Beyond the Polar Circle
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17 days trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

PREMIUM trip_detail hint icon

Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.


In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.>Discover the Antarctic with PONANT!Cross the mythical line of the Antarctic Circle during this 17-day polar expedition cruise to the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere, brought to you by PONANT. After boarding your ship in Ushuaia, you will set sail for the Falkland Islands, whose wild beauty is sure to captivate you. You will then make your way to South Georgia. This subantarctic region formed by an underwater mountain chain is home to a diverse and wild fauna. King penguins, fur seals and elephant seals are its most emblematic representatives. Before crossing the Antarctic Circle, the highlight of your cruise, you will be dazzled by your stops in the Antarctic Peninsula, realm of the unexpected.Weather and ice conditions permitting, the White Continent, an extreme environment where nature reigns supreme, will reveal to you its most beautiful secrets through numerous discoveries. Here, it is likely you will have the chance to observe Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins, humpback whales, seals and seabirds.Each day, whether on land, aboard your ship or during a Zodiac outing, you will be surrounded by a grandiose decor ranging from icebergs to ice floe and ancient glaciers.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 PONANT 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.

Trip highlights

Explore your surroundings in more detail with Zodiac outings accompanied by a team of experienced naturalist guides.

Join an elite group who have crossed the Antarctic Polar Circle and experienced the magical wonders of this majestic practice.

Witness incredible wildlife in their natural habitat including black-browed albatrosses, Gentoo penguins, humpback whales and leopard seals.

Experience Beyond the Polar Circle alongside a National Geographic Photographer and Expert, who are specialised in the destination.

Susan Seubert

Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 30 feature stories for National Geographic Travelerfrom Canada to the Caribbean and from Europe to Asia. Seuberts work has been recognized by Columbia Universitys Alfred Eisenstadt Award and most recently by the North American Travel Journalists Association for excellence in photography. Based in Portland, Oregon and Maui, Hawaii, Susan travels throughout the world shooting a variety of subjects and capturing a sense of place through her wide-ranging imagery. She has worked in British Columbia for National Geographic Traveler magazine and joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years, from Alaska to Antarctica. Susans in-depth knowledge of digital technologies and her multimedia skills keep her at the cutting edge of visual storytelling.

Valerie Craig

Valerie Craig is the Vice President of Operating Programs and Deputy to the Chief Scientist at the National Geographic Society. She works with the Chief Scientist to pace and drive the development, analysis, and implementation of priorities, partnerships, and operational needs across science and exploration teams, including Grants, Operating Programs, National Geographic Labs, Explorer Programs, and Global Initiatives. Over her years with the Geographic, she has overseen projects aimed at marine conservation and the mitigation of the illegal wildlife trade. Valerie will speak about the National Geographic Societys efforts to protect many of the most pristine places in the worlds oceans and to document and understand the effects of climate change in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere on our planet.

Itinerary - 17 Days

1 Ushuaia, Argentina

Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and transfer to Hotel Arakur for lunch and leisure time. The busy port of Ushuaia is the perfect location to start off your expedition cruise. It’s the world’s most southernmost city in a world and the gateway to Antarctica. Before you board, why not partake in some outdoor adventures such as hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking or even scuba diving, all of which are highly popular activities in the area.

2 At Sea

Enjoy your first day at sea making the most of all the services L'Austral offers. Be tempted by the swimming pool, the great conferences or shows going on, do some boutique shopping or simply enjoy the views from the upper deck. If you haven’t done so yet, try visiting the National Geographic photographers and experts on board to make the most of your experience.

3 New Island and Grave Cove, Falkland Islands

New Island and Grave Cove is the perfect introduction to the Falkland Islands. The pretty and picturesque New Island offers a dramatic landscape with steep cliffs contrasting with the quiet, serene sandy bays which lie beneath.

Grave Cove is part of Hope Harbour, located on the mainland of West Falkland. Situated among landscape cliffs including Death’s Head Ridge and white-sand beaches, Grave Cove is an island of supreme contrasts. The best wildlife experiences can be had on these islands where you may be able to witness Peale’s dolphins, sea lions, black-browed albatross, king cormorants and rockhopper penguins.

4-5 At Sea

Enjoy the wide array of activities and entertainment on board during this day at sea. From treating yourself in the spa to exercising in the fitness centre or having a swim in the swimming pool, there’s a choice for everyone. You can also enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, or simply visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

6-8 South Georgia

One of the first gateways to Antarctica, South Georgia is an intriguing landscape of sharp glaciers, snow-cover peaks and emerald green bays. An oasis in the stormy southern oceans, you’ll find wildlife such as penguin, albatross, whales and seals, many of which breed on the island. Approaching South Georgia truly is a sight to behold as up to a quarter of a million penguins huddle by the shore, finishing in the water and protecting their young.

9 At Sea

During this day at sea aboard L’Austral, you’ll have a unique, intimate and comfortable experience. Be tempted by the swimming pool, the great conferences or shows going on, do some boutique shopping or simply enjoy the views from the upper deck.

10-12 Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is regarded by many visitors as one of the most beautiful places on earth and a once in the lifetime experience. Jagged mountain peaks covered in snow make this dramatic landscape one to behold. The dramatic landscape is a chance to come face to face with Gentoo penguins and other wildlife including leopard seal and humpback whales.

13 Crossing the Antarctic Circle

The voyage across the Antarctic Circle is one which most travellers will never experience and is, therefore, a truly special experience. Reach extreme latitude at the very bottom of the world where you will encounter diverse wildlife such as Weddell, elephant seals, abundant seabirds as well as Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie penguins.

14 At Sea

Enjoy your last day at sea making the most of all the services on offer. If there are still some activities for you to try, you will be able to do it during this day at sea. Remember to check the shows and activities programme, as it offers different and unique experiences every day. If you haven’t done so yet, try visiting the National Geographic photographers and experts on board to make the most of your experience.

15-16 Crossing the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is a notorious stretch of water between Cape Horn in South America and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. Where the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern seas converge, the Drake Passage has a reputation for being a challenging voyage, but few are lucky enough to truly experience it.

17 Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia marks the end of the world and the end of your voyage Beyond the Polar Circle. Shadowed by the Martial mountain range, Ushuaia is a busy port city that is home to a wealth of landmark attractions and activities to keep you busy well after your journey ends. Enjoy hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and even scuba diving in Ushuaia or visit the many museums and parks in the city.