Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake Passage Expedition Cruise

Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas

December & January
7 Nights

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penguin in Antarctica
Small Ship
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Jan 04 - Jan 11 2026
7 Nights

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Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Dec 5 - Dec 12 2024
7 Nights

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Antarctica fly the drake expedition cruise
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Dec 15 - Dec 22 2024
7 Nights

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leopard seal on an iceberg in Antarctica
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Dec 15 - Dec 22 2025
7 Nights

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exploring the Antarctic Peninsula on a Zodiac by expedition cruise
Small Ship
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Mar 08 - Mar 15 2026
7 Nights

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Small Ship
Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas
Jan 14 - Jan 21 2025
7 Nights

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Cruise Overview

Answer the call to adventure and embark on a small ship expedition cruise to explore Antarctica, skipping the daunting Drake Passage with a flight directly to King George Island. From there, you'll venture into the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula aboard a small ship designed for intimate exploration. Over eight days brimming with adventure, you'll engage in enriching shore excursions and navigate the icy waters on Zodiac boats, getting up close with the continent's diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.

Each day presents opportunities to witness the unique behaviours of wildlife in their natural habitat, from the majestic whales that glide beneath the frigid waters to the playful penguins dotting the icy shorelines. You'll step onto historical sites, tracing the footsteps of the explorers who charted these remote areas, and immerse yourself in the stark, raw beauty of the world's most southern continent.

Antarctica Express Cruise Map

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Soar above the Drake Passage, embarking on the swiftest and most direct route to the heart of Antarctica with private charter flights included.
  • Explore the very best the Antarctic Peninsula has to offer.
  • Encounter the abundant wildlife of Antarctica and have numerous opportunities to meet penguins, seals, and whales.
  • Explore by ship, by zodiac, or on the shore, and participate in adventurous activities such as a polar plunge or camping.
  • Learn from polar experts about the wildlife, history, geology and glaciology of Antarctica



An immersive Antarctica fly and cruise expedition to discover the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula

Punta Arenas city in Chile
Day 1

Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile

Your journey begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, a vibrant hub in southern Patagonia, teeming with life. Should you arrive with time to spare, the city offers an array of museums, eateries, and boutiques to explore, promising plenty of entertainment. In the early afternoon, you'll meet with an expeditions representative at the designated starting point hotel. Here, you'll receive a welcome dinner and a comprehensive briefing to prepare you for the day you set sail.

Antarctica plane fly the Drake Passage
Day 2

Fly to King George Island and Embarkation

A charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica whisks you over the infamous Drake Passage in just two hours. This journey takes the ship far longer to navigate as it heads towards King George Island for your arrival. Your initial view of Antarctica's breathtaking landscapes will be from an extraordinary vantage point as your plane lowers towards the South Shetland Islands. Once you've landed, you'll journey to the shoreline, and from there, a Zodiac boat will ferry you to your ship, ready to embark towards the mesmerising shores of the Antarctic Peninsula!

exploring the Antarctic Peninsula on a Zodiac by expedition cruise
Days 3 - 6

Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Antarctica is a realm of unparalleled wonder, a place so unique it defies description, coming alive only through the firsthand gaze of those who venture here.

As your Captain and Expedition Team scan the horizon for whales and seabirds, you'll be the first to know about thrilling wildlife sightings. Our knowledgeable presenters will enrich your journey with detailed discussions on the region's glaciology, history, and wildlife, alongside photography workshops aimed at helping you capture the essence of these moments.

The excitement heightens with each day's excursions. Stepping onto the Antarctic shore via Zodiac for the first time is an unforgettable experience, offering an up-close encounter with the continent's distinctive wildlife, including penguin colonies that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Every landing offers a new adventure, shaped by the weather yet always filled with remarkable sights and opportunities to photograph the distinct personalities of Adélie, Gentoo, and Chinstrap penguins.

Your days might include a Zodiac cruise in pursuit of whales and breathtaking icebergs or a hike to a bustling penguin rookery. From the awe-inspiring sounds of glaciers calving to the excitement of witnessing leopard seals and orcas, each day starts early with eagerness and the anticipation of discovery in this unmatched wild landscape.

Throughout your journey, the Expedition Team is there with you, offering insights and understanding of the incredible places you explore, ensuring a deep, meaningful connection to this extraordinary part of the world.

whale in Antarctica
Day 7

Disembarkation and Fly to Punta Arenas

After a week filled with discoveries, it's time to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and step off the ship at King George Island. The two-hour flight back across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, marks the conclusion of your extraordinary journey. Once you've been transferred to the hotel with your group, the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy. Whether you explore the city or relax at the hotel, it's the perfect opportunity to reflect on Antarctica's unforgettable experiences and breathtaking vistas.

Punta Arenas city in Chile
Day 8

Depart Punta Arenas

Following breakfast, feel free to embark on your adventures or head to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward journey.



Zodiac Cruising and Shore Landings

Zodiac cruising with whale close by

Zodiac inflatable boats are integral to every expedition and perfect for exploring the polar wilderness. Zodiacs are used to ferry you to the shore and mini explorations amidst icebergs, whales, and seabirds. Throughout your expedition, they enable you to reach secluded spots only accessible by these sturdy watercraft.

