Antarctica Direct: Fly the Drake Passage - 8 Days

Onboard  National Geographic Explorer – 148 passengers

Experience the wild grandeur of the White Continent in a more efficient, expedient way. On this new itinerary, bypass the traditional Drake Passage crossing on a two-hour flight to and from Antarctica and discover all of the highlights without sacrificing the extra time. Travel with a diverse team of experts aboard National Geographic Explorer, the definitive expedition ship. Venture into channels and coves framed by towering peaks. Watch for whales off the bow; Zodiac cruise around enormous icebergs; and hike, kayak, and (in November) even possibly cross-country ski in complete tranquility. Choose an active agenda or surrender to the pleasures of relaxing downtime and shipboard camaraderie. Plus, get top shots with the help of a National Geographic Photography Expert.

Highlights

  • Get a head start on your Antarctica experience by flying across the Drake Passage from Puerto Natales to King George Island
  • Explore the world’s last great wilderness in the company of top naturalists and the most experienced polar captains in Antarctica, with more than 55 years of expedition heritage
  • Hike amid magnificent mountains; see huge glaciers; and observe a parade of gentoo, Adélie, and chinstrap penguins
  • Kayak in protected waters, paddling in the Antarctic stillness as penguins swim nearby
  • November departures offer the possibility to cross-country ski or snowshoe across the frozen sea ice, conditions permitting
  • With National Geographic Global Explorers, our exclusive family program, kids and teens will learn about this exhilarating part of the world—from its massive glaciers to humpback whales

Tour Dates

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Puerto Natales, Chile
Arrive in Puerto Natales. Originally a small fishing port, the town is nestled on the Last Hope Sound and boasts a stunning view of the sea surrounded by the Cerro Benitez Mountains—the gateway to Torres del Paine. Transfer from the airport to our hotel. Join us this evening for dinner and a briefing on the following day’s activities. Meals included: Dinner.  Guest should arrive to the hotel in Puerto Natales by 3:00pm local time

Day 2: Fly to King George Island, Antarctica for embarkation 
Following breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for our 2-hour direct flight to King George Island in Antarctica, where you begin your Antarctic adventure. Home to a diverse assortment of wildlife—Weddell and elephant seals, Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins—King George Island also has a human presence. Researchers from a wide range of countries, including the US, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, call the various stations home. Our flight will land at the Chilean research station where the National Geographic Explorer will be waiting offshore. Board Zodiacs to embark the ship and set sail as we begin exploring this amazing region. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 3-6: Exploring Antarctica
With long hours of daylight at this time of year, we have ample opportunities to explore. Our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of the unexpected, whether we’re watching whales at play off the bow of our ship, hiking alongside penguin highways, or enjoying an evening Zodiac cruise amid porpoising penguins.

While wildlife is magnificent, ice defines the Antarctic. You’ll get to know ice up close and personal—from icebergs the size of islands, bergy bits and near-vertical glaciers, to the fragile, nearly invisible layers that have just begun to freeze. One day, we might set out by kayak to encounter towering icebergs at water level; embark on a Zodiac excursion in search of seals and blue-eyed shags; or walk amid thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins. The next, we might experience the thrill of the ship crunching through pack ice.

Everywhere we go in Antarctica we’re surrounded by opportunities to capture uniquely beautiful images. Along the way your expert expedition team will enrich every experience. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 7: Disembarkation at King George Island & Fly to Puerto Natales
This morning, the ship will be moored off of King George Island once again. Following disembarkation and Zodiac rides to shore, our flight departs the White Continent and returns to Puerto Natales where we overnight at our hotel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Depart Puerto Natales
Check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport to begin your journey homeward. Meals Included: Breakfast. Guests should book a flight out of Puerto Natales no earlier than 3:45pm local time (or as late in the day as possible). 

Please note the itinerary and route map are only tentative outlines of what you may experience. No specific itinerary, routing or landing sites can be guaranteed in advance. Where the ship actually sails will depend on a lot of factors including, but not limited to, the weather & ice conditions and the captain & expedition leader. Every trip is different, which adds to the excitement of expedition cruising in the polar regions. Trips with flights to and/or from Antarctica have a higher risk of having a trip delay or interruption due to weather.

Route Map:

Trips and Rates

Please note, rates are Per Person in USD
Category 1
$9,975
 
Category 2
$11,084
 
Category 3
$11,395
 
Category 4
$12,177
 
Category 5
$14,971
 
Category 6
$17,245
Limited
Category 7
$18,950
Limited
Category A Solo
$14,462
 
Category B Solo
$16,592
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$9,975
 
Category 2
$11,084
 
Category 3
$11,395
 
Category 4
$12,177
 
Category 5
$14,971
 
Category 6
$17,245
Limited
Category 7
$18,950
Limited
Category A Solo
$14,462
 
Category B Solo
$16,592
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$9,975
 
Category 2
$11,084
Limited
Category 3
$11,395
 
Category 4
$12,177
 
Category 5
$14,971
 
Category 6
$17,245
Limited
Category 7
$18,950
Limited
Category A Solo
$14,462
 
Category B Solo
$16,592
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$10,179
 
Category 2
$11,311
Full
Category 3
$11,628
 
Category 4
$12,426
 
Category 5
$15,277
Full
Category 6
$17,597
Limited
Category 7
$19,337
Limited
Category A Solo
$14,758
 
Category B Solo
$16,932
Full
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$10,975
 
