Antarctica Cruise – South Georgia & King Penguins

From: $12,395

per person dbl occ

Dates: - see all dates

Total Days: 19-23

Activity Level: 2

Reserve This Trip

1-800-622-2236

Chat Online

Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

This is an example of a HTML caption with a link.

Price:

See Dates & Prices tab.

Additional Fees

Single supplement 1.7 times chosen cabin rate

Trip Dates:


See Dates & Prices tab.

Group Size: Varies by ship

Activity Level: 2

Activities:

  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping

Accommodations:

Comfortable cabins with private bathrooms

Trip Highlights

  • Take the ultimate voyage to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia
  • See rookeries with 100,000 pairs of king penguins
  • Spot diverse wildlife, from a chinstrap penguin colony to humpback whales
  • Make landfall on several occasions and hike to a fantastic viewpoint
  • Stay aboard a comfortable ship with private cabins and bathrooms

Although it was first spotted nearly 200 years ago, arriving at Antarctica still feels like a trip to the ends of the Earth. Take the ultimate adventure with REI on a three-week cruise to Antarctica and its environs. Cruising aboard a comfortable ship with naturalist guides to accompany us, this is an ideal way to discover the White Continent.

The longest of our Antarctica cruises, we also visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia to seek out even more wildlife and see historic sites. Throughout our journey, we're likely to see many kinds of penguins, whales, and birdlife. Staggering views surround us as we approach the icy waterways of Antarctica itself. On-shore excursions take us to stupendous viewpoints and give us a real taste of this remarkable land.

Also see our Classic Voyage and Extended Classic Voyage.

REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures with our travel partner, Quark Expeditions.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Our journey starts in Ushuaia, Argentina.
  • Day 2 - Embarkation Day! Sail down the historic Beagle Channel.
  • Day 3 - At Sea, prepare for Zodiac and kayak excursions.
  • Days 4-5 - Visit the Falkland Islands, home to myriad birdlife.
  • Days 6-7 - Cross the Antarctic Convergence.
  • Days 8-11 - Visit the remote outpost of South Georgia.
  • Days 12-13 - At sea, learn from wildlife presentations and chat with shipmates.
  • Days 14-17 - Explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.
  • Days 18-19 - Return via the Drake passage.
  • Day 20 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina.

See full itinerary

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.

    Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia offers you a small-town feel but has many shops, museums, cafes and restaurants to enjoy before your voyage. If you're feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of hiking and outdoor activities. In the evening meet some of your fellow travelers at the orientation briefing.

  • Day 2 - Embarkation Day! Sail down the historic Beagle Channel.

    As we embark, the anticipation and excitement grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. As every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They're onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as help make your wildlife dreams come true.

  • Day 3 - At Sea, prepare for Zodiac and kayak excursions.

    There are many activities to keep you engaged while we're at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship or attend illustrated presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings. You'll also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience the Antarctic.

  • Days 4-5 - Visit the Falkland Islands, home to myriad birdlife.

    Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of the Falklands. The archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings.

    Port Stanley is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel to it, complete with a bit of a ramshackle charm. You'll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit numerous churches and museums.

    In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! We can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic species; Cobb's wren and the Falkland's flightless steamer duck.

    Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of your time in the Falklands.

  • Days 6-7 - Cross the Antarctic Convergence.

    Sailing south, you'll officially enter Antarctic waters by crossing the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Ship staff will be sure to keep you posted when we cross this invisible, yet important line.

  • Days 8-11 - Visit the remote outpost of South Georgia.

    This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, South Georgia Island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you'll still see remnants of those old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.

    One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, gift shop, church and a research station of approximately 20 scientists and support personnel.

    While South Georgia's history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day we may visit another beach with thousands of fur seals or elephant seals with (non-native) reindeer grazing in the background. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island, this fragile and symbiotic relationship is something that your Expedition Team will share with you during your time here.

  • Days 12-13 - At sea, learn from wildlife presentations and chat with shipmates.

    Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with seminars from your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival in Antarctica. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, which are officially in Antarctica.

  • Days 14-17 - Explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.

    The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique 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 desolation and silence, at the next moment you'll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.

    Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether it is trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adelie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and every landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter 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 (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in the Antarctic!

  • Days 18-19 - Return via the Drake passage.

    After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.

    Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savor the silence of the sea as long as you can.

  • Day 20 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina.

    After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. We will transfer you to the airport for your homeward flight. Flights should be scheduled after noon.

    Please note: The 19 day itinerary on the Ocean Diamond and Sea Adventurer spends one less day exploring South Georgia (days 8-10).

Note on Itinerary

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.

Cruise Cost Includes

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.

Not Included

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).

Climate

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!

How To Reserve Your Trip

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.

Cancellations

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.

Please note

This policy is different than the general cancellation policy published in our current travel catalog and is strictly adhered to.

Delays

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.

Qualifications

The trip is rated easy to moderate [2]. 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.

Documentation

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.

Share Basis For Single Travelers

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.

General Information

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 – South Georgia & King Penguins Gear List

The key to staying comfortable during this expedition is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Trapped air is a very good insulator and you stand a much better chance of staying warm by wearing several thin layers rather one or two heavy items. You will also be able to add or shed layers more easily as the temperature changes.

Weather

The 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.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Expedition parka for yours to keep
  • Equipment for all Further Adventures options
  • Waterproof rubber boots on loan for shore landings
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • 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
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
  • Rain or wind pants, waterproof and breathable, side-zip pants are highly recommended
Clothing
  • 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
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks (for use during shore landings under boots)
  • Casual socks
Footwear
  • Comfortable shoes (also for use aboard ship; non-slip soles are best!)
Clothing Accessories
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Wool or fleece gloves
  • Heavier, ski-type gloves
Travel Accessories
  • 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
Optional Field Gear
  • 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.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresAntarctica Cruise: Classic Voyages
 
5.0

(based on 3 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Once in a lifetime experience (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

      Reviewed by 3 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-3

      Back to top

      (0 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Best trip ever

      By Chi 25

      from Seattle, WA

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

      • Accommodations
      • Activity Level
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Quality Equipment Provided
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Antarctica Cruise: Classic Voyages:

          hi

          (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Go see it before it melts

          By Traveling Joe

          from Amherst, NH

          About Me Casual Adventurer

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Accommodations
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Quark's Experienced Staff
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Antarctica Cruise: Classic Voyages:

              The only bad part of this trip is that Ushuaia (departure point in southern Argentina) is so far away - those 11 hr flights from JFK to Buenos Aires in coach are a killer! Otherwise, the Quark team - land-based pre-trip tours and arrangements in Buenos Aires & Ushuaia, plus the entire shipboard staff (ship's crew, hotel & dining people, and, especially the 20 or so Expedition staff (ornithologists, photographer, geologist, kayak leaders, etc.)) were highly proficient. Their collective experience makes them the preferred company to travel to Antarctica with.

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Destination
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • Always wanted to go see/experience Antarctica
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • Sea kayaking among the icebergs - a small group (17 kayakers) that bonded well throughout the trip and after
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • Perhaps book direct with Quark - for this trip REI is only a travel agent. All of the arrangments and details are handled by Quark.

              (13 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Trip to a Beautiful Continent

              By Clinton-Antarctica

              from SLC, UT

              About Me Casual Adventurer

              Site Member

              Pros

              • Beautiful Experience
              • Great staff
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Antarctica Cruise: Classic Voyages:

                  Anarctica is a beautiful destination with many penguins, seals, birds, and amazing scenery.

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • I Liked the Itinerary
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • Only opportunity to visit Antarctica.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • Stepping foot on Antarctica!
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • Make sure to buy travel insurance as SA travel is variable.

                  Displaying reviews 1-3

                  Back to top


                  Loyalty Discount
                  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).

                  Bonus Savings
                  Select sailings qualify for early booking discounts and/or air credit. Call our office for more details.

                  Dates & Prices:

                   Antarctica Cruise – South Georgia & King Penguins

                  Ocean Diamond
                  DateDaysTripleTwin
                  Obstructed
                  Single
                  Porthole
                  Twin
                  Window
                  Single
                  Obstructed
                  SuiteBalcony
                  Suite
                  Nov 14 - Dec 2, 201319$9,495$13,795$19,695$14,595$19,695$18,995$24,595
                  Nov 14 - Dec 3, 201420$12,995$15,595$22,595$16,595$22,595$19,795$21,595

                  Sea Spirit
                  DateDaysTripleMain
                  Deck
                  Suite
                  Classic
                  Suite
                  Superior
                  Suite
                  Deluxe
                  Suite
                  Premium
                  Suite
                  Owner's
                  Suite
                  Dec 17, 2013 - Jan 5, 201420$18,595$20,995$22,595$24,695$29,795$32,495$39,995
                  Nov 17 - Dec 6, 201420$15,595$17,295$18,295$19,595$20,595$21,295$23,595

                  Sea Adventurer
                  DateDaysTripleLower
                  Deck
                  Main
                  Deck
                  Porthole
                  Main
                  Deck
                  Window
                  SuperiorDeluxeSuite
                  Nov 23 - Dec 11, 201319$9,995$12,395$13,495$14,595$15,995$16,995$18,595
                  Feb 2-24, 2014*23$13,495$17,595$18,995$19,995$21,695$22,895$25,595
                  Feb 19 - Mar 13, 2015†23$15,995$17,995$18,595$20,595$22,595$23,995$25,995


                  *This date includes crossing the Antarctic Circle
                  †This date ends in Buenos Aires


                  An option for kayaking is available on all departures.
                  Additional optional activities vary by departure; call us for details.

                  How are we doing? Give us feedback on this page.

                  • Join REI today!
                  • REI Membership
                  • REI members enjoy discounts on REI Adventures trips and more benefits.
                  • Join REI today!
                  • Sign up for REI Gearmail®
                  • and get 15% off selected items!
                  • Store Locator
                  • Locate an REI store near you.
                  • Find a Store
                  © 2014 Recreational Equipment, Inc. All rights reserved. REI, the REI Tree and Mountain design, Novara, and
                  REI Adventures are trademarks of Recreational Equipment, Inc.

                  Find REI on: FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickrMobile site