Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent
Our classic Antarctic Explorer voyage gives you the best of the stunning Antarctic Peninsula in 11 days
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Days 3 and 4
Crossing the Drake Passage
Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, glaciology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
Days 5 to 7
South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience.
Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins, all of which can be found here. Keep an eye out for Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals as well as curious whales, such as humpbacks, fins, or perhaps orcas while on a Zodiac cruise. Each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier.
Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.
Days 8 and 9
Crossing the Drake Passage
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team and celebrate the experiences shared exploring Antarctica.
Disembark in Ushuaia
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
- Meet and greet on arrival at Airport.
- Accommodation and meals as indicated in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner).
- Entrance fees where applicable.
- Tours as indicated in the itinerary.
- Professional English-speaking guide/driver guide.
- Travel Protection is offered on all packages at an additional cost.
The Ocean Diamond is a modern, stable super-yacht, and one of the largest of our small expedition ships. Carrying a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for polar expeditions.
As one of the fastest ships in Antarctica, it is also one of the most comfortable. There are 101 elegantly designed cabins and suites, all with exterior views, and expansive common spaces, a club lounge, and a spacious restaurant. The ship offers numerous adventure options, plus on-board features such as interactions with photography instructors. After a full day of exploration, passengers can relax, browse books or DVDs in the well-stocked polar library, or enjoy stunning polar scenery from the sun-lit, panoramic observation lounge.
Click here to download deck plan.
QEI’s Antarctic Express (8 and 11 Day Itineraries)
QEI will make every effort to ensure the Antarctic programs take place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and is beyond the control of QEI. The following table illustrates the last itinerary day on which an attempt will be made to fly:
|Itinerary Name||Itinerary Days||Day 1|
|Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake||8 Days||Arrival in Punta Arenas|
|Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle||11 Days||Arrival in Punta Arenas|
International airfare, domestic airfare, any additional services purchased or change fees, will not be refunded by QEI. QEI will provide a trip interruption letter to be submitted by the passenger to their insurance company for airfare, change fees, and other expenses incurred due to the trip interruption.
QEI will issue the cruise fare refund back in the same form/medium in which payment was received.
16.2 Contingency Plan Itinerary
QEI reserves the right to send passengers on the charter plane the evening prior to the scheduled day. This may happen when we see a weather system that could cause a delay on subsequent days. It is for this reason that we request all passengers to arrive in Punta Arenas (PUQ) no later than 3:00pm on Day 1. There will be no refunds for passengers who miss the charter plane departure due to an arrival in Punta Arenas airport (PUQ) after 3:00pm.
Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
For each day of the itinerary after Day 1, if there is a delay, all guests will be briefed by the QEI ground staff on the flight status. Often we are waiting for a weather window to depart and could be required to leave with very little notice. All guests and staff will be on stand-by until notified by the QEI ground staff.
During the stand-by period, you must be at the airport, or at another location designated by the QEI ground staff to be ready to go if and when a suitably long weather window becomes available. If an opportunity to fly does not present itself, you will be returned back to your respective hotels. QEI will provide additional night(s) hotel accommodation and meals.
QEI reserves the right to make exceptions to the timing guidelines outlined in this section.