Our South Georgia and Antarctica: Penguin Safari itinerary is the fastest way to get to the seldom visited South Georgia Island while also setting foot on the 7th continent. As we set sail, photograph massive albatross and beautiful pintado petrels as they swoop and soar around the ship, guiding us toward South Georgia. Beaches teeming with king penguins and elephant seals greet us on this fabled island, where we’ll pay our respects to famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Antarctica awaits, with its soaring peaks and staggering expanse. Go further into the Antarctic sea on a Zodiac, experience the rugged peninsula from a sea kayak, undertake an exhilarating hike up a sparkling glacier, or share an endearingly comical moment with an inquisitive gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin. In these ways and countless others, Antarctica will amaze, surprise and delight.
• Hiking in the polar regions differs from your typical trail experience. Here, in a tree-less terrain, you are the tallest figure on the landscape as you walk over spongy tundra, crusty snow or sandy beaches in remotes parts of the Arctic and Antarctica.
• The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions in order to choose the optimal time and location. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore or, in many cases, from the gangway or Zodiac.
• Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac.
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional sea kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
If conditions are right, the first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to capture these rocky spires rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here, and due to nutrient rich upwellings around the rocks it can be a good place to keep a lookout for whales.
After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerous beaches to find a bay for your first excursion. Landing sites are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.
South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins and seals. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.
You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.
One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is the site of the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes that will surround you upon your arrival.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!
After more than a dozen days of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
05 December, 2022 to 20 December, 2022
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, this cabin has a two twin beds and an upper bed, and two portholes. Located on the Lower Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
Twin Obstructed View / Category O
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window (the view is obstructed). Located on the Captain’s Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Between 183 and 200 sq. ft. (17 and 19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window. Located on the Upper, Main and Captain’s Decks, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Approximately 400 sq. ft. (37 sq. m) in size, these suites have one double bed or two twin beds, and two picture windows. Located on the Main Deck, these suites have two private bathrooms, and a separate sitting area with a sofa, chair, and small table. Two refrigerators, TVs, and DVD players are included in each cabin.
Single Porthole / Category P
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed and two portholes. Located on the Lower Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed, and a picture window (the view is obstructed by the lifeboats). Located on the Captain’s Deck these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Balcony Suite / Category A
Approximately 325 sq. ft. (30 sq. m) in size, including the balcony, this suite has one double bed or two twin beds, and a full-size window with a sliding glass door that leads to a private deck with chairs. Located on the Observation Deck, this suite has a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 124 metres
Passenger Capacity: 224
Built / refurbished: 1974 / 1986 / 2018 / 2021
Thanks to two stabilizers that significantly reduce roll and an ice-strengthened hull, the OCEAN DIAMOND is the ideal ship for exploring the waters around Iceland. Due to its compact size, the OCEAN DIAMOND can enter fjords and bays too shallow for larger vessels. The ship features a range of modern onboard amenities and is staffed with outstanding officers and crew, as well as bilingual expedition leaders and guides.
The ship’s Zodiacs are available for shore excursions. After a busy day of exploration, passengers can savor a health or beauty treatment in the onboard Spa, or enjoy views of the spectacular Arctic scenery from the Panorama Salon. The Green Initiatives on the OCEAN DIAMOND include: Better water conservation practices, reducing and eliminating single use plastics and using biodegradable shampoos and cleaning products.
• Voyage in selected cabin category
• Rubber boots for use throughout the voyage
• Expedition Parka to keep
• Experience Expedition leader and team
• All shore landings and zodiac cruises as specified in the itinerary
• All meals while on board the ship
• Soft Drinks, Juice, Tea and Coffee while on board the ship
• Beer and Wine with dinner
• Lectures and presentations on board held by Expedition team and guest speakers as scheduled
• Photographic journal of the expedtion
• Luggage handling on board the ship
• Emergency Evacuation insurance up to a maximum of USD$500,000.00 per person
• All port charges/taxes
• Group arrival transfer in Ushuaia from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
• One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
• Group transfer from hotel to ship on embarkation day
• Group departure transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from ship to local airport or to luggage storage facility
• International and Domestic airfares unless specified
• Passport and Visa costs if applicable
• Meals ashore unless specified
• Travel insurance including cancellation insurance
• Mandatory waterproof pants - required for zodiac cruises and landings
• Any items of a personal nature including medical costs incurred on board
• Phone and Internet charges incurred on board
• Transfers other than those specified in inclusions
• Pre and post voyage accommodation unless stated in the itinerary
• Optional excursions (Eg kayaking where available)