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Flight landing on South Shetland Islands

Air-Cruise Antarctica

  • TAILOR-MADE

Duration

8 Days

Prices Start from

£11,500 ex. flights

Travel to the Antarctic Peninsula in style, cutting out the conventional two-day ship sailing across the erratic waters of the Drake Passage and opting instead for a two-hour flight from Chilean Patagonia. On arrival in the South Shetland Islands, board an ice-strengthened expedition vessel for an in-depth and exclusive sailing to the continent.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Flight landing on King George Island 1

Private Charter Flight

Take a private charter flight from Chile, arriving in just two hours (as opposed to two days’ sailing).

Golden sun over the Drake Passage 2

Skip the Drake Shake

Avoid sailing the unpredictable (and otherwise unavoidable) Drake Passage.

Scenic flight 3

Ice Sheet from Above

Take in (and photograph) the magnificent scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula from above.

4

Expeditionary Vessels

When in Antarctica, travel on-board an ice-strengthened vessel that will become your base camp.

Why we like it

Ideally suited to those short on time, anxious about crossing the Drake Passage, or keen to arrive on the Great White Continent in style, this air-cruise journey utilises a private charter flight to reach Antarctica before boarding a vessel to sail within more sheltered and dynamic waters. We have a close relationship with the first ever polar operator to conduct air-cruise voyages to the peninsula, so we can vouch for their dedication to a comfortable journey in a small group setting of no more than 73 people. This exclusive group size means no waiting for disembarkations, more time spent exploring and an impressive guide to passenger ratio. Plus, in “saving” four days of Drake Passage crossing time, those seeking to see as much as possible can justify an extension to Patagonia. Plus, you can extend your time in Antarctica to cross the Antarctic Circle on selected dates.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Punta Arenas
  • Day 2
    Punta Arenas - King George Island
  • Days 3-6
    Sailing the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Day 7
    King George Island - Punta Arenas
  • Day 8
    Punta Arenas

Accommodation

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

Ocean Nova £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Built in 1992 in Denmark and designed to navigate the ice-choked waters off Western Greenland, Ocean Nova has since undergone an extensive refurbishment of cabins. There is an upper glazed observation deck which is perfect for wildlife viewing, a large dining room, a library and a small gym. She carries a fleet of seven zodiacs and offers easy zodiac access from her side step rather than a gangway. The 240-foot-long vessel has capacity for 78 passengers accommodated in comfortable outside cabins over two decks, and all cabins have a picture window and private bathrooms.

View Boat

Magellan Explorer £££££

An 100-passenger expedition ship launched in 2019, Magellan Explorer specialises in fly-cruise itineraries to Antarctica. With a minimised carbon footprint, including state-of-the-art low emission engines, Magellan Explorer is renowned for its eco-credentials.

View Boat

Hebridean Sky £££££

Re-launched in early 2016 having undergone a comprehensive refit and upgrade, Hebridean Sky is a 295-foot-long expedition ship that accommodates up to 112 passengers. With the addition of dedicated single cabins, a well-stocked library with computers and internet access and a lounge with panoramic views, there is plenty of outdoor deck space and a panoramic top deck observation platform. The suites all offer exterior views, en-suite facilities and a sitting area along with ample storage.

View Boat

Birding, Antarctica
Albatross

Soar Over the Drake Passage

Board a privately chartered plane in Chilean Patagonia for a scenic two-hour flight over the infamous Drake Passage, spotting cruising vessels beneath you as you go. The sight of the vast continent of pristine white wilderness unfurling below is quite a breathtaking one. In circumventing the potentially stormy stretch of water below (its unpredictability often expressed as “the Drake Lake or the Drake Shake”), the air-cruise option wards off potential sea sickness and exchanges two seaward days for precious time in the peninsula.

Iceberg in spectacular light, Antarctica
Iceberg in spectacular light, Antarctica

Wait Not, Want Not

Upon landing at King George Island, board a small expeditionary vessel and begin cruising the Antarctic Peninsula in an exclusive group of no more than 73 people. Restrictions on the number of passengers allowed at any one site mean that those travelling on larger ships may have long waits before excursions. In choosing this smaller ship option, bypass taking turns to disembark in favour of spending valuable time exploring the epic proportions, towering icebergs and huge variety of wildlife on offer in the peninsula.

Small group landing, Antarctica
Small group landing, Antarctica

Step Foot on the White Continent

Depending on the specific departure, you might find yourself taking a dip in the hot geothermal springs of Pendulum Cove, walking inside the ruins of a Norwegian Whaling Station or bimbling amongst chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island. With each day comes another unique disembarkation, from zodiac safaris to wildlife hikes, ensuring snow-covered boots and hefty appetites at days’ end. We can also arrange small group sea kayaking for those who might like to try and spot a breaching whale up close, and snowshoeing for those seeking an adventure on foot over hills of powdery snow.

Adelie Penguins, Antarctica
Adelie Penguins, Antarctica

Discover Endemic Species

From gentoos and humpbacks to king cormorants and minke, the wildlife in Antarctica is varied, plentiful and up close. Thriving in this enchanting territory that contains more than 90% of the planet’s land ice, find macaroni penguins, crabeater seals and the occasional wandering albatross (and compositions that make for a photographers’ dream). On-board expert polar guides are always on hand to identify the species that are present in abundant numbers, and engaging on-board lectures are designed to impart their knowledge of the creatures of Antarctica.

Guanacos, Torres del Paine, Chile
Guanacos, Torres del Paine, Chile

Suggestion: Torres del Paine Extension

In shaving a total of four whole days off of your journey time to and from Antarctica, more days are freed to explore the south of Chile! We recommend a journey to Patagonia, particularly Torres del Paine National Park, to experience this iconic landscape and perhaps hike to the base of its three granite towers. With a myriad of flora and fauna, including the elusive puma, the region combines beautifully with Antarctica.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Or send us a quick email below and start your next journey.

Call us

Both telephone and e-mail responses were excellent and all of Sue's expert advice was very much appreciated. She was prompt, supportive and engaging throughout and our expedition to Antarctica was spectacular.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue's in-depth knowledge of Antarctica, the route options and each of the vessels was invaluable in our preparation for the trip and was a strong differentiator when we were choosing a travel agent. When talking with Sue, we quickly got an honest perspective.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue’s extensive first-hand knowledge of Antarctica was so apparent from our first phone call. She was able to help us select the ideal route and vessel for our needs, and with her guidance we were able to see the emperor penguins!

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue forewarned us that there would be no words to describe South Georgia and that our photos wouldn’t do it justice, and how right she was. All we can say is “see for yourself”. Thank you, Sue, for your indispensable advice.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

We were blown away by Sue’s in-depth knowledge of everything from endemic species to the history of Shackleton and his men. No question we had went unanswered, and no little detail was missed.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

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.

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