Earth’s Greatest Wildlife Destination

South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula

October 23 to November 14, 2025
Cost: $17,050 to $25,495
Leader: Hugh Rose & Scott Davis +13
Group Size: 100
Days: 23

Safari Overview

Experience the vibrant spring of South Georgia Island and the early season of the Antarctic Peninsula. Beneath the towering, snow-blanketed mountains of South Georgia Island, observe and photograph special wildlife behaviors seldom seen. This time of year is the only time you can find southern elephant seal bulls fighting for territories while females nurse their pups and distinctly marked gray-headed albatross attending to their cliffside nests. You’ll stand amongst vast colonies of king penguins and watch macaroni penguins launching into the ocean. The Antarctic Peninsula is in the beginning of its spring season when you arrive and you’ll find penguins courting, setting up nests, and perhaps laying eggs at the penguin colonies. Through over thirty years of experience in the Antarctic, we offer the most in-depth exploration of one of the densest wildlife spectacles found anywhere in the world, and with only 100 passengers, you’ll have ample opportunities to experience this spectacle during every landing and Zodiac cruise.


  • Spend an anticipated twelve full days on South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula with maximum shore time and Zodiac cruising.
  • See five penguin species (possibly 6)! Plus, many species of whales, seals, albatross, and seabirds.
  • Hear the cacophony of king penguins as you walk near colonies of up to 300,000 birds.
  • See gentoo, macaroni, chinstrap, and Adélie penguins as they start their breeding cycles.
  • Marvel at dramatic snow-capped mountains descending into valleys and glacier-fed rivers emptying into the ocean.
  • Watch southern elephant seal bulls defend their territories from competing bulls and females nursing pups during their peak breeding season.
  • See endangered gray-headed albatross on nests, only possible this time of year.
  • Hike or snowshoe on South Georgia Island. Take shorter walks in the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • With only 100 participants, everyone can land and/or Zodiac cruise at once, rather than in separate groups.
  • Our 15 leaders are polar specialists, photographers, and naturalists who will provide numerous lectures, workshops, and guided excursions.


  • Begin your journey early on our Falkland Islands extension from October 16 to 25, 2025. Visit three islands, the best of Patagonia in one trip, to see penguins, albatross, seals, and more.
  • Begin your journey early on our four-day Chile extension from October 19 to 25, 2025. Explore the famous Torres del Paine to discover the Paine Massif’s many faces from different vantage points, visit Grey Glacier, and see many of the bird species that call this park home.

Want to learn more? Check out our blog post from our 2023 trip!

Updated: March 2024
Wildlife Safari Coordinator: Lauren Kleppin

Ship Info Print Trip Safari Options
Date Description Lodge Meals
Oct 23 Travel to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Oct 24 Arrive in Punta Arenas from our Chile extension or from home. Hotel Cabo de Hornos, Punta Arenas, Chile
Oct 25 Fly to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands. Board the ship from the flight or from our Falkland Islands extension. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Oct 26-27 Sail to South Georgia Island. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Oct 28 - Nov 2 Spend an anticipated six full days landing at our favorite sites in South Georgia. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Nov 3-4 Sail from South Georgia to the Antarctic Peninsula. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Nov 5-10 Spend an anticipated six days navigating, landing and Zodiac cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Nov 11-12 Cross the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, Argentina. On board the Plancius B, L, D
Nov 13 Disembark in Ushuaia and fly homeward. B
Nov 14 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Scott Davis

Scott, co-owner and co-CEO of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, is an expert wildlife, nature, and travel photographer. Trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, he's explored all seven continents for research and photography. National Geographic, BBCAnimal PlanetNY Times, and other prestigious publications have featured his inspiring work. Scott's passion for teaching and talent for capturing the essence of his subjects make him a highly sought-after tour leader.

Hugh Rose

Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience and has been a key member of the Cheesemans’ Antarctica staff since 1998. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos. Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Travel to Punta Arenas, Chile

Oct 23

Arrive in Punta Arenas

Oct 24

Arrive in Punta Arenas from our Chile extension or from home, in time for our pre-trip welcome briefing and biosecurity check. Upon arrival, our local agent will transfer you from the airport to the hotel. If you would like to arrive earlier, we can arrange extra hotel nights.

Fly to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands

Oct 25

Pick up your packed lunch at the hotel before you are transferred to the airport to take the once-weekly flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands (not included in the trip cost). When you arrive in the early afternoon, you will be transferred to the ship in Stanley, or if you are on our Falkland Islands extension, you will be in Stanley already to board the ship. Stanley is an attractive town and the last center of human population you will see until your arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina at the voyage’s end. You should have some time before boarding to walk through town and explore this small corner of the British Empire that appears as if time has forgotten it. You will then be welcomed aboard by our Captain and our fine staff and crew and enjoy your first dinner aboard the ship before departing for South Georgia!

Sail to South Georgia Island

Oct 26-27

King Penguins
© James Walczak

By morning you’ll be far from the Falklands, heading southeast with albatross and other seabirds following the ship. You’ll stay busy by joining lectures on photography, wildlife, and ecology, familiarizing yourself on all aspects of ship life, preparing for what to expect on South Georgia Island, and enjoying views from the ship. You’ll cross the Polar Front (aka the Antarctic Convergence) where two bodies of water meet, and as the salty, cold Antarctic water mixes alongside warmer, fresher water from the north, the water temperatures plummet from about 39 to 43°F (4 to 6°C) to 32°F (0°C) in about eight cruising hours, creating nutrient-rich waters for birds, fur seals, and whales. Watch and photograph birds on the wing; wandering albatross, black-browed albatross, plus a few southern or northern royal albatross should be following the ship. On previous expeditions, almost a dozen species of petrels (including three storm-petrel and common diving-petrel species), six species of albatross, thousands of Antarctic prions, southern fulmars, greater and sooty shearwaters, and snow petrels have all been sighted. Whales you may encounter include fin, Antarctic minke, and southern right whales. During this time at sea, you’ll cross about 730 nautical miles with the prevailing current in our direction.

Explore South Georgia

Oct 28 - Nov 2

Fur Seal
© Daniel Ginsberg

Arrival time at South Georgia will depend on weather conditions and currents. We aim to spend six full landing days on South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, to explore this wild landscape of penguins, albatrosses, and seals. The mountainous rugged interior, a geologic continuation of the Andes chain, is carved by more than 150 glaciers into spectacular fjords and ringed by islands. Our timing in this voyage is carefully chosen to experience South Georgia in a seldom seen but extremely vibrant time. You’ll arrive before the peak of fur seal breeding (usually in November and December), when males stake out territories at densities so high that travel ashore becomes both dangerous and disruptive. Instead, you arrive during the peak of southern elephant seal breeding. Many large male ‘beachmasters’ seek to own a stretch of beach and are willing to fight in great tonnages of seal jousting because here lie their best hopes for breeding. The male elephant seal puts so much into his territorial defense that his life expectancy is less than half of a female’s. If he is a successful ‘beachmaster’, however, this short life is one of great glory!

In the northeast of the island, you’ll land or zodiac cruise at some of the special sites that become very difficult to impossible to land on once fur seals are in the height of their breeding, and then you will travel south to experience the scale and density of penguin breeding colonies at St. Andrews Bay and Salisbury Plain, absorbing the great richness and variety offered by South Georgia to voyagers so fortunate as ourselves. Here are some of the landing sites we hope to reach, though we will not be able to visit them all.

Due to the expeditionary nature of our voyage, specific stops cannot be guaranteed. Flexibility is paramount in expedition travel; our itinerary depends on the conditions. In addition, as of 2023, due to confirmed positive cases and the presence of avian influenza virus on South Georgia Island, some sites may be temporarily closed and subsequently reopened in current and future operating seasons. This is an ongoing situation, and we will adapt our itinerary as necessary to adhere to current or updated biosecurity protocols and environmental factors. We strive to land often and stay as long as possible, abiding by the Guidelines for Responsible Ecotourism from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Island.

Elsehul This little sheltered cove sits on the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the rugged Paryadin Peninsula, blocking Southern Ocean westerly winds with 400-meter walls built of ancient sedimentary rocks folded and stacked during the formation of the Andes. Later in season, the beaches of Elsehul will become prohibitively dense with fur seals, so this is an ideal time to visit and see the sublimely beautiful gray-headed albatross nesting on steep tussock grass slopes. Gray-headed albatross are the first to lay eggs here, so you are sure to find them sitting on nests looking over Elsehul’s dramatic cove, a sight that few can hope for in a lifetime of travel! Black-browed albatross and macaroni, gentoo, and king penguins nest here, plus you may see southern giant-petrels quietly incubating their eggs.

