Small Ship

Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake Passage Cruise

Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas

Antarctica
Jan 14 - Jan 21 2025
7 Nights
134 Guests

Starting from per person

£10,792

Select cruise date

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

Itinerary

Itinerary

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.

Activities

Activities

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

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

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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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)

Starting from per person

£10,792

Select cruise date

Why Reserve With Us?

Choose Your Cabin

Choose Your Cabin

Studio Double

Deck 3

175-186 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths

Price per person
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Studio Single

Deck 3

177 sq. ft. 1

One double bed made up of two twin berths

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Deluxe Veranda Forward Stateroom

Deck 4

168-195 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths

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Deluxe Veranda Middle Stateroom

Deck 4

203-272 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths plus some with fold out sofa bed

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Deluxe Veranda Stateroom

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Deck 4

200-205 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths plus fold out sofa bed

Price per person
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Studio Veranda Stateroom

Deck 6

173 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths

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Grand Veranda Stateroom

Deck 6

195-205 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths plus fold out sofa bed

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Junior Suite

Deck 6

296-299 sq. ft. 1-2

Two rooms

One double bed made up of two twin berths fold out sofa bed

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Royal Veranda Stateroom

Deck 4

Deck 6

189-272 sq. ft. 1-2

One double bed made up of two twin berths plus fold out sofa bed

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Studio Veranda Single

Deck 7

238 sq. ft.

1 One twin single

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Explorer Suite

Deck 7

269 sq. ft. 1-2

Two rooms

One double bed made up of two twin berths fold out sofa bed

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Owners Suite

Deck 7

443 sq. ft. 1-2

Two rooms

One double bed made up of two twin berths fold out sofa bed

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Deck Plan

Ocean Explorer Deck Plan Deck 3

What's Included

Included

  • An official Expedition parka to keep
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Team, including shore landings and other activities
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage. Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals
  • Free beer, standard wines, spirits, and cocktails during bar service hours and dinner
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • A photographic journal documenting your expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • A group arrival transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
  • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast. (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
  • A briefing dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas
  • A pre-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the hotel to the airport
  • Flights to and from King George Island
  • A post-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the hotel
  • One night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi service on one device permitting basic Internet browsing, email, posting on social media and voice applications. (Premium packages are available for more data intensive applications.)

Optional Extras

  • International airfare
  • Passport and applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
  • Meals unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international and domestic flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities

Important Information

  • This expedition involves travelling to lovely remote places with limited medical facilities. We ask you to be healthy and fit to participate. If you have a severe medical condition or have recently undergone surgery, please get in touch with us before making a reservation. Our Travel Experience Team will be happy to assist you with any questions.
  • Whilst our expeditions do not require exceptional fitness, you must be mobile enough to climb in and out of a Zodiac and undertake short walks.
  • Expedition programmes include zodiac outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks, and more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
  • Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, ice position, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may cancel or stop any activity or modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will consider the touristic quality of the sites and, above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
  • You must take out comprehensive travel insurance, which includes medical evacuation and cancellation at the time of booking. To learn more, please see our guide to Travel Insurance For Expedition Cruises.
  • You must hold a passport with a minimum of 6 months validity beyond completing your trip. Please check to see if you require a visa to enter the countries of embarkation and disembarkation. If you have any questions, our Travel Experience Team is always on hand to answer them.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask our Travel Experience Team.

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