- Cross Antarctica off your bucket list on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage
- Spot diverse wildlife, from a chinstrap penguin colony to humpback whales
- Make landfall on several occasions and walk to a fantastic viewpoint
- Stay aboard a comfortable ship with private cabins and bathrooms
REI's Classic Antarctica cruise offers the ultimate introduction to the White Continent and includes many of the wildlife and scenic highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula. Wildlife viewing is a real highlight here, from whales and seals to penguins and other birdlife. Naturalist guides help us understand this unique ecosystem at work. We also have ample time to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, bergs, and rugged mountains.
Our voyage takes place aboard ice-strengthened vessels, includes multiple shore landings via Zodiac craft, and even offers the opportunity for a polar plunge.
REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures with our travel partner, Quark Expeditions.
- Day 1 - Our journey starts in Ushuaia, Argentina.
- Day 2 - Embarkation Day! Sail down the historic Beagle Channel.
- Days 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage, hope for calm waters.
- Days 5-8 - Explore South Shetland and Antarctic Peninsula.
- Days 9-10 - Return via the Drake Passage to Ushuaia.
- Day 11 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Our journey starts in Ushuaia, Argentina.
With a population of over 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going, accessible feel, with dramatic mountain surroundings it is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. You can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city or visit the many boutique shops and cafes while preparing for your upcoming adventure. This evening meet some of your fellow travelers at the orientation briefing.
Day 2 - Embarkation Day! Sail down the historic Beagle Channel.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of excitement as we depart - the next time you see land we'll be in the world's most southern continent!
Days 3-4 - Crossing the Drake Passage, hope for calm waters.
Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You'll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates, while we'll provide safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead.
Days 5-8 - Explore South Shetland and Antarctic Peninsula.
When the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. We can finally 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, meaning your expedition will be unlike any other - creating a unique, personal experience. We will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for Humpback and Minke Whales and search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning Leopard Seal.
The majesty of the Peninsula's mountains will enchant you as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you 360° views of your surroundings. One of these in particular, in Orne Harbor, gives the opportunity to visit a Chinstrap Penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here you'll have the choice between going for a mountain hike or spending time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach to enjoy the antics of curious penguins. If you're feeling extra adventurous, participating in the Polar Plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets!
Amidst the peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbor. You can make a bit of noise yourself too by listening to the echo of voices bounce off a giant glacier. Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team so as to entertain and educate you on this wonderful part of the world.
Days 9-10 - Return via the Drake Passage to Ushuaia.
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your Expedition Team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Day 11 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Today you'll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and your fellow travelers. You'll disembark in the morning so that you may catch your homeward bound flights. Outbound flights should not be scheduled until after noon.
Note: The 10-day itinerary spends one less day exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, while the 12-day itinerary will have one additional day exploring the peninsula.
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.
One night of pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast, (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.), shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping, all meals on board, all shore landings per the daily program, leadership throughout the voyage including shore landings and other activities, photographic journal on DVD documenting the voyage, a pair of waterproof boots for the duration of the voyage, an official Quark Expeditions parka to keep, hair dryer and bathrobes in each cabin, a group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia to the airport, all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program, Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; supplement for single hotel accommodations; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and beverage charges and telecommunications charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for those who have served you aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Our trips are scheduled to take advantage of the Antarctica summer. Daytime temperatures may vary between 25° to 45°F and if the sun is shining, it can get warmer. Daylight lasts 20 hours per day!
To confirm reservations on an Antarctic cruise, a deposit of 20% is required at time of booking. Final payment is due 130 days prior to departure. Prices and payments are in U.S. dollars. Deposits and payments for pre-expedition and post-expedition services are specific to each item, and are explained and communicated at time of purchase.
All requests for cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received up to 180 days prior to departure are refunded less an administrative fee of $1000 per person. If cancellation is received between 179 and 121 days prior to departure, the deposit is forfeited. Please note that for cancellations received within 120 days prior to departure, all deposits and tariffs are forfeited. If cancellation occurs within the 120-day period and full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and unpaid monies are due immediately. For these and other reasons mentioned below, you are strongly encouraged to obtain trip cancellation insurance. Prices quoted are based on group participation and no refunds will be made for any part of the program in which you choose not to participate, including kayaking, camping, skiing, or mountaineering (if applicable and which, at the discretion of the Captain and Expedition Leader, may or may not be utilized). It is understood that refunds cannot be made to passengers who do not complete the services for any reason whatsoever.
This policy is different than the general cancellation policy published in our current travel catalog and is strictly adhered to.
If any trip must be delayed due to bad weather, cancelled or delayed transportation, sickness or any other situation for which REI Adventures catalog information cannot make provisions, all costs incurred during such delays must be borne by trip members.
The trip is rated easy to moderate . During most shore landings, trip participants will have the opportunity to walk for short distances (less than 1 mile) while visiting penguin rookeries and exploring the landscape. Dependent on location, walks may involve crossing snowfields or bare, rocky terrain. Individuals prone to motion sickness should carry appropriate remedies as high seas may be encountered while crossing the Drake Passage.
A valid passport is required for travel to South America. A visa is not required for travel to Antarctica. Extensions may require visas when traveling to additional South American countries.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will guarantee double/triple occupancy rates for hotel rooms and ship cabins even if we are unable to match you with a roommate. If you request a single cabin, rates are 1.7 times the cabin cost.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Antarctica Cruise – Classic Voyage Gear List
WeatherThe weather in the Antarctica is known for its extreme variability. Although heavy rainfall is unusual, strong winds are fairly common and can greatly affect your comfort during shore landings. Average temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula during the summer months range approximately: 23°-41°F.
- Expedition parka for yours to keep
- Equipment for all Further Adventures options
- Waterproof rubber boots on loan for shore landings
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase (2 maximum)
- Daypack or fanny pack to carry your camera, water bottle, extra clothing during shore landings
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Passport pouch or money belt
- Rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
- Rain or wind pants, waterproof and breathable, side-zip pants are highly recommended
- Heavyweight fleece top or wool sweater
- Midweight fleece top
- Midweight fleece pants
- Midweight thermal underwear tops and bottom, synthetic or wool
- Casual shirts/pants for use aboard ship and Ushuaia
- Hiking socks (for use during shore landings under boots)
- Casual socks
- Comfortable shoes (also for use aboard ship; non-slip soles are best!)
- Wool or fleece hat
- Wool or fleece gloves
- Heavier, ski-type gloves
- One-quart water bottle (to stay hydrated during shore landings)
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Electrical adapter plug
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit/toiletries
- Small personal first-aid kit
- Camera, memory cards, spare batteries and charger
- Small binoculars
- Favorite energy snacks
- Motion sickness remedies
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
Things to Consider
- Wind chill can be a significant feature of this trip. When the wind is constant, you can be robbed of body heat quickly. Adequate wind/raingear is vital!
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- The dress code on board the ship is strictly casual, in the expedition spirit. There is no need to dress formally for meals.
- A few large zip-lock or waterproof bags are useful to keep camera equipment dry while riding in the Zodiac and during wet shore landings.
- Bring more memory cards/batteries than you think you will need. Extra supplies will be difficult to purchase or unavailable once the trip begins. It is not unusual for participants to shoot double the amount of photos then they normally would. Cold temperatures quickly eat up battery power. Carry batteries close to your body to keep them warm and bring plenty of spares.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
Passengers who have sailed with Quark Expeditions in the past are entitled to a 5% discount on all sailings. REI Adventures honors most Quark discounts and promotions.
If you opt to join us for two (or more) consecutive expeditions we will be pleased to offer a 6% discount off the second expedition (and any additional consecutive expeditions).
Select sailings qualify for early booking discounts and/or air credit. Call our office for more details.
Dates & Prices:
|Antarctica Cruise – Classic Voyage|
|Dec 1-11, 2013||11||$4,995||$7,295||$10,395||$7,695||$10,395||$9,995||$12,995|
|Dec 10-20, 2013||11||$5,295||$7,495||$10,795||$7,995||$10,795||$10,295||$13,595|
|Dec 19-29, 2013||11||$6,595||$9,295||$13,295||$9,795||$13,295||$12,495||$15,995|
|Dec 28 - Jan 7, 2014||11||$6,595||$9,295||$13,295||$9,795||$13,295||$12,495||$15,995|
|Jan 6-16, 2014||11||$6,595||$9,295||$13,295||$9,795||$13,295||$12,495||$15,995|
|Feb 13-23, 2014||11||$5,295||$7,495||$10,795||$7,995||$10,795||$10,295||$13,595|
|Nov 4-15, 2014||12||$5,595||$8,395||$13,995||$10,395||$13,995||$11,795||$13,995|
|Dec 2-12, 2014||11||$5,995||$8,995||$14,295||$10,995||$14,295||$12,295||$14,995|
|Dec 11-21, 2014||11||$5,995||$8,995||$14,295||$10,995||$14,295||$12,295||$14,995|
|Dec 20-30, 2014*||11||$6,995||$9,995||$15,295||$11,995||$15,295||$13,995||$15,995|
|Dec 29, 2014 - Jan 8, 2015||11||$6,995||$9,995||$15,295||$11,995||$15,295||$13,995||$15,995|
|Nov 22 - Dec 3, 2013||12||$7,495||$8,495||$8,995||$9,695||$11,595||$12,995||$15,995|
|Jan 4-15, 2014||12||$9,995||$11,395||$12,295||$13,495||$15,995||$17,595||$21,595|
|Jan 14-25, 2014||12||$9,995||$11,395||$12,295||$13,495||$15,995||$17,595||$21,595|
|Feb 6-17, 2014||12||$7,995||$8,895||$9,995||$10,995||$12,995||$13,995||$16,995|
|Mar 1-11, 2014||11||$6,995||$7,995||$8,595||$8,995||$10,995||$11,995||$14,995|
|Nov 7-18, 2014||12||$7,595||$8,795||$9,295||$10,595||$11,595||$12,995||$14,595|
|Dec 5-16, 2014*||12||$10,595||$12,295||$13,295||$14,295||$16,295||$17,595||$19,295|
|Jan 7-18, 2015||12||$10,595||$12,295||$13,295||$14,295||$16,295||$17,595||$19,295|
|Feb 4-15, 2015*||12||$10,595||$12,295||$13,295||$14,295||$16,295||$17,595||$19,295|
|Mar 4-15, 2015*||12||$7,595||$8,795||$9,295||$10,595||$11,595||$12,995||$14,595|
|Nov 15-24, 2013||10||$6,395||$7,995||$8,695||$9,495||$10,395||$10,995||$11,995|
|Nov 16-27, 2014||12||$5,995||$7,995||$8,995||$9,995||$10,995||$11,995||$13,995|
|Nov 26 - Dec 7, 2014||12||$6,995||$8,995||$9,995||$10,995||$11,995||$12,995||$14,995|
|Dec 6-17, 2014||12||$6,995||$8,995||$9,995||$10,995||$11,995||$12,995||$14,995|
* These dates are via Cape Horn
An option for kayaking is available on all departures.
Additional optional activities vary by departure; call us for details.