- A five star expedition ship at the best price - RCGS Resolute guarantees a comfortable cruise
- A comprehensive voyage of the wildlife hotspots of South Georgia, Antarctica and the Falklands
- A dedicated crew with genuine expertise alongside our own Steppes' leaders, soon to be announced
For anybody with a love of wildlife and wild places, an expedition voyage to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula is the ultimate experience. Nothing quite prepares one for the epic scale of Antarctica or the amazing sense of space. Towering ice cliffs, gigantic glaciers, bergs the size of skyscrapers – little wonder that Roald Amundsen wrote of Antarctica, that “the land looks like a fairy-tale”.
The wildlife is equally as spellbinding. None more so than the penguin colony of Salisbury Plain on South Georgia. Home to over 200,000 king penguins, the visual spectacle is extraordinary; so too the sounds and smells.
Antarctic itinerary - a toast to Ernest Shackleton on South Georgia
Our main priority for this trip was the itinerary. South Georgia and the Falklands were "must-haves" as the wildlife here is prolific. Huge rookeries of Rockhopper, Magellanic and king penguins can be seen on the open plains of the islands while significant numbers of both fur seals and the larger elephant seals can be found on the dark, volcanic sandy beaches. Seabirds are also abundant around South Georgia and the Falklands, with wandering and black-browed albatross particularly thriving. On South Georgia, the group will trek to Shackleton's grave and raise a toast to "The Boss".
Our next non-negotiable was the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea ice is broken up at this time in the season which increases the number of landing sites along the peninsula and on the South Shetland Islands. Take a gentle trek to a high point, find a quiet spot and reflect on the sense of openness and space. We are very excited at the prospect of following in Shackleton's footsteps and attempting to make a landing on Elephant Island.
Wildlife on the peninsula is remarkable and at this time of year chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins can be seen rearing young chicks. Marine wildlife is also rich in this area with humpback, minke and orca whales frequently seen.
RCGS Resolute - an ice-strengthened, luxury ship
The RCGS Resolute is a purpose-built polar expedition vessel; modern, well-appointed and ice-strengthened, with a capacity to carry 146 passengers (although usually limited to 120). With two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180-degree views, she has space and facilities to ensure a comfortable experience on board. There is a choice of two dining rooms, one offers a popular bistro menu with quick and easy meals for those prioritising time out on deck. Other facilities include a theatre-style presentation room, gymnasium, wellness centre, hot water spa, sauna and steam room and saltwater pool.
While the emphasis of a Steppes’ voyage in Antarctica will always be the experience had off the ship, we take every step to ensure you are comfortable, well-fed and entertained when on board.
Expeditionary style of travel
Just as important as the destinations visited on the voyage, was finding a partner in Antarctica whom shares our commitment to delivering an expeditionary style of trip. The staff and crew of the Resolute have years of experience - between them, they have seen over 20 million penguins - in operating safe, informative and exhilarating Antarctic experiences. Expeditionary cruising is about making the most of every opportunity, stopping to see wildlife when it appears, changing the order of landing sites to better suit weather and sea conditions. The emphasis is on getting off the ship as much as possible and getting Antarctic snow on your boots, maximising the extended daylight hours. Zodiac safaris, hiking, kayaking, camping on the ice and polar plunges are possible on our Antarctic cruise, the aim is be off the ship at least twice a day when not at sea. On board, there will be a fascinating programme of talks and lectures, ranging from natural history to the history of polar exploration.
Why discover Antarctica with steppes travel?
We know what makes a fantastic holiday to Antarctica. We have been arranging expeditions to Antarctica for over 15 years and the team having visited 11 times so far.
Our Antarctic charter in 2017 was a huge success with 98% of our clients rating the trip as either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ in their post-travel questionnaires. For our trip to Antarctica in 2019, we have taken an allocation of 30 cabins - approximately half the ship, on the RCGS Resolute. We have made a few refinements to our 2017 voyage, with the main difference being an upgrade of ship in order to provide a more comfortable platform from which to explore.
Is January-February a good time to be visiting Antarctica?
The Antarctic season runs from November to March and during this time there is not a bad time to visit. Travelling in late January/early February, however, has many added benefits:
- Heightened whale activity - at the very beginning of the season the whales are only intent on feeding and so sightings are less frequent. As the season progresses the whales become more inquisitive, making for memorable sightings and exceptional photographic opportunities.
- Reduced sea ice - by late January, the sea ice is less thick making access to some of Antarctica's more secluded sites possible. The bigger bergs are visible all year round and are a favourite subject for photography.
- Penguin chicks are active - the chicks are gaining in strength and confidence by this time in the season and so are very mobile and active. Interaction with parents and other chicks makes for great sightings.
- Good time for seeing massive numbers of king penguins - by the time our Antarctic charter reaches South Georgia, the king penguin colonies will be heaving as the birds will have all returned from feeding in the southern ocean. Some will already have chicks while others will be mating.
- Beaches in South Georgia are more accessible - elephant seals mate during November and December and so at this time, access to South Georgia's beaches can be a challenge - it is not advisable to get in between a 2,000 kg elephant seal and the object of his affection. When our Antarctic charter anchors off South Georgia the mating should be over and so access to the rugged beaches will be less hazardous.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.