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We invite you to experience a magical Christmas and New Year during a 17-day expedition cruise. From Ushuaia, you will board Le Soléal for an exceptional itinerary combining the three emblematic regions of the White Continent: The Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the unmissable Antarctic Peninsula. At the start of your cruise, you will discover the Falkland Islands and their unique panoramas of hills and moors. Further to the north you will reach the coast of South Georgia and its contrasting landscapes, between long mountain chains and black sandy beaches, where vast colonies of King Penguins have taken refuge. Floating ice floes, tabular icebergs, and high snow-capped peaks: you will continue this Antarctic cruise by the discovery of the sublime landscapes of the north of the Peninsula. Before returning to Ushuaia, you will complete this southern circuit by going ashore on Deception Island, which is home to quite extraordinary wildlife. Note: Flight Buenos Aires / Ushuaia + visit or time at leisure + transfers + flight Ushuaia / Buenos Aires
Capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel, at the country’s southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. A cruise in Ushuaia Bay is a perfect way to do some sea lion and Magellanic penguin spotting.
This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you'll feel like you've entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you'll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It's the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island. Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white. A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you'll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you'll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts. Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac® outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.
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 cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 142 metres Passenger Capacity: 264 Built: 2013 Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and suites, with balconies, joined in 2013. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white. A refined ambience is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat's hull, while the central scuplture of enamelled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea. In the loungebar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolising a certain idea of cruising, one synonomous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.
• Spend Christmas and New Year on the fringes of the ‘White Continent’. • Outings and shore visits in a Zodiac® with a team of experienced naturalist guides. Possibility of hikes. • Wildlife: Magellanic penguins and Commerson’s dolphins in the Falkland Islands. King penguins, as well as numerous elephant seals and fur seals in South Georgia. Gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguins in the Peninsula. • Landscapes: vast moors dotted with moss and lichen in the Falkland Islands. Chains of snow-covered mountains, lush meadows and numerous glaciers in South Georgia. Drifting icebergs and ice floe in the Peninsula.