Right Whale Bay Fur seals are starting to set up territories here at this time, a beach that in the height of the breeding season looks to be alive with a constant frenetic movement of seals. At the east end of this dramatic walled cove, you’ll find a colony of king penguins, many lounging in front of a waterfall pouring out of the island’s interior.

Salisbury Plain 60,000 pairs of king penguins call this glacial plain home, making it a beloved site for any who explore South Georgia. Salisbury is located in the Bay of Isles, looking out on the wandering albatross breeding islands of Prion and Albatross. King penguins have a staggered breeding season where each adult’s activities are dependent upon what they did the season before. Those that had no chick or an early fledging chick the previous year will be courting and mating, whereas those that did have a chick in the previous year may delay breeding. These early breeders have the best chances of successfully fledging a chick this year. You will find molting penguins lining the freshwater streams that run from the glaciers to the sea. The charming South Georgia pipit, the world’s southernmost passerine (perching bird), will look upon us curiously while singing. Hopefully snow will still be on the ground around the colony, a canvas of white upon which the penguins walk. The king penguins share the beach with fur seals and elephant seals, and many giant-petrels will be patrolling the shores to forage for the penguins that did not make it through the winter.

Prion Island If open for visitation, you arrive just before the young, overwintering wandering albatross fledge, starting years of seafaring life before finally returning as young adults to breed. Each pair of albatross has a private estate with at least 30 square meters of open space around its nest site for courtship and takeoffs and landings, a real contrast with the king penguin’s territory of less than one square meter. Tragically, wandering albatross are declining rapidly because of illegal fishing vessels mining ‘white gold’, another name for Chilean seabass or Patagonia toothfish.

Grytviken and King Edward Point Grytviken was one of the most active whaling stations in the history of whaling, but the flensing plan is now empty and the boilers silent. More than 60 years of whaling history is told in the exhibits of the South Georgia Museum. The natural history exhibits are enriching, and after browsing and perhaps doing a little museum store shopping and mailing postcards, take a short walk around the bay to visit the whaler’s graveyard where Shackleton and his right-hand man Frank Wild lie. The history of Antarctic exploration comes alive as you listen to tales of the adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This famous explorer crossed the rugged backbone of South Georgia from the west to arrive at Stromness seeking help for his men stranded on Elephant Island. The crew of the Endurance, hand-picked by Sir Ernest Shackleton in England for his 1914–1917 expedition, survived on the nutritious, though unappetizing, penguin and seal meat while waiting for rescue on Elephant Island. Their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea months before, and eventually Shackleton and his men sailed in small boats and landed at Elephant Island with hardly any room to survive below the steep cliffs along the shore. From Elephant Island, Shackleton and a handful of men sailed in a small boat to South Georgia, returning to Elephant Island 105 days later to rescue the stranded men.

Fortuna Bay In the lee of the central rib of South Georgia’s impressive mountains, you will have good chances for clear skies and calm conditions. Fortuna Bay ends in an extended glacial alluvial plain covered with a fine grass where a photogenic king penguin colony resides. Search for nesting light-mantled albatross on the steep tussock slopes above the king penguin colony.

Shackleton Walk to Stromness Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley were very near the end of their dramatic and perilous self-rescue when they stumbled down into Fortuna Bay from the interior of the island. They had just one short hike remaining, a westward walk of about three miles to Stromness Harbour to reunite with civilization after over 17 months in the Antarctic. You’ll retrace their trek over a 300-meter ridge with a stunning view across the König Glacier down to Stromness’s rusting inactive whaling station to reunite with the ship.

Godthul Gentoo penguins are now the principal resident of this site where whaling once dominated. Starting in 1908, whaling vessels anchored here and left remains of whalebones and wooden platform boats called jolles. Two waterfalls feed small lakes on the shoreline before jagged peaks. Listen for the beautiful light-mantled albatross courtship calls as they soar in synchronized flight overhead.

