National Geographic Explorer: South Georgia and the Falklands
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If the epic stories of discovery, endurance and polar explorers like Shackleton, or the sheer magnificence of ice-capped peaks don’t grab you, the wildlife certainly will: penguins (king, gentoo and macaroni), sea lions, fur seals and enormous elephant seals cozy up to these shores. Only here on South Georgia can you observe one of the world's great wildlife spectacles: literally, 200,000 king penguins on a single beach. This is the expedition for wildlife or photography enthusiasts, or for those who have already been to Antarctica and want more
Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers
Set foot on the continent of Antarctica
Encounter rockhopper, gentoo, macaroni, king, Adelie, Magellanic and chinstrap penguins
Watch for seals, dolphins and whales
Identify seabirds including albatross, shearwaters and petrels
Visit historic sites of the early explorers and the remains of whaling operations
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires for your overnight stay
Day 2: Fly to Ushuaia and embark ship
Day 3: At sea in the South Atlantic
Day 4-5: Falkland Islands
Day 6-7: At sea
Day 8-14: South Georgia Island
Day 15: At sea
Day 16: Falkland Islands
Day 17: Disembark in Stanley, Falklands and fly to Santiago
Day 1: Buenos Aires and overnight stay
Check in to the excellent Sofitel Buenos Aires (or similiar) before having a guided overview of the city, seeing its Beaux Arts palaces and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Peron.
Day 2: Fly to Ushuaia - Embark ship
This morning's charter flight will bring us over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. If the weather is fine, you'll have a chance to view the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. Then, you'll embark the expedition ship and set sail.
Day 3: At Sea - South Atlantic
Settle into shipboard life, listening to informal discussions from our naturalist staff to prepare us for the wildness ahead in the Falklands. Spend time on deck and on the bridge, scanning for seabirds, notably the albatross.
Day 4-5: Falkland Islands
Each Falkland Island is a variation on the theme of topographical beauty with white-sand beaches, vaulting cliffs, windswept moors and the sunlit yellows and sage greens of waving tussock grass. The Falklands boast thousands of irresistible gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, as well as herds of fur and elephant seals. Our visit to Port Stanley offers a chance to meet the hospitable locals, and stroll around this remote Victorian town.
Day 6-7: At sea
During our days at sea, we learn about the fascinating history of Antarctic exploration, as well as the flora, fauna and geology of South Georgia. A lookout is kept to identify the seabirds that follow us: wandering albatross, prions and black-browed albatross.
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner.
Day 8-14: South Georgia Island
Explore the spectacular coastline of South Georgia Island. In keeping with the nature of an expedition, our schedule is flexible with opportunities for walking, hiking, kayaking and Zodiac excursions. Leisurely circumnavigating the island, we plan to make stops every day including Grytviken, the final resting place of Shackleton, and Stromness Bay where Shackleton, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley finally reached aid at a whaling station. And, we visit a vast colony of tens of thousands of king penguins!
Day 15: At sea
With whales beneath and birds above, head out on deck or up to the Bridge to observe expert navigation at work as our skilled Captain and officers sail these waters. There’ll also be time to relax and enjoy a massage in the wellness center, work out in the gym, and browse in the library.
Day 16: Falkland Islands
Our journey across the South Atlantic Ocean takes us once more to the island archipelago that teems with nature and wildlife. Take a last walk along the beautiful white-sand beaches, meander through tussock grass or sit atop a cliff and ponder the views.
Day 17: Disembark in Stanley and fly to Santiago
After breakfast, disembark in Stanley, the Falklands, with time to explore before flying overnight to Santiago.
Departs - Selected dates (listed below)
CABINS: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER
Cabins feature one or two Portholes. Most cabins feature two lower
single beds. Cabins 303-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All offer a
writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower
stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programing.
feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed),
and one large window. They offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom
with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's
position and programming.
Cabins feature two lower single beds (some can
convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs
and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, reading
lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing
the ship's position and programming.
Cabins feature two lower single beds and at least one large window.
