- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Starting Price$26,995 USD
This brand new itinerary celebrates the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose passing in South Georgia on January 5, 1922, marked the end of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. The 20-day itinerary Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia (which will coincide with the centenary of Shackleton’s death) not only honors one of Antarctica’s greatest heroes—but also his unwavering spirit of exploration, which Quark Expeditions continues to emulate to this day.
Whereas Shackleton and his crew braved the harsh elements of Antarctica aboard Endurance, which had the most basic of amenities, guests on this voyage will board the brand new ship Ultramarine—during its inaugural Antarctic sailing season. The technologically-advanced vessel will follow the route of Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917), allowing passengers to experience the full splendor of Antarctica and South Georgia while exploring on Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters and 20 fast-launching Zodiacs. Guests will cross the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, visit the Weddell Sea (where the ill-fated Endurance met its tragic end), then onto Elephant Island and, ultimately, wildlife-rich South Georgia, where, if conditions allow, guests will pay homage to Shackleton at his grave at Grytviken.
Throughout the voyage, passengers will enjoy special presentations by polar experts Tim Jarvis (author of “Chasing Shackleton”) and Dr. Ross MacPhee, curator of the ground-breaking museum exhibit “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition.”
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).
After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier. 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!
Not only will guests experience the much-anticipated crossing of the Drake Passage, considered by many to be a polar rite of passage, they will also enjoy one-of-a-kind presentations from the expedition team members—and from our two distinguished special guests who have delved deeply into the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
In 2013, environmental scientist, author and explorer Tim Jarvis—with a crew equipped in era-authentic gear—re-enacted Shackleton’s 800-mile (1,300 km) journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a replica of the 23-foot whaler James Caird. In fact, the foreword to Jarvis’ book, “Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival,” was written by Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest.
Also on board as guest presenter: mammologist, paleontologist, anthropologist and polar historian Ross MacPhee, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, which hosted the ground-breaking exhibit “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition.” MacPhee is the author of “Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole.” MacPhee, who has participated in more than 50 scientific expeditions (including both Polar Regions), has also researched the extinction of early mammals who roamed Antarctica 45 million years ago.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!
The Weddell Sea has profound meaning for admirers of Shackleton. This is where the explorer’s ill-fated ship, Endurance, crushed by pack ice, disappeared into the harsh waters in 1915. Despite the extreme harsh environment, the Weddell Sea region is known for its rich wildlife: seals, penguins and baleen whales.
Aboard Ultramarine—with its two twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs—you’ll be able to explore by sea and air, an experience never before possible until the launch of this game-changing expedition ship.
Throughout the voyage, guests will enjoy one-of-a-kind presentations from the expedition team members—and from our two distinguished special guests, polar experts Tim Jarvis and Ross MacPhee.
Your days at sea are also perfect for experiencing the superb luxury amenities of Ultramarine, which include a spa and a sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests to stay connected to the polar environments while enjoying relaxing moments onboard the ship. Ultramarine also has more wildlife viewing stations than any ship of its size, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to stay on the lookout for birds and other wildlife while at sea.
On April 9, 1916, after spending 165 days drifting through the hostile ice of the Weddell Sea, Shackleton and his crew reached remote Elephant Island, one of the outermost islands of the South Shetland Island chain. Arriving here today, 100 years later, you will see the island exactly as Shackleton and his men first encountered the brutish landscape. Yet to the stranded crew, Elephant Island was a haven, offering vital shelter while they waited anxiously to be rescued.
We hope to visit Point Wild, located on the northern shores of the island, where Shackleton and his men were able to come ashore. This was the location where Shackleton launched his epic 650-mile (1,046 km) boat journey aboard the James Caird, and where his men waited for his return. If conditions are ideal, we will launch our Zodiacs to get as close as possible to land, where guests can appreciate the immensity of the Shackleton feat.
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula, as your next destination is South Georgia! We invite you to join us as we mark the first-ever New Year celebration on Ultramarine, the first ship purposely built for polar exploration. The inaugural season of Ultramarine, much like Shackleton’s feats in Antarctica, makes for a memorable moment in polar history.
In addition to the New Year’s celebrations aboard Ultramarine, your days at sea are filled with presentations led by our two special guests and your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes that await you in South Georgia.
South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins and seals. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.
You’ll find that on South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, visitors can see abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.
In re-creating the voyage of the James Caird, Shackleton’s heroic open-boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, our first planned destination on the island will be King Hakkon Bay—the very site where Shackleton and his men landed before traversing the island’s harsh interior.
South Georgia is particularly significant and, for many guests, a poignant stop on this voyage that celebrates the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose enduring legacy of polar exploration lives on through the Quark Expeditions team today. After Shackleton’s death on January 5, 1922, the explorer’s widow insisted her husband be buried in South Georgia, which figured so prominently in his life and dreams. If conditions allow, we hope to visit Grytviken, one of the first whaling stations established in the sub-Antarctic waters. It’s also the site of the modest cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. Guests traditionally gather at Shackleton’s grave to pay homage and raise a toast to one of history’s greatest polar explorers.
In addition to a historical visit to Grytviken and other whaling sites, you will have the opportunity to visit many of the pristine beaches, coves, and fjords that line the protected northern coast of the island. The wildlife density in South Georgia is unlike anywhere else in the world, and each stop during our journey will bring new adventures.
After more than two weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, rejuvenate in the sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows, indulge in the luxury amenities of Ultramarine—including its spa-inspired suites and beautifully designed lounges and restaurants—or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a little taste of Patagonia with a Tierra del Fuego National Park tour before transferring to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.
*MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- One pre-night’s hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
- Group transfer from hotel to airport in Buenos Aires
- Group flight departing from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport (Aeroparque/AEP) to Ushuaia, and returning to Buenos Aires’ international airport (Ezeiza/EZE)
- Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship, and return (Note: Transfer on arrival in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel at the beginning of the journey is not included. Please make your way to the included hotel.)
- Combined airport transfer and express bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park after disembarkation in Ushuaia
PACKAGE PRICE: $995 USD
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.
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
- All shore landings as per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- Mandatory Transfer Package*
- International airfare
- Passport and applicable visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
- • Meals unless otherwise specified
- • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities