Santiago De Chile, Chile
Enjoy an overnight at the energetic and cultural core of Chile
Your expedition starts with an overnight stay in Santiago, the energetic and cultural core of Chile. Filled with museums, beautiful architecture and top-notch restaurants, the city has all the high notes you would expect of a capital. There is a wealth of sites and attractions to see, and you’ll only be limited by time, not choice.
Ride the historic funicular up to Cerro San Cristóbal for commanding views of the city and the Andean glaciers beyond. This is the largest park in the city and the site of the national zoo and botanic gardens. Surrounding the park is the hip Bella Vista neighbourhood which is great to wander around for chilled-out cafés by day and Latin-inspired bars and clubs by night. A walk to the 18th century presidential palace and historical heart Plaza de Armas will ensure you have enough snaps of the main landmarks. If you’ve time, head to Mercado Central fish market to sample classic Chilean seafood stew caldillo de congrio.
Santiago De Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile
Fly to Punta Arenas and explore this town before embarking your ship
You leave Santiago early in the morning, so make sure to set your alarm. From the airport, you fly to Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s southernmost region located on the Brunswick Peninsula, just north of the Strait of Magellan. What began as a penal colony boomed during the gold-rush and sheep-farming periods of the 1880s and early 1900s and is now one of only two low-tax ports in Chile.
MS Fram is waiting here for you, ready to get you started on your expedition cruise to Antarctica. Aboard the ship, you’ll meet and greet the Expedition Team and crew members. They’ll conduct a health and safety meeting for all guests before we set sail. Head out on the observation deck to catch a last glimpse of Punta Arenas as we begin our course south. Then sip on drinks and turn your eyes towards Antarctica while you enjoy views from the Explorer Lounge & Bar.
As we pass through Magellan Strait, enjoy views from deck and mingle with fellow travelers
With our course set for the Falkland Islands, you’ll be in the hands of the expert Expedition Team. You’ll find that they are not just inspirational teachers and attentive hosts, but bonafide adventurers who’ve got their share of stories to tell. Whether it’s about marine biology, Arctic survival, oceanography or photography, you’ll feed off their enthusiasm in each lecture. You can join them in the lecture hall and in the Science Center to learn about the Falklands interesting history and fascinating wildlife. If you are interested in art, you can attend art classes and even learn how to tie knots for when you go on landings.
Good times are also to be had in our restaurants which are located in the aft of the ship. You’ll note that wherever your table is placed, you’ll be able to gaze on the views outdoors.
Day 4 - 6
With fantastic wildlife, clear blue skies, vast open spaces and stunning beaches, this place will amaze you with its wonders
The Falkland Islands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature, and offer fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces, and stunning white beaches. There exists one of the largest colonies of penguins. There are four different kinds of them namely King, rockhopper, Magellanic and gentoo penguins. With its enigmatic display of yellow-orange coloration on the sides of their heads and under their beak, King penguins are the most in number.
Stanley, the islands’ capital, makes a wonderful starting point for various excursions in the area. Roam around the wonderful town and get to know more about the place which has a history of over 400 years.
Over the next 2 days, the captain and expedition team decide which site of these islands are safe to land keeping wind and sea conditions in mind. Expect to spend whole day hiking, visiting some local houses for refreshments, seeing albatrosses, penguin colonies, beaches, sunny sky, farms and much more. Here we will be docked whole day, giving you plenty of time to explore on your own, or join optional excursions.
Included - Community Walk across Stanley
Day 7 - 8
After exploring different sites of Falklands, we sail further to South Georgia
We spend two days cruising southward to beautiful South Georgia. Enroute, you can participate in several presentations on board about the area’s wildlife, as well as whaling and polar history.
Like wilderness explorers, the expedition leader will plan out our adventures and exploration in South Georgia. Our expedition teams will guide you on the geology, ecology, and glaciology of the place with a pinch of history on the legends of the Norwegian Whalers.
Days at sea is also an opportunity to talk and discuss with your fellow mates at the diners, bars or out on the decks resting.
As we sail past the drake passage, the sea birds are here to give us company once again.
Day 9 - 13
The Serengeti of the southern ocean awaits to charm you with it's elephant seal and king penguin colonies
This special expedition is by far considered the best to explore South Georgia by our guests, as you have more time to explore the unique beauty and wildlife of this region exclusively. The rich history of exploration and whaling lends a great backdrop to its rugged scenery with glaciers and bustling wildlife. It is known as the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean and is a favoured place for wildlife photographers. The cruise anchors down for the coming five days at South Georgia.
The unique position of South Georgia inside the Antarctic ecosystem has a combination of sea and ice. This makes it home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. Here you will experience the wildlife at its best. You will see elephant seals lounge on the sand, fur seal pups race in and out of the water, albatross soaring overhead, and king penguins in thousands.
Another highlight of South Georgia is exploring the Gold Harbour. If conditions permit, the captain will take you there to enjoy the sight of hanging glaciers and cliffs, lagoons and a large king penguin colony.
You also will be visiting the age-old Whaling Museum, the Norwegian seaman’s church, and the tiny graveyard where we can pay our respects to the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
South Georgia also has plenty of hiking opportunities, and one of the favourites is walking the last part of the route that Shackleton took on his brave journey across the island’s rugged mountains to find help for the 22 men left on the isolated Elephant Island.
