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Final Frontiers: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands Expedition - 2021

Buenos Aires • 20-night expedition cruise with West Falkland, Port Stanley, South Georgia, Grytviken, Half Moon Island, Deception Island, Wilhelmina Bay, Port Lockroy, Lemaire Channel, Cuverville Island, Drake Passage, Ushuaia • Buenos Aires
  • CRUISE ON THE OCEAN EXPLORER, AN AGILE AND STATE-OF-THE-ART EXPEDITION VESSEL THAT CAN NAVIGATE TO PLACES LARGER SHIPS CAN’T
  • MAKE A RARE VISIT TO THIS UTTERLY PRISTINE WILDLIFE HAVEN, KNOWN AS “THE SERENGETI OF THE SOUTHERN OCEAN”
  • SET FOOT ON SOME OF THE PLANET’S MOST PRISTINE AND REMOTELY BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES IN THE SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS AND THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
  • FROM FLAT-TOPPED, TABULAR ICEBERGS THE SIZE OF STATES TO THE BERGYS AND GROWLERS THAT TAKE ON ODD SCULPTURAL SHAPES, THESE SPECTACULAR BLUE-WHITE PHENOMENA WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
  • THE WATERS OFF THE ATLANTIC COASTS OF PATAGONIA AND TIERRA DEL FUEGO TO THE SOUTH ATLANTIC ISLANDS AND THE SOUTHERN OCEAN TEEM WITH A VARIETY OF PELAGIC BIRDS, AND WHALE SPECIES SUCH AS SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES, BLUE, SEI, MINKE, HUMPBACKS AND MORE
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  • $645
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  • 24
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  • 19
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Join the inaugural season of the new Ocean Explorer as it charts a new course to the fabled White Continent. There are many reasons why Antarctica is on the bucket list of true adventure lovers, and adding another continent to your travel history or traveling to the literal ends of the Earth are just two of them. Here, your sense of scale, depth and space will be recalibrated to take in 360-degree seascapes, the starry night skies of the Southern Hemisphere, and shimmering blue icebergs as wide as some states, and as high as mountains. Despite the cold, the surrounding Southern Ocean is rich with microscopic organisms, krill, and bloodless icefish, providing a rich feeding ground for the pelagic seabirds, penguins, seals and whales that thrive here. You will see them all during your many shore landings, as well as from the decks of your ship. In addition to 19 included excursions, your journey also features two nights in the British-inflected Falkland Islands, and rarely seen South Georgia Island, both unspoiled wildernesses that are teeming with wildlife. To add a dash of urban variety, you’ll begin and end your adventure in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s colorful capital and arguably, one of the most sophisticated cities in the world.

Enriching your perspective will be a highly credentialed expedition team who will share their expertise in history, geology, oceanography, astronomy, ornithology, photography, marine biology, and more. They will be with you every step of the way, conducting onboard bird and whale watching activities, safely and smoothly guiding your Zodiac small craft landings, and leading you to wondrous locations.

Though you’ll be covering some of the most remote and wild places on the planet, you’ll never be roughing it in your 5-star, luxury expedition vessel. Besides being a state-of-the-art, ice-class vessel, the Ocean Explorer offers impeccable service, wonderful and healthful dining, and spacious, finely-appointed outside staterooms (most with private balconies.) Take advantage of a host of amenities such as a spa, library, gift shop, theater, lounge, two-story observation deck, infinity pool, fitness center, and more. Plus, you’ll be traveling during the austral summer, the most temperate time of year, so your comfort is assured.

Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

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The Chilean Wine Country

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DAY 1:

Depart home and fly overnight to Buenos Aires

Your expedition begins! Today you’ll fly overnight from the U.S. to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

DAY 2:

Arrive Buenos Aires

Welcome to Argentina! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and enjoy a brief orientation walk in the historic center near your hotel. This evening please join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Cultural Discovery: No visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without a little taste of the tango, so we have arranged for a pair of professional tango dancers to give a demonstration of Argentina’s most passionate dance. The tango is considered so intrinsic to the national character Argentina and Uruguay, UNESCO has designated it as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Discover the best of Buenos Aires

On today’s city tour you’ll discover why Buenos Aires is considered one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. Wide boulevards reminiscent of Paris . . . opulent neobaroque, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture . . . and elegant shops and sidewalk cafés filled with fashionable patrons. You’ll see the Plaza de Mayo, the central square that is flanked by the neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, the church home of Pope Francis; the Cabildo, which housed the town council during the colonial era; and the Casa Rosada or “Pink” House, the presidential mansion. If it seems familiar, that’s because in the 1950s, Eva Perón (“Evita”) would address the adoring crowds from its oft-photographed balcony. You’ll also see the colorful La Boca, the old Genoese neighborhood with its vividly painted houses. Passing Caminito, the famous tango street, you’ll see some of the famous milongas or tango salons, and perhaps some dancers on the street going through their paces.

