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Antarctica Explorer – Discovering the 7th Continent


Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where Mother Nature creates the rules—her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal.

Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through sea ice that crackles like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, experience exhilarating adventures and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.

Contact us to organize your Antarctic Cruise to this incredible part of the world.


[vc_row][vc_column][trx_section][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section title=”Highlights” tab_id=”1449208778331-f30d2fa3-c18c”][vc_column_text]Highlights include:

  • Discovering why this trip is perfect for first-time visitors to Antarctica
  • Exploring highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Travelling safely and comfortably aboard any of Quark Expeditions® ice-strengthened expedition vessels
  • Learning about the environment and wildlife from on-board lecturers and specialists
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife: penguins, seals, whales and more!
  • Walking with the Giraffes on Crescent Island
  • Visiting with the Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park

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Day 01: Ushuaia, Argentina – Arrival
With a population of more than 63,000, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. Although the city has grown during the past few years, it retains an easygoing and accessible feel. Surrounded by the sea to the south and the mountains to the north, Ushuaia is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. If you arrive early, you can spend time in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy Argentine wines and barbecues in the city, or visit the many boutiques and cafés before you leave for your expedition to Antarctica.

Day 02: Embarkation Day
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail through the historic Beagle Channel. This famous channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you’ll see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!

Day 03 & 4: Crossing the Drake Passage
Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing, as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates while your Expedition Team provides safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.

Day 05-08: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travellers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.

The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Danco Island, affords us the opportunity to visit a penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here, you’ll have the choice between hiking to the island’s summit or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach, enjoying the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets!

Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour.

Each day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.

Day 09 & 10: Crossing the Drake Passage
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Day 11: Disembarkation in Ushuaia
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your flights home OR extend your trip in Argentina!

IMPORTANT REMINDER Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a polar expedition.

You may arrive in Ushuaia at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Ushuaia is a destination worth exploring, so we do encourage you to arrive a day or two before your expedition. Based on the arrival information you send us, we will arrange for a transfer from the airport to your hotel.
A Quark Expeditions® representative will be available to answer your questions in the lobby of your hotel in Ushuaia during your optional predeparture briefing on Day 1, at 6 pm.
On the morning of Day 2, your luggage will be collected from the lobby of your hotel, transferred to the ship and stored in your cabin.
Ship embarkation will occur on Day 2 of your itinerary, usually around 4 pm. You and your shipmates will meet at a designated spot near the pier, and board the waiting buses for transfer to the ship. Information about embarkation will be posted in your Ushuaia hotel and discussed during your optional predeparture meeting on Day 1.

Your ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier in Ushuaia, between 7 am and 8 am local time. Once the ship has docked, you will have time to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and shipmates before completing your disembarkation. The process takes about an hour.

Weather conditions can always change our arrival times, and airline schedule changes have also been known to occur. Please book your flight home from Ushuaia to depart as late in the day as possible or at a date after the end of your expedition. If you have booked a flight that departs before 11 am on the date that your expedition ends, you will be at risk of missing your flight.

Quark Expeditions® staff in Ushuaia will reconfirm your domestic flight 48 hours prior to disembarkation, provided you give your information to our team ahead of time or when you board the ship.

Please note that weather conditions can always delay our arrival times, and airline schedule changes have also been known to occur. Booking flexible tickets is always encouraged, as we cannot be held responsible for ship delays due to unforeseen circumstances. A post-expedition hotel night in Buenos Aires is recommended.

Thanks for travelling with Finisterra!

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Stepping foot on Antarctica is a moment of pleasure that affects each traveler differently. Your possible landing in Antarctica will take place on the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic Mountains chain and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land. Formed by uplifted submarine troughs that were filled with sediment about 220 million years ago, this is a dynamic land of both desolation and diversity. To the east is the frozen, wild Weddell Sea. To the west, howling winds and warming seas from the Southern Ocean create perfect conditions for whale sightings.

A gentoo penguin rookery is situated on a rocky beach at the north end of the island. Depending on when in the season you arrive, you may see the penguins building nests or attending to their chicks. Giant petrels and kelp gulls breed on the island.

If you are lucky enough to mail a postcard in Antarctica, you’ll likely pass through Damoy Point, the northern entrance to the harbor where Port Lockroy is located.

Home to gentoo penguins, this small island is easy to explore, at only one mile (1.6 km) long. You can visit the marker of a former British Antarctic Survey hut, where you can watch for a variety of seabirds, such as snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls and blue-eyed shags.