Driven by our expert team of knowledgeable polar guides, we will explore the Zodiac daily as part of your expedition.


hiking in Antarctica

Immerse yourself in the thrill of hiking across the polar wilderness, led by our seasoned polar guides. Wander the vast tundra, marvel at the majestic glaciers, and breathe in fresh air amongst the natural scenery. It's an adventure that brings you into the heart of the Arctic's untamed beauty.

Polar Plunge

polar plunge activity on an expedition cruise

During each voyage, we carve out a special moment for the Polar Plunge, a thrilling dive into the icy waters, scheduled just once for those daring enough to leap. Our Expedition Leader and Captain are always on the lookout, assessing the weather and sea conditions to pick the perfect spot and moment for this exhilarating experience. Whether it's from the shore, off the gangway, or the edge of a Zodiac, participants, clad in tethered harnesses for safety, leap into the chilly embrace of the polar sea amid the cheers and encouragement of their fellow adventurers and the Expedition Team.

Safety is our top priority during the Polar Plunge. The onboard physician is always present to oversee the event, ensuring everyone's well-being. Additionally, our guides, suited in survival gear, patrol the waters in Zodiacs, ready to assist as guests make their splash into the frigid waters, whether it's a bold jump or an adventurous cannonball.

Sea Kayaking*

Sea kayaking Activity in Antarctica

Experience the beauty of the polar regions from the intimacy of a sea kayak. The onboard Sea Kayak Program gathers adventurers with a shared passion to explore the stunning landscapes of fjords, glacial fronts, or intricate sea ice formations together.

This program welcomes both novices and experienced kayakers to discover the polar regions from a distinctive vantage point. Depending on weather and operational conditions, the goal is to get kayaking as frequently as possible. Sea kayaking adventures typically begin with a Zodiac boat transferring participants from the ship to an optimal launch site. After exploring the waters, kayakers are brought back to the ship via Zodiac. 

For safety, a Zodiac operated by a dedicated driver remains close at hand to provide help if needed. These kayak trips usually last from one and a half to three hours, blending adventure with unparalleled natural beauty.

*An extra cost is applicable. Please enquire about costs and availability at the time of reservation. Please note places on sea kayaking do sell out in advance, so forward booking is essential.

Stand Up Paddleboarding*

Stand up paddle boarding in Antarctica

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) offers a unique way to connect with the outstanding nature in Antarctica.  Every guest embarking on this adventure benefits from certified SUP instructors' onboard and in-water guidance, which ensures you're well-prepared to navigate the waters. For added peace of mind, a safety driver remains on standby in a Zodiac, ready to provide assistance whenever needed. This unique experience not only connects you with the untouched beauty of the Antarctic but does so in a way that's both serene and exhilarating.

*An extra cost is applicable. Please enquire about costs and availability at the time of reservation. Please note places do sell out in advance, so forward booking is essential.

Your Ship

Your Ship

Ocean Explorer

Ship Highlights


Small Ship That Delivers Epic Adventures

Embark on an authentic expedition with the Ocean Explorer, a small expedition ship accommodating 138 guests per voyage. Designed for an exclusive experience, this ship is ideal for guests eager to maximize their time off the ship, exploring remote areas through Zodiac excursions and shore landings.

A Great Choice For Activities

Due to its small size, Ocean Explorer is an excellent option for those seeking additional polar activities. Led by a team of polar experts, guests can partake in thrilling adventures such as kayaking, camping and trekking, enhancing the overall expedition experience

Excellent Zodiac to Guest Ratio

Enjoy the freedom of Zodiac excursions in the raw nature that can accommodate all guests simultaneously. Thanks to the Ocean Explorer's large fleet of Zodiacs and speedy boarding platforms, guests have more time for exploration, creating unforgettable moments in the vast wilderness.

State of The Art Design

Immerse yourself in the Ocean Explorer's cutting-edge X Bow design, presenting a breathtaking viewing lounge at the ship's bow. This modern design enhances stability and ensures fuel efficiency, enabling swift and comfortable sailing through challenging seas during sea passages.

Pinnacle of Sustainability and Safety

Pioneering sustainability, the Ocean Explorer features a fuel-efficient design. Employing GPS anchoring instead of traditional anchors in sensitive areas, the ship also converts waste to energy fur, thus helping to reduce its impact on the polar regions.

Outstanding Onboard Living Spaces

Indulge in a realm of comfort with well-appointed cabins featuring private balconies, an observation lounge with stunning views, and rejuvenating amenities like on-deck jacuzzis, a sauna, and a gym. The Ocean Explorer ensures high comfort levels, complemented by the intimacy of travelling in a small, exclusive group.

Industry Leading Guides

With a stellar reputation for hosting an exceptional team of guides and polar specialists, the Ocean Explorer is recognized as a trailblazer in small ship expeditions. Whether for activities, wildlife observation, or exploration, the ship's industry-leading guides guarantee an unparalleled and unforgettable experience. (Reasons To Choose This Ship)

Do you need help planning your expedition?

Our friendly and knowledgeable Travel Experience Team is ready to assist you.

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© 2024 The Expedition Collective

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