Famed for its tremendous tabular icebergs, year-round sea ice, fascinating fossils and the pivotal role it played in Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, the Weddell Sea offers unsurpassed opportunities for exploration. Embark on a true Antarctic expedition as we not only explore the west Antarctic Peninsula, but also attempt to venture east towards the icy perimeter of the Weddell Sea, often guarded by impenetrable pack ice and home to awe-inspiring tabular icebergs.
|Embarkation||Punta Arenas, Chile|
|Cruise Line||Aurora Expeditions|
|Cruise Package Type||Fly-Stay-Cruise|
|Ports of Call Punta Arenas, King George Island, West Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea, Ushuaia|
- Be awed by the array of wildlife who play and hunt in the Antarctic Sound
- Marvel at enormous tabular icebergs in the Weddell Sea
- Learn about the incredible fossil-rich volcanic islands from our onboard palaeontologist
- You maybe eligible to earn Qantas frequent flyer points with this purchase.
- * This product is priced in United States Dollars (USD), AUD rates can fluctuate depending on exchange rates, final rates in AUD will be confirmed by your consultant at time of booking.
- Prices are based on best available cruise fare per person, inclusive of all discounts.
- All prices based on cash or cheque payment - credit card fees may apply.
- Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply.
|Aurora Stateroom Triple Share||
|Aurora Stateroom Twin Share||
|Balcony Stateroom Category C||
|Balcony Stateroom Category B||
|Balcony Stateroom Category A||
|Balcony Stateroom Superior||
* All prices quoted are PER PERSON and include taxes, fees and port expenses (if applicable). All prices quoted are for the cruise departing on 02Mar22. Prices for alternative departure dates may vary.
- Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas on Day 1
- Transfer from hotel to airport in Punta Arenas on Day 2
- Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island on Day 2
- Transfer to downtown Ushuaia or airport on Day 13
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Free access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- International or domestic flights, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.
United States Dollars
*Rates are subject to availability and changes without notice. Rate are based on the lowest available and may differ at time of booking. Other travel dates may be available at an additional cost.
Rates maybe subject to change due to Exchange Rate fluctuations. Use currency converter as a GUIDE ONLY.
For more information and other conditions please confirm with our Travel Specialists at time of booking.
Day 1 Arrival airport transfer and overnight in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only). Upon arrival at your included hotel, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, the city sits astride one of the world’s most historic trade routes. Today, Punta Arenas reflects a great mix of cultures, from English sheep ranchers to Portuguese sailors, and it remains an utterly fascinating testament to Chile’s rich history.
Tonight, you will gather to meet our fellow expeditioners and a briefing on the first leg of your expedition – your flight to Antarctica!
Day 2 Fly Punta Arenas to King George Island. Embarkation
This morning you will be transferred to Punta Arenas airport for your early morning charter flight to King George Island, Antarctica (weather permitting). The flight will take approximately one-and-a-half hours.
On arrival into King George Island your expedition team is on hand to greet you for your Zodiac transfer to board the vessel. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before important briefings.
NOTE: King George Island is located at the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands and is one of the most remote places on Earth. A clear sky with perfect visibility is required in order for the plane to take off and land safely. We apologise in advance for any delays.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.
On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.
During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM.
After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)
Day 3-10 West Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are yours to explore, and you’ll have a host of choices available to you. Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
They generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore you’ll aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.
Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for most polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well-deserved reputation as being an iceberg alley, many large tabular bergs escape the Weddell Sea through the Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.
Be spoiled for wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of the Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac cruises or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, where you’re likely to spot humpback, minke and orca whales. With good ice and plenty of luck, you may even get close to a well-known emperor penguin colony. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.
Day 11-12 Drake Passage crossing
Today, your landings come to an end as we enter the Drake Passage for your return journey to South America. With lectures and film presentations to complete our Antarctic experience, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home. There is time for reflection and discussion about what you have seen and experienced, and the impact this voyage has had on your attitude to life.
As you approach the tip of South America, your Captain may sail close to legendary Cape Horn, weather and time permitting.
Day 13 Disembark Ushuaia
During the early morning, you’ll cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where you will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you all continue your onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to downtown Ushuaia before continuing to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Aurora Stateroom Triple Share
There are six Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
*Please note the Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins are only available on certain departures
Aurora Stateroom Twin Share
The Greg Mortimer features eight Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that’s close to the action.
Balcony Stateroom Category C
Cabin & balcony combined size: 20.9m2 – 24.8m2
There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
Their 14 Balcony Stateroom – C cabins are the most economical, fitted with all the necessities and comfortable for up to 2 people. These cabins are scattered throughout Deck 4 and 6.
Balcony Stateroom Category B
Cabin & balcony combined size: 23.6m2 – 24.8 m2
There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
Their 21 Balcony Stateroom – B Cabins are their standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups. These cabins are located at the fore and aft of Deck 4 and 6.
