• Antarctic safari;  emperor penguins

Itinerary Summary

11 Days
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
11 Days £9290 Nov Antarctica Small Group Safari
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In Search of the Emperor Penguin

Venture through the Beagle Channel, Drake Passage until you reach the magnificent Great White Continent of Antarctica. You will go in search of an abundance of wildlife including seals, seabirds and an Emperor Penguin colony.

This stunning 10 night voyage to the great white continent is an incredible opportunity to enjoy an encounter with the protagonists of the famous ‘March of the Penguins’ documentary. Cross the Drake Passage before being welcomed by huge tabular icebergs as you sail into the Weddell Sea on your way to Snow Hill Island.

The captain will do his utmost to position the ship as close as possible to allow ship-to-shore helicopter transfers to gain access to the Emperor Penguin Rookery. An extraordinary journey aboard the M/V Ortelius, accompanied by an expert expedition team, you will experience spectacular excursions and amazing landscapes in some of the best Antarctica has to offer.


What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Explore Antarctica on the Weddell Sea side of the peninsula.
  • The use of helicopters on the ship to reach the Emperor penguin colony, also offering an aerial view of the great white continent.
  • Fantastic wildlife viewing including chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, elephant and Weddell seals.
  • Cross the famous Drake Passage, with an array of seabirds following in your wake.

Embedded Video Overview

11 days exploring the Weddell Sea and Antarctica in search of Emperor penguins

from $10,869 per person, excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1


Today is the first day of your adventure. You will board the ship, your home for the next 11 days, in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina before setting off into the wonderfully scenic Beagle Channel where you will now be truly on your way to the great white continent.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (D)

Days 2-3

At Sea

The next 2 days are spent crossing the infamous Drake Passage. Guests eagerly soak up the friendly atmosphere onboard as the numerous Polar experts prepare you for your adventures with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. After passing the Antarctic Convergence, we enter the circum-Antarctic welling up zone. Here you may be greeted by wandering albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Day 4

Weddell Sea

Having reached Antarctic waters, you will continue into the Weddell Sea and providing the ice allows our passage through the Antarctic sound you will reach the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is common to be welcomed by huge tabular icebergs and if conditions permit you may even be able to make a landing on the Antarctic Continent at Brown Bluff.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Days 5-6

Emperor Penguin Colony

The ultimate goal on your journey is to reach the Emperor penguin colony, the use of helicopters gives you a great advantage, however success on this mission is ruled by the forces of nature, ice and weather conditions. The plan is to spend the next 2 days visiting an Emperor penguin rookery. The helicopter operation will take a full day and the flight takes approximately 15 minutes, with a maximum of 6 passengers in each flight.

The landing area of the helicopter is chosen very carefully so that the Emperors are not startled, disturbed or stressed by the noise. However, this means passengers will need to walk for approximately 45 minutes before reaching these magnificent birds. It is important to realise that this is one of the most remote parts of the world and there are no guarantees. Weather conditions can change dramatically in a short space of time and may have an impact on the helicopter operation. It is important that passengers are fully aware of this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Day 7

Devil & Vega Island

If conditions were favourable on the previous 2 days, and you managed an impressive encounter with the Emperor Penguins, you will continue to Devil Island, Vega Island or Hope Bay. If you were unable to make it to the Emperor penguin colony on one or two of the previous days, we will try to get to Snow Hill Island once more by ship-to-shore helicopter flights.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Day 8

Half Moon Island

This morning the plan is to carry out a landing on Half Moon Island where chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, elephant and Weddell seals and ample seabirds live. In the afternoon you will then set sail for Deception Island and Pendulum Cove, the last landing on your voyage. After this you will embark upon your journey back to Ushuaia.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Days 9-10

At Sea

You will spend another two days travelling back through the Drake Passage where you will have opportunities to see many seabirds and listen to a number of lectures. You will have plenty of time to look back over your pictures and footage from your time on the Great White Continent.

Overnight: M/V Ortelius (B, L, D)

Day 11

Arrival in Ushuaia

Today you will arrive back in the port of Ushuaia where your adventure first began. Disembarkation takes place after a delicious lunch and then you will either be transferred to the airport or your hotel depending on your future travel plans.



This is a small group departure aboard the M/V Ortelius leaving on two set dates in November 2023 and 2024. Note that all prices exclude international flights.

Price subject to exchange rate at time of booking.


(Alternate program if the route to Snow Hill Island is free of multi-year pack ice – less than 50 % probability)

Helicopters provide an advantage in reaching the emperor penguin colony, but nature makes the rules in Antarctica. If conditions are favourable, you’ll spend the first two days at the penguin rookery. The helicopter operation takes a full day, and the flight duration is approximately 15 minutes. Each helicopter can accommodate 4 – 6 passengers per flight, and the landing site is carefully chosen so that the penguins are not disturbed. Upon arrival to the site, it is about a 45-minute walk to the rookery. Please keep in mind that you are in the world’s most remote area: There are no guarantees. Conditions may change rapidly, which can have a profound impact on our helicopter operations. It is important to understand and respect this. Safety is our greatest concern, and no compromises can be made.


Trip date Prices from
Nov 10 - Nov 20 2023 £9290
Nov 20 - Nov 30 2023 £9290
Trip date Prices from
Nov 10 - Nov 20 2024 £10000
Nov 20 - Nov 30 2024 £10000

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