There’s a beat to Buenos Aires that is unmistakably unique to the capital of Argentina. Ask any who live here and they’ll tell you it is the melting-pot community of locals who imbue the city with such vibrancy. As porteños, ‘the people of the port’, they came from across the globe, bringing a diverse set of cultures with them. The result is an intoxicating blend of romance music, people dancing the tango at almost every opportunity, Maradona-mad football fans, Old World colonial architecture, and flavoursome Latin food.
You’ll be spending one night at a hotel in the city before catching an early flight the next morning. Depending on when you arrive, you might have some time to explore a little of this lively capital. Visit Teatro Colón, a beautiful opera house that dates back to 1908 and then pop into historic Café Tortoni for Paris-inspired coffee and chocolate-dipped churros. Caminito is a colourful street museum in La Boca neighbourhood that features buzzy markets and restaurants that host live folk dance and tango shows. To carry on the party mood late into the night, the posh district of Palermo has bars and boliche clubs aplenty.
If really want to extend your vacation, you can also come a few days early to join our optional Pre-Programme to explore wild Patagonia.
Estimated time of departure is 19:00
It’s an early start today. We meet in the lobby of the hotel in the morning and head to the airport for our flight to Ushuaia. The capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province sits on the shores of a bay backed by the snow-coated mountains of the Martial Glacier to the north. Ushuaia claims the dubious title of the world’s southernmost city, although this is contended by two other Chilean cities. Your basecamp at sea, MS Roald Amundsen, waits in the port here. Once on board, you’ll be introduced to the Expedition Team who will conduct a health and safety briefing. Afterwards, you have some time to tour the ship and to settle in your cabin before we enjoy a welcome dinner together. Your expedition is officially underway!
It takes two days of straight sailing to reach Antarctica. This is a good thing as two days turns out to be just the right amount of time for you to enjoy equal amounts of relaxation and preparation on board the ship.
To make sure you are ready for the days of exploration ahead of you, the Expedition Team will begin a series of insightful lectures over at the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition Team are experts on different subjects and you’ll find them to be walking, talking treasure troves of fascinating stories and information. Listen and learn intriguing facts about the local wildlife as well as what IAATO-approved sustainability protocol to follow if curious penguins or seals come too close. As part of these IAATO guidelines, you’ll learn the importance of wearing our sterilised rubber boots during all Antarctica landings and why we thoroughly vacuum our clothes from any foreign particles beforehand.
You’ll also find that the ship is equipped with all manner of mod cons that add to your comfort. Keep fit in the gym and on the outdoor track circuit. Any aches from your workout can be steamed away in the sauna or massaged by masterful hands in the Wellness Spa. Three onboard restaurants, each with a different culinary concept, will delight your palate while the Explorer Lounge and Bar is the perfect place to chill with a glass of wine or bubbly. Just because an expedition is exciting, it doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious too!
The landscapes of Antarctica stretch as far as your eyes can see – a beautiful realm preserved by pristine snow and ice. Tabular icebergs, parts of the great shelves tower above the waters while ancient glaciers give birth to blue-hued icebergs that are sculpted by wind and sun. This is another world, devoid of human influence and a haven for wildlife like whales, penguins and seals.
Just as the icescapes of Antarctica change through its seasons, so does its wildlife. For instance, the number and range of species of whale that can be seen here begin to steadily increase from October through to January, reaching their peak in February and March for the best whale-watching opportunities. By this time, the large amount of krill in the waters attract the most whales and the most whale species who come for a veritable feeding frenzy. If you arrive here in November, you might see thousands of penguins courting and building their nests. Those on December sailings may be treated to scenes of heart-meltingly cute penguin chicks whereas March is usually when adolescent penguins mature and learn how to swim. Other birds, which unlike penguins actually fly, vary throughout the summer months. Eager ornithologists will usually see the likes of cormorants, shags, egrets, sheathbills and many more.
You have five days to take in every magical moment and jaw-dropping scenery Antarctica grants you. This could be gazing at distant white mountains during a walk ashore or having a playful pair of Weddell seals surface next to your small explorer boat to take a peek at you with their large inquisitive eyes. Or being in the winning lottery of those who can join optional but weather-dependent activities like kayaking, snowshoeing or even camping. These are the kinds of experiences that await you in Antarctica. Rest assured we plan to make the most of each landing and will choose the best sites from numerous possible locations on the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.
Lectures from the Expedition Team will be ongoing as well, be it on board the ship, ashore during landings, or even when navigating the icebergs and ice floes on cruises via small explorer boat. Topics might touch on glaciology and the impact of climate change on the Antarctic ice shelves or chart the cold continent’s history from the whaling era to its present status under an international peace treaty. The team’s insights will prove invaluable to you over the course of your journey, enhancing your sense of discovery a hundredfold.
It might be an idea to talk with the team’s professional wildlife and landscape photographer for a few tricks to improve the quality of your images. These skills will definitely come in handy for a number of Citizen Science programmes that you can choose to engage with. One of these is the HappyWhale project where photos you take of any whales you spot can be uploaded to a global database that helps researchers track the migration patterns and overall health of the population. In this way, aside from being precious memories, all your snaps add up and contribute to the greater good.
Even though you might have to tear yourself away from Antarctica, our time there will come to an end and we will have to point the ship north again. The following two days at sea back across the Drake Passage can be spent sorting through all your amazing photos of Antarctica, and making sure you still have space on your memory card for what’s to come next. You might also have the option to join workshops where you’ll channel your memories of Antarctica to paint penguins or learn how to tie complicated sailor’s knots.
Over at the Science Center, there will likely be presentations from the Expedition Team to stir your enthusiasm for the final few days of your voyage in the Falkland Islands. Lectures may include the tense history of the islands as well as the species of birds that can be seen around its beautiful beaches. In between lectures, you can use the Science Centre’s advanced microscopes to peer into water samples at a cellular level. You’ll discover all manner of microscopic lifeforms including krill and phytoplankton, which also happen to tie into another Citizen Science initiative.
The far-flung Falkland archipelago is split between the two main islands of East and West Falkland and nearly 800 smaller islands. Sovereignty over the islands has been claimed by both the UK and by Argentina for many years, but at least both sides can agree that these islands are well worth arguing over, and for good reason.
Like our approach in Antarctica, your three days of exploration here and the exact landing sites for each day will be determined by local conditions at the time. After the barren white scenery of Antarctica, you might be a little relieved to see grassy hills, blooming wildflowers, stunning white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Still, it won’t be too dissimilar in that there are several thousand penguins here for you to catch sight of too! Over these few days, we will try and see colonies of penguins, which often have families of fur seals mixed in among them too. We will be keeping a safe distance so as not to disturb them or their tuxedoed neighbours.
For the first time in more than a week, you’ll also encounter signs of civilisation again, be it the family-owned farms scattered around or the capital of Stanley on East Falkland where four fifths of the islands’ population live. When you visit, you’ll find the town is a slice of English life, including typical red buses and good ol’ pubs serving up British beer and friendly banter.
Your expedition is fast approaching its end. There’s just one last day at sea to enjoy as you wish. Head to the bar and share a few drinks with the friends you have made during your journey. Swap stories of your adventures with the Expedition Team and learn more about these modern-day explorers. Treat yourself to a fine dining experience in the à la carte restaurant or a soothing treatment in the Wellness Spa. Or simply spend time relaxing out on deck, watching the waves and fondly remembering the many highlights of your voyage.
Estimated time of arrival is 08:00
After two weeks enjoying exploring Antarctica and the Falklands, we dock back in Ushuaia. It’s been an epic and emotional journey and we’ll have seen and learned so much together. There might even be a few tears when we come to bid each other farewell.
It is our hope that your experience with us will have left a lasting impression about what is possible when expeditions are done in a sustainable way. May each of us continue to do all we can to protect these precious habitats and the wonderful wildlife that live in them.
Transferring to Ushuaia airport, you’ll fly back to Buenos Aires. From there, you will either fly home or continue to explore more. Seeing as you are already in Argentina, you might like to make the most of it! Why not join an optional Post-Programme to the magnificent Iguazu waterfalls?
Included in your voyage
- Overnight in Buenos Aires before the expedition cruise, including breakfast
- Return flights in economy class between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia
- Transfer from the hotel in Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires airport before the expedition cruise
- Transfers between Ushuaia airport and the ship, including a brief tour of the town
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
- À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
- Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
- Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms and outdoor running track
- Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come
- Escorted landings with small expedition boats while in Antarctica
- Loan of boots, trekking poles and all equipment for activities
- Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities expected
MS Roald Amundsen
|Ship yard||Kleven Yards|
|Passenger capacity||530 (500 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||20 889 T|
In 2019, Hurtigruten added a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.
Sailing with MS Roald Amundsen
- Practical Information: Expedition Cruises with MS Roald Amundsen
- Meet our Expedition Team
- Landing sites in Antarctica
- Young Explorers’ Programme: Bring your kids on board