Antarctica may be at the end of the Earth, but we’ve been bringing guests here for decades— safely sharing all the wonders of this vast land and sea. Join us to experience the thrill of crunching through the sea ice aboard our fleet of three state-of-the-art expedition ships to see scores of penguins and whales. People come for the wildlife but fall in love with the ice: an entire museum of colossal and magical ice forms defying description. And you’ll get a front seat to the dashing history of the Heroic Age of Exploration. Armed with a flexible itinerary that allows us to go where conditions are best and wildlife is most active, we’ll experience all the splendor of Antarctica. Venture into channels and coves framed by towering peaks. Watch whales play off the bow; glide around enormous icebergs in Zodiacs; photograph penguin colonies with a National Geographic photographer; and hike, kayak, and even possibly cross-country ski in complete tranquility.
Explore the world’s last great wilderness in the company of a team of top naturalists celebrating Lindblad’s 50-plus years of expedition heritage
Hike on magnificent mountains and see huge glaciers, plus observe thousands of penguins: gentoos, Adelie, and chinstrap
Kayak in protected waters, paddling as penguins swim nearby
Zodiac cruise in ice-choked channels and land on distant shores to explore on foot
Early November departures offer the possibility to cross-country ski or snowshoe across the frozen sea ice, conditions permitting
You’ll get out on adventures every day we’re in Antarctica, sometimes twice a day—to walk ashore, kayak or Zodiac cruise among icebergs. Make the expedition as active as you choose, and each day join a different naturalist for more viewpoints. Plus, get top shots with the help of a National Geographic photographer.
We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer,National Geographic Resolution, and National Geographic Endurance voyages.
FREE AIR ON SELECT DATES
Book by July 31, 2021, on select departures for free economy group airfare between Miami/Buenos Aires (or Santiago). Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability.
Dates, Rates & Cabins
Travel on this itinerary from $15,080 per person
Make the most of your proximity and time
Iguazú Falls Post Voyage Extension for Explorer and Endurance
Iguazú Falls Post Voyage Extension for Explorer and Endurance
$3,170 per person
Taller than Niagara, Iguazú Falls is also twice as wide, with 275 cascades spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly 2 miles of the Iguazú River. Situated in Iguazú National Park in northeastern Argentina, this natural sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site owing to its beautiful landscapes and subtropical forest, with 450 species of birds, including toucans and parrots, and butterflies, orchids, and endangered jaguars.
Note: On select National Geographic Endurance departures this may run as a pre-voyage extension. Please call for details.
As we crossed the Drake Passage, we partook in a thorough decontamination protocol to prepare for our landfall on the Antarctic continent today. Boots were scrubbed, bags were vacuumed out, and no seed was left clinging to a Velcro strap. By doing this we greatly reduced the chance of unwittingly ferrying unwanted hitchhikers like plants, fungal spores, or pathogens to the White Continent. We are now ready for Antarctica!
As we approached the end of our expedition, our final full day at sea offered both a full plate of activities on board as well as a chance to reflect on all the experiences of the last ten days. Wind, waves, and wildlife are all important parts of crossing the Drake Passage. We started the morning with ample quantities of the first two, but even with the occasional brace of spray covering the bow and bridge we still made good time with a reasonably comfortable ride on
National Geographic Orion
. Everyone found their own niche on the ship, writing in journals, editing photos, maybe even getting a head start on packing for the upcoming air travel home. There were a number of presentations also to divert our minds from that latter chore.
Conor Ryan presented an informative talk on “The Smell of the Sea” while Jonathan Zaccaria reflected on his own experiences at research stations in “Overwintering in Antarctica.” Later Rob Edwards discussed the data and implications of human influences on global processes in “Welcome to the Anthropocene.” The great wilderness of the Drake Passage eased into a calm and gently rolling sea by late afternoon. We crossed the continental shelf surrounding the southern islands of South America, welcoming many seabirds around the ship, including sooty shearwaters, giant petrels, black-browed albatross, and both giants of the sky: the wandering and the royal albatrosses.
As always, there were also full plates of amazing food and the diverse menus that we’ve come to expect during meals. One could only smile at the luxury we’ve been afforded while exploring such a remote place, with the paradox that returning now to the comforts of home with a few extra pounds aboard might mean we need to go back to somewhat more meager rations. However, there is so much more than just the memory of these comforts and cameras full of wildlife photography. One cannot help but feel all the richer for directly experiencing the Antarctic environment as we have, and for the new friends who have shared it with us.
Today we sailed northward at a speed of around 12 knots towards Cape Horn. At 8 a.m., the water temperature was 2.5 °C and by 2 p.m. had risen sharply to the balmy value of 4.2 °C indicating we had crossed the Polar Front, also known as the Antarctic Convergence. Moving away from the ice and into the open ocean brought a suite of seabirds for our pleasure, in particular the members of the tube-nosed seabirds, classified in the order Procellariiformes.
Within the order there are four families (albatross, shearwaters, storm petrels, and diving petrels), and today we saw examples from each. Scientific evidence including fossils and genetic analysis indicates that these seabird families developed from a common ancestor with penguins and divers in the mid-Eocene around 40 to 50 million years ago.
The smallest are the storm petrels. These are small, flighty birds – some not weighing more than 20 grams – with short wings that allow them to glide and hover on the surface of the ocean where they feed by picking small prey items. They often patter their feet on the water surface. Today we saw Wilson’s and the black-bellied storm petrels.
The family of diving petrels has only four species within it, all living in the Southern Hemisphere. We saw the common diving petrel, a small compact bird with rounded wings who flies directly with rapid whirring wings. Diving petrels feed by diving and propel themselves under water with half closed wings.
The largest family within the order of tube-nosed seabirds contains the shearwaters and petrels, over 80 species in total ranging from the huge southern giant petrel to the most commonly seen cape petrel, known as the pintado. Its beauty is matched by the Antarctic prion, whose slate grey upperwings are banded with a distinctive darker “M”.
Of course, the highlights of the day’s wildlife watching were those majestic ocean wanderers, the albatross. With wingspan over three meters, the Wandering Albatross appears to stay aloft effortlessly. We also sighted some of the smaller species of Albatross including grey headed, light-mantled sooty and black-browed albatross.
Watching the seabirds from the bridge of the ship is a great pleasure but not the only entertainment on board. It was a day of engaging presentations offered by the team of naturalists and photographers. Conor Ryan provided an overview of Antarctic whaling history and current practice, Sisse Brimberg shared some of her photographic travels, Caitlyn Webster filled our brains with knowledge of the diving physiology of seals, and Andrew Atkin presented the dramatic story of the race to the South Pole later in the afternoon.
At the cocktail hour, expedition leader Peter Wilson previewed the developing weather systems for the remainder of the track up to Cape Horn destined to give us a bit more pitching as we travelled north. After dinner we watched the documentary
. Another great day in the southern hemisphere!
Waking up to blue skies and big smiles, we sail into our last true day down on the white continent. Finding ourselves at the well-known anchorage of Port Lockroy for one last morning of adventures before pulling anchor and head north back into the famous Drake Passage once more.
After an easy return crossing of the Drake Passage, we awoke to get a look at Cape Horn, the legendary tip of South America, feared by mariners throughout history. Today it was not so intimidating as the sun broke through in patches and the meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans undulated rather gently.
Traveling north towards the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel, we were entertained with some presentations by the natural history staff and an interesting navigation. The channel contains many marine animals swimming about and today was no exception. The guests were fortunate to come across a group of sei whales, so we stopped for some impromptu whale watching. A special teatime was hosted by the hotel department at 4 p.m., and the Captain’s farewell cocktail party was underway as we came into view of Ushuaia. It’s been an enlightening, beautiful, and joyous trip to the White Continent.