Air Cruise - Fly / Sail
Antarctica Cruise and Adventure Travel With Cool Antarctica and Expedition Trips
8 or 10 Days - Fly both ways from Punta Arenas,
6, 7, 10, 11 or 12 Days - Fly one way from/to Punta
Arenas, Sail the other from/to Ushuaia
17 or 18 days - Fly one or both ways from/to Stanley in
the Falkland Islands sail or fly across the Drake Passage
Departures: more than
35 departures between November 2015 and March 2016 From
An increasingly popular way to visit Antarctica in recent years is the Fly-Cruise option whereby passengers board a charter flight in Tierra del Fuego and fly to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands in about two hours where they then board their ship. This avoids the traditional way of getting to and from Antarctica by ship which takes about two days each way to cross the Drake's Passage.
The return journey can be the same, or there the possibility of making one leg by air and the other by sea. Either fly down and sail back or sail down and fly back. The South American airport for the journey/s is Punta Arenas in Chile while the seaport is Ushuaia in Argentina.
Fly - Cruises voyage around the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, the most accessible regions of Antarctica, where spectacular scenery abounds as well as all kinds of Antarctic wildlife, penguins, whales, seals and all manner of sea-birds. There are also many opportunities for landings ashore to visit wildlife colonies and walk amongst spectacular landscapes, you can expect daily landings once in Antarctica.
For the 2015-2016 season we have five cruise ships taking part with over 35 departures:
Akademik Sergey Vavilov -
Research Ship - 92 passengers
Ocean Nova - Expedition Ship - 68 passengers
Polar Pioneer - Research Ship - 54 passengers
Sea Adventurer - Expedition Ship - 122 passengers
Sea Explorer - Expedition Ship - 110 passengers
King George Island - this is the largest island of the South Shetlands group, it is part of the Scotia arc situated 75 miles (120 kilometres) to the north east of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is the unofficial capital of Antarctica in that it has ten national research stations and a semi-permanent population of about 500 people largely on the small ice-free area of the Fildes Peninsula at the south-west tip of the island. Semi-permanent in that the population is a fairly steady 500, though people come and go quite frequently, spending from a few months to a year or two. It is the only place in Antarctica with something like a normal human population at the Chilean Presidente Frei station the location of the air strip where there are families living and even a small school.
King George Island is also home to a Russian Orthodox church with its own priest and the world's most southerly lighthouse. It is the site of an annual Antarctic Marathon.
Sample Fly-Cruise Trips to Antarctica
Air-Cruise - Circle Crossing
and South Georgia
|Ship||Ocean Nova||Polar Pioneer|
12/02/15, 12/07/15, 12/12/15
12/17/15, 12/22/15, 12/27/15
01/17/16, 01/22/16, 02/08/16
11/21/15, 01/06/16, 03/09/16
|Notes||Fly / Fly
Fly south, fly north
6 days in Antarctica, equivalent of 11 day traditional ship cruise
|Sail / Fly
or Fly / Sail
Sail across Drake Passage once
Fly to / from Falkland Islands once
|Price||$9,995 - $18,995||$14,300 - $24,200|
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fly-cruise v Cruise-only Trip to Antarctica
- Avoid crossing the Drakes Passage by ship
- this can be a very rough crossing which for some may
prevent them from going to Antarctica at all if they feel ill on
- Time saving - two sailings across the Drakes Passage saves about 4 days in all meaning that is possible to go to Antarctica without spending so much time travelling, either a shorter trip, or more time spent there.
- You don't get to cross the Drakes Passage
- there is something special about arriving in Antarctica by
ship where the weather and ice change slowly over a longer period,
spotting albatrosses following the ship, the first ice-bergs,
first penguins, seals etc.
- Delays to your trip - While no Antarctica Fly and Cruise departure has been cancelled due to weather conditions (yet), some departures have experienced delays of up to three days. The current estimate is that the chances of delay are in the range of 5-10%. Ships can operate in conditions in Antarctica that leave planes grounded.
It is important that prospective participants understand that weather conditions could impact the operation. Should weather delay a departure, contingency plans will be put into operation. There is also the possibility of the return leg being delayed so flexibility should be allowed when returning home.
Getting There & Getting Home:
Arrive in Punta Arenas on Day 1, no later than 3 p.m. A tight time-schedule connection with an Antarctic expedition is not recommended. Therefore, we strongly suggest that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home, and in any case not to book a flight on the same day as the return flight from Antarctica.
Usually used are 70 passenger BAE 146-200 manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace and equipped with 4 turbofan Honeywell engines. It is a high-wing aircraft with very short runway requirements which makes it particularly suited for this kind of destination. It is operated by Aerovias DAP, which has more than 20 years of experience of flying in Patagonia and Antarctica. Substitute aircraft however may be used as necessary.
Luggage Weight Restriction:
Due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, participants in the Antarctica Fly and Cruise programs can only carry 20 kg/44 lb of personal luggage, including carry-on. This weight restriction is enforced strictly. Note that hand luggage will be weighed as well as checked baggage. Softsided luggage is recommended. Some ships will loan heavy and bulky items such as waterproof boots, you should check with your ship as to what is provided.
Accommodations onboard ship, in accordance with cabin chosen. Often a one night hotel stay both pre and post flight to Antarctica with transfers are provided, check with your tour operator as to what is included for your particular trip.
Airfare to/from Punta Arenas, Chile, visa and/or passport expenses, arrival and departure taxes, if applicable, transfers, lodging and meals other than those offered in the program, mandatory evacuation insurance, recommended travel insurance, personal expenses, such as laundry service, telephone calls, use of Internet or other means of communication, etc. gratuity to ship's crew at the end of the voyage.
Although no Antarctica Fly and Cruise departure has ever been cancelled due to weather conditions, some departures in the past have experienced delays. The longest delay ever experienced by a departure has been three days. Based on past experience, we currently estimate that the chances of delay are very low, in the range of 5-10%. Still, it is important that prospective participants understand that weather conditions could impact the operation. Should weather delay a departure, a Contingency Plan of hotel accommodation and some tours around Punta Arenas will usually be in operation until such time as a flight is possible, the details of this will vary according to the particular trip booked.