Antarctica Adventure Cruise

January 16 – 24, 2017

Trip Overview

This once-in-a-lifetime adventure is to Antarctica, a remote and wild wilderness essentially unspoiled by human habitation. During the short austral summer, the Antarctic’s nutrient rich waters provide habitat for thousands of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds and other wildlife to mate and rear their young. This awesome congregation of wildlife in one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world is a mystical experience that will form a lasting impression.

On this trip we fly to King George Island and thus avoid two days of sailing across the Drake Passage. After the tour we fly back to Punta Arenas. When we get to Antarctica we board the Ocean Nova, a small, maneuverable ice-class expedition ship that accommodates 68 people. Once aboard and in the company of expert naturalist guides we sail to the “last continent”. We will sail through majestic narrow straights and view vast glaciers, and visit remarkable places including Deception Island, a volcanic caldera that we sail into; Paradise Bay, one of Antarctica’s best scenic locations; Cuverville Island, one of the peninsula’s largest Gentoo penguin colonies; Paulet Island, the home of a large rookery of Adelie penguin pairs and their chicks; and the Lemaire Channel with walls rising thousands of feet out of the water.

Trip Highlights
• View magnificent mountains, towering icebergs, and ice formations of the dramatic Antarctic landscape
• Cruise aboard sturdy Zodiac landing craft in search of leopard seals and other wildlife
• Walk on shore amid thousands of penguins, including Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Monday, January 16, 2017. Depart USA for Chile

Day 2. Tuesday, January 17. Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
Arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile where we will be welcomed by our expedition staff and transferred to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos, a four star facility. In the afternoon, we will attend a briefing that provides important information about our voyage and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. Later, we’ll gather for a welcome dinner and meet our fellow adventurers while enjoying a typical regional menu. (D)

Day 3. Wednesday, January 18. Fly to Antarctica
Our adventure begins with a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. We fly over Cape Horn and the mythical waters of the Drake Passage, as our expedition takes us to one of the most spectacular places on earth – the coldest, highest, windiest, driest and remotest continent – Antarctica. There we will be able to explore the area surrounding Chile’s Frei Station and the Russian Bellingshausen station before boarding a Zodiac to embark our expedition vessel. (B,L,D)

Days 4-7. Thursday-Sunday January 19-22. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Each day, we will disembark by Zodiac (whenever possible, 2-3 times per day) and explore the landscape together with expert polar guides. On board the ship, we’ll attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations, and enjoy spectacular vistas from the glass-enclosed lounge while sharing our daily adventures with fellow guests.

No journey is the same as flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. The Expedition Team sets the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience each time. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition, we will explore several spots that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment. Our voyage may include visits to sites such as Deception Island and Paradise Bay, travel as far south as the Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, and Petermann Island, and if time and weather conditions permit, our expedition may even venture over toward the Weddell Sea to include visits to historic locations such as Hope Bay and Paulet Island. (BLD)

Deception Island
Deception Island is one of the few volcanic calderas in the world that large ships may sail into and anchor. There are numerous anchorages within the caldera such as Whaler’s Bay, where we can explore abandoned whaling station ruins, hike up volcanic slopes to view volcanic lakes, and even bathe in steaming thermal waters along the shore if the conditions are right. On the outside of Deception Island is Baily Head, where more than 100,000 chinstrap penguin pairs make their home, sometimes nesting nearly at the top of the crater rim itself. Because of the steep black sand beach, sea conditions must be just right for safe landings at Baily Head.

Paradise Bay
Its name is appropriate, as it is one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s best-known scenic locations! Here we can make a landing on the continent itself, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of a hill (and have fun sliding back down!). Along the cliffs you can see nesting seabirds, and you might also see whales in the bay.

Orne Harbor
A steep climb to the summit of Orne Island, located on the east side of the Gerlache Strait, provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the strait and the surrounding islands and mountains. Some chinstrap penguins nest at the very top; these are the “mountain climbers” of the penguin world, preferring a “room with a view” from the top of the cliffs.

Cuverville Island
We’ll visit the peninsula’s largest gentoo penguin colony—approximately 5,000 pairs nest here—situated on a rocky beach on the north end of Cuverville Island. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls, and Antarctic terns also breed on the island. We can also cruise by Zodiac or sea kayak among the large icebergs, where you can sometimes see curious leopard seals checking you out and humpback whales feeding just offshore. Small coveys of gentoos sometimes swim by, their soft calls producing background music.

Paulet Island
Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large rookery with hundreds of thousands of Adélie penguin pairs and their chicks. Here you’ll also find the remains of the hut of Captain Carl Anton Larsen of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, constructed in 1903 when the party lost its ship. Twenty men wintered here, surviving on penguins and seals. The island’s volcanic cone rises 1,158 feet.