St. Andrews Bay Few places in the world are so far beyond description that any attempt rings hollow. St. Andrews Bay is one, with more than 150,000 pairs of king penguins forming a colony that covers a vast landscape. You will be mesmerized as you view penguins spanning multiple football fields. As you walk over the glacial moraine bordering the colony, the large visual mass of penguins along with their calls and smells hit you, and is an experience you will never forget. You must see, hear, and smell it to believe it.

During this time of year, king penguins will be far from the only attraction at St. Andrews. The southern elephant seal, the world’s largest seal, gather here by the thousands creating one of the densest concentrations of life on the planet. Expect to see thousands of females with young pups nursing. You can hope to witness beachmaster combat and breeding bouts. St. Andrews Bay has a reputation for volatile weather because it lies at the foot of three glaciers, where cold air can pour off these glaciers turning a calm quiet morning into a howling, harrowing landscape of katabatic winds in an astonishingly short time, so do pay attention to our expedition leaders!

Gold Harbour This is one of the most protected sites on South Georgia Island with great chances for clear blue skies. Fair or foul, you will find a beach at least as densely packed with southern elephant seals as St. Andrews Bay (though a smaller beach, so fewer numbers overall). In addition, observe about 25,000 pairs of king penguins, which line a glacial meltwater river winding behind the beach, a gentoo penguin colony, and steep slopes with light-mantled albatross nesting on their flanks. A tumbling icefall borders the back of the harbor making for stunning landscapes dramatized by the occasional explosion of glacial blocks tumbling down the cliff face.

Royal Bay Several landing sites attract us to Royal Bay, though accessing the exposed bay is highly weather dependent. A growing king penguin colony has topped 30,000 pairs at Brisbane Point in recent counts, with constant activity upon the cobblestone beach boulders through what can be heavy surf. A fjord-like glacially carved valley empties into Moltke Harbour, a backdrop for up to 1,000 elephant seals.

Cooper Bay A colony of marvelous macaroni penguins and South Georgia’s only colony of chinstrap penguins reside here. A hike up through tussock slopes will reward you with macaronis in a frenzy of early breeding season activity. You are sure to see chinstraps traveling through the surf and loafing on the beach or an iceberg. The Government of South Georgia has restricted access to the main chinstrap colony here and on Cooper Island due to a 2004 outbreak of avian cholera, and the colony will probably still be closed to landings. Cooper Bay sits just inside from Cooper Island, a rat-free island that is extremely important breeding habitat for burrow-nesting seabirds and South Georgia pipits. Cooper Island is designated a “Site of Special Scientific Interest”, and thus closed to all landings.

Drygalski Fjord and Larsen Harbour Southern South Georgia differs strikingly in geology from the remainder of the island, and in the sheer-walled Drygalski Fjord you can really see this difference. As you cruise up the fjord, you can see granite, gabbro, and metamorphic rocks to starboard (ship’s right), remnant of the Gondwana continental margin. To port (ship’s left), the mountains are built of the “Larsen Harbour Complex”, uplifted ocean floor basalt and gabbro that rose in the formation of the Andes, and then was ripped and rafted east to its present location over the last 40 million years. The Risting Glacier calves frequently into the fjord’s waters, stirring up marine life that is quickly snapped up by Antarctic terns and perhaps a few snow petrels. A small colony of Weddell seals who are likely to have pups ashore with them reside in Larsen Harbour.

Cape Disappointment Captain Cook was the first to lay eyes on South Georgia and his great hope was that he had found the tip of a great southern continent. The name Cape Disappointment reflects his feelings when he found that South Georgia was no continent at all. He was not too impressed with South Georgia without apparent exploitable resources, but the black-browed albatross that breed in large numbers on the sheer slopes did not mind his departure. Although they are less numerous because of long-line fishing practices, they are still impressive in numbers.

Sail to the Antarctic Peninsula

Nov 3-4

Ship-Sized Iceberg
© Max Salfinger

Your route to Antarctica will be packed with wildlife watching opportunity from the ship’s deck and attending informative lectures. The waters between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula are rich with fin whales; in good conditions we have observed as many as a hundred in a single day! Be on the lookout for Antarctic petrel, Kerguelen petrel, and one of the most beautiful birds of the Southern Ocean, the snow petrel. Our lectures are designed to add scientific and historic depth and knowledge to your expedition, and our workshops will focus on photographic techniques and critiques to enhance your photos. En route to the Peninsula, you’ll hopefully have a chance to stop at Elephant Island where Shackleton's men waited four months while never giving up hope of rescue, creating an epic story of the Heroic Age of Exploration.