Located in Wilhelmina Bay, this island was once used by whalers. A Zodiac cruise around the island passes a wrecked whaling ship.

You’ll see firsthand why this strait, which runs between Booth Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, is one of the most scenic locations on the peninsula’s west coast, especially during sunrise and sunset. The channel may become impassable when ice fills the narrow 6.8-mile (11 km) long passageway, so we’ll hope for clear waters.

This group of low islands in Dallmann Bay is where you may see hauled-out male fur seals as they recuperate from their battles for supremacy at the end of their breeding season.

Little evidence remains that this bay was once used by the floating whale factory ship Neko. You might see whale vertebrae being used by resident gentoo penguins as shelter from the wind. Climb up a steep slope for spectacular views of the glacier-rimmed harbor.

Here, near the Lemaire Channel, you can stand ashore and see the southernmost breeding colony of gentoo penguins. The dome of the island rises 650 feet (200 meters) above the sea, offering a challenging hike for panoramic views. Adélie penguins, shags and south polar skuas also inhabit the island.

As part of Operation Tabarin during the Second World War, a secret British base was built in this sheltered harbor, located on the west side of Wiencke Island. Now a designated historic site, the base is a museum and post office. Proceeds from your purchases in Port Lockroy support the British Antarctic Heritage trust, which preserves historic sites from the Heroic Age of Exploration. A large gentoo penguin population resides here and is observed for any effects of tourism.

The Bransfield Strait separates this archipelago from the Antarctic Peninsula. The South Shetland Islands stretch for 335 miles (540 km) from northeast to southwest. In the 1820s, sealers swept the islands’ beaches of seals. When the seal market collapsed, the sealers retreated. Over the course of time, seals have returned to the islands.

This group of small islands, some still unnamed, is situated in the northern entrance of the English Strait. You can often spot a great mix of wildlife in the area, with gentoo and chinstrap penguins having established rookeries on the islands. Southern elephant and fur seals frequently haul out here, too.

Also known as Rancho Point, Bailey Head is a rocky headland on the southeastern shore of Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins build nests on slopes leading to a high ridge that dominates the natural amphitheater and provides a superb setting for landscape photography.

This crescent-shaped island was known to sealers as early as 1821. Unlike sealers, who tried to keep their best locations secret, we’re happy to bring you ashore on this impressive island. Many Antarctic birds breed here, including chinstrap penguins, shags, Wilson’s storm petrels, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns and skua.

Macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguin rookeries are located on this point, which is on the south coast of Livingston Island. Due to the rather congested area available to the nesting penguins, you can only visit here from January 10 onward.

Geothermal waters are found along the shoreline of this cove, named for observations made in 1829 by a British expedition. You may see yellow algae and boiled krill floating on the surface because of the scalding water!

Antarctica has two flowering plants, both of which you can find on Penguin Island: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and southern elephant seals use the island for breeding purposes.

A nice spot for Zodiac cruising, this point was known to sealers as early as 1820. Chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and pintado petrels breed here, and whales may be seen in the surrounding waters.

Your Expedition Team will be happy to point out that this is where the most recent evidence of volcanic eruption on Deception Island can be seen.

Chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries are found on this point, situated on the south coast of King George Island. The beaches here are often crowded with southern elephant, fur and Weddell seals hauling out on the rocks.

To reach Whaler’s Bay, it is necessary to sail through a narrow passage called Neptune’s Bellows. The bay was used by whalers from 1906 to 1931 and is part of a protected harbor created by the formation of the circular flooded caldera known as Deception Island. Along with waddling penguins and lounging seals, you’ll see the rusting remains of whaling operations on the beach. Watch for steam that may rise from geothermally heated springs along the shoreline.

Gentoo penguins have established a rookery on this harbor, situated on the southwest side of Greenwich Island. Here, you can see an abandoned Argentine refuge hut and a large glacier that stretches along the east and north sides of the bay. An abandoned sealing try pot is all that remains of the activity that brought men thousands of miles in tall ships to seek their fortune.
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Booking an Adventure Option as part of your expedition is a great way to enhance your polar experience. These options are subject to availability and fill up quickly, so be sure to book yours early. Please note that Adventure Options are weather dependent.

Imagine gliding across the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers! Our sea kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage during landings, taking advantage of the best opportunities, as kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. We recommend that you have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit.

We advise that sea kayaking in polar waters is not an activity for first-time paddlers. Beginners interested in kayaking should take an introductory kayaking course prior to their voyage. In addition, regardless of your experience, we recommend kayaking lessons for a minimum of three hours in preparation for your expedition. To maximize your enjoyment and your overall experience, it is of the utmost importance that you be comfortable while kayaking.