Lemaire Channel
A cruise through a breathtakingly narrow channel, with mountain walls rising thousands of feet straight out of the water, is one of the highlights of a trip to Antarctica. Minkes, humpbacks, and orcas are occasionally spotted, and leopard and crabeater seals sometimes frequent the ice floes. This strait runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most scenic locations on the western coast of Antarctica. However, the 6.8 miles may become impassable when ice fills the narrow passageway.

Day 8. Monday, January 23. Fly to Punta Arenas
Today we bid farewell to Antarctica as we return to the Frei Chilean Station at King George Island and head to the Aerodrome for the return flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, we will be transferred to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos. (B)

Day 9. Tuesday, January 24. Depart for the USA
After breakfast, we will be transferred to the Punta Arenas Airport for our flight to Santiago and our connecting flights home. (B)

General Note: Please note this itinerary is intended as a general guide only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife and scenery. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Ocean Nova

The 240-ft M/V Ocean Nova was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, hence her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for exploring Antarctica. Fully refurbished in 2006, she has since benefitted from annual upgrades and improvements. Though not a luxury vessel, she is modern and comfortable with a capacity for 68 passengers. The smaller group size allows for fast and efficient disembarkation, so travelers may take full advantage of more time ashore for wildlife observation – often having the capability to offer additional and/or longer excursions. The Ocean Nova complies with the latest SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) regulations and is ice-strengthened with an ice class: IB, EO (Hull Ice 1A). She sails with a 2000 HP diesel engine and travels at a maximum speed of 12 knots in open water.

The Ocean Nova offers a glass enclosed observation lounge/presentation room on the top deck, which makes for wonderful wildlife and landscape watching opportunities from the warmth and comfort of inside. The bridge is open and accessible to all passengers throughout the voyage. In addition, there is plenty of open deck space, a spacious dining room with windows, a library with an additional lounge area on the bridge deck, an infirmary and an exercise room. The décor is modern and uncomplicated. The ship’s dining room serves an excellent international cuisine accompanied by premium wines, and seats all passengers in one sitting. Breakfast and some lunches are served buffet-style. The rest of the meals are by table service. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available around the clock. The vessel is manned by a 26-member nautical crew and 12 expedition staff. The expedition team includes an expedition leader, expedition leader assistant, guides/naturalists/Zodiac drivers, and a doctor. The ship’s 37 spacious, outside cabins are configured as triples, twins and dedicated singles – all with picture windows and private facilities. The ship is equipped with seven Zodiacs for shore excursions and a unique Antarctic vehicle named “Bigfoot”, which assists in quick and efficient Antarctic baggage transport and was especially designed and built to adapt to the changeable conditions of the Antarctic terrain.

The aircraft BAE-146 was manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace (which later became part of BAE Systems). It is a high-wing aircraft with very short runaway requirements which make it particularly suited for these kind of destinations. It is operated by Aerovías DAP, which has more than 20 years of experience flying in Patagonia and Antarctica. Capacity: 71 passengers


COST: $12,895 per person –Twin Cabin
$17,895 per person – Single Cabin

COST INCLUDES: Professional English-speaking guides, natural history staff, and guest speakers; internal airfare (Punta Arenas/King George Island/Punta Arenas); ship accommodations and meals as indicated in the itinerary; wine, beer, soda, juice, coffee/tea included during lunch and dinner service; all shore excursions via Zodiac; one pre-expedition hotel night in Punta Arenas; one post-expedition hotel night in Punta Arenas; Punta Arenas pre-trip arrival transfer (you must arrive before 3pm); transfers for Antarctica flights; Punta Arenas post-trip departure transfer; entrance fees for all applicable scheduled tours, national parks, and archaeological sites.

COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: International airfare to Punta Arenas; lunches and dinners in Punta Arenas (unless otherwise noted); expedition parka and other personal gear; Medical Evacuation Insurance (mandatory); personal expenses (beverages purchased at the ship’s bar, gratuities, telecommunication charges, medical or travel insurance, laundry, airport taxes, Chilean visas or reciprocity fees, etc.). Kayaking activities available at additional cost and hiking & snowshoeing program available at additional cost.


In terms of difficulty, this trip is rated easy, as we lodge on the ship and hiking is limited. However, daily we will board Zodiac craft for wildlife excursions.


If you would like additional information, e-mail us at, or call us locally at 303-449-0990 or toll free at 1-877-440-0990. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday.

You may also download our trip registration form, and mail it in to us.

Antarctica Cruise Map

Ocean Nova



Glacier in Antarctic Waters

Deception Island

Paradise Bay

Cuverville Island

Lemaire Channel

Chinstrap Penguins

Penguin Flock

Gentoo Penguins


Leopard Seal

Crabeater Seals

Crabeater Seals on Floating Ice

Humpback Whale Antarctica