South Georgia

Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia

20 days
from
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Polar Expeditions
Suitable for:
Age 18+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
PUF
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
199
Min age:
18

Celebrate the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton on the centenary of his death

This brand new itinerary celebrates the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose passing in South Georgia on January 5, 1922, marked the end of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. The 20-day itinerary Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia (which will coincide with the centenary of Shackleton’s death) not only honours one of Antarctica’s greatest heroes—but also his unwavering spirit of exploration, which Quark Expeditions continues to emulate to this day.

Whereas Shackleton and his crew braved the harsh elements of Antarctica aboard Endurance, which had the most basic of amenities, guests on this voyage will sail aboard the brand new ship Ultramarine - during its inaugural Antarctic sailing season. The technologically-advanced vessel will follow the route of Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917), allowing passengers to experience the full splendour of Antarctica and South Georgia while exploring on Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters and 20 fast-launching Zodiacs. Guests will cross the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, visit the Weddell Sea (where the ill-fated Endurance met its tragic end), then onto Elephant Island and, ultimately, wildlife-rich South Georgia, where, if conditions allow, guests will pay homage to Shackleton at his grave at Grytviken.

Throughout the voyage, passengers will enjoy special presentations by Polar experts Tim Jarvis (author of ‘Chasing Shackleton’) and Dr. Ross MacPhee, curator of the ground-breaking museum exhibit ‘The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition.’

Highlights

  • Start in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the tango capital of the world

  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and foot
  • Relive Polar history on a visit to Shackleton’s grave at the cemetery in Grytviken
  • Observe wildlife in South Georgia, known as the ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’
  • Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife from our onboard experts
  • Enjoy a helicopter tour of the frozen Weddell Sea, where Shackleton’s Endurance lies buried under the ice
  • Mark Ultramarine’s first-ever New Year in the Antarctic
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 18 nights on the ship, 1 night hotel in Buenos Aires
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
  • Countries visited: Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, Falkland Islands, Antarctica

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • Beer and wine at dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Mandatory Charter Flights Buenos Aires to Ushuaia Return - from £850 (or equivalent in booking currency) paid on booking
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Buenos Aires, Argentina; overnight in hotel

    Arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package). 

  • Day 2

    Fly to Ushuaia and embark.

    After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina.  

    Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to have some time on your own to explore this quaint port town before making your way to the pier. Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart! 

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Days 3-4

    Crossing the Drake Passage

    Not only will guests experience the much-anticipated crossing of the Drake Passage, considered by many to be a polar rite of passage, they will also enjoy one-of-a-kind presentations from the expedition team members—and from our two distinguished special guests who have delved deeply into the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

    In 2013, environmental scientist, author and explorer Tim Jarvis—with a crew equipped in era-authentic gear—re-enacted Shackleton’s 800-mile (1300 km) journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a replica of the 23-foot whaler James Caird. In fact, the foreword to Jarvis’ book, 'Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival,' was written by Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest. 

    Also on board as guest presenter: mammologist, paleontologist, anthropologist and polar historian Ross MacPhee, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, which hosted the ground-breaking exhibit 'The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition.' MacPhee is the author of 'Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole.'  MacPhee, who has participated in more than 50 scientific expeditions (including both Polar Regions), has also researched the extinction of early mammals who roamed Antarctica 45 million years ago. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 5-6

    Antarctic Peninsula

    The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica. 

    You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear. 

    Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and Gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, Fur, Crabeater and Leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as Minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy. 

    As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge! 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Weddell Sea

    The Weddell Sea has profound meaning for admirers of Shackleton. This is where the explorer’s ill-fated ship, Endurance, crushed by pack ice, disappeared into the harsh waters in 1915. Despite the extreme harsh environment, the Weddell Sea region is known for its rich wildlife: seals, penguins and baleen whales.

    Aboard Ultramarine—with its two twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs—you’ll be able to explore by sea and air, an experience never before possible until the launch of this game-changing expedition ship.  

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    At Sea

    Throughout the voyage, guests will enjoy one-of-a-kind presentations from the expedition team members—and from our two distinguished special guests, Polar experts Tim Jarvis and Ross MacPhee.

    Your days at sea are also perfect for experiencing the superb luxury amenities of Ultramarine, which include a spa and a sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests to stay connected to the Polar environments while enjoying relaxing moments onboard the ship. Ultramarine also has more wildlife viewing stations than any ship of its size, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to stay on the lookout for birds and other wildlife while at sea. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Elephant Island

    On April 9, 1916, after spending 165 days drifting through the hostile ice of the Weddell Sea, Shackleton and his crew reached remote Elephant Island, one of the outermost islands of the South Shetland Island chain. Arriving here today, 100 years later, you will see the island exactly as Shackleton and his men first encountered the brutish landscape. Yet to the stranded crew, Elephant Island was a haven, offering vital shelter while they waited anxiously to be rescued.  

    We hope to visit Point Wild, located on the northern shores of the island, where Shackleton and his men were able to come ashore. This was the location where Shackleton launched his epic 650-mile (1046 km) boat journey aboard the James Caird, and where his men waited for his return. If conditions are ideal, we will launch our Zodiacs to get as close as possible to land, where guests can appreciate the immensity of the Shackleton feat. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 10-11

    New Year's at Sea

    Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula, as your next destination is South Georgia!  We invite you to join us as we mark the first-ever New Year celebration on Ultramarine, the first ship purposely built for Polar exploration. The inaugural season of Ultramarine, much like Shackleton’s feats in Antarctica, makes for a memorable moment in Polar history.

    In addition to the New Year’s celebrations aboard Ultramarine, your days at sea are filled with presentations led by our two special guests and your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes that await you in South Georgia. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 12-15

    South Georgia

    South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins and seals. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.

    You’ll find that on South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, visitors can see abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.

    In re-creating the voyage of the James Caird, Shackleton’s heroic open-boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, our first planned destination on the island will be King Hakkon Bay—the very site where Shackleton and his men landed before traversing the island’s harsh interior. 

    South Georgia is particularly significant and, for many guests, a poignant stop on this voyage that celebrates the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose enduring legacy of Polar exploration lives on through the Quark Expeditions team today. After Shackleton’s death on January 5, 1922, the explorer’s widow insisted her husband be buried in South Georgia, which figured so prominently in his life and dreams. If conditions allow, we hope to visit Grytviken, one of the first whaling stations established in the sub-Antarctic waters. It’s also the site of the modest cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. Guests traditionally gather at Shackleton’s grave to pay homage and raise a toast to one of history’s greatest Polar explorers.

    In addition to a historical visit to Grytviken and other whaling sites, you will have the opportunity to visit many of the pristine beaches, coves, and fjords that line the protected northern coast of the island. The wildlife density in South Georgia is unlike anywhere else in the world, and each stop during our journey will bring new adventures.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 16-19

    At Sea

    After more than two weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, rejuvenate in the sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows, indulge in the luxury amenities of Ultramarine—including its spa-inspired suites and beautifully designed lounges and restaurants—or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 20

    Disembark in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires

    We will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning after breakfast. After disembarkation, we will taste a little of Patagonia by touring Tierra del Fuego National Park before we transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Ultramarine takes a maximum capacity of 199 passengers. Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with our partner, Quark Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

South Georgia

No visa required for British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports.

Falkland Islands

No visa required.

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Antarctica

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Weather

Late Spring and Early Summer - October & November

The start of the season and the most adventurous time to travel. You’ll encounter truly breathtaking, exquisitely sculpted icebergs emerging from their frozen hibernation. Many of these blue bergs house courting, nesting and brooding penguins. In the Falklands flowers are coming into bloom.

High Summer - December, January & February

Close to the solstice you’ll experience almost perpetual daylight. These are the mildest months when the first Adelie and Gentoo penguin chicks are hatched. It’s also the time to encounter seal pups on South Georgia. As the water warms the whale sightings also improve.

Late Summer - February & March

This is the time for some incredible encounters with whales, especially Minkes and Humpbacks. The receding ice allows for further exploration and penguin colonies are very active with adults feeding their chicks.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold.

On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance.  Please also note that not all optional activities are available on every departure. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

Imagine gliding across the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers. Our Sea Kayaking program is a great way to intimately explore your surroundings. A small group of kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage as an alternative to shore landings or Zodiac cruises. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will be conducted only during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required, and you must be able to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the Paddling Excursion.

Paddling Excursion

If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something a bit less demanding than Sea Kayaking, you’re the perfect candidate to sign up for a one-time paddle on our stable sit-on-top kayaks—perfect for anyone with minimal or no kayaking experience. Rotating groups of passengers will be taken out on calm days, with our expert guides always present to provide instruction and help connect you with the Polar sea.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Booking Conditions

Please note that the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. 

As with all Polar holidays and voyages, the required deposit is 20% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Ultramarine

The Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia journey is offered on the Ultramarine which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are excellent and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

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