Epic Antarctica: From the Peninsula to the Ross Sea - Endurance
Discover four stunningly beautiful wilderness regions aboard this brand new, next-generation expedition ship.
Antarctica: Drink It In
Welcome Aboard the
National Geographic Endurance
Embark on a new voyage made possible by the extreme ice capabilities of new expedition ship, the National Geographic Endurance. Discover the seventh continent as few have or ever will. Venture into the epic landscapes of remote West Antarctica, where we are sure to set foot on ice no other humans have. See the prolific wildlife and impressive ice shelf of the Ross Sea region. Walk among a colony of hundreds of thousands of king penguins and be among the few to have shared a beach with endemic royal penguins. This is wildness and wildlife at its finest, portions of which were seen before only by the likes of Scott, Ross, Amundsen, and Shackleton.
- • See the big tabular icebergs of the Antarctic Peninsula, remote West Antarctica, and the spectacular Ross Ice Shelf.
• Explore seldom-seen sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia that are wildlife havens.
• Set foot on extremely remote parts of the Antarctic continent hardly ever seen by travelers.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
From $52,990 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
Dec 28, 2023 - Jan 31, 2024
Jan 27-Feb 29, 2024
Ask us for later dates.
Dec - Feb 2023, 2024
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Sources all food and seafood sustainably and locally
100% free of single-use plastics!
Offsets 100% of operations and is carbon neutral
Day 1-2: U.S./Buenos Aires, Argentina
Depart on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires. Settle into the Alvear Icon Hotel (or similar) before seeing the city’s Beaux-Arts palaces and the famous balcony associated with Eva Peron.
Accommodation: Alvear Icon Hotel (or similar)
Day 3: Fly to Ushuaia/Embark
Fly by private charter to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise of the Beagle Channel. Embark National Geographic Endurance. (B,L,D)
Day 4: At Sea/Drake Passage
Settle into shipboard life, listening to informal discussions from our naturalist staff to prepare for the wildness ahead. While crossing the legendary Drake Passage, spot albatross and other seabirds that glide alongside the ship. (B,L,D)
DAY 5-9: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula
With 24 hours of daylight, we have ample opportunity to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. In keeping with the nature of an expedition, the schedule throughout is flexible so that we can take advantage of the unexpected—watching whales at play off the bow, taking an after-dinner Zodiac cruise, or heading out on an unplanned excursion.
While exploring the Antarctic peninsula, we anticipate offering opportunities each day to walk or kayak among the ice floes and experience close encounters with wildlife. You may have the thrill of watching our powerful ship crunch through the pack ice, or step ashore to thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins. You’ll learn how climate change affects the penguin populations, and how best to capture images of penguins. Back aboard, our undersea specialist may present video from that day’s dive or show rare images taken up to 1,000 feet below the surface using our ROV. Our expert staff will craft an expedition where you will learn, see, and experience more than you ever dreamed! (B,L,D)
Day 10 – 17: Exploring West Antarctica
This part of the planet is big and bold and full of adventure and magnificent scenery. The new National Geographic Endurance will be in full expedition mode, granting thrilling opportunities to crunch through thick ice and explore places few have seen. Rely on the planet’s best ice team as you probe the ice’s edge for wildlife, including numerous seabirds and whales. Activities throughout our journey are always weather and ice dependent. Your Captain and Expedition Leader will look for spots to “park” the ship in the pack ice, allowing guests the unique thrill of disembarking onto a frozen sea—for ice walks, cross-country skiing forays, and snowshoeing. There will be time, too, to relax in the library, head up to the Bridge to scan for marine life, unwind in the sauna or Yoga Room, and of course, hear presentations from the staff. Along the way, your undersea specialist captures images from the deep, revealing the hardy marine life beneath the ice. Always interesting, it can also be pioneering in this distant part of the world.
Day 18 – 25: Exploring the Ross Sea
On these days navigate some of the most remote regions of the planet, as you explore the Ross Sea, just like Scott, Shackleton, and Ross (the 19th-century explorer for whom this sea is named). Here, you'll see the impressive Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest, and the TransAntarctic Mountain Chain. Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf is enormous, covering 182,000 square miles—the size of France—and the edge of the ice shelf is a wall of ice towering over the water by as much as 200 feet, with the majority of the ice below the waterline. The Ross Ice Shelf plays an important role in stabilizing the Antarctic ice sheet, buttressing the ice that is constantly moving over the land surface.
Your journey to this unique part of the Antarctic waters will likely include stops at several small islands at the bottom of the world for opportunities to hike and explore via Zodiac and kayak. Spot colonies of Adelie penguins, lounging seals, and majestic whales. The plan is to visit Coulman Island to see and photograph Emperor penguins, the largest of all penguins—an average bird stands some 45 inches tall and has been the subject of the beloved film, "March of the Penguins".
Day 26 – 27: At Sea
During your days at sea, learn about the fascinating history of Antarctic exploration, as well as the flora, fauna, and geology of the region. Your naturalists help identify the seabirds that follow the ship.
Day 28 – 29: Macquarie Island, Australia
Located south of the New Zealand mainland in the remote Southern Ocean, the wild and beautiful Sub-Antarctic Islands are home to abundant and unique wildlife, with many species of birds, plants and invertebrates found nowhere else in the world. On these days the plan is to visit Macquarie Island, a World Heritage site and home to a large variety of wildlife, including thousands of seals and millions of penguins. Four species of penguin breed here. The endemic royal penguin has a population estimated at 850,000.
Gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins also breed here. And imagine landing on a single beach with 100,000 pairs of king penguins, the third largest such colony in the world!
Day 30: At Sea
With whales beneath and birds above, head up to the bridge to spot marine life and watch the calm business of navigation. Or spend these days enjoying the ship’s spa, yoga room, and fitness center. Take some time to browse the library or play a board game in the glass-enclosed observation lounge. And listen to a variety of engaging talks from your staff, including photo talks from the National Geographic photographer.
Day 31 – 33: Exploring New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands Spend three incredible days discovering New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands and their surrounding waters—the entire marine landscape is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With special permission, you get to explore these strictly regulated islands, which are protected at the highest level of conservation status by the New Zealand government, and considered “bird central” among top ornithologists around the world.
Keeping a flexible weather-dependent schedule, the plan is to explore several intriguing islands. Two small rocky islands, North East and Broughton, comprise The Snares, the closest sub-antarctic islands to New Zealand. The islands are covered with heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies. The Snares are home to huge numbers of breeding birds: the 99 recorded species include albatross, Antarctic terns and Snares crested penguins. The Auckland Islands are the largest of New Zealand’s sub-antarctic islands, with the richest flora, prolific birdlife, and an interesting human history. Conditions permitting, cruise in Zodiacs to Enderby Island to view a large New Zealand sea lion colony with pups all jostling for position. If fortunate, you may see rare yellow-eyed penguins as they move to and from their nests in the forests beyond the beach. The World Heritage status also includes the marine environment extending twelve nautical miles from each island group.
On your final days aboard, enjoy one last chance to view the marine life of these southern waters. And gather to toast your epic voyage at a festive farewell dinner.
Day 34: Dunedin, New Zealand / Disembark / Auckland
After breakfast, disembark on the New Zealand mainland in the town of Dunedin, known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Transfer to the airport to fly to Auckland and spend the night at your hotel.
Accommodation: Grand by Sky City Hotel (or similar)
Day 35: Auckland / Home
Transfer to the airport for flights home.
Please Note: Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Important: Your expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm arrival and departure dates with your Travel Curator before booking your flights.
Reverse Itinerary: 1/26/2021, 1/26/2022
Travel Insurance: Wild Nectar urges you to purchase Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Your Travel Curator will provide a quote.
National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor: On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
National Geographic Endurance
The first new polar build in this operator's 50-year history, National Geographic Endurance is named to honor explorer Ernest Shackleton and his legendary Transantarctic Expedition. A fully stabilized vessel of the highest ice class (PC5 Category A), she will enable adventurous guests to go where few have or can. Endurance’s most striking exterior feature is her distinctive profile, the patented X-Bow®, a game-changing design that guarantees the smoothest, most comfortable ride in all kinds of conditions.
• Capacity: 126 guests
• Cabins: 69 outside cabins, 53 cabins with balconies
• Specialists: Nat Geo Experts, Full-Time Doctor, and Wellness Coach
2019 Condé Nast Traveler - Best Small Ship Cruise Line in the World
2019 Travel + Leisure - Best Small Ship Ocean Cruise Line
2018 Cruise Critic - Best for Adventure
"One of the most stunning expedition vessels out there, the National Geographic Endurance is staffed with world class experts for one of the very best education programs in Antarctica. If you like a lot of expert information along with highly organized shore visits and excursions, we can't recommend the NG Endurance highly enough."
Life On Board
Click to enlarge
This “gold standard” itinerary and operator will offer you one of the biggest adventures of your life, if not THE biggest.
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: