Firms, cruise lines set Antarctica trips

USHUAIA, Argentina -- A bevy of cruise lines and tour companies that operate individual ships from ports in Argentina and Chile will be taking their vessels south into Antarctic waters this winter.

Cruises ply the inlets and bays of the Antarctic Peninsula at the "bottom of the world," and cruise past glaciers, icebergs, whales, seals and colonies of penguins when sailing in waters that also surround the South Shetland, Falkland and South Orkney Islands, and South Georgia Island.

During these journeys, passengers find the emphasis of these trips is on education, and that the cruise experience is enriched by accompanying guides and lecture programs.

Some of the cruise companies bound for Antarctica during January, February and March are:

  • Abercrombie & Kent offers expeditions aboard the 100-passenger Explorer round-trip from Ushuaia to the northern Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands in January. During February, the itinerary features the Falkland and South Orkney Islands, including Coronation Island.
  • Clipper Cruise Line has a 16-day program that starts in Chile with a flight to the Falkland Islands to board the 122-passenger Clipper Adventurer for cruising to the Antarctic Peninsula and the Deception and Elephant islands in the South Shetlands before returning to Ushuaia.
  • Orient Lines features Antarctica cruises in January and February that sail roundtrip from Ushuaia to Valparaiso, Chile.
  • Expeditions visit Deception Island, Port Lockroy, Paradise Harbor and Half Moon Island, as well as the Antarctic Peninsula while aboard the 450-passenger Marco Polo.

  • Quark Expeditions offers a program of cruises sailing roundtrip from Ushuaia that range from 12 to 20 days covering the South Shetlands, Falklands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica.
  • The ships are the 49-passenger Professor Multanovskiy and the 96-passenger Kapitan Dranitsyn.

  • Radisson Seven Seas' January and February cruises aboard the 170-passenger Hanseatic travel from Ushuaia on 11-night itineraries that call at Elephant Island, Paulet Island, Paradise Bay and Deception Islands.
  • Society Expeditions uses the 138-passenger World Discoverer for a series of 12- to 20-day trips with a choice of cruising grounds that cover West Point and Carcass Islands in the Falklands, South Georgia Island, the South Orkneys and the Peninsula. Some expeditions add Chile and sail all the way to Puerto Montt.
  • Special Expeditions offers sailings in January and February aboard the 110-passenger Caledonian Star from Punta Arenas, Chile, or Port Stanley in the Falklands. Other highlights are the Drake Passage, King George and Deception islands and the waters of the peninsula itself.
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