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Christmas in Antarctica

11 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: First Class

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Ushuaia
Your Christmas trip begins in Ushuaia, about as far as you can get from Santa without joining an Antarctic expedition – luckily that’s exactly what’s going on. You’ll be transferred from the airport to the hotel to meet your fellow travellers, but if you arrive early we highly recommend checking out the area. Tierra del Fuego National Park can be visited on a day trip if you have time, otherwise Ushuaia itself has got a bit of a vibe about it. Check out the Museo Maritimo for a history lesson or maybe just take a stroll down Avenida San Martin to do pick up some last-minute essentials for the journey.

Day 2 Ushuaia – Embarkation Day
This afternoon you’ll be transferred to the city’s port to board the Ocean Endeavour. After meeting your fellow passengers and settling into your cabin, begin the journey by cruising through the famed Beagle Channel. Enjoy the incredible views as the last glimpse of land fades away and the ship heads south towards Antarctica.

Days 3-4 Drake Passage
The waters of the Drake Passage are legendary. Named for Sir Frances Drake, an English seafarer, they’re notoriously rough but luckily the Ocean Endeavour is a far cry from the vessels of old. The journey will take two days and if conditions allow, you’ll be able to enjoy the outer deck to catch your first glimpse of dolphins, whales and orcas, as well as seabirds including the iconic albatross. It’s no bad thing if the weather is misbehaving as a comprehensive lecture program will get under way, with polar experts sharing some fascinating insights into Antarctica’s history, geology, biology and everything else in-between. The Ocean Endeavour is also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a gym, sauna and library. We’re scheduled to reach the Antarctic Peninsula by early evening on Day 4, which will be a moment of great excitement.

Days 5-7 Antarctic Peninsula
Welcome to the Antarctic Peninsula, where a vast amount of wildlife can be found with a backdrop of ice, water and mountains. The sheer scale of everything must be seen to be believed. Scheduled twice daily, excursions are tailored to suit the ship’s location. Zodiac rides allow for closer encounters with marine life including whales and seals, while onshore exploration might take you to penguin rookeries or on an optional activity such as snowshoeing, kayaking and overnight camping (these must be booked prior to departure). The lecture program will continue throughout your time at the peninsula and the team of experts will be available to answer any questions you may have about the region.The landing sites visited will depend on the ship's location and weather conditions.

If an excursion is deemed unsafe due to weather conditions, the crew will arrange for alternative activities on the shop. These might include wildlife presentations and documentary screenings, or you can make the most of the wellness spa, heated pool and other facilities.

Day 8 Christmas in Antarctica
If you’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas, this is as white as it gets. Has Santa made it from the North Pole to the South Pole? It’s time to find out. Enjoy the festive spirit on board the ship, with your presents coming in the form of yet more landings and wildlife sightings throughout the day. These wildlife encounters are likely to include Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals; gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins, and elephant seals.

Days 9-10 Drake Passage
Leave Antarctica behind and cruise north to Ushuaia. Now is the time to reflect on the amazing journey and a truly unique Christmas. We’re scheduled to reach the waters of the Beagle Channel by the evening to ensure a restful night’s sleep before departure day. Our final meal together is often a highlight, so live it up and enjoy as you celebrate the journey with your fellow travellers.

Day 11 Ushuaia
This morning you’ll disembark the ship after breakfast and your journey comes to an end. Transfer to the airport is included for flights departing today, but if you’re sticking around a little longer than there is so much to see in this incredible region. Adios!
Map
All This Included
Take the Christmas holiday of a lifetime – an 11-day expedition exploring the wonders of Antarctica. Set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, spot seals resting on the icefloe and witness seabirds nesting in landscapes that must be seen to be believed. Marvel at the surrounds of the ice-capped mountain ranges and be inspired as you explore bays filled with immense icebergs and glaciers. Visit penguin rookeries, spot minke and humpback whales and enjoy regular Zodiac excursions for up-close wildlife encounters. After a day of exploration, relax in in the ship’s heated saltwater pool, sauna or book into the health spa on board. Onboard experts, ample space and five-star lashings make this a Christmas adventure to remember.
  • Meals - 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Transport - Expedition cruise ship, zodiac
Highlights
  • The festive season is one of the most active times for wildlife and there are plenty of opportunities to see penguins, seals and whales under the midnight sun with our expert polar team leading the way.
  • 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.
Accommodations
Expedition cruise ship (9 nights)
Hotel (1 night)
Notes
  • Ages: Min 8
  • Group size: Min 1, Max 200
  • Although our ice-strengthened ships are big and sturdy, the Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings, so please be prepared with medications to combat this – we’d hate for you to miss a single minute of this journey. There is also a doctor on board should you need further assistance.
  • Believe it or not, temperatures in the Antarctic can be freezing. And yet it can get surprisingly warm when the sun comes out, for instance, or with increased physical activity. It’s best to dress in layers when you journey outside and we’ll provide you with waterproof boots that are sturdy, warm and highly fashionable (in Antarctica, at least). Please see the Essential Trip Information for more.
  • Depending on the weather, you’ll be zipping around in a Zodiac boat quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac. Sturdy sea legs are 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 for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially in such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. 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.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.