Antarctic Explorer (IGQMK)

  • Length: 12 days
  • Transport: Ship
  • Accommodation: Cruise ship, Hotel
 

daily-itin

Day 1 Arriva Ushuaia

With a population of more than 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going and accessible feel. With the sea to the south and mountains to the north, Ushuaia is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. If you arrive early, you can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city, or visit the many boutique shops and cafés before you leave for your expedition to Antarctica.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day 2 Embarkation Ushuaia

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

Accommodation

Cruise ship (1 nt)

Days 3-4 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 we’ll provide safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.

Accommodation

Cruise ship (2 nts)

Days 5-9 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

When 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 can begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica we witness something new or unexpected, meaning your expedition will be unlike any other.

We will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. 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 the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.

The majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains will enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Orne Harbour, gives the opportunity to visit a chinstrap penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here you’ll have the choice between going for a mountain hike or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach to enjoy the antics of curious penguins. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets! Amidst the peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour. You can make a bit of noise yourself too and listen to the echo of voices bounce off a giant glacier.

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

Accommodation

Cruise ship (5 nts)

Days 10-11 Drake Passage

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your Expedition Team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Accommodation

Cruise ship (2 nts)

Day 12 Disembarkation in Ushuaia

You’ll arrive in Ushuaia in the morning for you to continue your adventure on land or catch your flights home.

  • Camping - Antarctica 14/15 ()

Itinerary disclaimer

Polar travel requires an amount of flexibility as weather, ice conditions and wildlife can all affect where your ship is able to access, and where your Expedition Team think you will get the best experience possible from your trip. On board, daily updates are given to advise what the specific itinerary will be for the next day based on local conditions. Published itineraries are subject to change when local conditions dictate.

These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.

included

Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.

optional-extras

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES - ANTARCTICA

On some voyages we offer optional activities such as kayaking, camping, cross-country skiing and mountaineering. Numbers on these activities are extremely limited so it is important that you book in advance. A list of which activities are available on each voyage is included on the link under Dates & Availability on the website. Your consultant can advise the prices of these activities.

On most voyages there is also the option of a photography program. This includes a series of photography-focused lectures and shore excursions. There is no cost for this activity and it does not need to be booked in advance.

Some voyages also offer snowshoeing. There is no cost for this activity and it does not need to be booked in advance.

money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

The US Dollar is the standard currency on board. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover Card and American Express are accepted on board for settling your shipboard account.

 

At the time designated in the shipboard program, please give the Hotel Manager the credit card you would like to use for all your incidental expenses. An account will be opened for your cabin for purchases aboard ship. This will include bar services, laundry, postage, and communication charges. A ‘chit’ system will operate for on board payments. You will sign for any bar, wine, communication charges, laundry, etc. An account for payment will be presented to you on the final day of the voyage. Final payment can be made using cash, travellers’ checks or major credit cards. Personal cheques are not accepted on board. If you are sharing a cabin and would like separate accounts, you must advise the Hotel Manager.

 

It is wise to travel with sufficient cash to pay for incidentals such as shipboard items on the last day of the voyage, airport taxes and taxicab transfers.

Tipping

The voyage price does not include the customary gratuity to the ship’s personnel, which is divided amongst the crew, Expedition Team and Hospitality Team. We suggest this guideline for your convenience: aboard ship US $13 to US $15 per traveller, per day. The amount you choose to give is at your discretion. It can be added to your shipboard account.

Departure tax

Please allow US$36 for international airport departure tax.

other-important-information

ANTARCTICA DEPOSIT:

An increased non-refundable deposit of A$2000 is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 120 days prior to departure.

Group size

Maximum of 112 travellers per group.

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

Accommodation

Cruise ship (10 nts), Hotel (1 nt)

All passenger cabins have exterior views, private facilities and climate control. Cabins are cleaned daily. Linen and towels are provided. There is a hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.

 

The different types of cabins available and their prices can be accessed via the Dates & Availability link.

SEA SPIRIT
There are seven different cabin types on board the Sea Spirit
Triple - 2 twin beds and a sofa bed, private facilities
Main Deck Cabin - either 2 twins or a King Size bed, private facilities
Classic Cabin - either 2 twins or a King Size bed, private facilities, window
Superior Cabin - either 2 twins or a King Size bed, private facilities, window
Deluxe Cabin - either 2 twins or a King Size bed, private balcony, private facilities
Premium Suite - either 2 twins or a King Size bed, private balcony, private facilities
Owner's Suite - Living room, bathroom with tub, sleeping room with king bed, private sun deck

 

A deck plan showing the layout of the ship is below

 
meals

11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners

Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room. Hours of operation will be posted and are subject to change to accommodate the expedition. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available around the clock. The tap water on board is safe to drink.

