Antarctica - A White Christmas
18 Days from £12,599
Dec 2019 - Dec 2019 Departures
After beginning your adventure in Chile's capital, Santiago, you'll embark your ship for the cruise of a lifetime across Antarctica – the last continent virtually untouched by humans. You'll cross Drake Passage, sail amongst magnificent fjords and see spectacular wildlife. If you're hoping for a Christmas to remember, this is it.
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GUARANTEED PRICE MATCH
We’re confident our holidays offer the best prices around, so if you find an identical holiday cheaper, not only will we match it we’ll also give you an extra £100 towards another trip.
Your holiday at a glance
Just You Tour Manager as your host
Return flights from Heathrow with Norwegian Air & internal flights
2 nights in a 5-star hotel plus 2 nights in flight
13 nights aboard the MS Roald Amundsen
40 meals: 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 14 dinners
Overseas transfers & other transportation
Tour of Santiago
Sail through the Strait of Magellan
Discover the beauty of the Chilean fjords & navigate the Beagle Channel
Cross the infamous Drake Passage
Chance to step ashore on Cape Horn
Enjoy onboard lectures from Antarctica experts
Look out for an array of wildlife including penguins, whales, seals & many types of seabird
All landings depend upon weather conditions but should include Half Moon Island, Deception Island, Neko Harbour, Cuverville Island & Brown Bluff
You will depart on your overnight flight to Chile's capital Santiago today.
On arrival in Santiago we'll transfer you to your overnight hotel, then we'll head off on a sightseeing tour. The city occupies a stunning setting nestled beneath the majestic Andes, so amazing views are assured. We'll stroll along wide boulevards and past delightful gardens to view the grand Presidential Palace. We'll also head to the well-to-do residential districts of Las Condes and Providencia, famous for their beautiful homes.
Back at the hotel this evening we'll get to know each other a little better as we gather for a welcome drink.
The excitement starts to build as we transfer to the airport early this morning for our flight to Punta Arenas. Here we'll board our ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, named after the famous Norwegian explorer who was the first to reach the South Pole. One of the Hurtigruten fleet's newest ships, this will be our home for the next 13 nights as we head into the unknown and explore the White Continent.
After meeting the crew and expedition staff, who will outline our upcoming programme, we'll sail through the Strait of Magellan. This narrow passage separates mainland South America from Tierra del Fuego and links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
A thrilling journey today takes in the beautiful fjords, isolated islands and hidden bays of the Chilean coast. This unique landscape seems untouched by humans, and as we cruise the maze of channels we'll see dramatic icefields, and look out for dolphins, whales, seals and Magellanic penguins.
Another highlight of our voyage comes as the captain navigates the Beagle Channel, which at its narrowest point is only 5km wide. As we sail close to the southern tip of Chile, we'll witness the Andes plunging into the icy waters that surround this wild and remote region.
We're now heading into open waters, with one of the most iconic places on Earth in our sights, Cape Horn. This is the southernmost headland of South America, which prior to the creation of the Panama Canal, was the only route between the Atlantic and Pacific. If weather conditions allow, the captain will attempt a landing on this infamous and deserted rocky island located at the end of the world. Stepping ashore here is a truly unique opportunity.
Our route now takes us through the famous Drake Passage, a deep waterway which was notorious among the early polar explorers. It offers us a voyage few people get to experience and can take between one and two days to navigate from Cape Horn. We'll cross the Antarctic Convergence, where the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south. This makes the ocean rich in nutrients and home to an array of unique marine life. The passage is part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the only current that flows completely around the globe. Every second, up to 150 million cubic metres of water are transported from west to east here and conditions can be rough. However, the passage is often called the 'Drake Lake' and can also be placid – usually it's somewhere in the middle.
While we sail, there will be presentations by our Expedition Guides on the history and wildlife of Antarctica. They'll also give guidance for ensuring that nothing about our visit disturbs this vulnerable environment. Our aim is to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!
Our Antarctic expedition now begins in earnest as we spend the next seven days exploring this awe-inspiring continent. Isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents, Antarctica contains more than 90% of all the ice on the planet. There's actually very little snowfall here, but what there is never melts due to the extreme cold, and builds up to form sheets of ice more than 4,000 metres thick.
