Photo by Quark passenger Karen Jacot

Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle

Duration 11 days
Departing from
  • Punta Arenas, Chile
Starting from AU $25,600
Adventure Options

Overview

Enjoy Antarctica in style — by flying and then cruising south of the Antarctic Circle! A short three-hour flight is all it takes to travel between Punta Arenas, Chile and King George Island in Antarctica. Skipping all the extra days at sea, you’ll enjoy only the best scenery and wildlife experiences of the Antarctic. Prepare yourself for a sensory overload, as you’ll be inundated by the sheer beauty and dramatic landscapes of the white continent. Soon after, our team of Polar Experts on the ship will have you searching for penguins and whales in Antarctica.

Highlights

  • The fastest, most direct way to Antarctica;
  • Fly over Drake Passage;
  • All the Antarctic Peninsula highlights;
  • Photography instruction included;
  • Optional polar camping along the Peninsula; and
  • On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar specialists.

Antarctic Express: Fly-Cruise

Interested to see more of this voyage? Explore Antarctica in 360° Virtual Reality!

Itineraries

Day 1 — Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile

Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in southern Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions® representative will meet you at the official starting point hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.

Day 2 — Fly to King George Island and Embarkation

Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica will have you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship will approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctic landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs with a one-mile (1.6 km) walk to the shore, before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!

Days 3 to 5 — Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As your ship approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Much of Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes.

As your captain and Expedition Team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert lecturers will also provide in-depth explanations of the glaciology, history and wildlife of the region.

Even more exciting are your land excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking on a beach dotted with penguins is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.

Each landing is different and dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won’t be long before you can tell the difference between an Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguin.

You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier to the thrill of spotting apex predators like leopard seals and killer whales in action, you’ll wake up early and welcome each day with a sense of adventure and a desire to explore this unrivaled travel experience.

Your Expedition Team will accompany you along the way, ensuring safety and providing insights into the places you visit.

Days 6 and 7 — Antarctic Circle

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not reach 66°33´ S. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, you and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass of sparkling wine!

As you toast the first explorers who ventured this far south, you can take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals and some of the most peculiar, yet magical ice formations you’ll see anywhere on the continent.

Days 8 and 9 — Northbound Along the Peninsula

If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to King George Island. You will continue to explore by Zodiac or on land as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.

Day 10 — Disembarkation and Fly to Punta Arenas

After your week of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your two-and-a-half-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your adventure to an end. After your group transfer to the hotel, you are free to explore and enjoy an evening on your own, in the city or at the hotel to reminisce about the sights and sounds of Antarctica.

Day 11 — Depart Punta Arenas

After breakfast, you are welcome to continue on your own travels or make your way to the Punta Arenas airport for your homeward flights.

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.

Dates and Rates

Departure
Days
Starting from
 
 
Dec 18 – December 28, 2019
11
AU $25,600
Jan 25 – February 4, 2020
11
AU $25,600
Jan 26 – February 5, 2021
11
AU $27,000
Feb 18 – February 28, 2021
11
AU $28,500
Mar 3 – March 13, 2021
11
AU $28,500

Adventure Options

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Reviews

Displaying 1 - 3 of 14

The Most Amazing Magical Trip Ever!

5

This was our first cruise and it's going to be hard to beat this one! We certainly lucked out, from the fantastic weather, calm waters and all the penguins, whales and birds we saw. Not to mention the scenery. The guides and crew were very knowledgeable and friendly and it felt like we were a large family by the end of the trip! All the staff on the boat were so kind and helpful - and the food was excellent! I just can't say enough about this trip. It was a dream come true for us and Quark Expeditions certainly delivered. Having said this, Antarctica is an adventure frontier, one with many surprises. There were people on our trip who were making a 2nd and 3rd attempt. If the weather is really bad Quark may not be able to fly you out to King George Island. Buy cancellation insurance and be a little flexible so if this happens you are covered and can try again. Quark will do their best to get you out there, but weather is beyond their control. Carol & Rick, Ecuador

Fly the Drake trip of 2/12/19

5

I had high expectations but the trip exceeded them all. I wondered what I was going to do on the ship for eight days but it seemed to be over before it started. Wonderful trip!

Antarctica Adventure!

5

Antarctica exceeded our expectations as an experience of a lifetime! We just completed a fly in/fly out trip to Antarctica spentding 9 days and 8 nights on an amazing Quark Expedition vessel (Ocean Adventurer). We were up close and personal with whales, seals, penguins, and sea birds with stunning views of mountains, glaciers, icebergs, ocean, and sea ice. We even saw A-57-A and crossed the Antarctic Circle. We had a phenomenal adventure and would highly recommend Quark Expeditions to anyone looking to have an experience of a lifetime in Antarctica. The Expedition Team and the Ocean Adventurer staff were exceptional!!

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