Designed initially for polar research; the Akademik Ioffe is modern and comfortable accommodating up to 110 guests, but carrying 96 to ensure a spacious feel. There are 6 cabin types to choose from depending on your budget. There is theatre-style seating in the presentation room featuring the latest digital technology, ideal for a recap of the day and educational presentations. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide places to sit and relax. Sumptuous meals are enjoyed in the dining room. Other facilities include a gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa as well as a sauna and plunge pool.
Upon arrival in Ushuaia, you will board the expedition ship and early evening will set sail, bound for Antarctica.
Days 2 - 3Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage, the expedition crew will prepare guests for an adventure with a series of presentations on the Antarctic focusing on the marine mammals you may encounter. You will see icebergs, a huge variety of seabirds, and, with luck, you will get to see whales fully breach out of the sea. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - 7Antarctic Peninsula
In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, explore your surrounds in inflatable Zodiac boats. Planned excursions might include Wilhelmina Bay and the southerly Petermann Island, where you can observe Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant seals, skuas and other seabirds, as well as a variety of penguins - including several colonies of the comical Adélie penguin. You may get to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill and may be lucky to observe Orcas and Minke whales along the way. Several well known whale ‘hot-spots’ will be visited and if ice conditions allow, a transit of the dramatic Lemaire Channel. will be undertaken. In addition to whale encounters, there will be a regular program of exploration on and off the ship. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore and visits to wildlife colonies with expert naturalist guides, while the historic huts and science stations provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and the present. Zodiac cruising among the ice is a memorable activity and sea kayakers may range several miles from the ship. The photography guide will be on hand to help perfect camera handling, image composition and the unique light found in Antarctica. After several days of exploration along the Peninsula, the cruise heads north across the Bransfield Strait, bound for the South Shetland Islands. This is an important whale migration corridor and frequent sightings can be expected of humpbacks and even the fast moving orca.
Day 8South Shetland Island and Deception Island
Weather permitting, the ship sails into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. Several other landing sites are nearby including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebbly beach at Yankee Harbour, where there are often encounters of the Weddell seals. In the evening, the ship sails north through the McFarlane Strait and into the Drake Passage, charting a course for South America.
Days 9 - 10Drake Passage
Today the vessel is heading north, across the Antarctic Convergence. Weather permitting, a rounding of Cape Horn will be included. This stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. Your Polar expedition finishes with a special dinner.
An early morning arrival in Ushuaia will see disembarkation and transfer to your Ushuaia hotel or the airport for your onward flight.