The Peninsula, Ross Sea, Helicopters

Antarctic Cruise and Adventure Travel With Cool Antarctica and Ice Tracks

All the highlights of Antarctica in one voyage. Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea, the Ross Ice-shelf, Dry Valleys, McMurdo Station, Macquarie Island, Campbell Island and the historic huts of Scott and Shackleton. Kayaking, snow-shoeing.
33 Days  |  Depart:  13/01/22, 16/02/22  |  Prices from $27,400

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Regions:  Antarctic Peninsula | South Georgia | South Shetland Islands | Falkland Islands

ross sea cruise, semi circumnavigation of antarctica

Summary : An extraordinary voyage of the best that Antarctica has to offer to visitors. The Peninsula and East Antarctica are the two most visited regions. Usually a cruise to Antarctica means choosing one of these over the other, while trips to the Ross sea mean fairly long sea voyages to get to Antarctica and back. This trip combines the areas and maximizes the time spent in spectacular landscapes without having to choose, you will encounter everything, vast ice-shelves, abundant wildlife, enormous icebergs, the remotest places on the planet and historical sites.

You will sail along the Ross Ice Shelf, see prolific wildlife and visit rarely visited Marie Byrd land in west Antarctica. The Peninsula dazzles with mountains and icescapes, expect to see thousands of seals and millions of penguins in the World Heritage sites of Australian and New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands, following in the footsteps of Scott, Ross, Amundsen, and Shackleton.

Embark: Ushuaia, Argentina   /   Disembark: Bluff, New Zealand

13/01/22, the 16/02/22 departure runs in the opposite direction.

Rates: $27,400 quadruple, $34,500 - $39,500 per person, double occupancy

Ship - M/V Ortelius - Research Ship  - Passengers: 116

M/V ortelius
M/V ortelius


This itinerary on 13th January 2022 departures, reverse on 16/02/2022

Day 1 - Ushuaia, Argentina / Embark
Arriving in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Starting in the afternoon, you embark and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Days 2 - 3 At Sea / Drake Passage
Settle into shipboard life, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray, spot albatross and other seabirds that glide alongside the ship.

Day 4 - Antarctic Peninsula
You arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula near the Antarctic Circle in the afternoon. If sea ice allows it, you can then continue through Pendleton Strait and attempt a landing at the rarely visited southern tip of Renaud Island. Here you have the opportunity to see the first Adelie penguins of the trip as well as enjoy spectacular views of the icebergs in this surreal, snow-swept environment.

Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctic Peninsula

Day 5 - 6 - Bellingshausen Sea
From the peninsula you head toward the open sea, your course set for Peter I Island.

Day 7 - Peter Island
An uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea, discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and named after Peter the Great of Russia. The island is claimed by Norway and considered its own territory, though it is rarely visited by passenger vessels due to its exposed nature. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may enjoy a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island. This is a unique chance to land on one of the most remote islands in the world.

Days 8 - 14 - Amundsen Sea
You then sail through the Amundsen Sea, moving along and through the outer fringes of the pack ice. Ice conditions are never the same from year to year, though we aim to take advantage of the opportunities that arise if sea ice is present. Emperor penguins, groups of seals lounging on the ice floes, orca and minke whales along the ice edge, and different species of fulmarine petrels are possible sights in this area.


Day 15 - 20 - Ross Ice Shelf and Ross Sea
On these days we navigate some of the most remote regions of the planet, as you explore the Ross Sea, just like Scott, Shackleton, and James Clark Ross (the 19th-century explorer for whom this sea is named). Here, you'll see the impressive Ross Ice Shelf, the world's largest, and the TransAntarctic Mountain Chain. Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf is enormous, covering 182,000 square miles - the size of France - and the edge of the ice shelf is a wall of ice towering over the water by as much as 200 feet, with the majority of the ice below the waterline. The Ross Ice Shelf plays an important role in stabilizing the Antarctic ice sheet, buttressing the ice that is constantly moving over the land surface. Spot colonies of Adelie penguins, lazy seals, and majestic whales. You may make a helicopter landing on the ice shelf if conditions allow. During this part of the voyage, we will also cross the International Date Line.

Day 21 - 22 - The coast to inexpressible Island
Sailing north along the west coast of the Ross Sea, you pass the Drygalski Ice Tongue and Terra Nova Bay. If ice conditions allow, a landing will be made at Inexpressible Island, the site of an enforced winter in awful (inexpressible) conditions by the less-known Northern Party of Captain Scott's expedition. It is also home to a large Adelie penguin rookery. Should sea ice prevent entry into Terra Nova Bay, you may head farther north to the protected area of Cape Hallett and its own Adelie rookery.

Day 23 - Cape Adare
An attempted landing at Cape Adare, the site of the first wintering on the Antarctic Continent: Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in here 1899, taking shelter in a hut that to this day is surrounded by the largest colony of Adelie penguins in the world.

Cape Adare, Borchgrevinks Hut
Cape Adare, Borchgrevinks Hut

Day 24 - Ross Sea to the Southern Ocean
Leaving the sea ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea, you start your journey north through the Southern Ocean.

Day 25 - The Balleny Islands
The intended route is past Sturge Island in the afternoon, getting an impression of these windswept and remote islands before crossing the Antarctic Circle.

Days 26 - 28 - Sailing Amongst seabirds
With whales beneath and birds above, watch for marine life in the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean.

Day 29 - Macquarie Island
A Tasmanian State Reserve and World Heritage Site, the Australian Antarctic Division has its permanent base on this island. grounds. The fauna on Macquarie is fantastic, and there are colonies of king, gentoo, and southern rockhopper penguins - as well as almost one million breeding pairs of the endemic royal penguin. Elephant seals and various fur seal species, such as the New Zealand fur seal, are also present.

King Penguin at Macquarie Island
King Penguin at Macquarie Island

Day 30 - Northwest to Campbell Island
Followed by numerous seabirds, head northwest to Campbell Island.

Day 31 - Campbell Island's bounteous birdlife
The plan today is to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island. Amongst its luxuriantly blooming vegetation are large and easily accessible colonies of seabirds such as southern royal albatrosses and three breeding penguin species, eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed. In the 18th century, seals in the area were hunted to extinction, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have since recovered.

Day 32 - At sea the last of the Southern Ocean
Take in the vast horizons of your final sea day before you reach New Zealand.

Day 33 - Bluff, New Zealand / Disembark
You disembark in Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, and return home with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.


  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.

  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.

  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.

  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.

  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.

  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.

  • Group transfer from the vessel in Bluff to the airport in Invercargill.

  • Ship-to-shore helicopter transfers (with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed).

  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.

  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not Included:

  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights.

  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.

  • Passport and visa expenses.

  • Government arrival and departure taxes.

  • Meals ashore.

  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).

  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.

  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Antarctica Ross Sea Region Cruise

Antarctica Ross Sea Region - Sample Cruises - 2021 / 2022

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
The Ross Sea and Helicopters, Antarctic Peninsula to the Ross Sea East Antarctica, Ross Sea, Emperor Penguins, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Sub-Antarctic Islands. $27,400 -
The Ross Sea Region - Historic Huts Auckland Islands, Macquarie and Campbell Islands, Explore the Ross Sea, Historic Huts, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo base. $23,000 -

* Prices are based per person, the lowest price is usually for triple occupancy in a basic cabin, the highest for double occupancy in the best available suite.

Options may be at additional cost and are usually booked when the cruise is booked - it may be too late once the cruise has started.

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Departures from late October to early March

Dozens of trips - unique combinations of ship + itinerary

Choice of ships - 108 to 139 passenger capacity

$8,050 to $40,000

10 to 33 days

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