Antarctica expedition cruises


The Ushuaia is a well-run small polar expedition ship, accommodating up to 88 passengers. She has a very experienced crew, an enviable track record, and is well liked by those who sail with her.

Class: Antarctic Category 1
Style: Polar expedition
Passengers: 88 maximum
Length: 278 ft
Cruising speed: 12 knots

Cabin prices: £, ££, £££, ££££

Introducing 'Ushuaia'

Originally built for the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the ice-strengthened polar vessel Ushuaia is very well appointed and provides ample deck space and an open bridge policy. The full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on the otherwise inaccessible coastline.

All cabins include ample storage space. Public areas feature a large dining room (one sitting), an open-plan observation lounge / lecture room with modern multimedia equipment, bar and a well-stocked library. There is also a changing room and a small infirmary. Our expert captain, officers and crew are highly experienced in Antarctic navigation and have a great love of nature.

On board 'Ushuaia'


Ushuaia cabin Suite


Number of cabins of this type: 4

Bed configuration: twin beds, or a double bed

Ushuaia cabin Superior twin private cabin

Superior twin private cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 6

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Ushuaia cabin Premier single cabin

Premier single cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 2

Bed configuration: single bed

Ushuaia cabin Premier twin private cabin

Premier twin private cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 9

Bed configuration: twin beds, or a double bed

Ushuaia cabin Standard plus twin private cabin

Standard plus twin private cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 11

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Ushuaia cabin Standard plus triple private cabin

Standard plus triple private cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 2

Bed configuration:

Ushuaia cabin Standard twin semi-private cabin

Standard twin semi-private cabin

Number of cabins of this type: 12

Bed configuration: Single bunk beds


Ushuaia deck Deck E

Deck E

(Deck level: 4)

Ushuaia deck Main Deck F

Main Deck F

(Deck level: 3)

Ushuaia deck Upper Deck G

Upper Deck G

(Deck level: 2)

Ushuaia deck Bridge Deck H

Bridge Deck H

(Deck level: 1)

Voyages in detail


Everyone visiting Antarctica and the South Atlantic must recognise the obvious: that conditions can intervene at short notice and a voyage's planned itinerary must be altered. Make sure you read 'A very important note on published itineraries' in 'How to choose an Antarctic cruise'.

Select a voyage

Some of the sites that may be visited

West Point Island

(planned for Day 3)

West Point Island lies of the northwest of West Falkland. Its rich wildlife, beautiful coastline and scenic settlement and harbour make this a quintessential Falklands experience. Devil's Nose, a jagged bluff, teems with over 2000 pairs of Black-browed albatross, 500 pairs of Rockhopper penguins and a variety of sea birds including Rock cormorant. There is also a picturesque settlement and gardens on the island. If you are staying on Carcass Island, West Point island is accessible as a day excursion on MV Condor, which carries about 10 passengers and crosses to West Point in about an hour. Dolphins and birds swooping down to feed in the rich seas will keep you entertained during the crossing. On the return journey MV Condor circumnavigates West Point Island with spectacular photo opportunites.

Carcass Island

(planned for Day 3)

Carcass Island is one of the most picturesque outer-lying islands in the Falklands, in the northwest of the archipelago. The terrain is varied with white sand beaches and pretty coves, steep cliffs, rocky ridges and open plains rising to Mt Byng at 213m.

Around its shores you can find Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. Up to 50% of Gentoo penguin population over-winters in the Falklands

Named after HMS Carcass which visited in the late 18th century, Carcass Island is carefully managed farmland for sheep and cattle with luxuriant, well-established hedges and trees attracting many ground nesting small birds such as the Cobb's wren, black-chinned siskins and Falklands thrush. Others include Tussac bird, Ground tyrant, Pipit, Long-tailed meadowlark and Grass wren.

It is possible to combine a visit to Carcass Island with a visit to West Point Island.

Elsehul Bay

(planned for Day 7)

Elsehul Bay on South Georgia Island is home to a very large colony of fur seals.

Fur seals favour rocky coastlines with sheltered beaches and are here in such numbers, and are sufficiently agressive to make it nearly impossible to land here during December and January.

At other times of the year Elsehul Bay is home to Elephant seals, Gentoo penguins, King penguins, Sheathbills, and Grey-headed albatross. The latter are endangered. These albatross breed every two years due to the chicks' slow fledging process. In addition these birds feed on squid which is not as nutritious as other sources of food, and they do not mate until they are at least ten years old! Also the birds compete with commercial entities for the fish.

Shackleton made the first crossing of the interior of South Georgia, hiking over glaciers, across crevasses, up ice cliffs and down frozen waterfalls to reach the whaling station of Stromness near the bay.

Right Whale Bay

(planned for Day 7)

Right Whale Bay lies on the northwestern portion of South Georgia and is often a first stop for cruise ships.

Elephant seals and a small colony of king penguins monopolise the area from September through November, after which thousands of fur seals take over the beach through February.

Prion Island

(planned for Day 8)

Prion Island is an opportunity to see Wandering albatross on their nests. The latter resemble mud pedestals and are scattered widely amongst the tussock grass on the island’s summit.


(planned for Day 9)

Grytviken was South Georgia's first whaling station. The station manager’s house is now the South Georgia Museum.

Whaling was not the first bi-product of European, American and antipodean exploration. Penguins had earlier been exploited for their oil, and seals for their fur.