Due to the expeditionary nature of our voyage, our passage length may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Sailing time may exceed two days between South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. The average cruising speed of the Plancius is 10.5 knots.

Explore The Antarctic Peninsula And South Shetland Islands

Nov 5-10

Deception Island
© Lauren Kleppin

We hope to make good time on the navigation from South Georgia to the Antarctic Peninsula giving us six days to explore the Antarctic. The early season is an exciting time as ice begins to recede, allowing passage to some of our favorite landing sites. During the spring season, penguin colonies are re-forming with penguins courting, setting up nests, and some laying eggs. We’re very excited to share the Antarctic’s early season with you. These are some of our favorite sites and routes we choose from, although we will not be able to visit them all!

Due to the expeditionary nature of our voyage, specific stops cannot be guaranteed. Flexibility is paramount in expedition travel; our itinerary depends on the conditions. In addition, as of 2023, due to confirmed positive cases and the presence of avian influenza virus in the Antarctic region, some sites may be temporarily closed and subsequently reopened in current and future operating seasons. This is an ongoing situation, and we will adapt our itinerary as necessary to adhere to updated biosecurity protocols and environmental factors. We strive to land often and stay as long as possible, abiding by the Guidelines for Responsible Ecotourism from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Island.

The South Shetland Islands These are a string of volcanic islands, some still active, that run parallel to the Antarctic Peninsula across the Bransfield Strait. Fondly known as the “Banana Belt of Antarctica,” these islands boast the richest concentrations of terrestrial wildlife in the Antarctic because of their proximity to the rich upwelling waters from the great Circumpolar Current. Even with our luxuriously in-depth itinerary, we will have to choose between many very compelling sites.

Deception Island is a favorite on our voyage. This horseshoe-shaped, volcanic island is still active, as its hot thermal pools demonstrate. Deception Island offers stunning views of an icy landscape starkly contrasted by black beaches and clouds of steam rising from hot sands. Hopefully, you will experience the outer caldera, and then venture inside the caldera via a narrow gap called Neptune’s Bellows. Bailey Head is home to about 60,000 chinstrap penguins, but the sea can make landings tricky with steep swells crashing on an exposed beach. Inside Deception’s huge caldera, a landing at Whaler’s Bay may include a short hike up the mountainside among the lichen-draped cliffs to the scenic overlook at Neptune’s Window after walking past Weddell seals basking on the beach.

On a clear day, the chinstrap penguins of Half Moon Island make a delightful foreground to the breathtaking coastline of nearby Livingston Island. At this end of the Earth, the vast scale of nature will open our senses and we ask you to give great respect to the fragile vegetation and the wildlife colonies.

Chinstrap and gentoo penguins breed on Aitcho Island, an island covered in mossy green carpets, a surprisingly bright contrast to Antarctica’s intensely achromatic landscapes. Conditions permitting, walk across the island past the southern elephant seal wallows, offering a terrific chance to see (and smell!) the world’s largest species of seal, along with the chance to see hauled out Weddell seals and southern fur seals. 

From the South Shetlands, we sail southwest across the Bransfield Strait into the fabled Gerlache Strait. Here you can expect whale sightings to ring out from the bridge as the Antarctic Peninsula landscape rises into a glacier-draped view of mountainous proportion. You’ll sail the waters around Anvers Island, Dallmann Bay to the north, and the Gerlache to the east. Hope for magnificent sunsets, sculpted blue icebergs, and close penguin and whale encounters, each with the potential for an experience that you will never forget.

Over the last few decades, the Southern Ocean has experienced a significant warming trend, showing clear evidence of climate change. The Antarctic Peninsula has been feeling climate change the most with a massive 9°F (5°C) warming in average winter temperatures over the last 50 years. Although this has dramatically changed and reduced ice distributions, you will still be among a world of spectacular icebergs! 

