Summary

Destinations: Antarctica
  • 11 Days From
    R 88900
  • Trip code: PSX
  • Activity: Polar, Bestsellers, Antarctica, Polar Wildlife, Marine Wildlife
  • Min age: 18
  • Group size: - 189
Leisurely

A heady and inspiring cocktail of towering blue icebergs, vast penguin colonies, whales, seals and glaciers right in the heart of the Western Peninsula.

It is a heady and inspiring cocktail of towering blue icebergs which refract searing blues and greens, whether against piercing clear skies or slate grey ones. It is home to an extraordinary array of wildlife: penguins of almost all descriptions, Leopard and smaller seals and whales, seen from the shore, the Zodiacs and from on board. This is a journey that appeals to many: photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, ornithologists or those who simply want to marvel at the peaks of Deception Island or the striking colours of Iceberg Alley in the most immaculate wilderness anywhere.

Key information
  • 8 to 12 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
Activities
  • 8 to 12 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

Highlights

* Explore the remarkable Antarctic Peninsula

* Incredible wildlife viewing including seabirds, penguins, seals and whales

* Travel on a small expedition vessel

* Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
06 Nov 2017
18 Nov 2017
Guaranteed (Available)
R 125900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
26 Nov 2017
05 Dec 2017
Guaranteed (Available)
R 98100
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Dec 2017
14 Dec 2017
Guaranteed (Available)
R 109300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
08 Dec 2017
18 Dec 2017
Guaranteed (Available)
R 88900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
18 Dec 2017
28 Dec 2017
Guaranteed (Available)
R 136300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
07 Jan 2018
17 Jan 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 109300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
20 Feb 2018
02 Mar 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 136300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
28 Feb 2018
10 Mar 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 109300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
03 Mar 2018
13 Mar 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 123000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
02 Mar 2018
12 Mar 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 123000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
07 Nov 2018
19 Nov 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 131800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
19 Nov 2018
29 Nov 2018
Guaranteed (Available)
R 128900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
03 Mar 2019
13 Mar 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 128900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Mar 2019
14 Mar 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 128900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
23 Mar 2019
02 Apr 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 128900

Included

Food

Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Map

Reviews

ANTARCTIC EXPLORER

Great boat, fantastic experiences, good mix of people

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Whales at Wilhelmina Bay.  We set off in our Zodiac boat and went for a ncruise.  Within minutes we were encircled by Humpback and Minke nWhales!  For around 3 hours we were treated to whales fluting, spyhoping nand bubble feeding, within meters of the bow of our boat.  The most namazing wildlife experience of my life.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  •   Jonathan Chester......well lets start with his redeeming nfeatures.  He appeared to be very familiar with Antarctica and had nencyclopaedic knowledge of the area, a sound Antarctic pedigree and good nworking knowledge of maritime travel.  Unfortunately, I did not find him npassenger focused, personable, caring, interested or inspiring.  He nseemed to be preoccupied with the Jonathan show, constant reminders of the nfilms he's assisted with, 15 books he'd written and who he nknows. I expected the tour leader to lead by example and to show an ninterest in passenger satisfaction.  On one occasion (following a nrequest to submit photos for a slide show) I informed him that one of the nship PCs had a virus.  He corrected me stating that there was only 1 nPC.  I advised him that my memory stick had been corrupted and that I nhad lost photos.  I also advised him that another passenger had lost nwork and photos.  Our glorious leader's response?  "Go ntell Dana" (another member of staff) thereafter turning his back and nsauntering off.  No apology, offer of help or solution, he couldn't neven be bothered to pass the message on to the relevant person. On the nlast evening there was a photographic slide show.  Jonathan gave an noverview and thereafter introduce the photo slideshow.  Following this nme and another passenger created slideshows with video footage.  The nother passenger asked if we could show them as they only lasted 3/4 minutes nand some of the footage was pretty good.  Yet again, our glorious leader nwas as much help and a chocolate teapot.  He declined and stated that nthere wasn't enough time.  Following the show there was happy hour nwithin the bar.  Me and the other passenger then sowed our videos in the nbar area, a resounding success, people were asking for copies of our shows nand buying us drinks.  Thanks for the encouragement. At one point he ntold a passenger that was in his 20's, that he was part of n"generation X" and wouldn't amount to much.  That's nreally appropriate.All in all I was underwhelmed by Jonathan Chester and will nbe avoiding any future trips that he will be leading. 

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Get a Gopro Camera with a pole attachment.  There's so much to see nand do and this will help you capture every moment.As much as it looks crazy, nbring a ski mask.  An absolute must when out on a cruise in the Zodiac.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I found the expedition staff to be fantastic!  All had their own nspecific interest and all were incredibly knowledgeable.  I thought the nstaff covered too many jobs and maybe could have been doing with a little nmore help as it was the same faces getting up at the crack of dawn getting to nbed late.Derek (whale guy) and Katie (historian) were particular stand nouts.  Katie managed to give different angles on the traditional history nof the great white wilderness and at points had me captivated with her story ntelling.  She always had smile on her face and her love for Antarctic nhistory beamed through.Derek was outstanding!  He managed to find us the nbest spots for wildlife, had great knowledge of all Antarctic wildlife, had nthe best stories and was generally a great person to be around on the trip. nThe Vavilov is a great ship.  Cabins are well thought out and npractice.  Drinks are reasonably priced and food was pretty good.  nThe BBQ was a particular highlight, having BBQ on a ship in the middle of nAntarctica on a sunny day, unbeatable.

ANTARCTIC EXPLORER

A magical adventure amongst the whales, penguins and spectacular ice nformations. I would have given this 5 stars but I get terminally seasick and nloathe boats so 4 was the best possible really!!

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Sitting watching penguin colonies for hours. They had chicks who were very nhigh maintenance indeed, constantly pestering their parents for food. They nare compelling birds and it is impossible not to fall in love with nthem.Wilhelmina Bay was easily the trip highlight for me. Owing to certain ncurrents, vast quantities of krill are forced into quite a restricted area nwhich creates whale foodie heaven and therefore paradise for mere mortals nlike me who love watching wildlife. Blue skies and calm seas with deftly ncarved icebergs, the scene punctuated by whale tails wherever I looked. The nhumpback whales were bubble net feeding inches from the zodiac - reminded me nof a certain overused quote from Jaws.....It really was moving to be so close nto these gentle leviathans. I can't understand how any country can njustify their scandalous slaughter. Our zodiac guide couldn't contain his nwhoops of excitement, what a job!As an added treat we got to bivvy camp on a nsmall snowy island in a sheltered cove. This involved digging a shallow hole n(grave?) then sleeping in a bivvy bag. I was toastie warm and it was fun ntrying to sleep listening to nearby glaciers moaning and groaning all nnight. 