Treat yourself to an overnight camping adventure in Antarctica! This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica in an intimate manner, and take your expedition to the next level. Camping is available on most early season Antarctic voyages. A camping safety briefing onboard gets you fully prepped and ready for a night sleeping under the stars. Dress warmly and eat a hearty meal before you head out, as no meals are allowed on land. All equipment and instruction is provided, no tent required. Our popular camping options have limited availability, varying by ship. You will need to complete a waiver form before being considered for this Adventure Option.

Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Taken in small groups—on calm bays and harbors in good weather conditions—and accompanied by a Zodiac, our paddleboarding adventures can be booked in advance (limited availability), and after the first successful outing, will be offered via sign-up onboard ship on a first-come, first-served basis for any subsequent outings.

Many recreational pastimes are offered free on all voyages. Morning and afternoon excursions to cruise the waters via Zodiac or explore on shore are part of the regular daily schedule. Hikes are led by experienced staff, and groups are organized by fitness level. Be sure to take your camera with you—photography is very much a part of the big picture. Presentations and lectures are slotted into the late afternoon and after dinner, when everyone is back on board.

Walking poles are also provided at each landing for your convenience. Snowshoes may also be provided when conditions are favorable. This equipment is available at no cost.
More information about your Adventure Options, including the necessary experience, physical requirements and cost, is available by contacting your Polar Travel Adviser.

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Tour Inclusions:


    • • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
    • • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
    • • Beer and wine during dinner
    • • All shore landings per the daily program
    • • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
    • • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
    • • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
    • • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
    • • Photography guide on Expedition Team
    • • Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
    • • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
    • • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
    • • A hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
    • • Comprehensive predeparture materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
    • • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
    • • All luggage handling aboard the ship
    • • All gratuities
    • • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
    • • Group transfer in Ushuaia from the airport to the pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
    • • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Ushuaia, with breakfast
    • • Group transfer from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day
    • Group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport

Tour Exclusions:


    • • International airfare (can be booked through us)
    • • Passport and visa expenses
    • • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
    • • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
    • • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
    • • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
    • • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
    • • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
    • • Phone and Internet charges
    • • Additional overnight accommodation
    • Optional adventure activities

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DATES – Expedition Aboard the Adventure Ship OCEAN DIAMOND
November 6 – November 16, 2018
December 9 – December 19, 2018
December 18 – December 28, 2018
December 27, 2018 – January 6, 2019
January 23 – February 2, 2019
February 1 – February 11, 2019
• •

    • $6,895 Triple
    • $12,295 Porthole
    • $9,995 Obst. View
    • $10,395 Window
    • $11,295 Suite
    • $11,395 Balcony Suite

• • •
DATES Expedition Aboard the Adventure Ship WORLD EXPLORER

January 3 – January 13, 2019 / January 12 – January 22, 2019 / January 30 – February 9, 2019

$8,495 Triple
$12,695 Infinity Suite
$13,195 Veranda Suite
$14,395 Superior Suite
$14,995 Deluxe Suite
$15,695 Owner’s Suite
• • •

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    • The Ocean Diamond is a modern, stable super-yacht, and one of the largest of our small expedition ships. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for polar expeditions.

As one of the fastest, and most eco-friendly ships in Antarctica, it is also one of the most comfortable. There are 101 elegantly designed cabins and suites, all with exterior views, and expansive common spaces, a club lounge, and a spacious restaurant. The ship offers numerous adventure options, plus on-board features such as interactions with photography instructors. After a full day of exploration, passengers can relax, browse books or DVDs in the well-stocked polar library, or enjoy stunning polar scenery from the sun-lit, panoramic observation lounge.

World Explorer
Distinct and comfortable, refined and roomy—these attributes and more describe World Explorer. Not only will it be among our fastest ships, it will also be one of our finest, with six tiers of deluxe accommodation.

The personal space is exceptional. Every cabin has either a private walk-out or Juliet balcony for direct ocean views. World Explorer also delivers plenty of public areas to unwind in after a day outdoors, including the glass-domed Observation Lounge for quiet contemplation and full skyline views, the Explorer Lounge for a drink and a chat, and the library for more intimate relaxing and reading. Presentations and discussions are facilitated in a dedicated lecture theatre.

Health and wellness facilities feature an outdoor running track, a small gym and a sauna, plus a spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. For the active adventurers, add-ons include kayaking, camping and stand-up paddleboarding.

Blending high design with total functionality, World Explorer is all set to be your home away from home on the seas.



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