The southernmost realms of the planet are places of unimaginable beauty, where humpback whales breach and penguins gather by the thousands, where icebergs shimmer and sapphire-hued fjords harbor snowcapped peaks and virgin forests. Join us on an odyssey aboard the National Geographic Orion that combines the celebrated wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula, southern Patagonia, and the Chilean fjords—all in a single, epic voyage. Follow in the wake of legendary explorers like Ernest Shackleton and Ferdinand Magellan to encounter otherworldly icescapes and calving glaciers, remote reserves and pristine parks, and the incredible creatures that thrive at the edge of the world.
Please note: your voyage rates do not include any air transportation.
• Seek out Antarctica’s iconic wildlife—including penguins, seals, and killer whales—and marvel at incandescent icebergs using our fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs.
• Navigate Chile’s coastal fjords and explore spectacular Glacier Alley, where monumental glaciers calve into the sea.
• Hike among the snowcapped “horns” of Torres del Paine National Park, and enjoy special access to Karukinka Natural Park, the largest protected land area in Tierra del Fuego.
• Cruise the waters of Francisco Coloane Marine Park, searching for the humpback whales and dolphins that inhabit this vast marine reserve.
Arrive in Santiago. Settle into the Hyatt Centric Hotel (or similar) before heading out on a guided overview of the vibrant Chilean capital backed by the Andes. (Day 2: L)
Fly to Ushuaia, a colorful mountain town perched at the southernmost tip of South America. Embark National Geographic Orion. (B,L,D)
Sail to Antarctica via the Drake Passage, named after 16th-century English admiral Sir Francis Drake. Watch for dozens of species of seabirds gliding alongside our ship—including the albatross, which boasts the longest wingspan of any extant bird—and enjoy talks from our onboard naturalists about the wildlife and geology that await us on the Antarctic Peninsula. (B,L,D)
With long hours of daylight at this time of year, we have ample opportunities to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. Our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of unexpected wildlife sightings and fortuitous weather conditions, whether we’re watching whales at play off the bow of our ship or enjoying an evening Zodiac cruise amid glittering icebergs.
One day, we might set out by kayak to encounter towering icebergs at water level; embark on a Zodiac excursion in search of seals and blue-eyed shags; or walk on a beach amid thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins, learning about how climate change is affecting resident penguin colonies. The next, we might experience the thrill of the ship crunching through pack ice.
As we explore Antarctica’s ethereal icescapes, our expedition team will enrich our experiences with their intimate knowledge of the region. A National Geographic photographer and Certified Photo Instructor provide guidance on how to capture stunning images; our undersea specialists share fascinating video from their dives and reveal underwater footage taken some 1,000 feet below the surface using the ship’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV); and our expedition leader is always on the lookout for thrilling ways to appreciate the wonders of the Earth’s coldest continent. (B,L,D)
Relax onboard and enjoy the ship’s amenities as the coast of Antarctica disappears from view. Round the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn and witness the dramatic meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans en route to the Chilean fjords. (B,L,D)
Sail into southern Patagonia’s vast wilderness of forested isles, mirror-like lakes, and snowcapped peaks. In this pristine landscape, myriad fjords cut between soaring granite walls and waterfalls tumble from high above. Explore the region known as Chile’s Glacier Alley, part of the UNESCO-recognized Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Cruise into the secluded Pia fjord, admiring views of the massive glacier at its terminus; and glide into Garibaldi fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park, where the formidable Andes meet the sea. Get up close to the monumental wall of ice that marks the edge of Garibaldi Glacier, exploring by Zodiac or kayak. Continue to Agostini fjord, where numerous glaciers originate from the nearby mountains, for a chance to witness thunderous glacial calving. (B,L,D)
Cruise to Tierra del Fuego and venture into the archipelago’s largest protected land area: Karukinka Natural Park. Karukinka, meaning “our land” in the language of the area’s ancient inhabitants, harbors over a hundred species of wildlife as well as the world’s southernmost old-growth forest. Visit this private reserve by special permission, searching for Andean foxes, guanacos, black-browed albatross, and more. Then sail to Ainsworth Bay, a stunning fjord perched at the mouth of the Marinelli Glacier and surrounded by subpolar forest, keeping an eye out for elephant seals sunbathing along the shore. (B,L,D)
Today, we enter the Strait of Magellan—which separates mainland South America from Tierra del Fuego—to explore Francisco Coloane Marine Park. One of the largest marine protected areas in Chile, the park covers more than 165,000 acres of land and sea and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including humpback whales, two species of sea lion, and Magellanic penguins. Cruise along the coastline by Zodiac and kayak to spot black-and-white Peale’s dolphins and keep a lookout for the endangered Chilean dolphin. Step ashore to spot the Andean condor, one of the largest of all flying birds, soaring overhead. (B,L,D)
Continue our discovery of the Chilean fjords and their spectacular maze of channels and islands, where we may explore by ship or take a walk in the surrounding forest. As we continue to Puerto Natales, local pilots will join our captain on the Bridge to guide us through the winding Kirke Narrows, accessible only to small expedition ships. We dock for the night in Puerto Natales, a picturesque port town located at the head of a glacially carved fjord. (B,L,D)
Spend our final day in Patagonia exploring majestic Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Set out by foot or by vehicle across the windswept, rugged landscape, which spans more than 550,000 acres and harbors an astounding variety of geological forms, from soaring granite pillars and windswept grasslands to rivers, glaciers, and gem-colored lagoons. As you explore this natural wonderland, keep an eye out for guanaco and flocks of rhea—a flightless bird distantly related to the ostrich—and smaller creatures like foxes and armadillos. Celebrate our epic adventure at a farewell dinner this evening. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Puerto Natales and take a charter flight to Santiago. (B,L)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
04 November, 2020 to 20 November, 2020
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.
Voyage on board in selected cabin category
All meals while on board
Non alcoholic beverages
Experienced expedition team and leader
Zodiac and kayak exploration
Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
Lectures and presentations on board
Trip specific inclusions;
Alcoholic beverages inlcuded (Premium brands may be excluded)
Gratuities included on NG Orion
Expedition parka to keep
Rubber boots to borrow throughout the voyage
International and domestic flights unless otherwise stated
Passport and visa costs if applicable
Alcoholic beverages on board unless otherwise stated
Gratuities unless otherwise stated
Wifi on board
Any items of a personal nature including laundry
Trip specific exclusions;
Flights between Santiago and Ushuaia and Ushuaia to Buenos Aires