Our People
  • Amy snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • William Dalrymple Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

  • Liz Bonnin Heroes and Heroines

    The people who lead the way when it comes to those things which matter to us: exploration, the environment, women’s empowerment and education.

Map of the South Pole

Ross Sea with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
16/02/20 18/03/2032days £28,350 ex. flights £19,775Julian Dowdeswell114 LIMITED Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Icebergs, Antarctica 1

The Friends of SPRI centenary

Join this special voyage organised by The Friends of SPRI to recognise their centenary

Julian Dowdeswell 2

Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell

Hosted by Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell from SPRI

Helicopter on a ship 3

Expedition travel

Ship to shore helicopter transfers, accompanied by polar experts

Ortelius, Antarctica 4


Sail in comfort for 32 days onboard the ice-strengthened expedition ship

Explore the itinerary

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
    At Sea
  • Day 3
    Enderby Island
  • Day 4
    Campbell Island
  • Days 5 - 8
    Sailing the Southern Oceans
  • Day 9
    Balleny Islands
  • Day 10
    At Sea
  • Day 11
    Cape Adare
  • Day 12
    Cape Hallet
  • Day 13
    Inexpressible Island
  • Days 14 - 15
    Ross Sea and the huts of Scott & Shackleton
  • Day 16
    Exploring the Ross Sea
  • Days 17 - 18
    The Ross Ice Shelf
  • Days 19 - 23
    Amunsden Sea
  • Day 24 - 26
    Peter I Island
  • Days 27 - 28
    The Bellinghausen Sea
  • Day 29
    Pendleton Strait
  • Days 30 - 31
    Drake Passage
  • Day 32
Union Glacier

The Ross Sea became the starting point for expeditions to the South Pole. Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds and Scott’s hut at Cape Evans are poignant reminders of man’s futile attempts to tame the White Continent. East Antarctica and Commonwealth Bay are synonymous with the explorers Mawson and d’Urville. A reminder of the challenges they faced can be felt first-hand at Cape Dennison in Commonwealth Bay, which has the title of the windiest place on earth. This is Antarctica at its most raw.

Map of the South Pole

Established in 1920 as part of the University of Cambridge, The Scott Polar Research Institute is a centre of excellence in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. SPRI’s mission is to enhance the understanding of the polar regions through scholarly research and publication, educating new generations of polar researchers, and projecting the history and environmental significance of the polar regions to the wider community for public benefit.

This Ross Sea cruise is in partnership with The Friends of The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) and will be accompanied by expert glaciologists, Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell.

Adelie penguins, Antarctica
Adelie penguins, Antarctica

Dotted amongst the windswept waters of the Southern Ocean are a series of sub-Antarctic islands that harbour spectacular birdlife including several endemic species. The ships stop at a number of these on the journey from New Zealand. UNESCO World Heritage Macquarie Island rivals South Georgia for prolific wildlife and scenic diversity, home to 20,000 breeding pairs of royal penguins, along with king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins, elephant seals and various albatross species.

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.


To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell whilst on board
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes
  • Group transfer from Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill to the vessel in Bluff
  • Group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation)
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed)
  • Voyage aboard the MV/Ortelius as indicated in the itinerary
  • £25 to help fund the communities, conservation agencies and NGOs that we work with
  • £25 contribution to ‘Trees and Science’ in mitigation of your carbon emissions

What is excluded

  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory)
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Gratuities for the onboard expedition crew
  • Internal flights
  • International flights
  • Meals ashore
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements
  • Visas


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Ortelius £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Originally built in Poland in 1989 as an ice-strengthened passenger vessel, the 298-foot-long Ortelius spent many years plying the frozen waters of the Arctic and Northern Pacific before being totally refurbished in 2005. Sleeping a total of 108 passengers, the vessel provides comfortable (but not luxurious) cabins that range from quads to suites, each with a private bathroom. She carries a fleet of zodiacs for landings, and on some Antarctic departures helicopters are even used.

View Boat

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Like-minded travellers

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people; interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours, usually consisting of eight to ten travellers, aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

4.Peace of mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

3.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 01285 601 784

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
16/02/20 18/03/2032days £28,350 ex. flights £19,775Julian Dowdeswell114 LIMITED Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Send us a message and one of our travel experts
will get right back to you.

Enquire Today

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

Why Steppes

Get in touch

  • This page is attached to this enquiry

  • By sending your enquiry you are stating that you agree to our T&C

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.