Balcony Stateroom Category A
Cabin & balcony combined size: 24.1m2 – 31.3m2
There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
Their 23 Balcony Stateroom – A cabins are their premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions on Deck 4 and 6 which provides easy access between Decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
Balcony Stateroom Superior
Cabin & balcony combined size: 28.9m2 – 36.2m2
With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Balcony Stateroom Superior cabins are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
Located on Deck 4 and 6, the Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area.
Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
The Greg Mortimer’s four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren’t enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites’ separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
The largest of all rooms, the Greg Mortimer’s singular Captain’s Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you’ll need to get in early to secure this suite.
Aurora Expeditions’ advanced, purpose-built expedition ship
Designed in close consultation with their expedition team, they drew on centuries of collective experience to map out the Greg Mortimer: purpose-built for expeditions to the most remote places on earth.
The first passenger ship to feature the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW®, this allows the ship to cross oceans more comfortably and efficiently, and with expansive observation decks to bring you closer to the environment, inviting communal areas and unsurpassed environmental credentials, the Greg Mortimer offers the perfect base camp for adventures at the outer limits of human exploration.
Accommodating an average of 126 passengers per voyage, the Greg Mortimer has redefined expedition cruising for the future.
Designed for rugged, remote areas
Crossing the notorious Drake Passage or the Denmark Strait, their expeditions face some of the most intense conditions nature can throw at you. The Greg Mortimer is at the cutting edge of nautical technology: robust, powerful and up to the task.
Used on over 100 vessels in commercial shipping, the streamlined Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through the swell so you feel fewer vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves.
This, in combination with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilisers offers unrivalled stability and comfort* on ocean crossings. It also helps reduce the fuel consumption by up to 60%^.
*Aurora Expeditions do not claim that this will prevent or cure seasickness. ^Compared to Tier 1 engines.
Zodiac launching platforms
Their ships carry 15 Zodiacs, which you can board via four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms. These platforms make boarding the Zodiacs as quick, efficient and safe as possible, minimising wait times and getting you closer to the action for longer.
Whether you’re Zodiac cruising through awe-inspiring fjords in search of wildlife or making a quick transit from ship to a shore landing site, these sturdy crafts will play an integral role in your expedition experience.
Aurora Expeditions offer a range of add-on adventure activities from kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, and the Greg Mortimer is designed to support these activities, making the transition from ship to sea or shore as smooth as possible. They built the spacious activity preparation areas and loading platforms in consultation with their expert activity guides.
You will also have access to lockers and rapid drying areas for dry suits and wet suits, to give your gear the best chance to dry between excursions.
Hydraulic viewing platforms
In addition to onboard observation areas, the Greg Mortimer features unique hydraulic viewing platforms, which fold out for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds.
These platforms were designed in conjunction with Greg Mortimer himself and can be used during gentle ship cruises or when the ship is stationary when weather conditions allow.
Responsible travel features
They believe that preserving and protecting the environment is of the utmost importance and this is reflected in several features of the Greg Mortimer.
The Greg Mortimer boasts one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world due to low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver an 80% reduction in emissions.*
The ship can also utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimises the damage caused by conventional anchors.
*Compared to Tier 1 engines.
The Greg Mortimer features industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size with world-class return-to-port equipment, which duplicates the propulsion system, enabling the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure.
The Greg Mortimer Ice Class 1A and Polar Code 6 compliant, hold BV* class and are fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements.
The ship also features a fully-stocked medical clinic designed for use in remote areas.
State of the art lecture facilities
On all expeditions you will meet naturalists and local specialists, who offer presentations on their area of expertise to deepen your understanding of the region you’re visiting.
Join the team in the lecture theatre for presentations covering topics as broad as history and culture, biology and climate change, but they have one thing in common: they all aim to engage, educate and entertain.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, the library is a peaceful sanctuary where you can find non-fiction books to read up on the day’s destinations, plug in and organise your photos or play board games with newfound friends.
Choose from their range of informative nonfiction titles, wildlife guidebooks, travel journals, novels and a selection of children’s books and board games.
Wildlife guides, books and binoculars can also be found on the observation lounge on deck 7.
No need to take your wet expedition gear back to your cabin to dry. Keep your cabin warm and cosy by leaving your outer jackets and pants in the mudroom.
The mudroom is your launchpad for all shore excursions and activities. Here, you will have access to a locker when you can hang your gear up to dry, and store your boots between excursions.
Spa, Sauna & Gym
You are welcome to visit the wellness centre during your voyage where you can use the gym, visit the sauna (which they highly recommend after the polar plunge!) or book a massage (additional cost applies).
There are also two jacuzzis on the top outside deck with amazing views of the world outside.
One of the most important parts of any expedition is the food! Whatever adventures the day holds, you will be fuelled-up with hearty meals and delicious morning/afternoon teas cooked by their onboard chefs.
Meals are a great time to soak up the expedition camaraderie in the open-seating dining area. Share stories with your fellow travellers and ask the expedition team questions that may have come up during the day.
Tea, coffee and snacks are available 24 hours a day, and their chefs offer different menu options and courses for each meal. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild.
You are also invited to join your captain and expedition team for informal Captain’s Welcome and Farewell drinks, with complimentary beverages and cocktail appetisers, followed by a 3 course meal.
Bars & Lounges
Communal meeting areas have always played a major role in fostering the warm camaraderie on board their ships. They are the heart of the expedition, where people meet to share tales from the day, swap photos, keep an eye out for wildlife and watch the sun go down.
The bars and lounges on board are refined yet inviting places to gather, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views, and of course friendly bartenders to shoot the breeze with.
Welcome to Aurora Expeditions' world of expedition travel. Unlike ‘standard’ travel companies, Aurora Expeditions specialises in destinations off the beaten track. So far off in fact, that often there is no track!
They believe that expedition cruising is about true adventure and camaraderie, and with an average of 126 passengers across their voyages, theirs are some of the smallest Antarctic cruises you’ll find.
Aurora Expeditions’ Pioneering History
Why travel with Aurora Expeditions
From the start, Aurora Expeditions was destined to be different. Co-founders Greg and Margaret Mortimer had a passion for adventure, exploring wild places and sharing the experience with friends and in 1991, Aurora Expeditions, named in honour of Sir Douglas Mawson’s ship, was born.
Their aim was simple – to take small groups of travellers on voyages of discovery to regions that inspired them, thereby creating lifelong ambassadors for the preservation and protection of these sacred places. More than two decades later, that pioneering spirit burns just as brightly, as does their preference for small-group, personal expeditions.
Less people means more solitude and greater flexibility if tides, currents, ice or weather dictate a schedule change. And because we have fewer people to ferry ashore, they often make more landings.
They make the most of their size advantage to create intimate expeditions varying in length from 10 to 26 days. Simply choose the region you’d like to explore, the amount of time you’ve got and what activities you enjoy. Focus on one destination or combine back-to-back trips for the ultimate adventure.
You’ll be accompanied by their expedition specialists who they believe are the world’s best. Remote area specialists, their onboard lectures entertain and expand your knowledge.
Whether you’re joining them for the first time or returning for another thrilling adventure, their original goals remain unchanged. Explore wild places that stir the soul, offer personal attention on unforgettable expeditions and welcome new friends into the Aurora Expeditions family.
Travelling in small groups (average 126 passengers) means that, unlike on larger ships, you can join every excursion, getting into the environment and exploring via shore landings, Zodiac cruises, kayaking or diving. With a staff-to-passenger ratio of at least 1:8, means more one-on-one time with your expedition team.
Their highly acclaimed expedition specialists are some of the best in the business. Many are recognised world leaders in their fields, and they enthusiastically share their knowledge to ensure that each moment you spend with them is interesting and educational. And more than that, they just love being with people.
Flexibility & Freedom
They stop for breaching whales! Their itineraries are designed to be adaptable. If weather or sea ice blocks your way they have a Plan B, C and D! We're always on the lookout for new places to explore, and they're not afraid to adjust their schedule to make the most of unexpected wildlife displays.
Spirit of Adventure
No matter where you are, they encourage a true sense of exploration. Zodiac cruise into a craggy cove to take a closer look at rockhopper penguins scaling a cliff, or take a guided hike across the tundra in search of the elusive arctic fox. You can also choose from a large selection of optional activities to make the most of your adventure.
Relaxed Onboard Atmosphere
Their approachable expedition team will make every effort to ensure that you feel right at home. Whether that means sharing tales of adventure at the bar, dining in friendly groups or heading up to the bridge in your pyjamas for a polar bear sighting, their small groups and warm camaraderie create a relaxed, informal atmosphere on board.
This style of travel tends to attract like-minded people who love to connect with the natural world. Their small group ethos fosters an open, friendly environment, where making new connections is easy. They welcome solo travellers: avoid single supplements with their cabin-sharing service, or ask about special deals for your own room.
It's been more than 28 years since their co-founders, Greg and Margaret Mortimer started taking small groups of friends and keen travellers to Antarctica. Aboard small, ice-strengthened vessels, they took groups of intrepid explorers to places that few, if any, had been before, pioneering a long list of 'firsts' along the way.
Whether it’s a polar jacket, drink bottle and travel mug to keep, flights for their Fly/Sail Antarctic program, pre/post voyage accommodation in South America or high Arctic activities in Longyearbyen, their inclusions are what most others would consider extras. Inclusions vary by voyage.