Embark on an award-winning Luxury Expedition Cruise for the centerpiece of the Southern Hemisphere — extraordinary Antarctica, where towering icebergs, massive glaciers and abundant wildlife make for the ultimate adventure destination. The southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. It’s known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor, striking, iceberg-flanked passageways, and Port Lockroy, a former British research station turned museum. The peninsula’s isolated terrain also shelters rich wildlife, including many penguins.
Arrive in Argentina’s capital and transfer to your hotel, where you spend the rest of the day at leisure. Meet your fellow adventurers for a welcome cocktail reception this evening.
Latin passion and European Romance define the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, a dynamic mecca known for its wide-ranging architectural styles, contemporary and historic arts, and culinary pleasures and parrillas (steakhouses). Dive into its best treasures under the wing of expert A&K local guides, choosing from a selection of included excursions.
Opt to explore the city on a guided tour complete with a tango demonstration; spend the day at an authentic estancia (ranch), where you pause for a traditional lunch; or discover a burgeoning art scene on a guided tour focused on Buenos Aires street art.
Fly to the charming port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. On arrival, enjoy a gourmet lunch at the Arakur resort, enjoying panoramic city and mountain vistas while you dine. Time and weather permitting, take a guided walk in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve or simply relax with a cappuccino and enjoy scenic views ofUshuaia. This afternoon, transfer to your ship and settle in for your first night on board. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. From your private balcony or the outside decks, take in views as you cruise the beautiful Beagle Channel before heading out to sea.
The journey south toward Antarctica is an exciting one, furthered by singular, voyage-long access to our knowledgeable Expedition Team and enrichment experts — both on board and on shore. Set out into the Drake Passage, 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. An important trade route in the 19th and early 20th centuries, its stormy waters and icy conditions once made the journey a difficult one, though the stabilizer-equipped ‘Le Lyrial’ handles it with ease. 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 learn about the next day’s itinerary.
As the Antarctic Peninsula and its offshore islands appear on the horizon, a sense of excitement begins to build. Travel in the comfort of your luxury cruiser, enjoying enriching lectures from members of the Expedition Team on topics ranging from birdlife to photography and history. Your Captain and Expedition Team carefully plan your active, curated itinerary, which is dependent on weather, sea, ice and wildlife conditions. With that in mind, daily excursions may include exploration of the following areas:
Antarctic Sound: At the northernmost tip of the Antarctic mainland, this body of water features some of the best sightseeing on the peninsula and a proliferation of giant icebergs. Noted for its vast numbers of bird species, the sound is home to the largest breeding colonies of Adelie penguins in Antarctica. Landings here may include Paulet, Vortex or Terror islands. You may also make your first continental landing at sites such as Brown Bluff or Esperanza Station at Hope Bay.
South Shetland Islands: Antarctic research stations, remarkable history, amazing geological features and abundant wildlife define these islands off the shore of the Antarctic Peninsula. Island visits may include Penguin, Half-Moon and Deception, where you may cruise into this flooded caldera to explore geothermal black sand beaches and abandoned whaling stations.
Danco Coast: Bordering the South Shetland Islands along the Antarctic continent, the Danco Coast is famed for its scenic, jaw-dropping waterways. From the comfort of ‘Le Lyrial,’ you may sail through the Gerlache Strait, Paradise Bay and photogenic Lemaire Channel. Landings may include Neko Harbour, Cuverville Island and Wilhelmina Bay.
Bid farewell to wondrous Antarctica and begin your cruise back to Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of Argentina. 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 Lyrial,’ enjoy quiet relaxation on your own private balcony 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 immense albatross is an especially stunning sight to behold. These wandering birds boast a wingspan approaching 12 feet and are capable of gliding through the air for hours at a time in search of food.
‘Le Lyrial’ docks at Ushuaia this morning. After breakfast, bid farewell to your crew and fellow guests before disembarking. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires, where you connect to your international flight home.