Time, rough seas... there are many reasons to fly to Antarctica, skipping the customary sea crossing of the Drake Passage. This 8-day Antarctica air cruise shaves up to 100 hours off your trip, flying you directly from southern Chile to King George Island in the South Shetlands. This quick 3-hour flight crossing won’t reduce the scale of your adventure – the ship you join explores the Antarctic Peninsula, just like any other expedition. You'll simply spend less time at sea, and more time diving right into the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands - penguins, seals and ice in its many forms. Plus, photography instruction is included, and there's an opportunity for polar camping and kayaking along the Peninsula for a true up-close wilderness experience. See Antarctica the fastest and most direct way: fly over the Drake Passage.
Day 1 - Punta Arenas, Chile
Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions representative will bring everyone together to your starting hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.Accommodations:
Hotel Albatros or similarIncluded Meals:
Day 2 - Fly to Antarctica & Embark King George Island
Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica will have you crossing the infamous Drake Passage in only a few hours. Way below, the ship is approaching King George Island for your arrival. The dramatic Antarctic landscapes soon become visible as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetlands. After landing, stretch your legs and spend some time exploring the island before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship. Meet the rest of your shipmates and set sail for the Peninsula!Accommodations: Sea AdventurerIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Days 3-6 - Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As you approach the White Continent, don’t be surprised if you are overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through the human eye. Your first sightings will be from the ship itself. As the Captain and Expedition Team keep their eyes out for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. A team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the geology, history and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your daily excursions to land. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking up to a beach that is dotted with penguins and seals is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica. Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities. You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs in Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a chinstrap rookery the next day. From the booming shot of a calving glacier at Petermann Island to the complete silence of night while camping in Antarctica, you’ll welcome each day with the excitement and energy of a young child. A full Expedition Team will be with you all along, providing insights into the places you visit and offering photography tips to get the most out of your expedition.Accommodations: Sea AdventurerIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - Disembark & Fly to Punta Arenas
After four days of exploration, say goodbye to the Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your journey to an end. A transfer from the airport to your hotel is included, and you can enjoy one final dinner (not included) to reminisce about all the sights and sounds of Antarctica.Accommodations:
Hotel Albatross or similarIncluded Meals:
breakfast and lunch
Day 8 - Depart Punta Arenas
After breakfast, you will make your own way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flights.Accommodations:
In addition to the 8-day voyage listed above (flying round-trip to Antarctica) you can opt to cruise one way and fly the other on a 10-day voyage to get the best of both travel options: the excitement of a southbound Drake Passage crossing and the speed and convenience of a flight back to South America. There is also a longer 11-day air cruise option available to cruise south of the Antarctic Circle.
Antarctic Express: Cruise South, Fly North
Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2 - Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina
Days 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage
Days 5-8 - Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
Day 9 - Disembarkation & Fly to Punta Arenas
Day 10 - Depart for Home
Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle
Day 1 - Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 2 - Embarkation Day
Day 3-5 - Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
Day 6-7 - The Antarctic Circle
Day 8-9 - Northbound Along the Peninsula
Day 10 - Disembarkation & Fly to Punta Arenas
Day 11 - Depart for Home
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel to Antarctica. There are no guarantees that the itinerary can achieve everything that it sets out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something everyone must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands, and the places mentioned in this itinerary may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage; all shore landings per the daily program; leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled; photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; an official Quark Expeditions parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person; all flights to or from Antarctica as specified in the itinerary; pre-night hotel in Punta Arenas with breakfast included; group transfers between the hotel and airport in conjunction with the charter flight; group transfer to hotel upon arrival in Punta Arenas; a briefing dinner on arrival day to prepare you for your trip; one night post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast included.
Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; telecommunications charges; the voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
Make your expedition experience even better by reserving a beverage package before you travel. Offered is both an all-inclusive (all beverages) and a non-alcoholic beverage package on all departures aboard the Ocean Diamond and Sea Adventurer ships. Choose from alcoholic beverages including a wide selection of domestic and imported beers, spirits, mixed drinks, cocktails and two varieties of red and white wine. Non-alcoholic drinks include unlimited soft drinks, water and juice. Prices start from $99 for non-alcoholic packages and $299 for all-inclusive packages. 2013/14 season beverage packages are $350 Ocean Diamond and $275 Sea Adventurer for all inclusive, and $150 Ocean Diamond and $120 Sea Adventurer for non-alcholic; all beverages are included aboard Sea Spirit.
Families & Children:
At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.
Payment & Cancellation:
A deposit of 20% (minimum $1,000 per person) is required to confirm a reservation on this Antarctic voyage. Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure. Payments by bank wire transfer, check, money order or major credit card are accepted. All prices and payments are in US dollars, and no other currencies can be accepted.
Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 days or more - $1000 per person admin fee
179 to 120 days - per person deposit amount is forfeited.
119 days or less - all deposits and tariffs, whether paid or not, are due and forfeited
Terms & Conditions:
This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions
. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.
Emergency evacuation insurance, to a maximum benefit per paying traveler of $100,000 USD, is included in the cost of this trip. In addition to the emergency evacuation insurance, we highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Please note that you must purchase your travel insurance policy within 14 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Click the link below for a selection of policies from our partners at Travelex.
Snowshoeing is available free of charge, and kayaking ($950) and camping ($225) may be available on your Antarctic Express Air Cruise. Please contact AdventureSmith for more details and to reserve activity space.
Antarctic Express Air Cruise: Fly the Drake will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health, has full mobility, and leads an active life. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join any off-vessel excursions, passengers must be able to navigate the steep, 30-stair, gang-way, un-assisted both down and up. Daily excursions from the boat will be made in Zodiacs. Trip members will take excursions to specific areas for wildlife observation. Hiking time for most landings will be a couple of hours roundtrip with lots of time to stop to study, photograph and enjoy the flora and fauna. Some landings are dry but many are "wet," requiring cautious footing on slippery rocks. The boat staff will be on hand to assist. You are traveling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.
Due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and is beyond the control of the operator. In the unlikely event that the charter flight is unable to fly on day 2 due to weather delays, travelers will receive an additional night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas and a ½ day tour. On day 3 should the charter flight not be able to take off by 1400hrs, the operator will officially cancel the voyage and provide letters for all clients to submit to their travel insurance providers under trip delay/interruption and cancellation clause. There will be no refund in the event of trip cancellation, and no compensation in the event of a delay. If the charter flight is not able to take off by 1400 hours on day 3, every effort to assist passengers with rebooking hotels or flights will be made, but this will be at the cost of the passengers. We strongly recommends that all clients contact their insurance provider prior to changing any reservations. Passengers on board the ship during these delays will remain on board with no additional cost until the time in which the charter flight is able to arrange transport. We advise all clients to book changeable airlines tickets along with cancellation and interruption insurance to assist with additional airline change fees. We advise all passengers to have flexible travel arrangements upon disembarkation of the voyage if delays arise. AdventureSmith Explorations and Quark Expeditions will not be held responsible for any change/cancellations fees due to weather-related delays or any other delays arising from force majeure. For cancellation due to all other events of force majuere, the trip's standard terms and conditions will apply.
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