Wedell Sea Antarctica incl. Helicopter Explorations: Ushuaia to Ushuaia

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11 Days

Explore Antarctica by land, air, and sea on this expedition to the South Pole. Aboard the M/V Plancius, you’ll follow the path of early explorers as you cross the Drake Passage and explore the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. This stark landscape of icebergs, penguins, and frozen ocean is made for adventure.

Tour Details

This 11-day Antarctica vacation takes you from the tip of South America across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula and the distant wonders of the Weddell Sea. It’s an ideal trip for explorers-at-heart and anyone who has dreamed of experiencing the remote land and waterscapes of the South Pole.

Your Antarctica vacation begins in Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina in an area known as Tierra del Fuego, literally meaning the “End of the World” in Spanish. Spend a day in Ushuaia getting prepped for your voyage to Antarctica and learning about the fascinating history of this bustling port town that caters to adventurers. Grab a pint at the world’s southernmost microbrewery amongst fellow travellers before boarding the M/V Plancius to start your journey across the southern sea. M/V Plancius was originally built as an oceanographic research vessel but was completely repurposed and refurbished in 2009 as a passenger vessel capable of transporting 116 passengers in 53 cabins.

M/V Plancius will be your home on your journey across the Drake Passage, the 800-kilometre passage between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands. While the Drake Passage is the safest water route to Antarctica, it’ll still give you a taste of what the journey must have been like for early explorers of the region. Stormy seas and cold winds are a part of the adventure, so be sure to dress in layers. Luckily, M/V Plancius is well-equipped to withstand the rolling seas and provide you with comforts on your ocean passage. However, don’t hide below deck during the entire journey; be sure to head on deck to watch for whales and spot the albatrosses and petrels that’ll be your companions on your voyage south.

Once you start spotting icebergs around the South Shetland Islands, you’ll know you’ve crossed into Antarctic waters. Spend the next few days exploring the Weddell Sea, where massive icebergs drift across the horizon and the Antarctic Peninsula is easily accessible. Explore this remarkable area by land, sea, and air. One day you might head on an excursion to Deception Island and Pendulum Cove and another day you’ll take to the sky aboard a helicopter to experience the landscape from a breathtaking vantage point. After spotting Weddell Seals and penguins and admiring the icy landscape, you’ll return to Ushuaia via the Drake Passage.


2019 – 2020 Season: Nov 14, 2019

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on embarkation in Ushuaia
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to Ushuaia airport directly after disembarkation
  • 10 nights’ accommodation
  • All meals aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
  • Ship-to-Shore helicopter transfers during Weddell Sea voyages  
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program

Price Excludes

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Prices are “from” per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request – please inquire.

NOTE: Attempts to reach Snow Hill Island during the voyages of 2012 – 16 did not always succeed. Only in 2013 did conditions allow for ice landings by helicopter and a completed visit to the rookery.


Day 1End of the World, Start of a Journey

Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego – nicknamed “The End of the World” – and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening. D

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration 10 Nights
MV Ortelius

Day 2Path of the Polar Explorers

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale blasting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3Drake Passage

Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4Enter Antarctic

You may sail into the Weddell Sea via the Antarctic Sound. Here huge tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. During this part of the cruise, the search is on for emperor penguins.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5Day at Leisure

Today is totally free and at leisure. You can take advantage of any optional activities available or simply relax.

Day 6Exploring the Weddell Sea

Continue by boat, land or Helicopter – or all of the above – exploring the Weddell area.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7Exploring the Weddell Sea

Continue by boat, land or Helicopter — or all of the above — exploring the Weddell area.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8Last Landing

In the morning, you sail to Deception Island for the last landing of the voyage — at Pendulum Cove or Whalers Bay. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends -- Drake Passage

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends - Drake Passage

Continue across the Drake Passage as you recount memorable stories from a memorable trip.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11Ushuaia

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Meal Plan Breakfast