Category 2
$12,207
 
Category 3
$12,553
 
Category 4
$13,422
 
Category 5
$16,527
 
Category 6
$19,054
Limited
Category 7
$20,950
Limited
Category A Solo
$15,962
 
Category B Solo
$18,329
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$10,975
 
Category 2
$12,207
 
Category 3
$12,553
 
Category 4
$13,422
 
Category 5
$16,527
 
Category 6
$19,054
Limited
Category 7
$20,950
Full
Category A Solo
$15,962
 
Category B Solo
$18,329
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$8,975
Full
Category 2
$9,960
Limited
Category 3
$10,235
 
Category 4
$10,930
 
Category 5
$13,412
Limited
Category 6
$15,432
Limited
Category 7
$16,950
Full
Category A Solo
$12,962
 
Category B Solo
$14,852
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$9,159
Limited
Category 2
$10,164
Full
Category 3
$10,444
Limited
Category 4
$11,154
Limited
Category 5
$13,686
Full
Category 6
$15,747
Limited
Category 7
$17,296
Full
Category A Solo
$13,228
 
Category B Solo
$15,156
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$8,975
 
Category 2
$9,960
 
Category 3
$10,235
 
Category 4
$10,930
 
Category 5
$13,412
 
Category 6
$15,432
Limited
Category 7
$16,950
Limited
Category A Solo
$12,962
 
Category B Solo
$14,852
 
Charter Flights
$3,000
 
Category 1
$8,066
Limited
Category 2
$9,960
Limited
Category 3
$10,235
 
Category 4
$10,930
 
Category 5
$13,412
Limited
Category 6
$15,432
Limited
Category 7
$16,950
Full
Category A Solo
$12,962
Limited
Category B Solo
$14,852
Limited
Charter Flights
$3,000
 

Mandatory Charter Flights are an additional cost and not included in the cabin pricing. See neon green box in pricing grid for the cost of the charter flights.

  • Charter flights for Antarctica Direct Itineraries are between Puerto Natales, Chile and King George Island, Antarctica
  • Charter fights for Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands departures are between Buenos Aires & Ushuaia

Single Travelers

  • Can book a dedicated solo cabin in Category A Solo or Category B Solo at the prices listed above
  • Share cabins may be available in select cabin categories, please enquire for more details
  • If booking Cat 1 – 7 at solo occupancy, the rate is 2x the per person share price

Adventure Options

  • Paddling – included in the voyage cost. Guests may have the chance to paddle once, conditions permitting.

Availability & prices are subject to change at anytime. Please contact us for the real time availability & prices.

Cabin Descriptions

Category 7

#215, 219, 230 — Newly renovated in May 2023, each large suite has a private balcony, two single beds that can be converted into a queen, and a sofa bed that can be converted into a triple. There is a seating area with a writing desk, coffee table with sitting chair, and a small table. Suites feature a double closet, TV, mini bar, and espresso maker. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.

Category 6

Veranda Deck, #101-102 — Newly renovated in May 2023, each spacious suite has two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a sofa-bed that can be converted into a triple, a writing desk, double closet, chairs, three large windows, TV, mini bar, and espresso maker. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. Upper Deck, #213 — Newly renovated in May 2023, this spacious suite has a private balcony with glass doors, two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, armchairs, TV, mini bar, and espresso maker. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. Guests receive a welcome amenity, complimentary laundry, and priority access to one spa appointment per departure.

Category 5

#209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224 — Cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, one queen-sized bed, writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, private bathrooms with a glass-wall shower, and a TV. (Cabin 221 has two single beds that can convert to a queen.)

Category 4

Veranda Deck #103-104, 107-108 — Cabins feature two single beds than can convert into a queen. They have a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, private bathrooms with a glass-wall shower, and a TV. Upper Deck #201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228 — Cabins feature two single beds than can convert into a queen (cabins 217, 226 & 228 have a queen bed only). They have a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, private bathrooms with a glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 3

#313-316, 321-328, 337-340, 342, 344-350 — Cabins feature two single beds (can be converted to a queen-sized bed), one large window, a sitting chair, a small table, ample storage, writing desk with chair, floor length mirror, reading lamps, TV, and well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower. #341 & 343 — newly renovated in May 2023, each L-shaped suite also has a sofa-bed that can be converted into a triple, double closet, espresso maker, and generously sized bathrooms.

Category 2

#317-320, 335-336 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 1

#301-308 — Cabins feature one or two portholes. Cabins #301, 302, and 307 have two twin beds. Cabins #304-306 feature one queen-sized bed. Cabin #308 features two twin beds that can be converted to a queen. All cabins feature a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category A Solo

#309-311, 329-334 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV.

Category B Solo

Veranda Deck: #105-106; Upper Deck: #203, 208 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV.

Deck Plan

Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions: 

  • All accommodations aboard ship or in hotels per itinerary
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship (except certain super premium brands which are available for purchase)
  • Hors d’oeuvres, 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Excursions and airport transfers to and from recommended flights, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Crew gratuities
  • Exploration tools curated to destination, such as Zodiacs, kayaks, snowshoes and cross-country skis
  • Guidance and company of our leading expedition staff
  • Assistance by the National Geographic Photography Expert and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
  • Access to the OM System Photo Gear Locker
  • Presentations by expedition staff and expert guest speakers.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle
  • Services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library, and other shared spaces
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes. Unused services or items included in our programs are non-refundable
 

Exclusions: 

  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included)
  • Pre- and post-expedition extensions
  • Additional hotel nights (except when indicated as included)
  • Private transfers
  • Laundry, spa treatments, Wi-Fi, and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees