This is extended voyage to the South Atlantic and Antarctica gives you the very best opportunities to experience both Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic regions. On this expedition, you will discover the remarkable abundance of wildlife that lives in both the Falklands and South Georgia; it is in these areas that the iconic king penguins can be found in vast numbers, before continuing onto Antarctica itself.

You will travel in the company of both a National Geographic photographer and expert, who through lectures, workshops and one-on-one discussions, will give you a deeper understanding of the sights and significance of your journey and teach you how to capture the story of this incredible expedition through your own photography.

We will begin our expedition in the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia, in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, and set sail for the Falkland Islands.

The Falkland Islands have a wind-swept landscape with a wild beauty and abundant wildlife. Home to nesting albatross colonies and a variety of penguin species, these rich waters support a great diversity of wildlife, and were once one of the centres of whaling in the world.

Continuing on to South Georgia, you will continue to be struck by the high mountain landscapes, whaling history and remarkable density of wildlife. Home to huge king penguin colonies, there is no doubt that South Georgia will be one of the highlights of your expedition.

Sailing south, we will visit the unspoilt White Continent. As we explore the Antarctic Peninsula, you will be fascinated by the imposing landscapes with its high mountain peaks and the ice that dominates it all.  Each day, the Captain and Expedition Leader will plan landings, ship and Zodiac® cruises, based on ice and weather conditions. From hiking up pristine snow-covered mountains to exploring old research and whaling stations to kayaking in iceberg littered waters and witnessing wildlife in epic proportions; this will be an expedition of a lifetime.

At the end of your trip, sit down with your National Geographic Expert and photographer and reflect on the experiences you have shared on your voyage and how they have changed you upon your return. National Geographic and Ponant share the deep belief that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and are inspired to act to protect it.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard PONANT’s L’Austral ship, part of the Sisterships fleet.

We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience.

Overnight in Buenos Aires + visit + transfers + roundtrip flights Buenos Aires/Ushuaia/Buenos Aires included.

Trip highlights

Sail with a National Geographic photographer, who will be available for lectures, workshops, and one-on-one sessions to help you capture the story of your journey, whether you are a seasoned photographer or just using your phone.

Sail with a National Geographic Expert, a leader in their field who will bring to life the insights and stories of their work, and will guide you to experience this region through the lens of National Geographic.

Visit the Falkland Islands with their wild beauty and lush moors, and the breeding colonies of black-browed albatross, rockhopper and gentoo penguins.

Visit South Georgia with its historic whaling stations, high mountain landscapes and abundant, and diverse wildlife, including vast colonies of king penguins, southern fur seals and enormous elephant seals.

Experience the wonders of Antarctica, from its stunning landscapes led by high mountains, cascading glaciers, captivating icebergs and vast expanses of ice, to its incredible wildlife including soaring albatross and waddling penguins, with whales in the waters below and seals hauled out on the ice above.

Enjoy Zodiac® cruises and kayak adventures in some of the most remote places on earth, surrounded by breath-taking landscapes and amongst impressive wildlife colonies.

By travelling with National Geographic to Antarctica, you will also be doing your part to protect it, as part of the proceeds of your trip are returned to the National Geographic Society, who works to further the understanding and protection of our planet.

Itinerary - 16 Days

1 Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego and is a busy port situated in Argentina's southernmost tip. The city is nestled between snow-capped Andean mountains and the shores of the Beagle Channel and is the gateway to Antarctica. After boarding L’Austral and settling in, the ship will sail down the Beagle Channel to start your voyage south. Look for the Magellanic penguins that make this their home.

2 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of your time onboard L’Austral. Meet your onboard National Geographic Expert to get greater insight into the Antarctic via lectures and discussions over coffee in the bar. Meanwhile your National Geographic photographer will give initial talks and workshops to help you capture the story of your adventure with your camera, whether you are a seasoned photographer, or using your phone. Come and learn how to make the most of the incredible photographic opportunities you will find along your voyage. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside one of our naturalists.

3 New Island and Grave Cove, Falkland Islands

New Island is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Falkland archipelago. Landing on the wind-swept shores, you will pass by a tiny hamlet, home to just two families, before walking across the moorlands to one of the highlights of the cruise, a black-browed albatross colony, interspersed with rock hopper penguins. Sit and watch these majestic birds make their approaches to their nests, their many attempts giving perfect photographic opportunities as the rockhoppers wind their way between the nests below! Over lunch, L’Austral will sail through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. This bay owes its name to the vestiges of the whaler’s graves that overlook the white sand beaches. After landing, walk through the dune grass to visit one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the Falklands.

4-5 At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of your time onboard L'Austral. Look out for wildlife in the air and the sea, catch up with our onboard National Geographic Expert and photographer as they give greater insight into the destination via lectures and workshops, or visit the photo gallery area where you can take a look at some of the professional photos that have been taken during your trip so far. Alternatively, head to the observation lounge to enjoy some reading through a collection of National Geographic magazines and books or, if you prefer some privacy, head to your room where you will find a range of National Geographic documentaries to watch.

6-8 South Georgia

South Georgia will likely be the highlight of your voyage, with its vast mountains, abundant wildlife and fascinating history. The waters around South Georgia are some of the most abundant on Earth, and so historically, South Georgia was the centre of a global whaling industry. While the industry has gone, the ruins remain and the wildlife is steadily returning. As you sail around the island, keep a lookout for some of the largest whales in the world, that frequent these waters. On shore, there are colonies of king penguins with more than 300,000 individuals, interspersed by southern fur seals and gigantic elephant seals. If the conditions permit, we will aim to make landings ashore so you can witness this remarkable wildlife spectacle close by.

9-10 At Sea

During your time crossing the Drake Passage, it is a great time to get to know your National Geographic photographer and Expert, with lectures and workshops, or just chatting over a meal. Practise your new-found skills out on deck capturing some albatross photos, or treat yourself to a moment of relaxing reading in the observation lounge while taking in the surroundings.

11-13 Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula region consists of archipelagos and mountains, covered in snow and ice, and separated by deep channels that pass through this dramatic landscape. As harsh as it can appear, there is an abundance of wildlife that calls it home, from the penguins to the seals, to the whale species that can be found feeding amongst the ice. Every minute of every day the weather can change from blizzards to brilliant sunshine and back, making every view spectacular and every wildlife encounter unforgettable.

Each day, based on weather and ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will plan Zodiac® cruises or landings, or ship cruises, to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. With our extended voyage, we will be able to explore further and make more landings to enjoy glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, and mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea. These will be interspersed with volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry.

During our time in Antarctica, you may be lucky enough to spot various species of penguin, whales including humpback, blue and orca, as well as seals and a surprisingly rich diversity of birdlife.

All along the way you will travel with your team of expert naturalists, as well as your National Geographic Expert and photographer who will help you bring your experiences to life so you have even more stories to tell when you return.

14-15 Crossing the Drake Passage

As we cross the Drake Passage once more, we will steadily leave the landscapes and wildlife of the Antarctic in our wake. Take time out on deck to watch the seabirds that soar alongside us and look for the albatross that glide across the water’s surface. This turbulent zone is full of life as the great mixing of ocean currents brings food to the surface.

During your time at sea, make the most of your time to get some final tips from your National Geographic photographer, maybe on how to choose between your many photos, or to sit down with your National Geographic Expert and reflect on the experiences you have shared on your voyage and how they have changed you upon your return. National Geographic and PONANT share the deep belief that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and are inspired to act to protect it.

16 Ushuaia, Argentina

Disembark from where you started in Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province. Take the opportunity to explore the city some more, before starting your journey home. As the plane climbs away from the tarmac, take a last look at the dramatic landscapes you leave behind as you return from one of the most remote regions on earth.

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