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Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake - Ocean Explorer


For those who don't have much time or who prefer to skip the potentially rough waters of the Drake Passage, this 8-day, fly/sail program on a casual yet comfortable ship is a great Antarctica option.

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Antarctica: Drink It In

Welcome Aboard the


Ocean Explorer

Answer the call of Antarctica by flying over the notorious Drake Passage by charter plane to land at King George Island before exploring the Antarctic Peninsula by ship. In just 8 adventure-packed days, you’ll experience rewarding shore visits and Zodiac cruises, marvel at intimate wildlife encounters, explore historic sites and make the most of your landmark visit to the 7th Continent. Select from a range of adventure options and onboard activities that match your personal interests and make your expedition uniquely yours.
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    • Skip the rough seas of the Drake Passage by flying from Chile to King George Island near the Antarctic Peninsula to meet your ship.
    • Travel on a classic expedition vessel with only 138 fellow passengers and enjoy activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.
    • Experience the great blue ice of the Antarctic Peninsula and set foot on the Continent (weather permitting) with a seasoned operator with over two decades of thrilling expeditions under their belt.

Travel Curator’s Insights:


Book now and Save up to 30% on Select Dates!

From $12,806 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.

Dec 5-12, 2024
Dec 15-22, 2024
Dec 20-27, 2024
Jan 9-16, 2025
Jan 14-21, 2025
Jan 19-26, 2025
Dec 10-17, 2025
Dec 15-22, 2025
Jan 4-11, 2026
Mar 8-15, 2026
Ask us for later dates.

January - February
Hover here for specific dates


Trip Sustainability Awards 



Piloted an Arctic-wide recycling program for cruise lines.



Aided in eradicating invasive rodents in South Georgia to restore ground-nesting bird populations.



Uses state of the art technology to reduce carbon emissions associated with waste disposal.


Day 1 - Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile

Your adventure begins in Punta Arenas, Chile, the most populated city in southern Patagonia. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for days. By early afternoon, your ship's representative will meet you at the official starting point hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and be briefed about preparing for your embarkation day.

Day 2 - Fly to King George Island and Embarkation

Your charter flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica will have you crossing the legendary Drake Passage in only two hours. Far below, the ship will approach King George Island for your arrival. Your first glimpse of dramatic Antarctic landscapes will be from a unique perspective, as your plane descends for landing in the South Shetland Islands. After landing, stretch your legs with a one mile (1.6 km) walk to the shore, before being transferred by Zodiac to your ship to set sail for the Antarctic Peninsula!

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Days 3 to 6 - Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

There are few places in the world as evocative as Antarctica. As your ship approaches the White Continent, you may be overcome by feelings of excitement and awe. Antarctica is indescribable and can only be fully appreciated through your own eyes.

As your Captain and Expedition Team keep a lookout for whales and seabirds, you’ll be alerted to any new sightings. Our team of expert presenters will deepen your experience with explanations of the glaciology, history and wildlife of the region. Even more exciting are your daily excursions. Your first Zodiac landing is something you’ll never forget! Walking on a beach dotted with penguins is the most intimate way to experience the unique wildlife of Antarctica.

Each landing is different and is dependent on weather, but every day presents new sightings and photo opportunities, and it won’t be long before you can tell the difference between an Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguin.

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Days 3 to 6 - Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands (Cont'd)

You may take a Zodiac cruise in search of whales and icebergs one day, followed by a hike to a penguin rookery the next day. From the booming sound of a calving glacier to the thrill of spotting apex predators like leopard seals and orcas in action, you’ll wake up early and welcome each day with a sense of adventure and a desire to explore during this unrivaled travel experience. Your Expedition Team will accompany you all along the way, providing insights into the places you visit.

Day 8 - Disembarkation and Fly to Punta Arenas

After your week of exploration, you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and disembark at King George Island. Your two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile, brings your adventure to an end. After your group transfer to the hotel, you are free to explore and enjoy an evening on your own, in the city or at the hotel to reminisce about the sights and sounds of Antarctica.

Please Note: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Activities Available: (At extra cost. Ask your Travel Curator.)

Sea Kayaking (Optional)

Paddling (Optional)

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (Optional)

Ocean Explorer

Ocean Explorer, the newest addition to our fleet, is modern, elegant and purpose-built for polar exploration. The 138-passenger vessel has been designed with the latest in expedition ship technology. One of the ship’s key features is the ULSTEIN X-BOW®, a marine engineering innovation that ensures a comfortable and smooth sailing experience thanks to the inverted bow. Located at the bow is the two-story, light-filled library, which introduces a welcome airiness to the expedition ship. Spacious cabins feature a modern, bespoke Scandinavian design and almost all have verandas. Guests can relax and find comfort in the spacious gym, sauna with large windows, and two outdoor Jacuzzis. Ocean Explorer features ample outdoor viewing
areas and multi-height outer decks, which are ideal for long-view photography and wildlife viewing. The vessel is equipped with a fleet of 15 Zodiacs that enable guests to get off the ship quickly and safely for off-ship adventures. In addition to the well-appointed and spacious public areas, Ocean Explorer has an industry-leading mix of sustainability systems, including fuel-efficient Rolls Royce engines.

• Capacity: 188 Guests
• Cabins: 70 Cabins
• Specialists: Credentialed Experts, 105 Staff and Crewmembers


2019 Magellan Awards "Best Overall Small Cruise Ship"
2018 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards – "Best Small Ship Line"

"Contemporary meets cozy in this modern ship with its airy Scandinavian style and floor to ceiling windows. Because the conservation organization in Antarctica only allows 100 passengers on shore at one time and some passengers are always in transit from the ship to shore in zodiacs, passengers get to go to shore mostly all at the same time, which means longer shore visits and no waiting for those who choose this charming ship. In the Arctic, this ship size also saves you time. This reliable operator consistently delivers fantastic experiences, blending adventure and luxury on a stylish and spacious vessel."

Wild Nectar

Life On Board

Deck Plan

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Enjoy the calm ambience of this stateroom which features a porthole window and every amenity essential for your polar voyage. One double bed made up of two twin berths; 175-785 SF.

From in USD:


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One double bed that can be configured into two singles. There is a floor to ceiling glass doors, balcony, desk & chair, TV, 'infotainment' system and private bathroom with shower, vanity and heated floor; 173 SF.

From in USD:


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This spacious, classic stateroom allows you to unwind and stretch freely. Centrally located on Decks 4 and 6. One double bed made up of two twin berths plus fold out sofa bed., desk and chair; 189-272 SF.

From in USD:


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This palatial, airy apartment offers stunning views from its large private veranda on the highest cabin level. The luxurious suite features a large master bedroom, living room and dining area and two large master bathrooms, among other amenities.

From in USD:


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Approximately 177 sq. ft. (16.5 sq. m,), with one double bed and a porthole view; desk & chair, TV, 'infotainment' system and private bathroom with shower, vanity and heated floor.

From in USD:


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Near the center of the ship on Deck 6, this stateroom offers easy access to the lounge, dining room and a private veranda. One double bed made up of two twin berths plus fold out sofa bed; 195-205 SF.

From in USD:


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162 sq. f. (15.1 sq. m.). One twin bed with a floor to ceiling glass view that opens to a walkout balcony. There is also TV, state of the art 'infotainment' system and private bathroom with shower, vanity and heated floor.

From in USD:


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Enjoy privacy and elegance at the front of the ship where guests are treated to sweeping views from their private veranda. One double bed made up of two twin berths; 168-195 SF.

From in USD:


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Private veranda, convenient Deck 6 location, plus proximity to the lounge and downstairs dining room. Two rooms. One double bed made up of two twin berths fold out sofa bed; 296-299 SF.

From in USD:


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2-room suite; 269 SF (25.0 sq. m.); One double bed that can be configured into two singles in the inner bedroom and the outer sitting area is furnished with a sofa-bed. Walk-out from either room to a double sized balcony .

From in USD:


I've sent hundreds of travelers with this operator, and they're perfect for active travelers who want to get outside. Their focus is getting on shore for the most exciting adventures. This is the ship I traveled on to Antarctica in 2004. Love her!

Joy Martinello, Founder



What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities; 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 the expedition; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions; an official expedition parka to keep; 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; a group arrival transfer in Punta Arenas from airport to pre-expedition hotel on Day 1.

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