The balance of your day is free. Your Vantage City Host will be happy to assist with tips, directions, and making reservations.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 4:

Discover the “sport of kings” at a polo ranch; embark the Ocean Explorer

After breakfast, you’ll ride into the countryside to visit an estancia (ranch) where riders are trained to compete in professional polo matches. The elite sport of polo was introduced to Argentina in 1875, and today the country is the world’s polo capital.

Cultural Discovery: After touring the estancia, you’ll learn all about the sport’s history and the breeding of polo ponies, and enjoy a demonstration by some dashing professional players. After savoring an authentic Argentinean lunch, you’ll head back to Buenos Aires.

Arriving in town, you’ll transfer directly to the pier to embark the Ocean Explorer. Enjoy the city views as we sail down the Rio de la Plata out to the sea. There will be an informative port talk late this afternoon; then, gather with your fellow travelers for a Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAYS 5-7:

Cruising the South Atlantic

Enjoy three relaxing days on board your 5-star expedition ship. Each day, your expedition team will be conducting different presentations on topics relevant to your destinations — history, geology, astronomy, ornithology, marine biology and more. You’ll also want to join them on deck for birdwatching, perhaps spotting fulmar, petrel, or even a wandering albatross, with its eleven-foot wingspan. Keep your eyes peeled for marine life — these waters frequently host southern right whales. Take advantage of your ship’s other amenities to refresh and restore yourself, perhaps visiting the sauna or enjoying a soothing massage in the spa. Looking for photo tips? Check the schedule (posted on your onboard interactive system) for the next photography workshop.

Included Meals:

3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners

DAY 8:

Unspoiled beauty on West Falkland Island

Where we make landfall today is entirely based on local conditions. As your ship approaches West Falkland Island, you may pass the pristine sandy beaches or sheer cliffs that are home to some of the island’s 63 avian species, such as Cobb’s wren, Falkland skua, king cormorants, ground tyrant, pipit, thrush, and more. More than a million penguins call the Falklands home, often nesting in the green tussock grass burrows

Unforgettable Moment: Remember, daily life in Antarctica is determined by the elements, and we’ll adjust our landings as our adventure progresses. During your visit, you might join an excursion to see penguins. Your expedition leader will help you try to spot the five main types: waddling gentoo penguins, with their orange beaks; king penguins, the largest breed which can stand 39 inches tall; black-and-white banded Magellanic; macaronis, with their orange head feathers; and rockhoppers, with their bushy heads.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

East Falkland Island, a bit of Britain in the Southern Hemisphere

Today you’ll arrive on East Falkland and visit the capital, Port Stanley. With a population of about 2,100, Port Stanley is home to nearly two thirds of the Falklands’ residents. It will be the focus of today’s discovery.

Unforgettable Moment: Given the quaint pubs, red phone booths, and fish and chips shops, you’d think you are in rural England, except for the occasional Argentinean shop or Spanish word. One Spanish word you’ll hear often is “camp,” derived from the Spanish campo meaning countryside. Here, the Falklanders say "camp" to refer to all the land outside Stanley. Your city tour showcases some of this tiny city’s main attractions, including the Victory Green, where a mizzen mast from the SS Great Britain is displayed; the Government House; the Town Hall, which also serves as a post office, court of law, and dance hall; and the Christ Church Cathedral, the southernmost Anglican church in the world. Nearby, there is a decorative arch made of whale bones.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAYS 10-11:

Cruising the South Atlantic

You’ll spend two days cruising towards South Georgia Island. Take this time to enjoy your ship, perhaps taking in a movie, joining a fitness class, dancing in the lounge, or simply curling up with a book from the library. On the way, your expedition team will offer fascinating workshops and presentations about the region’s geology, glaciology, biodiversity, and history.

One story you are likely to learn is that of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led three British Antarctic expeditions. On his final one, his ship Endurance was trapped in ice, and sank. After camping on ice floes for more than two months, the crew escaped by boat to Elephant Island. From here, Shackleton led a daring open boat, six-man mission 720 miles across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia Island, where they were able to organize a rescue. All 22 of the crew members back on Elephant Island were saved.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAYS 12-14:

South Georgia Island

You’ll have three days to explore the unique history and natural splendor South Georgia, whose biodiversity is so rich it is known as the “Serengeti of the Southern Ocean.” Although South Georgia is within the Antarctic ecosystem, it is outside the limit of sea ice. As a result, tens of thousands of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds may be seen here.

Unforgettable Moments: During your stay, your expedition team will lead various excursions by Zodiac landing craft and on foot, taking you to observe fascinating wildlife and to admire the unspoiled scenery of hanging glaciers, cliffs, and scenic lagoons. South Georgia is home to over half of the world's enormous southern elephant seals, the largest of all seals. Keep an eye out for newly birthed southern elephant seal pups alongside their mothers, plus a huge colony of king penguins, and wandering albatrosses in their nesting grounds.

You will also visit the South Georgia Museum, a whaling museum that also details the island’s maritime and natural history, as well as the 1982 Falklands War. Also featured are the Norwegian seaman’s church, former whaling stations, and the grave of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in Grytviken. Weather permitting, you might hike over part of the trail that Shackleton followed on his brave journey across rugged mountains to find help for his men.

Included Meals:

3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners

DAYS 15-16:

Cruising the Scotia Sea and Southern Ocean to Antarctica

You’ll cruise for two days in southwesterly course across the Scotia Sea, into the Southern or Antarctic Ocean. Here is where the cold, northward flowing waters from the Antarctic mix with warmer subantarctic waters, creating a nutrient-rich environment for several species of whales, seals, and seabirds. Once we have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you will notice that the air becomes crisper and colder.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAYS 17-21:

Spend five unforgettable days in Antarctica, the “White Continent”

Prepare to witness the most unspoiled, sublime terrain on Earth — and to cross another continent off your bucket list. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent, containing 90 percent of all of the ice on Earth. Nonetheless, it is classified as a desert because so little moisture falls from the sky. Believe it or not, the Sahara desert gets twice as much rain each year!

You will be exploring here during the austral summer, the most temperate time of year. But because conditions vary from place to place, our captain will adjust our landings as the adventure progresses. You’ll set foot on the South Shetlands as well as the Antarctic Peninsula, venturing ashore every day for naturalist-led expeditions via our versatile Zodiac boats. Your destinations may include the following:

Half Moon Island: A refuge for chinstrap penguins, the island also features great glacier views of nearby Livingstone Island. Its jagged cliffs are home to colonies of Antarctic terns, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Wilson’s storm petrels, and several species of seals.

Deception Island: This former South Shetland whaling outpost is now home to several research bases — as well as an active caldera. (In fact, Antarctica’s ice covers as many as 91 other volcanoes!)

Cuverville Island: This rocky island is almost fully covered in a permanent ice cap and is home to more than 6,000 delightful gentoo penguins, who are rather fearless when encountering humans and might come right up to you. The island lies within the narrow Errera Channel, prime territory to witness amazing floating icebergs.

Neko Harbor: A glacial haven for minke and humpback whales, as well as gentoo penguins, skuas, and kelp gulls, Neko also boasts terrific views from atop the glacier.

Paradise Bay: This spectacular harbor lives up to its name, with its mirror-like waters reflecting the blue-veined icebergs, black mountains, and swirling mists. Here you can also see the remains of an old research base.

Wilhelmina Bay: Colloquially known as “Whale-mina Bay,” Wilhelmina is the place for onshore humpback whale watching, thanks to the plankton-rich waters here. Explorers have seen up to 300 whales here at once, so keep your cameras at the ready!

Brown Bluff. An excellent place to spot Adelie and gentoo penguins together, as well as snow petrels.

Antarctic Sound: The huge ice shelves of the continent give birth to mile-long tabular icebergs, which are then carried along the strong currents of the Weddell Sea north into the Antarctic Sound, at the northeastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Petermann Island: A breeding colony for more than 3,000 gentoo penguins, Petermann is a small, rugged island in the scenic Penola Strait with rocky beaches and a permanent ice cap that covers more than half of the land.

Lemaire Channel: This nearly 7-mile-long and 1-mile-wide channel is so photogenic, it is nicknamed the “Kodak Gap.” The passageway is only visible once you’re inside it, and then you’ll be flanked by the icy mountains of Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Port Lockroy: This British research base on Goudier Island was abandoned in 1962, but was then refurbished and turned into a museum by the Antarctic Heritage Trust. You’ll come inside to get a sense of what life was like for scientists working on an Antarctic base in the 1950s.

Included Meals:

5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners

DAYS 22-23:

Cross the Drake Passage

This legendary body of water connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, stretching for about 600 miles from the tip of South America to Antarctica. Though it is the most direct route between the continents, it can also have some of the planet’s most turbulent seas. You never know whether your crossing will be a “Drake Shake” (rough journey), or a “Drake Lake” (calm sailing). Either way, it is quite literally a “rite of passage” for all Antarctic explorers and your onboard expedition team will keep your spirits up with some fun and fascinating activities, plus whale watching and birdwatching from the deck.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAY 24:

Leisure time in Ushuaia, then fly to Buenos Aires

After breakfast, you’ll disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina, the “City at the End of the World.” This former penal colony is now a charming gateway between the wildernesses of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica. You’ll have time to take in the views of the snowcapped Andes and Beagle Channel, where Darwin made some of his evolutionary discoveries; and to poke around the town’s shops and cafés. From here you’ll transfer to the airport and fly back to Buenos Aires. Tonight, you’ll toast your milestone adventure at a Farewell Dinner at a Buenos Aires restaurant.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 25:

Return home

After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’ve selected our optional post-trip extension, stay on for two more nights in Iguassu Falls.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

FROM: $1399 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $466 PER DAY

Please note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew.

Important: Daily life in Antarctica is determined by the elements, and we’ll adjust our landings as our adventure progresses. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.

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Final Frontiers: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands Expedition - 2021

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