Western Antarctic Peninsula ~ The Danco Coast, Neumeyer Channel, and Lemaire Channel Weather and ice distributions will determine whether we travel south down the west coast or sail east through the Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea; happily, you have ample time for a thorough exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula. When heading south, travel along the picturesque Danco Coast on the west coast of Graham Land. This area has awe-inspiring scenery with coastlines deeply indented with bays and scattered with islands. Impressive mountains rise sharply from the coast to the central Graham Land Plateau and glaciers descend to narrow piedmont ice shelves. Extensive Zodiac cruising and landings during the best light will allow you to soak in the serenity of this majestic place.

As you travel along the coast, you’ll wander into Wilhemina Bay, Neko Harbour, and Paradise Bay, among the most beautiful areas in Antarctica. These waters rank high on our list of favorite places for Zodiac cruising. Enjoy views of sculpted icebergs and surfacing whales as we cruise the inner bays near spectacular glaciers and ethereal mountains. You can expect wonderful whale behavior in these plentiful summer feeding grounds. The krill swarms are enormous, sometimes even visible on the ship’s depth sounder. Gentoo and chinstrap penguin colonies reside here, sometimes side-by-side, along with their attendant scavengers: snowy sheathbills, brown skuas, south polar skuas, and kelp gulls. Our potential landing in Neko Harbour on the Antarctic continent will treat you with a walk to an incredible view 

Enjoy the scenery from the ship as it navigates through stunning Neumeyer and Lemaire Channels or around the south end of Anvers Island into Biscoe Bay where you will be surrounded by ice-draped peaks soaring dramatically out of the water. Crabeater, Weddell, and leopard seals are often hauled out on the ice floes and whales may even surface between the floes, so keep your cameras ready! Tall, hanging ice cliffs, the fronts of highly fractured tidewater glaciers, decorate most of the shoreline for unforgettable scenery. At the southern part of the Lemaire Channel you’ll arrive at Petermann Island. Located at 65°S, Petermann is outstanding for seeing gentoo and Adélie penguins making feeding trips in large groups along a snow-filled penguin highway to and from their nests. The clear water is beautiful for observing and photographing penguin activities. Petermann has seen a reversal in abundance between the two species, with half the numbers of Adélie penguins found here twenty years ago, but twice the numbers of gentoos.

Additional landing sites along the western Peninsula are expected, but which ones will depend on conditions (as is the case with any landing). Port Lockroy, located at the end of the very narrow and beautiful Peltier Channel close to Neumeyer Channel, has a British Antarctica Survey maritime museum and a sprawling gentoo penguin colony. Tiny Cuverville Island is also a treat with gentoo penguins walking amid the snow and entering and exiting the beach.

As you return, you will likely pass through the South Shetland Islands again, possibly for a landing at Yankee Harbour on Greenwich Island. Look for macaroni penguins among the chinstrap and gentoo colonies and keep an eye out for the usual rookery scavengers (skuas, gulls, giant-petrels, and sheathbills). Here you will find excellent examples of Antarctica’s only two flowering plants, the Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearlwort, the continent’s complete flora at one site!

Cross the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, Argentina

Nov 11-12

Royal Albatross
© Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris

Named after the 16th Century English seaman, Sir Francis Drake, this waterway of about 600 miles separates the southernmost tip of South America from Antarctica. You cross the Polar Front approximately halfway across Drake Passage. Those on watch may sight several species of albatross and petrel following the ship; it is a particularly good area for royal albatross and blue petrel. Stay on the lookout for pods of sperm whales and other whales. Almost 500 miles north of the South Shetlands, you will near Cape Horn, with a distant view before turning northeast toward the Beagle Channel. The offshore area is as rich as seawaters can be and seabirds are usually present in huge numbers, especially sooty shearwaters and black-browed albatross if the sea is calm. Sometimes you may see Peale’s dolphins in schools of hundreds of individuals. This evening you’ll navigate back up the Beagle Channel to dock in Ushuaia.

Disembark and fly homeward

Nov 13

This morning you will be reluctant to say goodbye to your spirited shipmates and leaders! After an early breakfast and clearing customs, disembark the ship to transfer to the airport, to Ushuaia to wander town before transferring to the airport, or directly to your hotel.

