If you only have one chance to visit Antarctica, then this voyage is for you. On this epic Antarctic Cruise, not only will you visit Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula. But you will also cross south of the Antarctic Circle to venture where few travellers have been.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is undoubtedly an impressive achievement as most Antarctic Cruises do not extend this far south 66°34S, where Antarctica is at its most pristine. In this region, you can enjoy endless daylight, formidable ice formations and landscapes dotted with numerous penguin and seal colonies. Orcas and leopard seals patrol the water and snow petrels soar effortlessly overhead.
In South Georgia, photograph the staggeringly impressive jagged mountain vistas and walk through some of the world’s largest king penguin colonies. During Antarctica’s midsummer, penguins nest and ravenously hungry chicks rapidly grow as their parents work too hard feeding them. Whales continue to arrive as krill numbers swell.
About the vessel: The Greg Mortimer is a new and custom-designed ship, at the cutting edge of nautical technology. It features the patented X-BOW™, hydraulic viewing platforms and environmentally friendly virtual anchoring. It has four dedicated sea level launching platforms that provide smoother and safer zodiac transfers. Once you are back from the explorations, you will be able to relax in the Wellness Centre comprising with sauna, spa and gym equipment. Whatsmore, all staterooms have private bathrooms and twin and double-bed configuration options. It has ample storage, international power outlets, daily cabin service, as well as all the necessary amenities.
Departs 22 January 2021 to 13 February 2021
Spend the day exploring Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the Americas.
Free day in Ushuaia. Later this evening you will embark on the Greg Mortimer to
cross the South Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands~Malvinas.
From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, the crew aims to give you the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain’s Welcome, you’re welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to a range of different menu options and courses for each meal.
Meals are served in a large restaurant with family-style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Additionally, a private dining area will also be available on request. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow.
Explore fascinating Falklands~Malvinas, Stanley and Sealion Island. See Magellanic, rockhopper and king penguins, sea lions, and huge albatross colonies. Your Expedition Leader will determine the best places to visit to maximise your experience of this fascinating region. Visit Stanley for war history and a touch of Britannia.
Small groups make a big difference, especially when visiting Antarctica. The Greg Mortimer boast one of the lowest passenger capacities in expedition cruising and the treks take a maximum of 14 hikers. This leads to smoother transitions, longer and more relaxed landings, and more personal experience with nature. Usually, you’ll have two daily excursions, and in some cases, it can be up to three excursions per day. Greg Mortimer is also built for expedition cruising with sea-level Zodiac-launching platforms, special adventure preparation spaces and fantastic viewing platforms. You’ll be whisked ashore on an adventure or be cruising in a Zodiac in no time!
When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty!
On all expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain.
If you’re keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape.
The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 7 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on deck 5.
Sea days are perfect for learning about the wildlife and history of the places you’ll be visiting, photographing seabirds and editing photos, or simply getting to know your fellow expeditioners.
Over the next few days, marvel at South Georgia’s incredible scenes such as enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and learn of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey.
During midsummer in South Georgia, adventurers have the chance to wander around 1,000-strong king penguin colonies and watch as large, year-old fluffy brown chicks are moulting into their adult plumage, while small, month-old fluffy chicks still sit protected on their parents’ feet. Elephant seals are moulting in their belching and charismatic piles, while young fur seal pups are at play.
Although the ship is fun, the real enjoyment comes from the many shore excursions that are available. Depending on the weather, it’s possible to take two to three landings daily, taking a look at everything from rock formations and ancient ruins to cute groups of penguins. We know time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time onshore.
From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time.
On Zodiac-cruises, discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. You may spot arriving humpback whales bubble-net feeding. You will see thousands of penguins coming and going, feeding their chicks and taking moments to rest beside the water. It’s full-on in the penguin colonies. Juvenile penguins also roam around trying to figure out what the action is about. Be on the lookout for pesky leopard seals trying their hand at scoring a snack!
Consider adding the optional Shackleton’s Crossing in South Georgia walk, one of the world’s most challenging adventures, the historic alpine crossing of South Georgia either on foot or on skis promises intricate glacier travel, spectacular mountain scenery and your chance to say ‘I followed in the footsteps of Shackleton!’
Attend informative lectures to learn about Antarctica as we sail. Treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre or stay active in the gym; the choice is yours on how you want to enjoy days at sea.
Sailing. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer, let our onboard guides offer handy tips to improve your skills. Photography guides are available on selected voyages where indicated.
Over the next few 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.
Pinch yourself, you’re in the world’s most spectacular continent! Walk among handsome chinstrap and peaceful gentoo penguins. Kayakers paddle through glassy channels or Zodiac-cruise amid grounded bergs and watch for blows of humpback, minke and orcas. Toast the special occasion when you cross the Antarctic Circle (weather permitting) with a glass of sparkling wine and smile to yourself knowing you are one of the world’s few intrepid travellers to venture this far south.
Because you are so far south, you’ll experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. You’ll generally have two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are 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 other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time to sleep when you get home!
There are many exciting places to choose to visit and this itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions. A sample of some of the types of places where you may cruise through, land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:
– Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are havens for whales as you keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as you explore bays in Zodiacs.
– Harbours home to gentoo penguins, and that regularly host 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.
– Lemaire Channel – If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.
– Wildlife-rich islands where glaciers and mountains dominate the vista and we can see large chinstrap penguin colonies tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens, and where often fur seals and elephant seals are hauled out on the pebble beaches.
Sailing. While at sea take advantage of our well-stocked onboard library. You’ll find an array of books covering everything from pioneering explorers to remote destinations and the wildlife you may encounter on your voyage.
Sailing. Sea days are perfect for learning about the wildlife and history of the places you’ll be visiting, photographing seabirds and editing photos. Interact with expedition staff and fellow expeditioners, enjoy fascinating, informative talks and briefings or relax while watching movies and slide shows in the comfortable theatre
As you come to the end of your incredible journey and commence the return sailing to Ushuaia, you may choose to spend the sea days editing photos, stay active in the gym, treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre, or attending an informative lecture; there’s plenty to keep you busy.
The team on the Greg Mortimer will put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails, a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you’ve met on-board.
During the early morning, sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where you will begin disembarking at around 8.00am. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included.