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Island Holidays
Established 1987

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Voyages

Includes free zodiac cruising, kayaking, snowshoeing and mountaineering

Zodiac and m/v Plancius

Locations in this tour typically include: Ushuaia • Beagle Channel • Drake Passage • Neumayer Channel • Wiencke Island • Goudier Island (Port Lockroy, Jougla Point) • Booth Island • Vernadsky Station • Neko Harbour • Paradise Bay • Drake Passage • Ushuaia;

Route map

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Route

The above route/s is/are representative for this cruise and may not exactly match the itinerary of every departure available. Please check the PDF itinerary download/s for the exact route/s.

Adélie penguins

Key facts

  • Antarctic Peninsula (Basecamp): Zodiacs, kayaking, snowshoeing and mountaineering
  • Antarctic expedition cruise with specialist expedition leaders
  • 2018-2019 departures:
    07 November 2018 (OTL22)
    28 November 2018 (OTL24)
    18 December 2018 (OTL26)
    29 December 2018 (OTL27)
    17 February 2019 (PLA28)
    07 March 2019 (OTL32)
  • Nights: 11
  • View Plancius 2018-2019 prices*View Ortelius 2018-2019 prices*
  • All departures:
  • Departs: Ushuaia
  • Tour leader: Oceanwide Expeditions
  • Deposit: 20%
  • * Please note that the prices quoted are for cruise only and do not include flights or hotel accommodation. We will arrange your flights and any accommodation but as fares and rates are subject to change, prices are quoted on request.
  • Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp 2018-2019 detailed itinerary

The ships

M/v Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was originally named Marina Svetaeva, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. Read more about Ortelius

M/v Ortelius

M/v Plancius started her life in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named "Hr. Ms. Tydeman". In June 2004, the vessel was taken out of active service and was purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions in December 2006. The vessel was completely rebuilt in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). Read more about Plancius

M/v Plancius

Your itinerary

Please note that the itinerary below is representative and may not be that of all cruises listed under the same title, since they can vary slightly in their route, duration, destinations or activities and can be different from year to year. Note also that during the cruise the programme may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. Please check the PDF itinerary downloads above for the precise itinerary and route of your chosen season and departure date.

Day 1: Ushuaia
Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego – nicknamed “The End of the World” – and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.

Days 2 & 3: At sea
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale lunge feeding in the water below. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica's natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer subantarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.

Days 4 – 9: Antarctica
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. The basecamp concept lets you feel more like a resident than a visitor, getting the most out of all available activities. Here are all the places you might go: Neumayer Channel – The vessel may position itself for the multi-activity basecamp here. The protected waters around Wiencke Island become a veritable playground for all manner of activities. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea, with Zodiac and kayaking trips. Or if you're among the walkers, there are possible snowshoe hikes and mountaineering (soft climb) options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities. Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There's also a good chance you'll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering are potential activities in this location. Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow. Opportunities for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and walking provide you the closest possible view of this location's ice-crusted alpine peaks. Paradise Bay – You have the chance to pitch camp here like a true polar explorer (but with a better tent), enjoying the supreme overnight Antarctic adventure. Errera Channel – Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island. On your last day of near-shore activities, you pass the Melchior Islands toward the open sea. Keep a sharp lookout for humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. You might also shoot for Half Moon Island, in the South Shetlands, with further chances for activities. Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Days 10 & 11: At sea
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you're again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 12: Ushuaia
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It's now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Disclaimer: This itinerary is dependent on sea and ice conditions. The final itinerary will be decided by the ship's captain and your Expedition Leader to maximize opportunities.