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • The expedition I was part of was on the Akademik Sergey Vavlilov which is noperated by One Ocean. The leader was Jonathan Chester. Putting it ndiplomatically, I have found other trip leaders to be more inspiring and ncharismatic and he didn't seem especially fussed with customer nservice.The stand out staff members for me were Derek who was a biologist and nZodiac driver. He was obviously genuinely interested in the wildlife we were ninteracting with and very sensitive to avoiding wildlife harassment at all ncosts. Katie the historian was knowledgeable, personable and made everything nshe talked about interesting with offbeat quirky facts.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Aerolineas Argentinas are a law unto themselves regarding scheduling changes, ndon't rely on them for time critical connections and make sure to arrive nin Ushuaia the day before the trip. I'd recommend the Hotel Albatros nwhich is across the road from the pick up point to get on the boat. Luggage ncan be collected by boat crew directly from here. Don't book flights nprior to 12pm on disembarkation day in case of delays.Antarctica is obviously nprone to extreme weather and you should come prepared but remember it is nsummer there and I've been colder at home in Scotland to be honest!  nA balaclava is handy for Zodiac excursions as the wind really nips your ncheeks. High factor sunscreen is essential. Get seasickness meds before ngoing as the ship has limited supply. I found promethazine the best ( nunfortunately I have had occasion to try lots of others.........) . You can nbuy this over the counter marketed as Sominex - sold as a sleep aid but the nsame drug. The Vavilov is a lovely ship. It was quiet and very stable. nThe lounge/bar area is fantastic. It is on deck 6 and has panoramic views and na viewing deck out the back. For someone like me who gets seasick on a duck npond and especially when shut into windowless rooms, the lounge was a ngodsend. Bear this in mind when booking as the sister ship the Ioffe does not nhave this facility apparently.Take up the offer of wet weather gear, penguin ncrap is stinky and better on hire gear than your own!There were a sizeable nparty of travellers from China on this trip. I think partly owing to it being nChinese New Year and also owing to increasing interest in travel from the nexpanding middle class. Unfortunately, I found this group to be probably the nworst behaved I have had the misfortune to encounter. Everyone on the ship nhas to go to a compulsory briefing on how to behave around the wildlife and non the Zodiacs which is provided in different languages if necessary. Despite nthis, I witnessed members of this group tramping directly through the middle nof penguin colonies, disregarding the 5 metre rule, repeatedly failing to nfollow instructions to safely behave in a Zodiac and generally behaving in a nrude, noisy and selfish manner. If I have the good fortune to repeat a trip nsuch as this in the future I will be enquiring as to the make up of the npassenger complement and would seek to avoid repeating having to put up with nfoul behaviour.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I was very very lucky to win this trip as part of the 'Feel More nAlive' promotion from 2013. A thousand thanks to Exodus for giving me the nopportunity to visit this magical part of the world, it was much appreciated. nMake sure to enter competitions if you see them as someone has to win and it nmight as well be you!

ANTARCTIC EXPLORER

An amazing introduction to a stunning continent. A real once-in-a-lifetime ntrip to somewhere that has to be experienced to be believed.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Where to start?! The excitement of jumping in a sea kayak for the first time, npaddling through the beautiful clear blue sea marvelling at gigantic nicebergs. Sitting on a gorgeously clear day in amongst a colony of gentoo npenguins for about 2 hours, just admiring their behaviour and their ninquisitiveness. The moment that the whole dining room put down their knives nand forks and ran out onto deck to see the family of orcas that had just nsurfaced in the distance. Or camping overnight on the ice, digging my own bed nand setting down for the night as the penguins and snowy sheathbills called nnearby.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Aaron and his whole team were absolutely fantastic. Nothing was too much ntrouble for any of the One Ocean staff and they seemed to be on duty 24 hours na day to search the horizon for wildlife and excite the passengers with nnumerous presentations and stories. We had a wealth of knowledge and nexperience on board, some of the most inspirational people I have met! I was nlucky enough to be part of the kayaking group and can't rate the guides nhighly enough. The crew on board were also brilliant, beautifully clean nrooms, delicious food (so much of it!!) and again - nothing too much ntrouble. 

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • I never really thought that a piece of equipment like an iPad or similar nwould be too useful until I looked on enviably as others displayed their nphotos at the end of the day! However the Ioffe has a well stocked multimedia nroom and many helpful members of staff so those without need not despair! nHowever take plenty of memory card space, and extra batteries for your camera n- you will need it!! Obviously lots of layers are very important - the nrental kit provided by One Ocean was top notch and the majority of those on nboard made full use of it.  Take spare gloves and hats - I took more nthan I needed but was thankful for extra layers when the weather turned. I ngot a lot of use out of my buff - great for pulling over your face if the nwind gets a bit nippy! High sun factor is very important, and a good lip nbalm!  Sea sickness pills are very useful, we were lucky with the ncrosings and didn't encounter the dreaded Drake Shake (!) but many of the npassengers took advantage of the patches that were available from the on nboard doctor.  If possible break the journey in Buenos Aires for a ncouple of days - a fantastic city worth exploring. 

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Just do it! There is really nothing like this place and it is well worth the nlong journey to get there - in fact it makes it even more special. The nproblem is once you've been bitten - that's it!!