Follow the trail of the legendary Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Great White Continent.

An epic, 21-day adventure across the depths of the Drake Passage awaits. The destination? The awe-inspiring Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Discover just how impressive Shackleton’s journey was and become immersed in wildlife encounters along the way. Visit penguin rookeries, watch whales breach and scout for seals along the shoreline, with a team of onboard polar experts leading Zodiac excursions through the ice-filled bays and on land. Days at sea offer comfortable living quarters and services catering for health and wellness, as well as a program of lectures and screenings to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the area, adding to what really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to discover the last frontier.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Ushuaia, Argentina
Finish
Ushuaia, Argentina
Destinations
Antarctica, Argentina, Falkland Islands
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar
Code
GQMWS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 200

Why you'll love this trip

  • Retrace the route of the legendary Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led three expeditions to the Antarctic region, and uncover the historical events of his journey.

  • Freezing is great but freedom is better. Customise your trip with a wide range of optional activities on top of regular Zodiac excursions. Explore the water by kayak, sign up for a photography masterclass, rejuvenate with some onboard yoga and a massage, take a refreshing polar plunge or camp overnight like a true polar explorer.

  • Whereas most polar expeditions of this kind have a crew-to-passenger ratio of ten, fifteen or twenty to one, Intrepid expeditions on the Ocean Endeavour have an expedition crew member for every 8 passengers for a greater personal touch.

  • Our experienced leaders have made hundreds of polar voyages between them. They’re experts in marine biology, glaciology and Antarctic history, and they’ll share their knowledge throughout the journey during a comprehensive lecture program.

  • Rest assured that footprints are all you’ll leave behind. Your Antarctica expedition is carbon offset, and we serve only sustainably sourced seafood, avoid single-use plastics and use biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaning products.

  • Travelling solo? This is your perfect Antarctic adventure, with single cabins at the same price as some twins.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Although our ice-strengthened ships are big and sturdy, the Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings, so please be prepared with medications to combat this – we’d hate for you to miss a single minute of this journey. There is also a doctor on board should you need further assistance.

  • Believe it or not, temperatures in the Antarctic can be freezing. And yet it can get surprisingly warm when the sun comes out, for instance, or with increased physical activity. It’s best to dress in layers when you journey outside and we’ll provide you with waterproof boots that are sturdy, warm and highly fashionable (in Antarctica, at least). Please see the trip notes for information about what to bring.

  • Depending on the weather, you’ll be zipping around in a Zodiac boat quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry. Being cold and miserable is one thing, having no photos to show for it is another. Sturdy sea legs are needed for wet and dry landings from the boat, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. The Ocean Endeavour has a lift, but you’ll need to take the stairs to get to the gangway and some other parts of the ship that the lift does not provide access to.

  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure, and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially in such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The ship’s library and educational lectures are ideal ways to stay entertained, while the wellness spa, saunas, gym and yoga classes will keep you fresh for when the weather clears.