 

We're able to meet most special dietary requests, as long as you have clearly indicated your requirements far in advance of your voyage. Kosher food cannot be prepared.

transport

Ship

The Sea Spirit was built in 1991and was refurbished in 2010. She is 90 metres, has a 1D Ice class rating and a cruising speed of 14.5 knots. She carries a maximum of 112 guests.

group-leader

On the Sea Spirit, you will have an Expedition Leader and at least 7 additional staff who will be a combination of specialists and Zodiac drivers. Final numbers will depend on the itinerary.

joining-point

Your Ushuaia Hotel

Your Ushuaia Hotel

Ushuaia

ARGENTINA

 
Arriv-complications

We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.

finishing-point

Ushuaia

Ushuaia

ARGENTINA

 
emergency
 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Quark Expeditions can be reached on tel: +1 416 504 5900 (business hours - US & Canada Eastern) or 001 647 449 5303 (after hours). For further contact details please use the following page:

Emergency funds

Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

visa-information

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

 

We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

 

ARGENTINA TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required

ARGENTINA RECIPROCITY TAX:
The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
Australians - US$100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from date of issue)
Canadians - US$75 (single entry) or US$ 150 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
Americans - US$140 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)

 

This fee can only be paid on line through the following website:
https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/

 

For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
http://cnyor.mrecic.gov.ar/userfiles/Online_payment_instructions_0.pdf

 

A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.

Issues

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

 

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

 

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

what-to-take

You will be travelling to coastal regions during the austral summer, when conditions are mild – mean coastal temperatures are seldom far below freezing. However, sunny conditions can swiftly shift to storms with very cold winds and snow flurries. Be prepared for rapid weather changes. Average daytime temperatures in mid season are between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit or -4 and +2 Celsius. Wind and weather conditions, can make it seem colder. Daytime temperatures frequently drop below freezing.

Clothing on board ship is generally informal. For outdoor wear, please bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Tight clothing is not recommended as it does not allow insulating air to be trapped.Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like fleece, retain heat. We do not recommend clothing made of cotton. Plan to dress in layers.

Essential Gear:

  • Boots - Rubber boots are provided on a loan basis for the duration of the voyage. You do not need to bring these with you.
  • Parkas - A complimentary parka will be provided on the ship.
  • Pants - Waterproof pants are essential for zodiac travel as well as activities on shore. These, over a pair of warm pants, will keep you warm and dry.
  • Gloves - To keep your hands warm and dry, pack a minimum of two pairs of gloves: a pair of thin polypropylene gloves to be worn underneath warm outer gloves. We strongly recommend that you bring at least one other set of gloves in case on pair gets wet or lost.
  • Hat and Scarf - Pack a warm, woollen hat or cap that covers your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection. A peaked or brimmed hat helps protect against the sun but needs some kind of retainer for windy conditions.
  • Socks - For maximum warmth we suggest that you wear two pairs of socks inside the rubber boots that are loaned to you. In addition, pack warm, long wool or cotton socks to be worn over a thin pair of silk or polypropylene socks. Bring several pairs.
  • Outer Clothing - Pack woollen or fleece sweaters and tops, plus several turtlenecks for layering.
  • Underclothing - Pack silk or polypropylene underwear since it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Many polar travellers prefer a lightweight version but this depends on your own personal thermostat.
  • Day Pack - To keep your hands free for shooting photographs bring a water resistant or waterproof daypack
  • Shoes - Bring shoes with non-slip soles for walking around the vessel. Slip-on sandals are not suitable for use on board ship.
  • Swimsuit - There may be an opportunity for a polar plunge during the voyage so we recommend that you pack a swimsuit.
  • Children - Children will be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.
Medical---prep

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of staff, any traveller is found to be unfit to complete the itinerary on the day of embarkation, they may be denied boarding and excluded from the trip without refund.

If you are taking prescribed medication, carry an extra week’s supply just in case of flight delays or other unforeseen circumstances. If you have particular health needs, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician explaining your health problems and/or the dosage required for the prescribed medication. The letter will assist our doctor on board, and any emergency medical personnel to care for you should you become ill. Please hand the letter to the expedition doctor once you are on board.

 

There will be a licensed English-speaking physician on board. Your vessel will have a medical clinic with a limited supply of prescription medicines and basic first aid equipment. The clinic will not be stocked with every drug or piece of equipment required for every medical problem. If you are under regular treatment for any ailment, you must bring a sufficient supply of medicines for yourself. We cannot accept responsibility for not having a specific brand or type of drug on board.

 

You should anticipate some rough seas. The motion sickness medication that is available on board is for emergencies only. To avoid motion sickness, avoid alcohol, tobacco, excess liquids, and confined spaces. Most people feel better on deck looking at the horizon or lying still with their eyes shut. You will definitely feel better with some food in your
stomach, such as dry toast or crackers.

safety

As a ship registered for international voyages, the Sea Spirit must comply with a variety of regulations, codes and industry standards. This regime of requirements ensures that internationally accepted standards for safety and environmental protection are developed, implemented and monitored within the company management system onshore and on board the ship. The ship adheres to regulations set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) including ISM Code (Safety Management System), ISPS Code (for ship and port security), SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Prevention), the flag state and the classification society on an accredited system. In addition, as the Sea Spirit spends considerable time in the Antarctic waters, Quark Expeditions, Inc is a full member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and a full member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators).

CHILDREN: The minimum age for travel is 12. If a child is travelling without their parent/legal guardian, their parent/legal guardian will need to fill out a waiver form. Children will also be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.

travel-insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

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