Begin your adventure with an overnight stay in exotic Buenos Aires and spend the summer's evening at your leisure. Locals have come to call Argentina's capital the 'City of Fury', perfectly summing up the Latin fervour their home exudes. Nowhere is this romance and passion better expressed than in each beat of the fiery tango.
Head to a neighbourhood bar to watch a not-to-be-missed dance performance before savouring sizzling beef in one of the many great steakhouses the city prides itself on. If time allows, make sure you also take in some of the beautiful French and Italian architecture, like the pretty-in-pink palatial mansion Casa Rosada and the National Museum of Fine Arts, home to works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso.
If you would like more time to explore the city, we recommend coming a few days earlier. You can also join our optional Pre-Programme to explore wild Patagonia.
Sleepy-heads be warned, we have an early-morning flight to catch to Ushuaia, which is where your comfortable expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits. As the plane begins its descent to Argentina's southernmost city, you might have birds-eye views over Tierra del Fuego province and catch glimpses of fjords and glaciers in Alberto de Agostini National Park to the west.
Once you check-in on board the ship, it'll be time for us to depart and begin our journey to Antarctica. You'll attend a brief mandatory safety meeting and be introduced to the Expedition Team and key crew members. There's also a welcome dinner to enjoy, which is a good occasion to start getting to know your fellow explorers. Afterwards, go for drinks in the bar or take a stroll around and get familiar with what will be your home for the next couple of weeks.
Before you can relish in the infinite wonders that Antarctica has in store, we first need to make our way through what is infamously known as The Drake ‘Rite Of' Passage. These turbulent waters were reportedly discovered by chance in the 16th century when one of Sir Francis Drake's ships was forced south by heavy winds. They are still just as unpredictable today as they were back then, and conditions can vary wildly; rough and shaky or placid as a lake.
It takes approximately two days to cross the Drake Passage. This gives you plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming adventure. Join the Expedition Team in the Science Center for lectures on topics like the Antarctic Treaty, accounts of past polar expeditions and the area's rich biodiversity from the macro- to the microscopic. Other key takeaways will include how to keep safe during landings and the importance of not disturbing local wildlife be they pods of feeding whales or families of lazy-looking seals.
You will also learn about IAATO guidelines, and why we have special sterilised boots for use ashore and why we vacuum our backpacks and clothes before going on landings in Antarctica. Optional Citizen Science programmes will also help to give you further insight into the frozen continent's intricate ecosystem. Our ethos is the more you know, the more you'll appreciate the unique experience only Antarctica offers.
Over the course of your journey, you will grow increasingly fond of the ship as it acts as a warm and homely sanctuary after each day of exploration. Whether your idea of relaxation is hitting the gym or being pampered at a spa, MS Fridtjof Nansen has got you covered on both. If the gym, outdoor running track and Wellness Centre aren't enough, there's also the infinity pool, panoramic sauna, and outdoor hot tubs. For the foodies, the ship comes with not just one but three exquisite onboard restaurants to satisfy any craving.
You are about to explore the seventh continent of Antarctica over eleven magical days. Across all our expeditions and all our destinations, this is the longest period we offer in one place. Antarctica is so special and magnificent that it deserves as much time as we can spend here. The Expedition Team will take you on landings and go ice-cruising to get even closer to the amazing icescapes and wildlife. You will also get the chance to enjoy optional activities like showshoeing and kayaking. Not to mention the Citizen Science projects you can join to help scientists all over the world get a better understanding of the wildlife and ecology of Antarctica.
Where many other cruise operators are content to just do a sail-by, on which their guests only see but never set foot on the ice, your expedition with us will bring you ashore and on explorer boat ice-cruises on multiple occasions, which is whenever weather and sea ice conditions are right. This allows you to marvel at the massive ice fronts, dozens of icebergs, glacial walls, and frozen mountains in the safest and most sustainable way.
Under the guidance of our experienced Expedition Team, you'll also observe bustling colonies of everyone's favourite flightless birds, some of whom may be just as curious to see you as you'll be to see them. Set amid the otherworldly scenery of Antarctica, your first small step on each landing marks one giant leap in your story here.
Together, we will go places few have been before, even attempting to venture beyond a numerous possible landing zones on the Antarctic Peninsula, past the Antarctic Circle and deep into the hidden corners of the continent. As long as weather and sea ice cooperate, we'll sail as far as the polar circle at 66°33' South and beyond to Marguerite Bay. Rarely visited even by other expeditions, this wide bay is iced over for most of the year and is usually only accessible in the late summer season, even that is no guarantee.
Whales are known to frequent the area, while the icy islands are havens for Adélie penguin rookeries and other polar birdlife. There are a number of scientific research bases located around Marguerite Bay which we will try and land at if conditions allow, such as a modern base on Horseshoe Island and historic ruins on Stonington Island.
After ten adrenaline-inducing days of high adventure in Antarctica, we'll start heading back north to civilisation and to warmer weather. The two days spent back across the Drake Passage will allow you to press pause and fully absorb the amazing time you've just had. Share the trip's most vivid highlights with fellow expedition members who, after your experiences together, have gone from strangers to lifelong friends.
Join art classes, learn how to tie different kinds of sailor's knots, and keep active in the gym and toasty in the sauna. Or watch for seabirds outside. By now, what with the Expedition Team's lectures, you'll hopefully be able to identify many of Antarctica's winged wonders on your own.
Our journey together comes to a close as we reach Ushuaia. From the port, a transfer will take you to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. From here you can choose to join an optional Post-Programme to the magnificent Iguazu waterfalls, if you don't want your adventure to stop just yet.
It's been one wild ride and we hope you'll have enjoyed every moment of it. Cherish the memories and photos of our journey together and please use your experience to tell others why sustainable expedition cruises are so important.
Most of all, aside from being able to boast you crossed the Antarctic Circle, you'll also know first-hand how fragile these polar environments are and the risk that changing climates can pose to them. Let's do all we can to preserve the beauty of such habitats for generations to come.