Travelers stand on bow of small ship as it cruises turquoise water with iceberg bits in the sun, toward snowy mountains.
Gray fur seals sit on rocky shoreline with rusted, abandoned whaling station & dark rocky mountains behind under clouds.
Field of red spiked wildflowers with dark mountain peaks & turquoise bay in distance, seen on South Georgia Grand Tour.
Group of brown furry juvenile king penguins stand on rocky beach by adults with silver backs, orange beaks & yellow necks.
Antarctica travelers hike in a line under sun & over rocky mountain peaks by blue bay during the South Georgia Grand Tour.
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Polar Regions Antarctica Cruise

South Georgia Explorer

Few places on the planet compare to South Georgia in terms of exotic wildlife and jaw-dropping scenery. On this exploratory 15-day voyage aboard 108-guest Plancius, experience it in depth.

Sail round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, to take in endemic birds (South Georgia pipits, Antarctic prions, petrels, etc.) plus sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, great wandering albatrosses and the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony. Aim to see all the possible penguins: Magellanic, gentoo, rockhopper, king, macaroni and chinstrap penguins. Disembark back in Ushuaia, Argentina, an excellent starting point for iconic Patagonia adventures.

Read on for details about this voyage, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Antarctica cruises and Falkland Islands & South Georgia cruises.



Itinerary

South Georgia Explorer Itinerary

The South Georgia Explorer cruise operates round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, focusing solely on South Georgia Island.

Route map of South Georgia Explorer cruise, round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, with visits along the island's north shore.
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Day 1
Embark Ushuaia, Argentina

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Accommodations

Plancius

Meals

dinner

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Days 2 - 3
At Sea

En route to South Georgia, you cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions and skuas.

Accommodations

Plancius

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Shag Rocks

Depending on weather conditions, you may sail past Shag Rocks. This small group of 6 islands on the South Georgia Ridge in shallower waters. The nutrient-rich waters in this area offers a lot of food for birds and whales. The islands are named after the South Georgian Shags, known for their bright blue eyes and yellow patch on their beak.

Accommodations

Plancius

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 5 - 10
South Georgia

Arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program. Sites you might visit include:

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbor
These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here.

Fortuna Bay
A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. You may have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.

Leith Harbor, Stromness, Husvik
These sites remind of the scale of the whaling industry in the early 20th century. Elephant and fur seals breed and moult here. Gentoo penguins also occupy the landing sites. Antarctic prions and South Georgia dive petrels may be observed, especially in the area of Husvik.

Grytviken
In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place–because they basically do. Here you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

Cobblers Cove, Godthul
At Cobblers Cove, aim for Rookery Point to see macaroni penguins. Light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest along the coastline and giant petrels can be observed as well. Godthul (Norwegian for “good cove”) was named by Norwegian whalers and seal-hunters and remains such as bones can still be found along the shore line. Beaches are the home of gentoo penguins and seals.

Royal Bay (Moltke Harbor, Will Point & Brisbane Point)
Moltke harbor in Royal Bay was named by the German International Polar Year Expedition in 1882 and some of the remains of their dwellings are still visible. The scenery of Royal Bay is beautiful, dark sandy beaches, followed by the green tussock colors and finally dominated by the snow and ice covered Ross Glacier. Royal Bay is one of the windiest bays on the island, and Zodiac cruising is spectacular. Approx. 30,000 pairs of king penguins live here.

Cooper Bay
This site offers the largest chinstrap penguin population and gentoo and also macaroni penguins are present. Antarctic terns, white-chinned petrels, blue-eyed shags and light-mantled sooty albatrosses can be spotted too.

Drygalski Fjord
This site offers spectacular landscapes as the ship sails the narrow fjord, with roughly 1.25-mile-high mountain peaks at a very close distance.

King Haakon Bay
British explorer Ernest Shackleton reached King Haakon Bay during his journey of 800 sea-miles by open boat “James Caird” from Elephant Island. From here he crossed to Stromness to ask for help to rescue his party at Elephant Island after they had left the Weddell Sea, where their ship got crushed by ice. Elephant seals dominate the beaches. Birdwatchers will look out for South Georgia pipits, Antarctic prions as well as common diving and blue petrels.

Accommodations

Plancius

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 11 - 14
At Sea

There may be sea ice on this route, south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds such as albatrosses and petrels trailing the vessel. Eventually the ship reaches the Drake Passage and you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south.

Accommodations

Plancius

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 15
Disembark Ushuaia, Argentina

You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; all meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; free use of rubber boots and snowshoes; pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia directly after disembarkation; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; comprehensive pre-departure material.

Exclusions

Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post-land arrangements; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage and cancellation insurance; personal insurance (mandatory); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard; fuel surcharge (your Adventure Specialist will provide details).

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

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 Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The South Georgia Explorer cruise begins and ends in Ushuaia, Argentina (USH). Embarkation time is between 4:00-5:00pm on day of departure. We strongly advise all passengers to arrive the night prior to departure and get a hotel in Puerto Madryn to avoid baggage and flight delays. The ship sails around 6:00pm on day of departure. Disembarkation is after breakfast on final day between 8:30-9:00am. Plan flights to depart Ushuaia any time after noon on the final day. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Various activities may be available on your South Georgia Explorer cruise. Per-person prices: ski trekking $TBD (2025-26 season); snowshoeing included; hiking included (2-3 hours or longer). Please contact AdventureSmith to reserve space with your booking.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x the per-person Twin or Superior listed rates. Single travelers wishing to book on a “sharing basis” may do so at no additional cost in Twin, Triple or Quadruple categories upon availability.

Families & Children

Upon request, children under 16 years old traveling with parents may receive 40% discount in Grand Suite, Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents/adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents/adults). Some voyages may be excluded.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $100,000 per person. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Antarctica expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Nov 13 - Nov 27, 2025
Plancius • 15 days
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From $10900USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Plancius

The Plancius is a 108-passenger small ship designed and built exclusively for polar cruises. A wide variety of cabins, ample space on five decks and a wide range of activities offered make the Plancius a great option for active expedition cruises.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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Our team is adept at matchmaking you with a trip & we’re happy to provide a personalized trip recommendation any time. To keep researching yourself, head to our comprehensive Antarctica Cruise Finder, or narrow in on more Falkland Islands Antarctica cruise options by viewing our curated collection of trips to South Georgia.

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South Georgia Explorer