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Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands

This exciting expedition provides great diversity and will appeal to those seeking the complete Antarctic experience. It includes the South Shetland Islands, the western and northern sections of the Antarctic Peninsula, the stunning Weddell Sea region located on the eastern side of the Peninsula, and the historic location of Elephant Island.

Adding to the experience will be a visit to several locations in the Falkland Island archipelago – home to nesting albatross and the colourful King penguin. These diverse locations feature their own unique attractions. Expect stunning glaciated scenery along the Antarctic Peninsula, enormous Adelie penguin rookeries and the flattoppe ‘tabular’ icebergs in the Weddell Sea, rich history in the South Shetlands and Elephant Island - and observe several new wildlife species in the Falklands.

We maximize our time on this voyage by flying from South America to Antarctica, saving the two days crossing the Drake Passage. A further day and a half is saved by flying from the Falkland Islands back to South America at the conclusion of the voyage. The time saved by flying equals more time exploring down among the ice in Antarctica. Over the course of twelve days, you can expect to be off the ship exploring for nine of those twelve days. This unique expedition has been designed for those seeking the most in-depth and varied Antarctic experience possible.

Please Note: your voyage rates include Special charter flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island (Antarctica). Scheduled flight from Stanley (Falkland Islands) back to Punta Arenas (Chile)

17 December, 2019 to 28 December, 2019 Make a booking request for Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands, departing on 17 December, 2019

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Triple Share £ 9950 GBP pp
Located on Deck 3 these cabins have bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared. There is a washbasin with cold/hot water in the cabin, a writing desk/chair, in-room clock radio with ipod connector kit, and ample storage space. All cabins have a porthole. Additional features and amenities: Bathrobes
view cabin photo
Twin Semi-Private £ 11767 GBP pp
Located on Deck 4 these cabins have one lower berth and one sofa bed, a writing desk,in-room clock radio with ipod connector kitand ample storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins). All cabins have a window which opens. Additional features and amenities: Toiletry kit Hairdryer Coffee/tea maker Bathrobes
view cabin photo
Twin Private £ 13189 GBP pp
These cabins are located on Deck 4 and 5. All cabins have two lower berths, a writing desk/chair, in-room clock radio with ipod connector kit and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window. Additional features and amenities: Toiletry kit Hairdryer Coffee/tea maker Bathrobes
view cabin photo
Superior £ 13900 GBP pp
Located on Deck 3 these cabins have two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair, in-room clock radio with ipod connector kit and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window. Additional features and amenities: Toiletry kit Hairdryer Coffee/tea maker Vanity kit Upgraded bed linen/duvets
view cabin photo
Shackleton Suite £ 15401 GBP pp
These cabins are located on Deck 4 and 5. All cabins have one double berth, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, a writing desk/chair, ipad with polar literature and access to various media, IPod Dock Alarm Clock. Facilities are private and all cabins have windows, which can be opened. Additional features and amenities: Upgraded bed linen/duvets CD player/mini stereo system with connection for Ipod™/mp3 player Use of our CD selection Mini bar/ice bucket Hairdryer Coffee/tea maker Toiletry kit Vanity kit Organic cotton luxury logoed bathrobes Arrival gift basket with healthy snacks and a bottle of wine Binoculars and wildlife reference book
view cabin photo
One Ocean Suite £ 16744 GBP pp
Located on Deck 5 this cabin has a double berth, one sofa bed and separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, ipad with polar literature and access to various media, IPod Dock Alarm Clock and IPod Speaker System for main room. Facilities are private and have a bathtub. This cabin has windows overlooking the bow, which can be opened. Additional features and amenities: Upgraded bed linen/duvets CD player/mini stereo system with connection for Ipod™/mp3 player Use of our CD selection Mini bar/refrigerator Hairdryer Coffee/tea maker Toiletry kit Vanity kit Organic cotton luxury logoed bathrobes Arrival gift basket with healthy snacks and a bottle of wine Binoculars and wildlife reference book
view cabin photo

Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
DAY 1 / PUNTA ARENAS (CHILE)
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.
DAYS 2-3 / GERLACHE STRAIT AND ANTARCTIC PENINSULA REGION
Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and wake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next few days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active science station nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change research occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we hope to make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House begs for further investigation. Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now. Each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies and Zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides, providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. Or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location and one where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales feeding. It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that we plan to spend a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. We have all the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! If the weather is good and site characteristics suit our requirements, we will always go for it. Camping is included in the voyage price and there is no need to pre-book this activity
DAY 4 / SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and old wooden structures. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ – high up onto the rim of the crater.
DAYS 5-7 / ANTARCTIC SOUND AND WEDDELL SEA
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into the sound we witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far. The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the penguin rookeries visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions in the Weddell Sea region may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed a number of emperor penguins sightings in this area in recent years and they are known to inhabit the area. The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic centuryold story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after the ship had been lost in the ice pack months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who travelled these waters a hundred years before us.
DAY 8 / ELEPHANT ISLAND
Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'.
DAYS 9-10 / AT SEA TOWARDS THE FALKLAND ISLANDS
While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap on our adventures in the Weddell Sea and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular pelagic seabirds including several albatross and petrel species, are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and our resident photography expert will show you the best techniques. Our educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations and leading lively discussions.
DAY 11 / WEST POINT ISLAND AND SAUNDERS ISLAND - (FALKLAND ISLANDS)
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the island of West Point and nearby Saunders Island – in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and substantial nesting black-browed albatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easily forgotten. One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island. Along the white sand beaches and in the surrounding tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper - and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive king penguin. Saunders Island is a fitting end to our epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in early evening, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.
DAY 12 / STANLEY (FALKLAND ISLANDS) – RETURN PUNTA ARENAS
In the early morning, we navigate the ship through the narrows and into port. Stanley - the capital of the Falkland Islands, is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is a charming location, with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. We have time to explore town before a transfer takes us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Please Note:
Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.
In the early morning, we navigate the ship through the narrows and into port. Stanley - the capital of the Falkland Islands, is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is a charming location, with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. We have time to explore town before a transfer takes us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the island of West Point and nearby Saunders Island – in the West Falkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and substantial nesting black-browed albatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easily forgotten. One final highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island. Along the white sand beaches and in the surrounding tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper - and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive king penguin. Saunders Island is a fitting end to our epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in early evening, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.
While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap on our adventures in the Weddell Sea and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular pelagic seabirds including several albatross and petrel species, are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and our resident photography expert will show you the best techniques. Our educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations and leading lively discussions.
Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'.
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into the sound we witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far. The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the penguin rookeries visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions in the Weddell Sea region may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed a number of emperor penguins sightings in this area in recent years and they are known to inhabit the area. The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic centuryold story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after the ship had been lost in the ice pack months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who travelled these waters a hundred years before us.
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and old wooden structures. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ – high up onto the rim of the crater.
Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and wake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next few days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active science station nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change research occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we hope to make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House begs for further investigation. Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now. Each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies and Zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides, providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. Or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location and one where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales feeding. It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that we plan to spend a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. We have all the right gear and equipment and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! If the weather is good and site characteristics suit our requirements, we will always go for it. Camping is included in the voyage price and there is no need to pre-book this activity
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.
* = Indicative
Map for Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands
Akademik Sergey Vavilov, the ship servicing Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Vessel Type: Ice - Strengthened

Length: 117 metres

Passenger Capacity: 92

Built: 1988

Scandinavian built for the Russian Academy of Science, this ship was designed to travel quietly, during hydro-acoustic research. The ship is exceptionally stable, yet maneuverable. External stabilizers and a built-in trimming system provide exceptional stability.

Features on the ship include:

Dining Room, Gift Shop, Fitness & Fitness Room,
Wellness Centre,
Infirmary, Library, Lounge,
Mud Room,
Presentation Room, Multimedia Room, Top Deck and Observatory

also /

Sauna and Polar Salt Water Plunge Pool

Following a day of excursions, a sauna with complimentary aromatic oils can be a wonderful way to unwind. Located on Deck 5, the sauna and adjacent plunge pool is open each afternoon and evening. The sauna seats approximately six people and the plunge pool can be filled with polar water on demand or for special events. There is a change room with towels and a shower room between the sauna and the plunge pool.

Elevator

A lift (or elevator) services Deck 1 through 5, allowing access to and from the presentation room on Deck 1. The bridge and bar/lounge on Deck 6 are not accessible by lift. Access to the zodiacs is by way of gangway stairs from the main deck (Deck 3).

Akademik Sergey Vavilov has an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots.

Cabins: All cabins have exterior views. Cabins have either shared, semi-private or private facilities.


 


 

 


 

Cabin layout for Akademik Sergey Vavilov
• Fantastic glaciated scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula and Gerlache coastline

• Exciting ice navigation and large penguin rookeries in the Weddell Sea region

• Visits to historic sites and science stations

• Varied wildlife encounters in the Falkland Islands – including King penguins!
Enquire now about Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands

Travel on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov

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