contribute to your expedition experience.
    • 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
    • • Camping - One-off excursion available on selected voyages. Pre-book via your booking agent.
    • • Snowshoeing - One-off excursion available on selected voyages. Book on board via the Expedition Team.

    Check out our Q&As

    • 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 children permitted to take part in the tour?

      Yes if aged 8+ and accompanied by an adult

    • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

      Yes

    • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

      Yes, available on the last day

    • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

      Yes

    • Are international flights included in this tour?

      No

    • 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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    Wednesday - Saturday

    Dec 18, 2024 - Dec 28, 2024
    $10250 $7975

    Operator discount: -$2050

    Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$226

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    Dec 27, 2024 - Jan 06, 2025
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    Jan 26, 2025 - Feb 05, 2025
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    Operator discount: -$1025

    Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$254

    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 400 USD 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.

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