Cabin 217, 226 & 228 feature one queen-size bed. All cabins feature
climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programing.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower
stall. The dining room is on this deck and accommodates all guests at
These cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature
one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV
showing the ship's position and programing. Bathrooms are also
generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. . (Cabin 221
has two lower single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.)
These spacious cabins have private balconies, two lower single beds
that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, chairs, and a TV.
Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
and twin sinks.
These large cabins with private balconies have either two lower
single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have
seating areas and can be converted to triples. Bathrooms are generously
sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window or two
portholes, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy
glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and
cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk,
reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV
showing the ship's position and programming. The dining room and ship's
bow are easily accessible.
DECK PLAN: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER
SHIP INFORMATION: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER
Inaugurated in 2008, National Geographic Explorer is the world’s ultimate expedition ship. Originally built for service along Norway’s coast as part of the famed Hurtigruten, or Coastal Express, her excellent maneuverability and just-right size made her a natural choice for addition to our fleet. Drawing on our nearly 50 years of pioneering expedition history and expertise, we completely redesigned and rebuilt her. Explorer is uniquely equipped with an ice-strengthened hull and advanced navigation equipment for polar expeditions; a roster of tools for exploration; and a well-appointed interior with vast expanses of glass for an unprecedented connection to the regions we explore. She provides a peerless expedition experience.
All passenger ships plying polar waters are equipped with a GMDSS (Global Maritime & Distress Safety System) emergency communication system and a satellite weather forecasting system. However, more technology is available that can be harnessed for greater travel safety. Knowing that the ship you’re traveling on contains the latest technology further assures your peace of mind, as well as your safety. As the world’s ultimate expedition ship, National Geographic Explorer was purpose-built with technology specific to safe polar travel.
Forward scanning sonar
Explorer is one of the few passenger ships fitted with forward scanning sonar—allowing the captain to peer ahead for uncharted rocks or obstacles underwater. This allows the officers to safely navigate the ship in many of the more remote areas in which we travel, giving you the opportunity to call at new locations or areas hardly ever visited by other passenger ships.
Double weather forecasting
We subscribe to two independent weather forecasting companies and receive real time satellite images of weather and ice conditions. The Bon Voyage service provides predictions on wind, sea and swell, while our Wind Plot service uses a Gridded Binary forecasting system to accurately predict wind conditions every six hours at almost any location. Such detailed weather forecasting systems allow us to make better informed decisions—for safety and to drastically reduce cancelled landings due to poor weather.
Provides an adjustable, high-definition picture using data from the ship’s 3cm wavelength radar. By averaging the radar picture over a length of time, the ice radar processor filters out the scatter, resulting in a clearer image and reducing the likelihood of an unplanned ice encounter. Different sizes of ice and open leads are easily discerned in the radar, allowing the captain to better choose the safest routes through ice packs.
A xenon bulb ice light, mounted on the mast, shines forward and brightly reflects ice. This equipment is useful at night and in heavier seas, when waves may prevent the radar, or an unaided eye, from picking up hazardous ice.
The ship is also equipped with five portable Iridium satellite phones, relying on 66 near polar-orbiting satellites for continuous coverage, including emergency communication on lifeboats. In addition, two EPIRBs (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons) send out a coded distress signal giving position in the case of an incident; and two Search and Rescue Transponders are on board to aid in any search and recovery effort.
IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) Emergency Response System
Developed by our VP of Marine Operations Leif Skog, Ice Master and captain of Explorer, it ensures that all IAATO ships in Antarctica keep in daily touch to form the initial response for any incident. Tested during a 2007 distressed vessel incident, it resulted in several ships, including National Geographic Endeavour, responding and arriving on the scene within a matter of hours.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Buenos Aires
Activities/shore excursions as specified
Lectures and presentations by expedition leaders and naturalist staff
All meals during your voyage
Selected alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages
Use of kayaks
Port fees and service taxes
What's not included?
Internal airfares (Buenos Aires/Ushuaia)
Arrival/departure taxes or reciprocity fees, visa fees where applicable