Arrive home

Nov 14

South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula

Experience the vibrant spring of South Georgia Island and the early season of the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Ship Information


The Plancius was built specifically for oceanographic voyages and is modern, comfortable, and ice strengthened. She has large open deck spaces, providing excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. While inside, you will enjoy views from the restaurant/lecture room, and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) with large windows, offering full panoramic views. She carries a maximum of 108 guests (we are taking a maximum of 100 guests), allowing true, small-ship expedition cruising. This is particularly important in South Georgia and Antarctica where restrictions limit the number of passengers landing simultaneously to 100, thus maximizing your time on shore since we don’t need timed landing shifts. All cabins feature windows or portholes for ample natural light, lower berths (except quadruple and triple shared cabins have upper/lower berths), desk with chair, flatscreen TV, telephone, and hair dryer.The Plancius is equipped with 10 Mark V Zodiacs with 60 HP 4-stroke outboard engines, and has two gangways on the starboard side, guaranteeing a swift Zodiac operation. She travels 10–12 knots and is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system which reduces the noise and vibration of the vessel considerably.

More Information

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Description Cost Per Person
Quadruple Quadruple occupancy, two upper and two lower twin-sized beds, one porthole, and private bath. Deck 2. $17,050
Triple Triple occupancy, one upper and two lower twin-sized beds, one porthole, and private bath. Deck 2. $19,050
Twin Porthole Double occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds, one porthole, and private bath. Deck 3. $20,795
Twin Window Double occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds, one window, and private bath. Deck 4. $21,795
Twin Deluxe Double occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds, two windows, and private bath. Deck 4. $23,495
Superior Double occupancy, one double-sized bed, two windows, sofa bed, refrigerator, and private bath. Decks 4, 5, and 6. $25,495

Costs are per person depending on cabin type and occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement. If space is available, some cabins can be booked as a single by adding 70% over the listed cabin cost.

We cannot guarantee a specific cabin number, but if changes occur, we will assign a cabin of equal or greater value.

Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $2,000
Second June 15, 2024 $4,000
Third January 15, 2025 $4,000
Final May 15, 2025 Remaining Balance

Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.


Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. Through March 14, 2025, the cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable.

Dates Forfeited Amount per Person
On or before March 14, 2025 $300 (see terms above)
March 15 to April 14, 2025 10% of trip cost
April 15 to May 14, 2025 40% of trip cost
On or after May 15, 2025 100% of trip cost


  • Carbon offsets for the duration of this trip.
  • All leaders, transport, landing fees, permits, port taxes, and passenger fees, including the IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) passenger fee for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Accommodations (double occupancy, unless booked cabin as a single) for the night of October 24 in Punta Arenas, Chile.
  • Nineteen nights on board the Plancius.
  • Meals from breakfast on October 25 through breakfast on November 13.
  • Transfers from Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel Cabo de Hornos, regardless of arrival day; from Hotel Cabo de Hornos to the Punta Arenas Airport on October 25; from the Mount Pleasant Airport to the ship; and from the ship to the Ushuaia airport or your hotel on November 13.
  • Coffee and tea throughout the voyage.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
  • Expedition Log – after your voyage, you’ll receive a color booklet of the expedition.
  • Rubber boots on loan while on board.
  • Onboard lectures during sea days.

Not Included

  • Carbon offsets for your flights to/from this trip.
  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $1,800 to $2,200 from the US to Punta Arenas, Chile, returning from Ushuaia, Argentina to the US, depending on origin, plus approximately $640 one-way flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • We can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $15 to $20 per participant per day for October 25 to November 13 with our ship crew (about $300 to $400 total per participant). Although our Cheesemans’ expedition leaders do not expect a tip, budgeting an additional $150 to $300 total per participant to divide among the staff evenly is suggested.
  • Optional day trips in Punta Arenas.
  • Mandatory emergency evacuation insurance.
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Traveler Form.


In Punta Arenas, Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina the temperatures are about 37 to 50°F (3 to 10°C). On South Georgia the temperatures are about 32 to 50°F (0 to 10°C), while in the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures are about 16 to 25°F (-9 to -4°C). Wet, penetrating cold is not usually a problem, but you will need to protect against wind and splash, especially when riding in the Zodiacs. Mittens, warm cap, layers of light, loose, warm clothing, a parka, and waterproof outer garments are necessary.

