Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle
Check off a travel milestone by crossing the Antarctic Circle. Maximize your adventure by skipping the ocean transit and flying over the Drake Passage by charter plane. Simply combine our exciting Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition itinerary with a direct round-trip flight from Chile to your polar-ready ship, to get our Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle voyage. Then, explore the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula by sea, and continue further to reach 66⁰33´ south. Check other achievements off your bucket list as well, such as sea kayaking through channels dotted with icebergs. Departures are available from 2021 - 2022.
- Hiking: Hiking in the polar regions differs from your typical trail experience. Here, in a tree-less terrain, you are the tallest figure on the landscape as you walk over spongy tundra, crusty snow or sandy beaches in remote parts of Antarctica
- Polar Plunge: The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions to choose the optimal time and location. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore on, in many cases from the gangway or Zodiac
- Zodiac Cruising: Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac
- Paddling Excursion: Every sweep of paddle as your craft glides through the pristine polar waters creates an incredible soundtrack, the jostle of glacial ice, the lapping of waves against the rocky shore, the perpetual drip from your paddle, the call of seabirds, and the occasional splash as wildlife
- Sea Kayaking: Positioning yourself in the seat of a kayak is one of the most intimate ways travelers can connect with the polar regions—at water level, up close, where you can touch and feel every polar sensation imaginable. The Sea Kayak Program enables a small group of like-minded individuals to forge bonds as they explore fjords, glacial faces or mazes of sea ice.
- Stand-up Paddleboarding: Combining surfing with kayaking and canoeing, stand up paddleboarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Taken only in small groups in good weather in Antarctica
Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile
Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in southern Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, a Quark Expeditions representative will meet you at the official starting point hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.
Day 2: Fly to King George Island and Embarkation
Your chartered flight will take you from Punta Arenas to Antarctica and have you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only a few hours. Far below, the ship will approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctic landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs with a one-mile (1.6 km) walk to the shore, before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!
Day 3-6: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As your ship approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes.
As your captain and Expedition Team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert presenters will deepen your experience with explanations of the glaciology, history and wildlife of the region.
Even more exciting are your daily excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking on a beach dotted with penguins is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.
Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won’t be long before you can tell the difference between an Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguin.
You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier to the thrill of spotting apex predators like leopard seals and killer whales in action, you’ll wake up early and welcome each day with a sense of adventure and a desire to explore during this unrivaled travel experience.
Your Expedition Team will accompany you all along the way, providing insights into the places you visit.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not reach 66°33´ S. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line at 66°33´ S, you and your shipmates will celebrate in style with a well-earned glass of sparkling wine!
As you toast the first explorers who ventured this far south, you can take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals and some of the most peculiar, yet magical ice formations you’ll see anywhere on the continent.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to King George Island. You will continue to explore by Zodiac or on land as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After your week of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your two-and-a-half-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your adventure to an end. After your group transfer to the hotel, you are free to explore and enjoy an evening on your own, in the city or at the hotel to reminisce about the sights and sounds of Antarctica.
Alternatively, you may opt for an extension of your trip to tour South America with us.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- 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 landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- A group arrival transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1
- One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
- 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
- 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