Santiago and Spirit of Antarctica
Enjoy a 16 Night Santiago and Spirit of Antarctica Cruise & Stay holiday with Aurora Expeditions.
Return flights from UK (Including baggage)
2 nights 4* Santiago (BB), 1 night pre & post cruise Punta Arenas & 1 night post cruise 4* Santiago hotel stay (BB)
10 nights onboard Greg Mortimer
All meals, snacks, tea & coffee during voyage
Beer, house wine & soft drinks with dinner
Captain's welcome and farewell drinks (Including a four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer, wine & non-alcoholic beverages)
All shore excursions and zodiac cruises mentioned in the itinerary
Educational lectures & guiding services from expedition team
Access to onboard doctor and basic medical services
A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket & complimentary loan of much boots during the voyager
Comprehensive pre departure information
A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
Port surcharges, permits & landing fees
Cruise Title: Santiago and Spirit of Antarctica
Ship: Aurora Greg Mortimer
Departure date: 2nd January 2021
Duration: 16 Nights
Cruise ID: AU004
Day 1: Fly from UK to Santiago
Day 2: Arrive Santiago, Transfer to 4* Hotel for 2 nights
Day 3: Time at leisure
Day 4: Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas. On arrival you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only). Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world's most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great mix of cultures, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors, and it remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile's rich history.
Tonight, we will gather to meet our fellow expeditioners and a briefing on the first leg of our expedition – our flight to Antarctica.
Day 5: Fly Punta Arenas to King George Island. This morning we will be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for our early morning charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica (weather permitting). The flight will take approximately one-and-a-half hours.
On arrival into King George Island our expedition team is on hand to greet you for your Zodiac transfer to board the
Greg Mortimer. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.
NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and
is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order for the plane to take off and land safely. We apologise in advance for any delays.
Day 6-12: Over the next five days a host of choices are open to us and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make the best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!
During this voyage, there will be an opportunity to camp ashore (weather and time permitting). This will give you the chance to sample the style of adventure that Scott, Shackleton and other legendary Antarctic explorers experienced, although with slightly better equipment! Rest assured our warm and comfortable ship with its hot showers will only be a short distance away!
There are many exciting places we can choose to visit; a sample of some of the places where we may land, hike, and photograph or view spectacular wildlife follows:
A protected bay surrounded by magnificent peaks and breath-taking glaciers, the rocky cliffs of this unforgettable piece of heaven provide perfect nesting sites for blue-eyed shags, terns and gulls. The serenity of Paradise Harbour envelops us once the sound of the dropping anchor fades from our ears. This is a haven for whales as we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas and minkes, as well as crabeater seals, whilst we explore the bay in Zodiacs.
This group of low-lying unprotected granitic rocks protrude from the sea, swept by ocean swells. At first, these rocks appear uninteresting, but on closer investigation, calm channels lead to a hidden interior where Weddell seals are hauled out on protected snow beds and noisy chinstrap penguins raise their families on rocky platforms. Hydrurga is the Latin family name for leopard seal (Hydrurga Leonina), and on occasions we see some skulking in the shallows. There are many places to simply sit and watch the rise and fall of clear green water and listen to the magic sounds and calls of the wildlife.
Half Moon Island
This wildlife-rich island is tucked into a neat bay at the eastern end of Livingston Island. On a clear day, the glaciers and mountains of Livingston Island dominate the vista. There is a large chinstrap penguin rookery tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens. Gulls nest on these turrets and there are often fur seals and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches. At one extremity of the island, there is a large colony of nesting blue-eyed shags. At the other end lies a small Argentine station that is sometimes occupied by scientists conducting research on the penguin colony and surrounding waterways.
If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly moving through the narrow Lemaire Channel could be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres straight up out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is also known as “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.
Located on Goudier Island, British Port Lockroy is an important site for both scientific research and visitors to the Antarctic continent. Designated a historic site in 1994 and opened to the Antarctic tourism industry in 1996, it was discovered in 1904 and used by the whaling industry in the first half of the 1900’s, was part of the British Operation Tabarin during World War II, and was later used as a British Research Station. Today, Pork Lockroy is manned by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and operates as a museum and gift shop for visitors from passing Antarctic expeditions. You can even send a postcard home from the Penguin Post Office, the world’s most southern Post Office!
Located in Andvord Bay, Neko Harbour is an inlet home to gentoo penguins and regularly welcomes Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic - towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbour. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks.
A fine example of the South Shetland Islands – tiny toes of land that are literally alive with wildlife. Here we will find two species of penguins breeding - chinstrap and gentoo. It is not uncommon to find wallows of elephant seals that are 60 beasts strong. Giant petrels nest on the ridgeline
Day 13: Fly King George Island to Punta Arenas. As we approach Frei Base on King George Island, it is time to farewell Antarctica and our amazing adventure before boarding our return flight to Punta Arenas, Chile. On arrival at the Punta Arenas airport, you will be transferred to our preferred downtown hotel.
NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is one of the most remote place on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order to take off and land safely. We apologise in advance if you experience any delays.
Day 14: Transfer to Airport fly to Santiago, transfer to 4* hotel for 1 nights
Day 15: Transfer to Airport fly to UK
Day 18: Arrive UK
Prices from only £11,599 per person - call our friendly cruise consultants today for further details!
The Greg Mortimer will launch in 2019 and is named after the co-founder of Aurora Expeditions. It is the first purpose-built expedition ship that was designed in close consultation with expedition specialists and built to world-class polar standards. Whether you're joining the expedition for its adventure, wildlife or relaxation, the Greg Mortimer will provide the best expedition cruising experience.
On board, share stories of your days adventure in the spacious dining room offering a selection of courses at each meal and admire the wildlife passing by from the observation lounge. Relax in one of the 80 staterooms, choosing from a selection of 5 categories, with all of them featuring an en-suite bathroom and seating area to admire the views. Enjoy amazing panoramic views from the observation decks and head out to the custom-built Hydraulic Platforms to view polar bears and the feeding of whales.