Emperor Penguin Quest: Expedition to Snow Hill - 14 Days

Aboard Ultramarine – 199 passengers

This incredible expedition offers one of the most exclusive wildlife encounters on the planet. We invite you to share in the legacy and the true spirit of the explorer; embracing the unexpected, and pursuing one of the most jaw-dropping experiences imaginable.

Experience a true polar quest as we journey on our new ship, Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters that will fly guests to the vicinity of this rarely-visited rookery, whereupon they will walk across the thick sea ice to stand within meters of the most coveted penguin species on the planet. Anticipate scenes reminiscent of “March of the Penguins” and BBC’s “Frozen Planet.” Just imagine the penguins tobogganing across the ice towards the sea. Such wildlife moments are too precious for words!

Celebrate Snow Hill’s majestic moments on ice, alongside more than 4,000 pairs of breeding Emperor penguins and their chicks. Revel in the once-in-a-lifetime wonders of the Weddell Sea, and set foot on the seventh continent’s eastern Peninsula. Join us at Snow Hill. Be part of a legendary story, and write one of your own.

Tour Dates

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Upon arriving in this fascinating city, known for its architecture and rich European heritage, you will independently transfer to your group hotel (pre-expedition hotel night included in mandatory transfer package).

Day 2: Fly to Ushuaia and Embark
After an early breakfast at the hotel, your group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to a central downtown location to enjoy time on your own to explore quaint Ushuaia—the world’s southernmost city—before making your way to the pier. After a late afternoon embarkation, you will sail along the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Enjoy the air of anticipation as you depart—the next land you see will be the Antarctic!

Day 3-4: Crossing the Drake Passage
The unpredictable and exciting Drake Passage, which lies at the confluence of the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, is an adventure unto itself. While being well taken care of by our expert onboard staff and expedition team, you’ll have plenty of time to gaze out at the expansive ocean waters, photograph seabirds as they swoop around the ship, and get to know your Expedition Team and fellow travelers.

Day 5: Navigating into the Weddell Sea
Onboard presentations by world-respected experts will enrich your polar quest, conveying what it was like a century ago for the brave polar heroes who embraced the unknown. You’ll also learn more about the ice-dwelling emperor penguins.

Day 6 – 10: Weddell Sea and the Quest to Land at Snow Hill
The journey toward Snow Hill Island will put you in explorer mode as the captain and Expedition Leader keep you updated through weather briefings, meteorological and sea ice condition reports. The thickness of ice will determine how close Ultramarine can get to Snow Hill Island, then our twin-engine helicopters will take over.

Like summitting a mountain from base camp, parties will set out from Ultramarine towards the emperor penguin colony. Their adventure begins with an extended helicopter transfer that will reveal a landscape of snow-capped peaks and apartment-building-sized tabular icebergs. The rookery itself is located on the sea ice off the south coast of Snow Hill Island and the landing will be as close to the penguins as possible, yet at a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Upon landing, your party will walk across the ice to the fabled emperor penguin colony. The wind. The ice beneath your feet. Walking next to paths in the snow carved by penguins that came before. And then there are the incredible sounds of the penguins in the distance as you march toward one of the rarest wildlife opportunities on the planet: the colony of thousands and thousands of rarely-seen emperor penguins.

The goal of the expedition is to get every guest to the remote rookery once. The Expedition Team and special experts will be close by to answer your questions and ensure you take in everything there is to see. You’ll observe close up how the emperor penguins behave as a tight-knit community, how they care for their young, and how they body surf across the ice in a way that can only be described as quirky yet efficient. The helicopter expedition in search of the emperor colony might just be the adventure of a lifetime

And while at base on Ultramarine with your attentive Expedition Team, you’ll be immersed each day in the polar experience of the Weddell Sea. Daily activities will include Zodiac cruising among the icebergs, adventuring and learning while atop the ice, paddle-on-top kayaking, or working with our team to observe the weather forecasting and ship operations up close. 

A particularly enriching component of your voyage will be the bespoke educational programs tailored specifically for this expedition that offer both traditional (lecture format) and hands-on opportunities for learning about this fascinating region. Each day our polar experts, who include penguin scientists, biologists and polar historians, will present on various aspects of emperor penguins and their behaviors, ice formations such as the tabular icebergs which you’ll see from the deck of your ship, and the experiences of polar explorers who braved the Weddell Sea over a century ago. Or you might, on one of these days, decide to take the polar plunge, or test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Then again, maybe you’ll enjoy a little pampering. If so, you can choose from Ultramarine’s excellent onboard amenities, including the spa, sauna and fitness room.

The emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill is the goal of this expedition. However, if weather or ice conditions prevent us from visiting the colony or shorten the duration of our visit, we may explore some of these other sites. Your possible landings in Antarctica will take place on the eastern side of the Peninsula, which is an extension of the Transantarctic Mountains and is the most northern stretch of Antarctic land. 

Brown Bluff
An immense cliff of volcanic rock, towers 2,225 feet (678 meters) over rookeries of Adélie and gentoo penguins, some of which will be incubating their eggs.

Devil Island
The Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04 discovered the narrow island, which is 1 mile (1.6 km) long and has a low summit at each end.

Hope Bay
Three members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-04) spent the winter in a hut on the shores of Hope Bay. The hut is located close to the jetty of Esperanza Station, an Argentine research station.

Paulet Island
Located in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Paulet Island is home to a large Adélie penguin rookery. With a volcanic cone that rises 1,158 feet (353 meters), the island reminds you that this was once a very active landscape. In addition to penguins, you may be interested in visiting a historic hut built by members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. A cross marks the gravesite of crew member Ole Wennersgaard.

Seymour Island
Northeast of Snow Hill Island is a smaller island that was originally mistaken for a cape. Seymour Island is significant for fossil finds and for the remains of the KT Boundary, which marks the transition between the Cretaceous Period (dinosaurs and reptiles) and the Tertiary Period (mammals) of geological times. This era is known for the mass extinction of many forms of life, including dinosaurs.

Day 11-13: Cruising
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides a final opportunity to enjoy the invigorating Southern Ocean air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, and celebrate the experiences you’ve shared getting off the beaten track in the remarkable world of Antarctica.

Day 14: Disembark in Ushuaia and Fly to Buenos Aires
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and disembark after breakfast. The mandatory transfer package includes a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park for a taste of Patagonia, after which you’ll transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.

EXPEDITION SPIRIT: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team  must  consider  the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you may experience on this voyage; please  be  aware  that  no  specific  itinerary can be guaranteed. By the same  token,  wildlife  encounters  as  described  are  expected,  but  not  guaranteed.  Your  Expedition  Team  will  use  their  considerable  experience to seek out wildlife in known habitats, but the presence of any particular species of bird or marine wildlife is not guaranteed.

Route Map

Trips and Rates

Please note, rates are Per Person in USD
Explorer Triple
$26,595
Save 5%
$25,265
Full
Explorer Suite
$31,295
Save 5%
$29,730
Limited
Balcony Suite
$34,495
Save 5%
$32,770
 
Deluxe Balcony Suite
$40,695
Save 5%
$38,660
Full
Terrace Suite
$42,295
Save 5%
$40,180
Full
Penthouse Suite
$45,395
Save 5%
$43,125
 
Owner's Suite
$56,395
Save 5%
$53,575
Full
Ultra Suite
$62,595
Save 5%
$59,465
Full
Solo Panorama
$39,895
Save 5%
$37,900
Full
Transfer Package
$995
 

Transfer Package is an additional cost and not included in the cabin pricing. See the neon green box in the pricing grid for the cost of transfer package, which varies based on departure.

A 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST) will be added to both the cabin & transfer package cost on all “Canada’s Remote Arctic” and “Arctic Express Canada” departures and is not included in the above prices.

Single Travelers:

  • Can book a dedicated Solo Panorama at the pricing listed above
  • Can book into a share cabin in the following categories: Explorer Triple, Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite
  • Can book a twin cabin at solo occupancy at 1.7x the per person share price in Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite and 2x the per person price for all other categories

Adventure Options:

  • Kayaking (full program, multiple paddles): $795/person – requires experience
  • Paddling (one-time): $195/person
  • Tundra to Table: Inuit Culinary Experience: $125/person
  • Greenland Camp Experience: $795/person
  • Mountain Biking: $195/person
  • Exclusive Heli-Landing: $395/person

Mandatory Transfer Package is $995/person and not included in the cabin cost. Transfer package includes a hotel night in Buenos Aires on Day 1 and roundtrip flights between Buenos Aires & Ushuaia. See additional notes in the Inclusions section on itinerary page.

