Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia on Plancius
An Antarctica cruise unites one with the magical elements of polar wilderness a place that truly dwells apart from our human-created world. And departing Antarctica leaves us temporarily confused, as it is hard to imagine that we have truly witnessed the profusion of life, colors and crystalline purity of this fascinating region.
Antarctica evokes a longing to return, time after time, and the realization that not much has really changed since scholars started to philosophize and the early adventurers made the first tentative explorations of this continent.
Join us this season and follow the path of history's polar explorers!
Looking for a shorter Antarctica cruise? Check out our Antarctic Peninsula itineraries!
A typical Antarctica cruise itinerary to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula is illustrated below. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
Day 1: Ushuaia - In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
Day 2: At sea - In the Westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.
Day 3: Falkland Islands - In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the Shore of Carcass Island will give us views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons and passerines. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.
Day 4: Stanley, Falkland Islands - In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local church and museum (admission fees not included).
Days 5 & 6: At sea - On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.
Days 7 – 10: South Georgia - In the afternoon of day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins. One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays.
At Fortuna Bay, we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken we'll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken we'll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave near by. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.
Day 11: At sea - Where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.
Day 12: South Orkney Islands - We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day 13: At sea
Days 14 – 17: Antarctic Peninsula - We will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Paulet Island with a million pairs of Adelie Penguins and the remains of the Nordenskjöld expedition. This landing is not always guaranteed due to sea ice conditions. At Brown Bluff we may set foot on the Continent.
We may land at Half Moon Island at the South Shetland Islands, where we can observe Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals as well as Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas.
At Deception Island, we will try to land at Baily Head home to a colony of ten thousands Chinstrap Penguins (please note this landing is not always guaranteed and is only possible in good weather conditions). Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune's Bellow into the ring of Deception Island.
Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson's Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. On our way south, we sail to Cuverville Island in the Errera Channel, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. We also hope for a continental landing at Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay. We are aiming to sail further south to Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, while having chances of seeing large Whales. We will have opportunities for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. We may land at the Argentinian station Almirante Brown, which is most of the time not manned. Sailing through the Neumayer Channel we aim for the historic British station Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. We also hope for a landing on the neighbouring island Jougla Point which is inhabited by Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait, we arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. We leave from here to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.
Days 18 – 19: At sea - On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Day 20: Ushuaia - We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
For a comprehensive listing of all our Antarctic cruise programs, please view our
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M/V Plancius started her life in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. In June 2004, the vessel was taken out of active service as a research vessel and was purchased for refitting as a polar expedition vessel in December 2006.
Rebuilt in 2009 as a 112-passenger vessel, it complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag.
The Plancius is comfortable and attractively decorated, but is not a luxury vessel. Our voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by a top-quality exploratory educational travel programme, spending as much time ashore as possible. This vessel fully meets our demands to achieve this and provide comfortable accomodations during our days at sea.
M/v “Plancius” was named after the Dutch astronomer, cartographer, geologist and vicar Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622). Plancius theorised the existence of an accessible northern passage to Asia and his theory encouraged several northern discovery voyages at the end of the 16th century. A Dutch expedition - under the command of Willem Barentsz - discovered Spitsbergen, but got stuck in the pack-ice of Novaya Semlya (now Russian territory). Those discoveries gave rise of the 17th century whaling industry in Spitsbergen.
M/V Plancius can accommodate 112 passengers in 54 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 triple private cabins, 40 twin private cabins (ca. 15 square meters) and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square meters).
The vessel is manned by 30 international crew members (inc. 10 stewardesses/cabin cleaners), 6 hotel staff (4 chefs, 1 purser and 1 steward-barman), 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides-lecturers) and 1 doctor.
Twin Private Cabin
Dining & Lecture Room
Plancius's Deck Plan