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Before your Antarctica exploration, why not cross another incredible natural wonder off your bucket list, and add another country (Brazil) to your passport? Travel to spectacular Iguassu Falls National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 275 thundering falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Second in size only to Victoria Falls, this series of cataracts once prompted Eleanor Roosevelt to take pity on her country’s most famous falls, saying “Poor Niagara!” as she gazed upon mighty Iguassu. The falls are all impressive, but the most spectacular is the Devil’s Throat, the 2,300-foot-long spectacle that separates Argentina and Brazil.
Depart home and fly overnight to Buenos Aires
Your expedition begins! Today you’ll fly overnight from the U.S. to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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, if you like, 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.
Discover the best of Buenos Aires
On today's city tour of Buenos Aires, you’ll see important sights such as the Plaza de Mayo, the city’s 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, Juan and 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 La Caminita, 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.
Enjoy lunch on your own and then discover why Buenos Aires is considered one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, with its wide boulevards reminiscent of Paris; opulent neo-baroque, neo-classical and Art Nouveau architecture; and elegant shops and sidewalk cafes filled with fashionable patrons.
Fly to Ushuaia, embark the Ocean Explorer
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight to 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 explore a bit on your own. Perhaps you’ll stroll through the Parque Yatana, a woodland preserve where local Fuegians practice and sell handicrafts. Poke around the town’s shops and cafes, then you’ll transfer to the pier to embark the Ocean Explorer, your 5-star expedition ship.
Settle in and enjoy the scenic views of the snowy Andes and Beagle Channel, where Darwin made some of his evolutionary discoveries. Before dinner you’ll meet your expedition team as your ship sets sail for Antarctica. There will be an informative port talk; then, gather with your fellow travelers for a Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Crossing the Drake Passage
During these two days at sea you’ll accomplish a travel milestone, crossing the legendary body of water that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, stretching for about 600 miles from the tip of South America to Antarctica. Though the Drake Passage 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.
During your crossing, depending on conditions your onboard expedition team will prepare you for the adventure to come by hosting presentations on history, geology, astronomy, ornithology, marine biology and more. Looking for photo tips? Check the schedule (posted on your onboard interactive system) for the next photography workshop. If the seas are calm enough for you to be on deck, keep your eyes peeled for pelagic birds or whales.
Rejuvenate during your voyage with our luxurious spa services, by taking a tip in the hot tub or infinity pool, and relaxing with a trip to the sauna.
Discovery awaits with 7 days in Antarctica
Welcome to "The White Continent"! In the history of humankind, only a tiny handful of people have ever set foot on Antarctica and now you will be one of them. Prepare to witness the most unspoiled, sublime terrain on earth, with its vast glacial expanses and massive electric blue icebergs the size of cities. 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 be exploring all along the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland islands, venturing ashore every day for naturalist-led expeditions via our versatile Zodiac boats. Wherever our explorations lead us, you can look forward to encountering penguin refuges, floating icebergs, paradisiacal bays and quiet, wildlife-rich sounds, international research bases, and even an active caldera!
Please note: Remember, daily life in Antarctica is determined by the elements, and we’ll adjust our landings as our adventure progresses.
Cruise the Drake Passage
Heading back to Argentina, you’ll again cross the Drake Passage, cruising the legendary waters around Cape Horn. Depending on the seas, you might take advantage of your ship’s amenities, perhaps visiting the sauna or enjoying a soothing massage in the spa. You might also take in a movie, join a fitness class, or simply curling up with a book from the library. As we get closer to South America, if the seas are calm enough you might join your expedition team on deck for birdwatching, perhaps spotting fulmar, petrel, or even a wandering albatross, with its eleven-foot wing span. Keep your eyes peeled for marine life—these waters frequently host southern right whales.
Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
After breakfast on board, you'll disembark the Ocean Explorer and transfer to the airport and fly back to Buenos Aires. After settling into your hotel your afternoon is free. Perhaps you’ll learn a little more about Eva Duarte Perón, Argentina’s most fascinating First Lady, at the Evita Museum. There are two fine museums if you like modern art, the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo. For last-minute shopping you might browse the fashion boutiques around Plazoleta Julio Cortázar.
For your Farewell Dinner tonight you’ll experience a Buenos Aires icon: El Viejo Almacen, a three-story “tango temple” that is located in the historic San Telmo district. This atmospheric neighborhood is where the tango was born. Enjoy a delicious Argentinian dinner with wine, followed by a thrilling show featuring more than 20 performers — the perfect sendoff for your milestone adventure!
After breakfast, you may choose to spend your morning at leisure before flying home.
Enhance your understanding of Polynesian culture — and treat yourself to an exotic island experience in the “navel of the world” — on a post-trip extension to Easter Island, a Chilean territory and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rapa Nui, as it’s locally known, is distinguished worldwide as the one and only home of the mystifying moai statues. This extension is your opportunity to encounter these mystical talismans up close and disentangle history from legend. Who created these statues? How? Why? And what happened to them?
Please note: This itinerary is representative of the discoveries planned for the Antarctic region. Flexibility is a hallmark of our explorations, and your day-by-day cruise itinerary may change based on the weather and local conditions; as well as opportunities to take full advantage of rare wildlife sightings. Our captain and crew will ascertain the ideal locations for actual shore landings.
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.