Boats

Ocean Endeavour

On this itinerary, you'll be travelling aboard the Ocean Endeavour

Itinerary

Your Antarctic adventure kicks off in the port city of Ushuaia, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers at your hotel. If you arrive early there are plenty of activities to choose from, like a full day’s adventure through Tierra del Fuego National Park or a stroll around town, perhaps visiting the waterfront overlooking the famous Beagle Channel. A visit to the Museo Maritimo (Maritime Museum) is a great way to learn about the city’s history and has the added bonus of being housed in an old prison, or why not live the local life to the fullest with a steak and a glass of Argentinean wine.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning is free for you to take a final look around town and shop for any last-minute items before an afternoon departure. Head downtown to Avenida San Martin (San Martin Avenue) to find plenty of stores stocked with warm clothes, Argentinean crafts and, of course, some local food and wine products. It’s no Rodeo Drive but it’ll do the job. This afternoon you’ll be transferred from the hotel to the pier to board not only your Antarctic vessel, but also your home for the next three weeks. Meet the expert crew and take a tour of the ship’s facilities – yoga anyone? – before setting off in the evening through the Beagle Channel. Wave farewell to South America’s southernmost tip and head inside as the ship proceeds towards the legendary Drake Passage. Tonight you’ll meet your crew and shipmates at the captain’s welcome dinner and drinks, toasting what’ll no doubt be the journey of a lifetime.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
The infamous Drake Passage has a reputation for rough seas, but it’s also a rite of passage and an essential part of any Antarctic adventure. The next two days will be spent getting to know your team of polar experts as they share their in-depth knowledge of Antarctica’s wildlife, history and geology, all of which are unique and fascinating. These lectures will give you an understanding of, and excitement for, what’s waiting when you touch down on the Great White Continent. If weather conditions are favourable you may be able to make your way out on the deck for a chance to spot Antarctic wildlife like whales, dolphins, albatross and other seabirds. The crew will be on hand to help point out any marine life.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Set your eyes on the incredible terrain of the world’s most southern land. The next four days will have you stepping off the ship and into a Zodiac to take your first steps on the Antarctic Peninsula, and each subsequent onshore excursion (scheduled twice daily) will be tailored to suit the ship’s location. Whizz around on Zodiacs to get closer to abundant marine life including whales and seals, or take a walk on land and explore the penguin rookeries. Wildlife encounters on the Antarctic Peninsula are likely to include Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals; Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins; and elephant seals. There’ll also be opportunities to explore further on optional activities like snowshoeing, kayaking and overnight camping, as well as a chance to take a polar plunge. That’s right – you can jump into the Antarctic waters if you dare. If the weather conditions make an excursion unsafe, the crew will arrange for alternative, ship-based activities like wildlife presentations and documentary screenings. Alternatively, you can make the most of the wellness spa, heated pool and sauna, library and gym.

The landing sites visited will depend on the ship's location and weather conditions, but for information on potential landing sites please visit: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/antarctica-landing-sites
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Keep an eye out for seabirds, whales and other wildlife as we retrace Shackleton’s path to South Georgia. The Antarctic experts onboard will be running sessions over the journey, or maybe you’d rather spend some time taking in the immensity of the surrounding seascape. The ship will head towards Elephant Island where, weather permitting, we’ll attempt to make a landing. This is where Sir Ernest Shackleton left 24 of his men after they were shipwrecked in 1917, embarking on one of the greatest survival missions of all time to save them.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue following Shackleton’s route across the Antarctic waters to South Georgia. Life onboard is a very different experience to that of the explorers in the early 20th century, a period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Shackleton’s crew described the islands of South Georgia as a ‘piece of the Alps transplanted in the Atlantic – with peaks, glaciers and frozen lakes on which man has yet to venture’. Take a moment to imagine travelling across these waters for over 1000 kilometres in a seven-metre boat, knowing that the lives of your crew depended on your success.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
Explore the island of South Georgia over the next few days, which was once the homestead of whalers and lonely explorers but is now a protected area with dedicated Antarctic research teams. Behold a wildlife spectacle at St Andrew’s Bay, the largest king penguin rookery on South Georgia and home to hundreds of thousands of breeding pairs. See enormous quantities of sea birds, fur and elephant seal pups and discover a wealth of history, then spend time at the old whaling settlement of Grytviken to pay a visit to the grave of the legend himself – Sir Ernest Shackleton. The island has been a British Overseas Territory since 1775 and, at 3,755 square kilometres (1450 square miles), it's the largest island in the territory.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
Leave South Georgia and chart a course for the Falkland Islands. From the deck, scan the horizon for seabirds and other wildlife. Prepare for the Falklands by attending the onboard presentation highlighting the dramatic history and wildlife encounters that await.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
The two main islands (East Falkland and West Falkland) have much to offer and provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity, extraordinary scenery and history of the southern islands. The Falklands have the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world and five species of penguin breed on the islands (gentoo, king, macaroni, magellanic and rockhopper). We’ll explore the capital of Port Stanley, located on East Falkland Island, which offers an opportunity to meet the locals whose colourful houses provide a contrast to the icy backdrop. In addition, depending on time and weather conditions, we may be able to visit the islands’ penguin breeding grounds.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Cruise towards Ushuaia with time to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife you've encountered during the voyage, along with the endeavours of legendary explorers like Shackleton. Be sure to say your farewells to the friends you’ve made along the way, both travellers and crew, and celebrate the incredible experience you’ve just shared.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
As the journey comes to an end, disembark in Ushuaia where you'll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

20 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 19 dinners

Transport

Expedition cruise ship, zodiac

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.

If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.

If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.

Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE ADD ON's
Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping and snowshoeing. All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential.

Essential trip information

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