Single Travelers:

  • Can book a dedicated Solo Panorama at the pricing listed above
  • Can book into a share cabin in the following categories: Explorer Triple, Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite
  • Can book a twin cabin at solo occupancy at 1.7x the per person share price in Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite and 2x the per person price for all other categories

Adventure Options:

  • Kayaking (full program, multiple paddles): $995/person – requires experience
  • Paddling (one-time): $295/person
  • Exclusive Heli-Landing: $395/person
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: $295/person

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

Cabin Descriptions

Ultra Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 563 sq. ft. (52.3m2) of interior living space, and a 46 sq. ft. (4.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests who want to travel without compromise. The largest and most luxurious suite features the most sleeping, entertainment and storage space onboard the ship. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional walk-in hallway closet, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors and separate powder room. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding, in suite coffee, binoculars on loan.

Owners Suite

Owner's Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 446 sq. ft. (41.4 m2) of indoor living space and a 46.3 sq. ft. (4.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests who want it all. A large, luxurious suite featuring a private bedroom, full bathroom, powder room, and two separate living spaces. This suite is perfect for families or couples who want all the comforts of home onboard the ship. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional closet, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors and separate powder room. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding, in suite coffee, binoculars on loan.

Penthouse Suite

Penthouse Suite

The only suite category to be located on Deck 7, with approximately 369 sq. ft. (34.3 m2) of indoor space, and a 67 sq. ft. (6.2 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting to wake up to unobstructed polar views from the warmth and comfort of their bed onboard the ship. These suites offer the best of everything—views, spacious interiors, full bathrooms and generous balcony sizes—as well as easy access to the wellness centre. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding and in suite coffee. 

Terrace Suite

Terrace Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 350 sq. ft. (32.5 m2) of indoor living space, and a 100 sq. ft. (9.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting generous interiors with a wide layout and the largest balconies on the ship. Centrally located on Deck 6, guests will enjoy minimal movement and motion from the comfort of these suites. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private extra-wide balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding and in suite coffee. 

Deluxe Balcony Suite

Deluxe Balcony Suite

Located on Decks 4 & 6, with approximately 299 sq. ft. (27.8 m2) of indoor space and a 70 sq. ft. (6.5 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting a larger living space, full bathroom, and a substantial balcony. Deluxe Balcony Suites are the first suite type to offer additional privacy in the bathroom with an enclosed toilet, a full bath and shower to make it easier for guests to get ready together in the morning. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Balcony Suite

Balcony Suite

Located on Decks 4 & 6 with approximately 226 sq. ft. (21 sq. m) of indoor space and a 52 sq. ft. (4.8 sq. m) balcony. The Balcony Suite is the entry level balcony cabin. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle. Some suites in this category offer interconnecting rooms. The balconies in suites 421, 422, 423, and 424 are partially enclosed.

Explorer Suite

Explorer Suite

Located on Deck 3, and approximately 285 sq. ft. (26.5 m2). Large entry-level double occupancy suites maximizing interior living space while still offering guests the opportunity to stay connected to the outdoors. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.  Suites 319 and 322 offer modified layouts and bathrooms for wheelchair accessibility.

Explorer Triple

Explorer Triple

Located on Deck 3, and approximately 285 sq. ft. (26.5 m2). This cabin is for solo passengers looking to share a cabin with other passengers of the same gender or 3 people traveling together. Featuring three separate single beds (two of which can be combined into a double bed), sitting area, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Solo Panorama cabin

Solo Panorama

Located on Deck 6, and approximately 132 sq. ft. (12.3 m2). This suite is perfect for solo guests who appreciate privacy and want to wake up to sweeping views from the comfort of their bed. These are the only solo suites with floor-to-ceiling windows available onboard any ship in its class. Features a single bed, floor-to-ceiling window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Deck Plan

Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions: 

  • Leadership throughout your voyage by experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
  • An official expedition parka to keep
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage. Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals
  • Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting your expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • One 10-to15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion (weather and logistics permitting)

* Mandatory Transfer Package ($995/person) Includes: 

  • One night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires with breakfast (Note: The number of guests per room is the same as cabin occupancy on the ship. Due to limited availability, travelers who reserve a suite on board are accommodated in standard rooms at the hotel. Triple rooms may not be available.)
  • Group flight departing from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport (Aeroparque/AEP) to Ushuaia, and returning to Buenos Aires’ international airport (Ezeiza/EZE)
  • Group transfer from hotel to airport in Buenos Aires
  • Group transfer from Ushuaia airport to the ship, and return (Note: Transfer on arrival in Buenos Aires from airport to hotel at the beginning of the journey is not included. Please make your way to the included hotel.)
  • Combined airport transfer and express bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park after disembarkation in Ushuaia

Exclusions: 

  • International airfare
  • Passport and applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
  • Meals unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international flights and domestic flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities