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King penguins, Antarctica

Antarctic Express – Fly the Drake Passage

13-day exploration cruise from £12,655 pp incl. flights

Exclusive offer: Exclusive tailor-made fares

Summary

Short description

Explore the icy wilderness of the White Continent with Quark Expeditions

Highlights

  • Discover Santiago and the surrounding areas with an included private tour
  • Fly to Antarctica, cutting out the often-rough seas of the Drake Passage
  • Explore the frozen wilderness onboard one of the most modern expedition vessels
  • Enjoy guided walks and Zodiac landings, bringing you up close to incredible wildlife
  • and lectures by the onboard guides, scientists and other special guests

In Brief

  • 3 Nights Santiago
  • 1 Night Punta Arenas
  • 1 Night King George Island
  • 4 Nights Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
  • 3 Nights Punta Arenas

About

Recommended for:
Exploration cruise

Fly out from Punta Arenas, avoiding the famously choppy waters of the Drake Passage, to arrive into the South Shetland Islands from where you'll embark on an unforgettable voyage into the frozen reaches of Antarctica. Along the way, expert lecturers will introduce you to the region's unique geography and wildlife, before you take it all in for yourself on a series of weather-dependant excursions. Head out on Zodiac boats to seek out whales in remote harbours, marvel at towering icebergs and vast mountain ranges, and step ashore to walk among colonies of seals and penguins. It's a truly spectacular adventure, made all the more special by your ship's superb facilities – including a spa, pool and sauna – and the attentive service of its expert crew. We've even thrown in a night in Chile's capital, Santiago, along with a full-day tour taking in the Casablanca wine valley and the coastal towns of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.


Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK to Santiago, Chile

Start your holiday in style with included VIP airport lounge access before your overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.

Days 2-4
Santiago, Chile

Arriving into Chile's mountain-framed capital, you'll be met for a private transfer to the Hotel Cumbres Lastarri. The following day you'll head out on a private tour, an action-packed excursion taking in the myriad attractions of Curacavi, Emiliana, Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Your tour begins with a scenic drive out to Curacaví, a centre for fruit farming, renowned for its traditional Chilean food. Here, you'll have the chance to visit a 'chicheria' where you can try the potent local tipple before continuing on to the Casablanca Valley, Chile's preeminent wine-producing region. Visit the organic Emiliana Vineyard for a brief tour and tasting, then head to coastal Valparaíso – Chile's oldest port city. Take in its colourful neighbourhoods, linked by winding streets and ancensores funiculars, then travel north to the garden city of Viña del Mar, retuning to Santiago in the evening. Your final day in the capital is free for you to explore at your own pace.

Stay: Hotel Cumbres Lastarria, Santiago (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 5
Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile

After breakfast and check out, a private transfer will take you to the airport for your morning flight to Punta Arenas in the remote reaches of windswept Chilean Patagonia. On arrival, a further transfer will see you to your hotel, where you'll join your fellow Antarctic adventurers. In the early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions representative will meet you at the hotel before joining you for a welcome dinner and a briefing to prepare you for your departure the following day.

Stay: Punta Arenas Hotel

Meals: B

Day 6
Fly Drake Passage to Antarctica

Unlike other cruises to the region, this one begins with a flight, bypassing the choppy waters of the Drake Passage to bring you right into the wilds of Antarctica. As such, your first glimpse of its spectacular frozen landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for its landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs with an island stroll before transferring to your expedition ship by Zodiac to begin your voyage south to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Please note that there is a strict luggage limit of 33 lbs (15 kg) checked luggage and 11 lbs (5 kg) cabin baggage on the flights between Punta Arenas and King George Island. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Punta Arenas. There is no option to pay for additional luggage.

Stay: Quark Expeditions’ World Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Days 7-10
Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Put simply, there's nowhere else on earth like Antarctica – a glacial mass of towering icebergs and vast mountain ranges. As your ship approaches the White Continent, your captain and Expedition Team will keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, and you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Also on board, a team of expert lecturers will provide in-depth explanations of the continent's unique geology, history and wildlife. But all that's nothing compared to the sheer thrill of seeing it all first hand, which you'll do through programme of daily land excursions. Each day is different, an adventure in its own right. You might take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs around Pleneau Island one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next. Or listen to the sounds of calving glaciers at Neko Harbour before watching a leopard seal hunt its prey.

Stay: Quark Expeditions’ World Explorer (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Disembark and Fly to Punta Arenas

After your week of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team as you disembark at King George Island. Then, it's just a three-hour flight across the Drake Passage to the relative civilisation of Punta Arenas. After your transfer from the airport to the hotel, you'll have some free time to explore the town before one final dinner and a last chance to reminisce about your adventures in Antarctica.

Stay: Punta Arenas Hotel

Meals: B L D

Days 12-13
Punta Arenas to UK

Check out of the hotel and take your included private transfer to the airport for your flight back to UK, arriving the following day.


Included on your cruise

Zodiac Cruising

Zodiacs are the workhorses of polar expeditions, safely transporting guests to remote shorelines and shallow inlets – the places large ships can’t reach. Hopping in and out of them is easy, and they'll bring you up close to the region's stunning landscapes and wildlife, offering some of the most memorable moments of your voyage.

On-shore hiking

Led by experienced staff, exploring on foot is the best way to appreciate the landscapes of Antarctica. Step on shore for the chance to come face to face with penguins and seals.

Onboard lectures

Daily lectures and informal chats with on-board experts allow you to rub shoulders with historians, botanists, ornithologists, biologists, geologists and get a real understanding of the regions through which you're sailing.

The polar plunge

This rite of passage, experienced just once per expedition, sees you safely jumping into icy ocean waters under the watchful eye of the ship's staff – and just about every single camera lens on board. Not for the faint of heart.

Equipment

Walking poles are provided at each landing for your convenience. Snowshoes may also be provided when conditions are favourable. This equipment is available at no cost.

Paid Activities

Sea kayaking

Imagine gliding across the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers. Our Sea Kayaking adventures are a great way to feel at one with the sea. A small group of kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only take place in calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required for you to feel comfortable on the water, and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider the paddling excursion, described below.

Paddling excursion

If you’re interested in kayaking, would prefer to try something less challenging than sea kayaking, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddle on sit-on-top kayaks, which are stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience. Rotating groups of passengers head out on calm days, with expert guides to connect with the sea.

Stand-up paddleboarding

Taken in small groups, in calm bays and harbours, and always in good weather conditions, these Zodiac-accompanied paddleboarding adventures can be pre-booked in two priority groups. After the first two successful outings, further trips will be offered on board on a first-come, first-served basis.

Map

Pricing

Any element of this cruise can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Prices

13-day exploration cruise on board World Explorer (Quark Expeditions) from £12,655 incl. flights

Departure:

Infinity Suite: £12,655
Veranda Suite: £12,660
Superior Suite: £13,955
Deluxe: £14,555
Owner's Suite: £15,160

Exclusive tailor-made fares
Book by: 31 March 2019

Includes pre-cruise
  • Use of airport lounge at Heathrow
  • Flight to Santiago, Chile
  • Private overseas transfers throughout
  • Three nights hotel accommodation
  • Private full-day tour
  • Flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas

Includes in Punta Arenas and on board

  • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast
  • A briefing dinner on Day 1 in Punta Arenas
  • A pre-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the hotel to the airport
  • Flights to and from King George Island, Antarctica
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage
  • Beer and wine during dinner
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • A post-expedition group transfer in Punta Arenas from the airport to the hotel
  • One night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast

Includes post-cruise

  • Private transfer from the hotel to the airport in Punta Arenas
  • Flight from Punta Arenas to the UK

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At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0615 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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