Poseidon Expeditions just improved upon the already exceptional. Aboard its all-suite, 114-passenger M/v Sea Spirit, guests on the 20-day voyage Oct. 20-Nov. 8, 2018, will now visit three destinations heralding the Southern Ocean spring.
The enhanced cruise itinerary which now includes the South Shetland Islands and an early season exploration of the waters of Antarctic Peninsula (Antarctic Awakening – Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Islands (https://poseidonexpeditions.com/antarctica/falklands-south-georgia-antarctic-islands-antarctic-awakening/), is from $11,966 per person double, with even lower per person rates for triple share accommodations — $8,996. The cruise begins in Argentina’s Puerto Madryn on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and concludes in Ushuaia, Argentina.
On this comprehensive voyage Poseidon Expeditions explores the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. Each destination is legendary for abundant marine mammals, exceptional sub Antarctic birdlife, spectacular scenery and fascinating history. Early summer is an extraordinary time of year in Antarctica as the sea ice thaws. Penguins and seabirds are returning to their breeding colonies. Elephant seals are engaging in epic battles. This cruise through early spring also means that guests have the cast of wild characters on assorted islands to themselves, without footprints of other travelers.
The Falkland Islands: The windswept and treeless Falkland Islands are a birder’s paradise. The islands boast a great abundance and diversity of birdlife including five species of penguin, 80 percent of the world’s population of black-browed albatross, and numerous species of waterfowl such as the endemic Falkland steamer duck. The waters here are home to various species of cetacean including the southern right whale, killer whale, and Peale’s dolphin. Breeding populations of South American fur seal, South American sea lion, and southern elephant seal frequent the islands’ many beaches. A day is also set aside for Stanley, the charming capital city of the islands.
South Georgia Island: This is the world’s premier destination for sub Antarctic wildlife viewing. After crossing the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean known as the Antarctic convergence (northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet warmer waters of the sub Antarctic), South Georgia comes into view. Think upwards of 100 million seabirds, 100,000 elephant seals, three million fur seals and innumerable penguins from the stately king to sprightly macaroni. Whales begin to populate more heavily too. The historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home of the South Georgia Museum managed by the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This is also the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton, the legendary polar explorer.
Antarctic Islands: The Antarctic Peninsula is comprised of a chain of islands – including the South Shetlands – that is the northernmost region of Antarctica. This is the ultimate polar wilderness. There is nothing else like it on Earth. Lofty serrated mountain ranges, all-encompassing glaciers, icebergs of every size and shape, and nutrient-rich waters define a pristine environment inhabited by robust populations of penguins, seals, and whales.
Plans call for visiting Point Wild on Elephant Island where Earnest Shackleton and his men spent part of their historic odyssey. Also in the South Shetland Islands are the historical remains of a whaling station at Deception Island and a multitude of far-flung research bases operated by various countries. Early season weather and sea ice permitting, the Sea Spirit also plans to spend a day in the vicinity of the Peninsula with the hope of making a landing on the continent.
Once aboard Sea Spirit guests enjoy the freshness of a brand-new $1 million refurbishment of all 55 guest suites. This was the final phase of a two-year full ship refurbishment that included public areas. A few years ago she underwent technical improvements for polar cruising; since then she has been providing luxury expedition cruises in both Arctic and Antarctic environments. Sea Spirit offers all-suite accommodations with square footages ranging from 215 to 463. There are two multi-purpose lounges for educational programming and entertainment, a restaurant that can accommodate all passengers in one seating, a well-stocked library, and ample outdoor deck space to enjoy the polar landscapes and wildlife. Activities directed by a team of experienced polar guides and educators include Zodiac excursions, hiking and optional kayaking and camping, along with informative presentations aboard. The ship’s expedition staff-to-passenger ratio of 1:9 is one of the best in the business.