The ultimate Southern Ocean experience, this expedition takes you into majestically spectacular wildness. Not even the vast migrations of Africa can rival the awesomeness of seeing a king penguin colony of tens of thousands individuals stretching as far as the eye can see. Or albatross colonies that fill the windward edges of the remote islands they call home. You’ll have other rare sightings here too: massive, in both senses of the word, herds of elephant seals: and a wandering albatross stretching its 11-foot wings. It’s the impossible beauty of Antarctica exponentially increased by unimaginable numbers of animals. A not-be-missed polar experience, for those with the luxury of time.
For most travelers, visiting Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, for those with the luxury of time, optimizing your time and interest by including South Georgia and the Falklands makes sense. And makes for a genuine experience-of-a-lifetime. This voyage has it all.
Incomparable wildlife experience
Only the plains of the Serengeti during the migrations can compare to the wildlife spectacles offered by both South Georgia and the Falklands. In South Georgia you’ll see a single rookery with tens of thousands of king penguins—an astonishing sight and an indelible memory. In the Falklands, you’ll see rockhopper penguins in great number in their “hobbit shire” of the tussock grass. And, in both, you’ll have the rare opportunity to see albatross in great numbers—wandering albatross with their impressive 11-foot wing spans; and beautiful black-browed albatross—in colonies that fill the windward ledges of these southernmost islands. These, plus elephant and fur seals, pelagic birds in great numbers, and various species of whales feasting on the Southern Ocean’s seasonal bounty create unprecedented wildlife viewing experiences for you.
Add the human dimension to the ice
From the ghostly remnants of the whaling stations that once peopled South Georgia, to the warmly welcoming ranchers of Port Stanley on the Falklands, and the penguin-adapted researchers of Port Lockroy, a picturesque science station off the otherwise unpeopled Weddell Sea coast, you’ll experience the contrast between the majestic, uninhabited wildness of Antarctica, and the unique human incursions into the land of the ice.
Every day is active and engaging
You’ll get out on adventures every day we’re in Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. The Falklands are ideal for walking adventures, with some hikes ending in a “cream tea” served in the parlor of a welcoming farmhouse. In all locations, your expedition leader will enable daily Zodiac cruises and kayak expeditions too, sometimes twice a day—creating the opportunity for you to experience the wonders with all your senses, at water-level or eye-level. You’ll have a choice of activities plus your choice of naturalists to join—for a movable feast of personalities, insights, and interests. Choice also includes opting to relax, too. Enjoy the view from behind Explorer’s panoramic glass windows. Or visit the fitness center with its generous views of the ice vistas, or ease into the sauna or a massage in the wellness center.
Informal ambience, relaxed attitude
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer, plus a National Geographic certified photo instructor, an undersea specialist, and a wellness specialist. Their knowledge and passion for the fascinating Antarctic and sub-Antarctic region is the key to your extraordinary experience.
Arrive today in Santiago. We check in to the fine Mandarin Oriental (or similar), centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to our afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening we gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (Day 2: L)
Today we fly by private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Guests traveling aboard National Geographic Orion will fly from Santiago, Chile to Ushuaia to embark. This morning's charter flight will bring us over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. If the weather is fine, you'll have a chance to view the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. Then, you'll embark the expedition ship and set sail, (B,L,D)
You'll awake this morning into your journey across the Drake Passage. Lying between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula, the Drake holds a unique place in maritime lore. The Drake Passage is unforgettable-a milestone in any adventurer's personal travel history—with time to hear talks preparing you for the exciting days ahead.. (B,L,D)
With long hours of daylight, we make the most of our days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands. Our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected. We’ll sail through the incomparable Lemaire Channel and land on the “White Continent,” exploring via Zodiac, kayak and on foot, and using our arsenal of tools for exploration. (B,L,D)
As we voyage, head up to the Bridge to watch for icebergs and observe expert navigation at work as our skilled Captain and officers sail these historic waters. There’ll also be time to enjoy a massage in the wellness center, workout in the gym, and browse in the library. Each day our naturalists offer talks that add depth to your experience. (B,L,D)
This is the final resting place for explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and we’ll hoist a toast at his gravesite. Teeming wildlife and breathtaking scenery greet our ship. Hundreds of Antarctic fur seals are on hand as our Zodiacs make landfall. And at a vast penguin colony you’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of king penguins! (B,L,D)
Whales beneath, birds above, as you continue on. Our naturalists will prepare us for the exciting days ahead with presentations on the wildlife and history of the Falkland Islands. (B,L,D)
The Falklands boast the largest albatross colony in the world, irresistible Magellanic penguins in their burrows amid the green tussock grass and herds of enormous elephant seals. Stroll the photogenic tin-roofed, Victorian-style houses of Port Stanley. Visit the Anglican Cathedral with its organic archway of whalebones, and the Falkland Islands Museum. (B,L,D)
As we sail back to Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the escort of seabirds that cross our bow. There’s time to share photos with the onboard National Geographic photographer, catch up on the book you haven’t had a minute to read, and write emails home, saying “don’t want this to end.” (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we disembark in Ushuaia with some time to explore before proceeding to the airport for our LAN charter flight (Ushuaia to Santiago) IMPORTANT: Please confirm departure and arrival cities with an Expedition Specialist before booking your flights. (Day 22: B,L)
Please confirm departure and arrival cities with an Expedition Specialist before booking your flights. All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
16 February, 2021 to 10 March, 2021
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.
Free Bar Tab & Crew Tips Included on Voyages aboard NG Explorer or NG Orion
We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion voyages.
Terms and Conditions apply, special offer is subject to availability, please contact us for more details.
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 (Premium brands may be excluded)
Gratuities included on NG Orion
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 to/from Ushuaia