• $9,995
  • $850
  • Orbridge

Join this truly life-changing adventure to experience the boundless beauty and pristine vastness of Antarctica. This remote continent and its precarious waterways have hosted some of the most courageous explorers in history, and have been the scenes of both triumph and tragedy since Captain Cook first sailed the region in 1773.

Embark from Ushuaia, Argentina, and cruise through the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands amid the Antarctic Peninsula—exploring the dramatic landscapes and remarkable wildlife that call this continent home. Trek through penguin rookeries, observe vast flocks of seabirds, learn about Antarctic ice conditions, and discover the sites of both past and present scientific expeditions.

Your expedition vessel for this amazing journey is the modern, 190-guest Ocean Victory, a nimble craft designed specifically for polar cruising—with large cabins, exceptional amenities, and a knowledgeable and friendly crew. Carefully selected specifically for this program, her small size provides the ability and agility to maneuver narrow channels and access bays that are closed to bigger vessels. The craft also boasts innovative new features including Rolls-Royce zero-speed stabilizers and a patented X-Bow that offers a more comfortable and stable voyage.

View details and reserve online: https://orbridge.com/grp_departures/overview/partner_university_of_texas_texas_exes_antarctica_2024


Day 1: En Route from U.S.†
Day 2: Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 3: Ushuaia – Embarkation
Days 4-5: Drake Passage
Days 6-9: South Shetland Islands / Antarctic Peninsula                                                   Days 10-11: Drake Passage
Day 12: Ushuaia – Disembarkation / Depart for U.S.

†NOTE: Travel time from/to U.S. may take up to two days depending on flight schedules.

Day-to-Day Itinerary: 

Day 1: En Route from U.S.†

Day 2: Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina
Welcome to Argentina, where you’ll spend one night in the world’s southernmost city before embarkation. Unwind in an exceptional location within the Cerro Alarkén Natural Reserve and delight in stunning panoramic views of natural beauty. If time permits today, explore the nearby Tierra Del Fuego National Park, which stretches 60 kms along the Beagle Channel near the Chilean border.

Enjoy a welcome reception tonight.
Overnight: Arakur Ushuaia Resort & Spa (R)

Day 3: Ushuaia – Embarkation
Before embarking the Ocean Victory today, guests have leisure time in Ushuaia to relax in the hotel and/or explore the town on foot. Those who are interested in an optional excursion available for purchase to Tierra del Fuego National Park need to sign up in advance. Additional information for this option is available at https://www.bestofba.com/shop/orbridge/orbridge-tierra-del-fuego-national-park/, and updates will be provided through the guest documents.

On this optional excursion pre-embarkation, join a local, English-speaking guide for a tour through Tierra del Fuego National Park for an opportunity to walk short, marked trails. The tour lasts approximately four hours, including the time for transportation there and back. Drive out of town along the coastal road that offers wonderful views of the Beagle Channel towards the stunning and unique landscapes of the national park. With stops at Ensenada Bay, the Acigami Lake, the “Gazebo” viewpoint at Laguna Verde, and the legendary end of the Panamerican Highway at Lapataia Bay, guests have opportunities to see a varied range of local flora and fauna. During this tour, the group will stop briefly at the visitors’ center, which has a cafeteria for refreshments to purchase.

Survey Ushuaia before joining the group transfer this afternoon to board the modern and luxurious vessel, Ocean Victory, for the expedition. Settle into your stateroom, and then get more acquainted with fellow travelers as you cruise through the Beagle Channel. Step onto the viewing decks to embrace the passing scenery, and keep an eye out for marine mammals and birdlife. Albatrosses, petrels, and cormorants frequently speckle the magnificent vista. Gear up for fun and adventure to come by receiving jackets and boots with the group and enjoy sharing a welcome cocktail with the expedition staff.
Overnight: Ocean Victory (B,D)

Days 4-5: Drake Passage
– Through today and tomorrow, sail south across the Drake Passage—named for 16th-century English privateer, Sir Francis Drake. This waterway marks the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans and is the latter’s biological boundary. The Drake is populated with plankton, which promotes healthy populations of dolphins, whales, and seabirds, so be sure to have a quality pair of binoculars handy on the viewing decks. You’ll likely spot many kinds of albatross (wandering, black-browed, and southern royal), along with varieties of petrel, shags, skuas, and gulls. Engage with fellow like-minded travelers while learning about Antarctica with informative lectures and safety briefings.
Overnight: Ocean Victory (B,L,D daily)

Days 6-9: South Shetland Islands / Antarctic Peninsula
– Your experienced captain will seek the most opportune locations to spot marine life, dependent on weather and ice conditions. Longer daylight hours offer extended opportunities for wildlife viewing and Zodiac excursions. The water’s cold environment is ideal for krill, whales, seals and a plethora of penguin colonies —from gentoo and chinstrap, to Adélie—who nest on land nearby. Glaciers and icebergs thousands of years old dot the landscape and provide an icy timeline of the area’s history.

Throughout the voyage, you also may see evidence of past and present polar exploration and scientific expeditions, including modern stations operated by several nations. Some 30 different countries operate research stations around the continent, and these are inhabited more during the summer months than during the long and tough winters. Learn about the explorers, along with the challenges and the victories that make their stories so fascinating.

Deception Island, nestled in the South Shetland Islands archipelago, has an other-worldly landscape of dark volcanic sand and imposing cliffs. Its center is the flooded caldera of an active volcano that severely damaged research stations in 1967 and 1969. Remains of abandoned whaling buildings and tanks still can be seen. The island is also home to thousands of chinstrap penguins.

Daily excursions ashore with the ship’s expedition team and scientists provide the opportunity to explore the dramatic polar scenery—millennia-old ice shelves, sheer cliff faces, and permanent snow cover. Experience the adrenaline and awe inspired by the sheer beauty and power of this magical, yet harsh, continent.

Optional sea kayaking choices, plus a variety of other activities, provide opportunities to discover all that this remarkable area has to offer at a pace you choose. For the ultra-adventurous, brave the frigid waters during an optional polar plunge—a true rite of passage and a bucket-list item for any Antarctic expedition.

At each day’s end, perhaps enjoy a drink in the lounge with fellow guests before adjourning to the ship’s dining room for a hearty and delicious dinner. Take advantage of the long days of Antarctica’s summer recapping memorable moments with shipmates, or soaking in the vessel’s hot tubs.
Overnight: Ocean Victory (B,L,D daily)

Days 10-11: Drake Passage
– The journey returns north-bound back through the Drake Passage. Join your travel companions indoors to enjoy educational presentations and lectures, lively accounts of expedition experiences or the ship’s recreational facilities. Take advantage of the last days at sea to capture the panoramic beauty of the Southern Ocean from the Ocean Victory’s outdoor viewing areas.

During the final evening on board, enjoy a special farewell cocktail, featuring the ship and crew’s End of Voyage ceremonies. Celebrate with a toast to commemorate the accomplishment of touring this last remote frontier both with environmental responsibility and style.
Overnight: Ocean Victory (B,L,D daily)

Day 12: Ushuaia – Disembarkation / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition team must allow the sea, the ice, and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a polar expedition.

†Travel time from/to U.S. may take up to two days depending on flight schedules.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception

Program Highlights:

    • Explore the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, a beautiful island chain filled with an impressive variety of wildlife.
    • Cruise aboard the perfect vessel for exploration. Ocean Victory is an Ice Class 1A super (equivalent to Polar Class 6), featuring 83% cabins with private observation decks and a unique X-Bow ship design. The inverted bow quickens the Drake Passage crossing as it slices through waves, reducing rolling by 80%—and helping to prevent possible seasickness. This proven technology produces very low levels of noise and vibration. The vessel is also environmentally friendly onboard, with an implementation of the Green Initiative Program, ensuring both absolute comfort and sustainability for our guests.
    • Enjoy the company and keen insights of expert expedition guides, scientists, and lecturers throughout the journey.
    • Explore at your own pace, with numerous passenger landings and discoveries throughout the voyage, aided by a nimble fleet of Zodiacs and knowledgeable guides.
    • Join the optional Polar Camping excursion ($350 per person, subject to change; limited availability and weather permitting). With specialized performance gear and expert guidance, prepare for an evening beneath the austral firmament. Campers sleep unsheltered in a cozy bivy sack for the utmost connection to the environment—as hearty explorers have done in years past. Please book on the ship.
    • Join the optional Sea Kayaking excursion ($250 per person, subject to change; limited availability and weather permitting). This is a one-time opportunity to explore the outstanding grandeur and magical beauty of the polar regions using a kayak. Participants must have prior kayaking experience. Please book on the ship.
    • Take advantage of the ship’s impressive amenities, including two hot tubs, spa, gym, lounges, outdoor bar, and interactive dining experience.
    • What’s included: 1 night luxury hotel accommodations (including breakfast) in Ushuaia prior to embarkation; 9 nights accommodations onboard Ocean Victory, including all onboard meals (with selected wines and beers at lunch and dinner); 24-hour self-service coffee and tea facilities onboard; all scheduled landings and excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions); your own expedition parka to keep; a pair of insulated rubber boots for shore landings for the duration of the cruise (to be returned prior to disembarkation); access to a photographic trip log (shared with guests after the voyage via an online link); all shipboard gratuities; all luggage porterage; all port fees; transfers from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day; and group transfers for all guests arriving and departing during the suggested times.