Classic Antarctica (2014-15)

Luxury Expedition Cruises: Expert-led expeditions to exotic locales, with shore excursions

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires, Argentina

Arrive this morning to Argentina’s capital and transfer to your hotel, where immediate check-in has been arranged. Enjoy some time to relax before this afternoon’s city tour. As complex as it is energetic and seductive, this port city has been the gateway to Argentina for centuries, bringing many porteños (as locals are known) into its boundaries. Although it is reminiscent of a European city, the spirit of Buenos Aires is evident in its diverse and distinctly local neighborhoods. Meet your fellow adventurers this evening for a welcome cocktail reception.

Sofitel Buenos Aires   |   Meals: B
Day 2: Ushuaia | Gateway to Antarctica

Today, take a flight down to the charming seaside town of Ushuaia, the capital of Provincia de Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world. Upon arrival, enjoy sightseeing (time permitting) and a traditional Patagonian barbecue lunch. Later this afternoon, arrive at your ship and settle in for your first night on board. Stylish and comfortable, ‘Le Boreal’ features all-balcony staterooms and suites only on A&K journeys to Antarctica. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. On departure, enjoy cruising through the beautiful Beagle Channel before heading out to sea.

'Le Boreal'   |   Meals: B L D
Days 3-4: Cruising the Drake Passage | Epic Passage

The southward journey toward Antarctica is an exciting one. An important trade route in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Drake Passage is a 600-mile-wide swath of water where the Southern Ocean currents are squeezed between South America’s southern tip and Antarctica’s northernmost reaches. Its stormy waters and icy conditions often made the journey a difficult one, though the stabilizer-equipped and remarkably sturdy ‘Le Boreal’ handles it with ease. As you travel in the comfort of your luxury cruiser, enjoy several enriching lectures on both days by leading experts on topics spanning Antarctica, from birdlife and geology to photography and history. After lunch, join your naturalists on the deck to look for various species of whales and abundant seabirds, which join other mammals in feasting on the krill-rich waters of the Drake Passage; it’s all just a taste of the wildlife you will encounter in the days to come. Later in the evening, chat with experts about the wildlife spotted today and discuss the next day’s itinerary.

'Le Boreal'   |   Meals: B L D
Days 5-9: Antarctica | The White Continent

As the Antarctic Peninsula and its offshore islands appear on the horizon, a sense of excitement begins to build. While day-to-day itineraries depend on weather, water and wildlife conditions, two excursions are carefully planned for each day by the captain and expedition leader. Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast. Afterward, venture out in swift and sturdy Zodiacs — guided by expert drivers and accompanied by lecturers, in groups of no more than 10 guests — to a number of sites, which may include: the penguin-filled islands in the South Shetlands of Half Moon, Penguin or Deception; islands off the continental coastline such as Cuverville, Paulet or Vortex; and, weather permitting, the fabled Antarctic Peninsula. ‘Le Boreal’ also plans to sail through Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel, referred to as “Kodak Alley” for its stunning, cameraready vistas of towering icebergs and deep blue waters. After a morning exploring native species and striking terrain, return to ‘Le Boreal’ for lunch and perhaps some time to relax and scan the wildlife-rich waters that surround you, where you may spot everything from fin whales, humpback whales and orcas, to imperial shags and the southern giant petrel. In the afternoon, set out for the day’s second excursion, which may include a visit to a working scientific research station, the remains of a turn-of- the-century whaling and sealing station, a sheltered beach teeming with basking elephant seals or simply circumnavigating colossal icebergs that serve as floating homes to seals and penguins. Return to your cruiser to relax and chat over cocktails in the cozy, comfortable lounge and enjoy dinner in the dining room. Afterward, you may choose to recap the day’s discoveries with your naturalist guides, enjoy time on deck with fellow guests or seize the opportunity to capture photos in the stunning low light characteristic of Antarctica’s long, ethereal twilight.

'Le Boreal'   |   Meals: B L D
Days 10-11: Cruising the Drake Passage | Memorable Return

Bid farewell to wondrous Antarctica and begin your cruise back to Ushuaia. The ship’s return through the Drake Passage is an interlude for recap and reflection, with time to compare notes with your expert lecturers on the wildlife, history and geology of the White Continent. Spend time on board with newfound friends in the comfortable common spaces of ‘Le Boreal,’ relax in your spacious cabin or absorb more fascinating lectures by your captivating expedition team. While cruising through this historic passage, you may spot various species of whales and seabirds, including the elusive albatross and the giant petrel, an opportunistic predator and scavenger nicknamed the “stinker.” The albatross is an especially beautiful sight to behold — these birds boast a wingspan of 11.5 feet on average and use their powerful wings to glide through the air for hours at a time in search of food.

'Le Boreal'   |   Meals: B L D
Day 12: Depart Buenos Aires

‘Le Boreal’ docks at Ushuaia this morning, where after breakfast you bid farewell to the A&K staff and ship’s crew and disembark. Afterward, transfer to the airport to board your flight home via Buenos Aires.

Meals: B

*Please note: This itinerary is provisional and subject to change due to ice, weather, wildlife and other conditions beyond A&K's control. The final itinerary will be determined at the sole discretion of the Captain and Expedition Leader.

Iguassu Falls Pre-Tour Extension

3 days, priced from $1,295; internal air priced from $390
Available on all departures.

Day 1: Fly to Iguassu Falls and explore the Brazilian side, with its hundreds of cascades along a gulf. Join your guide on a tour through the national park to a catwalk within arm’s reach of the falls. Hotel Das Cataratas
Day 2: Explore the Argentine side of the park, and walk the trails above and along the falls. You may choose to venture out on a catwalk that extends 3,600 feet over the tropical basin of Devil’s Throat. Enjoy an afternoon at lesiure. Hotel Das Cataratas | Meals: B
Day 3: Board your flight back to Buenos Aires. Meals: B