Relax on board as we prepare you for yet the best days to come ahead
As we are getting closer to Antarctica, the Expedition Team will talk about the very strict environmental guidelines and sustainability rules outlined by IAATO that we follow. This is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism. No human activity is permitted that might interfere with the natural balance that exists here. We want to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. And even then, sometimes we’ll wipe away our footprints to prevent penguins from getting stuck in them!
As always, the amenities of the ship are there for you to enjoy. If you haven’t yet worked up a sweat in the gym or the sauna, now is your opportunity. Don’t forget to go out on deck from time to time on your way to Antarctica. Spotting that first huge iceberg is always a real highlight.
Day 15 - 19
We explore different sites everyday spotting for penguin colonies, seals, whales and close encounters with incredible nature
Enter the frozen continent, Antarctica. Being one of the most isolated regions in the world has its benefits of preserving and cultivating diverse forms of nature exclusively here, which will become evident as we explore this continent everyday during the next few days. As the captain announces our entry, you will see stunning glaciers, snow covered land, sea covered with occasional ice sheets in all directions, making it picture-perfect.
The moment you set foot on this continent, you will be a Polar Wilderness Explorer. You might not see the sights we mention here, or you may see the sights that someone before has never seen! Trust us when we say that every second of this journey has something new to offer. Elements of weather, sea and ice will play a big role in determining our activities here, but to expect the unexpected is what expedition is all about. On clear days, after determining prime safety, we hop on with our expedition team on smaller boats to enjoy close encounters with wildlife and glaciers, go on hikes to explore the land, scientific stations and abandoned whaling stations. Once in this continent, there is no specific route. We explore on the go everyday, every minute, every second. This is why every Antarctica experience will be unique.
On this special voyage, we hope to cross the Polar Circle at 66°33’ south, far beyond the limit of most cruises in Antarctica, venturing far into the areas that are permanently iced down and unnavigable in the winter.
To begin with, the captain may attempt to make a landing inside a natural harbour at Deception Island of South Shetland Islands, which is an active volcanic island, with contrasting landscape of black and white. Here you may get to see an abandoned whaling station known as Hektor and a derelict British base, apart from the wafts of smoke still coming out of the land, adding to beautiful scenery.
As we sail further, the Half Moon Islands offers a staggeringly photogenic Antarctic scenery imaginable. A large colony of around 4000 pairs of penguins greets you as you step into their island. You can see these flocks of penguins wandering doing daily duties of diving, eating, walking and nurturing their cute soft feathered chicks who run behind their mommies.
As our boat slushes through the streams of water in pitch silence embrace the thick cloud of mist brought by the cold winds. With splashes of penguins swimming here and there, if you listen very carefully you will be able to hear the crackling of glaciers far off making a symphony of their own. We reach the Paradise Harbour a descriptive name from the whalers during the last century. Wilhelmina Bay here with its stunning scenery is also often called “Whale-mina Bay”, because of the large number of humpback whales spotted here in December. We have planned plenty of activities here to make you experience Antarctica in the best way.
On some days, you will get to feel the salt and wind as you cruise between the sea ice, looking for leopard seals taking a snooze on the ice. An onboard photographer will guide you on the basics of expedition photography. Test your learned skills out there and click away as soon as you spot the Antarctic fur seal, Wandering Albatross, Leopard seals and maybe a flock of King Penguins. To find more sanctity take a kayaking adventure out in the ocean to drain your tensions. You can even take a hike or a walk with an undisputed bliss of solitude.
On days where we cant make a landing, join gatherings where the various members of the expedition team recount the day’s activities, make presentations, and the expedition leader discusses the next day’s plan. These gatherings are great opportunities for sharing and making a shared memory while mingling with the expedition community.
Day 20 - 22
Crossing the Drake Passage
Enjoy the day on sea recapping your experiences with fellow travelers or expedition team
After exploring the exhilarating continent, we set course back to civilisation. Spend the day at sea recapping your experiences, having fun at the Science Center or just relaxing on deck. Bid adieu to all glaciers you pass by and for one last time, take your chance to stand out on the decks and breathe in the fresh, pristine and alluring Antarctic air.
MS Fram will make our way to the Drake Passage. Known for its potentially high winds and strong currents, the passage can also be silent and still, inspiring the nicknames ‘The Drake Shake’ and ‘The Drake Lake’ respectively. But don’t worry, even if we experience rough seas, you will be perfectly safe on our purpose-built expedition ship. As we sail, the sea birds are here to give us company. Keep your eye out for the Wandering Albatross and some friendly dolphins!
When the Drake Passage is behind us, we’ll enter the scenic Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains plunging straight into the icy water. Watch for Patagonian wildlife as we sail through this wild and remote area.
Punta Arenas to Santiago De Chile
Our expedition comes to an end, as we disembark at Punta Arenas, and take our flight back to Santiago De Chile
We arrive in Punta Arenas in the morning, back to civilisation again. You’ll transfer to the airport for a flight back to Santiago where you’ll have a second chance to explore the capital of Chile. Before that though, you’ll first make your fond farewells to one another, the crew and the Expedition Team.
How do you end an experience of 23 days at sea surrounded by some of the most remote, awe-inspiring scenery known to humankind? The answer is: you don’t. The experience will continue on with the memories and knowledge you now carry with you. It lives in the photos and stories you’ll bring back to your friends and family. We hope your experience of sustainable expedition cruising has been an inspiring one, renewing your awe for nature and reigniting a passion to protect it.