The only human habitation is in the various scientific research stations here, and vegetation is restricted to mosses, lichen and algae. However, the wildlife is prolific, with millions of penguins, whales and seals coming here to feed on fish and krill, and to breed. It is these magnificent creatures, as well as the exceptional landscape that we're here to see, and our itinerary from now on will be dictated to a certain extent by weather conditions.
Climatic challenges may lead the captain to re-route, or at times we may stay longer in places to take advantage of great conditions. We'll attempt to land on several sites, and every day brings a host of thrilling possibilities. Perhaps today we'll head ashore to embark on a hike, and you can even opt to spend some time on the water in kayaks. We could find ourselves cruising amongst huge pods of whales.
Half Moon Island is staggeringly photogenic and blessed with some of the most spectacular Antarctic scenery imaginable, and we might get the chance to land here. Its creviced cliffs are home to a large colony of chinstrap penguins, Antarctic terns, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills and Wilson's storm petrels. Several species of seals are also regular visitors to the island.
Depending on weather conditions, we may be able to hike to the Teniente Camara Station, an Argentine scientific research facility, and on to a viewpoint where we can look for whales in the bay facing the Bransfield Strait. Keep a lookout too for wandering albatross gliding overhead. With a massive wingspan of up to 3.5 metres, this bird spends most of its life on the wing, only returning to land to breed.
An undoubted highlight of the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island is a distinctive ring-shaped volcanic caldera approximately seven miles in diameter. A portion of the caldera wall has collapsed and created a navigable opening into the flooded interior. The natural harbour inside the island includes Whalers Bay, home to an abandoned Norwegian whaling station known as Hektor and a derelict British base.
Once on land, you can either stroll around at your own pace, or experienced hikers may join the expedition team for deeper exploration. There are various routes to choose from, all of them taking in spectacular scenery and a visit to a penguin colony.
Nestled in Andvord Bay, Neko Harbour is surrounded by the mountains and high glacier walls of the Antarctic Peninsula. Taking its name from a whaler anchored here in the early 1900s, this is one of the few places where we can set foot on the Antarctic mainland, and if we do, we'll see a colony of gentoo penguins.
We hope to make a landing on Brown Bluff, a million-year-old volcano which erupted from within a glacier. Flat-topped and steep-sided, this is an unusual sight and its pebble beach is a great place from which to spot Adelie penguins.
We've a whole day left to take in more wonders of Antarctica, and a great place to land is Cuverville Island, in the scenic Errera Channel.
The shallow water between this and Danco Island often causes icebergs to become stuck here – a wonderful spectacle when it occurs.
It is also home to one of the largest known colonies of chinstrap penguins. Early in the season the snow makes it difficult for the penguins to reach their nesting sites. Far from being put off by this, they simply carve out their own 'penguin motorways', which are visible as intricate networks in the vast expanse of white.
Back on board our ship this evening, the festive spirit is sure to be in the air as we spend Christmas Eve together reminiscing on what is sure to have been an unbelievable expedition.
It's Christmas Day and we're going to spend it relaxing and cruising as we enjoy great food and some festive fun and games. Who knows, Father Christmas may even join us on board with a few surprises!
We'll sail back to Santiago today, once again navigating the Strait of Magellan. As our journey comes to an end, there's still time to catch a lecture about the incredible sights we've seen, and to look out for wildlife from on deck.
On arrival in Punta Arenas this morning, we'll disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for our flight to Santiago. We'll get together this evening to enjoy a farewell dinner.
Today we'll transfer you to the airport in Santiago for your overnight flight back to the UK.
You'll arrive in the UK today.
Just You have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the hotel images provided on this website and images of room types displayed may vary to those offered on your tour. Therefore due to the possibility of inadvertent errors we do not guarantee their accuracy. Hotels, airlines used and flight times are subject to change and will be confirmed in your final documents.
Dates and Prices
Thursday 12 December 2019
Thursday 12 December 2019
18:50 London (Heathrow)
22:15 Madrid (Barajas)
Thursday 12 December 2019
23:55 Madrid (Barajas)
09:40 Santiago (A M Benitez)
Saturday 28 December 2019
19:55 Santiago (A M Benitez)
12:50 Madrid (Barajas)
Sunday 29 December 2019
15:00 Madrid (Barajas)
16:25 London (Heathrow)
0800 112 3329