Fitness Level

Although participating in this voyage does not require a high level of physical fitness, you should know your limitations to manage the potential for very rough seas and slippery, rocky walks.

Make sure you can maintain balance while walking with the ship in motion and while getting in and out of moving Zodiacs. Staff and crew will assist you to keep you safe but set yourself up for success by working those balance muscles while you’re at home. If you know your balance is not what it used to be, and if the seas are rough, do not be afraid to crawl on the floor in your cabin to and from the bathroom as this will keep you safe from bigger falls and potentially banging your head.

You should also be able to walk on unstable, rocky, and slippery terrain. The gangway and Zodiacs can be slippery as well as many landing sites and areas you traverse during your landing. If you know you may need assistance, plan to bring collapsible trekking poles for use while on shore and make sure they easily fit inside your dry bag.

Once on shore, you can choose to walk for short or long distances (within the specified guidelines), and we typically give you a debrief the night before of what to expect. Make sure you practice carrying the gear you plan to carry with you on shore. While you can typically stash gear at the landing site during the landing in a specified location, which you can return to if needed, it’s important that you can manage to carry it all together for the safety of yourself and our staff and crew.

While on shore you will, at times, be surrounded by wildlife, so it’s important that while you may get easily enamored with the beauty of it all, you must remain vigilant as to which animals you are getting too close to or that may be approaching you. Larger animals like seals can easily cause you harm if you don’t pay attention, and minimum distances from wildlife must be maintained.

Balancing against the waves is not always possible without holding on to something. Your upper body and hands should be strong enough that you can hold your own weight while leaning backward or sideways as far as possible.

Due to the strong likelihood that you will experience rough seas and other conditions that increase fall risk, anyone taking anticoagulants should reach out to us in advance before booking this trip.

Ultimately, it is important to know that no sophisticated medical facilities are available in the Antarctic, and you will be required to fill out a Medical Form that will be reviewed and vetted by the Ship Doctor before departure.

In summary, when you fill in your Reservation Form, please answer the following:

  1. What activities requiring balance do you currently participate in?
  2. How do you rate your balance – poor, average, or excellent?
  3. What activities do you currently participate in that require walking on unstable, rocky, and slippery terrain?
  4. Do you use trekking poles regularly?
  5. What distances have you walked recently with the same amount of gear you plan to carry on shore?
  6. Can you hold your own body weight while gripping a rail during rough seas?
  7. Are you taking any anticoagulants currently that put you at increased risk should you lose balance or fall?

Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.


Detailed logistical information is included in the Trip Planning Materials we will send you.

Flights you book

  • Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) by 4:00pm on October 24. If you are arriving from our Falkland Islands extension or Chile extension, see the Flights section in their respective itineraries for arrival information.
  • Depart from Ushuaia, Argentina (USH) after 12:00pm on November 13.

Flights we book

  • The one-way flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands on October 25; we’ll add the flight cost to your final trip balance. Important: If you make your own arrangements because you are visiting the Falklands on your own before the voyage (not on the Cheesemans’ Falkland Islands extension), you must contact us before the final payment date so we can cancel your seat on the flight. If you alert us later, you will be responsible for flight cancellation fees.



Motion Sickness

Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! Over the years many who have dreamed of experiencing South Georgia and Antarctica with us have stayed home for fear of seasickness, but of all those who have joined, we know of only one passenger who said that seasickness really affected the enjoyment of the trip. Still, that same passenger talked about repeating the trip, because the rest of the experiences more than made up for it. For all but the most sensitive, motion sickness is only a problem during open ocean passages. Days and nights when we are landing or cruising between landings are quite calm because we are very close to land. The Southern Ocean has a reputation for the worst seas in the world, not because they are always rough (on the average day, the seas are actually quite calm!) but because their extremes are large. If we are hit by a storm during a crossing, the experience will be memorable. For this reason, unless you know you are immovable by the heavy seas, bring a good supply of medication. Many of our frequent travelers are quite susceptible to seasickness, yet they come back year after year because they love Antarctica! Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.



Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:

  • Ecotourism and Conservation for Antarctica.
  • Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral.
  • Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. You can purchase offsets with most airlines (Delta includes them automatically), use our handy carbon calculator and donate to Sustainable Travel International, or contribute to your favorite offsetting organization.


Read our current Terms and Conditions.