Whaling replaced the penguin industry early in the 20th century and brought devastation to the whale population of the South Atlantic. The Falklands introduced the first control in 1908, having granted a lease to an Argentine company to process whales at Grytviken.

Ernest Shackleton is buried in the Whalers' cemetery here. He died here in 1922 during his Quest expedition, having visited earlier in 1916 after his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.


(planned for Day 10)

Godthul is a bay in the dramatic scenery of the north coast of South Georgia, two hours sailing from Stromness.

It is usually possible to disembark here and hike into the countryside behind the bay, which shelters an inquisitive Gentoo penguin colony, Antarctic tern and brown skuas.


St. Andrew's Bay

(planned for Day 11)

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the environmentalist and BBC presenter Mark Cawardine said "If I had one day left on Earth – and could spend it anywhere – I’d choose a particularly wild and windswept beach on the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. It’s called St Andrews Bay and, every November, it is alive with a writhing mass of thousands of blubbery, car-sized southern elephant seals. But they are merely the aperitif. Behind them, at the back of the beach, is the real show-stopper: a crush of no fewer than 300,000 king penguins, standing pretty much shoulder to shoulder and calling incessantly to anyone who will listen. Standing more than 3ft tall, king penguins are among the largest of the world’s 17 species of penguin. They are particularly beautiful birds, with a speckled slate-grey back, a glistening white front, a jet-black head and an orange and gold neck and throat. With hundreds of thousands of them milling around at the back of a single beach, you’d expect them to be the commonest birds on South Georgia. But they aren’t. Not even close. Altogether, there are no fewer than 50  million seabirds and more than five million seals crammed on to this island – no bigger than Essex – and the place is literally heaving with wildlife."

Cooper Island

(planned for Day 12)

Cooper Island is a small grassy island, barely a couple of miles long, on the north side of the entrance to Drygalski Fjord at the southeast end of South Georgia. It reaches 416 metres (1,365 ft) at its highest point: well above the snow line at these latitudes.

Cooper Island is South Georgia's only Special Protection Area. It is home to large numbers of sea birds including Snow petrels, Antarctic prions, 12,000 pairs of Black-browed albatross, Chinstrap penguins and 20,000 Macaroni penguins.

The island also has a number of fur seals and this is one of the few places where they have not been hunted by humans.

Cooper Island was discovered in 1775 by Captain Cook's expedition and named after one of his officers. A navigable channel, Cooper Sound, separates Cooper Island from the coast of South Georgia where there is a small bay, Cooper Bay, that is home to the only Macaroni Penguin colony that is reasonably accessible by boat.

Macaroni penguins are a notoriously difficult to view, so this is a good opportunity to see them well. If a landing at Cooper Bay is possible access to the Macaroni colony involves climbing up a steep, tussock-covered slope, littered with Fur seals. Chinstrap penguins are also prevalent at Cooper Bay.

Drygalski Fjord Fjord

(planned for Day 12)

Drygalski Fjord is a very dramatic bay just north of Nattriss Head on the southeast coast of South Georgia.

Although entering the fjord is not always possible, the spectacular scenery within it is a considerable reward. Rocky slopes flank the sides of the inlet and lead to the impressive Risting Glacier which flows below jagged peaks into the head of the fjord, sometimes calving sizeable icebergs into its waters.

It is possible that the English merchant de la Roché arrived here in 1675 when he was blown off course on a voyage from Europe to South America and made the first discovery of land south of the Antarctic Convergence.

Captain James Cook was aware of la Roché's experience, and made the first recorded landing. The fjord was eventually named after a much later German expedition.

Elephant Island

(planned for Day 15)

Elephant Island is where Ernst Shackleton's second-in-command, Frank Wild, sheltered together with 21 men for 105 days while Shackleton and five others sailed off to look for help after their ship "The Endurance" was crushed by ice. They had landed on the part of the island, which did not get swept by the waves and therefore hosted also a penguin community, so they were able to store food for the forthcoming wait. They were eventually rescued by a Chilean ship and there is a bust erected to its captain, Luis Pardo, at Point Wild (named after Frank), which is where they sheltered. It is difficult to land here but from the boats you can get a perspective of how tiny this island was, which saved the men's lives, and you might get closer via Zodiac boats, weather permitting. Possibly, the odd glimpse of a Macaroni penguin nesting among Chinstraps or of Weddell seals that you initially mistake for rocks! Weddell seal pups are born late September to early November.

Esperanza Station

(planned for Day 16)

Esperanza base (Spanish: Base Esperanza, "Hope Base") is a permanent, all year-round Argentine research station in Hope Bay, Trinity Peninsula (Graham Land, Antarctic Peninsula). It is one of only two civilian settlements on Antarctica (the other being the Chilean Villa Las Estrellas). The Base's motto is "Permanencia, un acto de sacrificio" ("Permanence, an act of sacrifice"). Whole families live here for a year at a time. Built in 1953, the base houses 55 inhabitants in winter, including 10 families and 2 school teachers. Provincial school #38 Presidente Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín (formerly named Julio Argentino Roca) was founded in 1978 and acquired independent status in 1997. It maintains the furthest South Scout troop. The base has an Argentine civil registry office where births and weddings are recorded. The base has tourist facilities that are visited by about 1,100 tourists each year. The LRA 36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel radio station started transmitting in 1979. A wind generator was installed in 2008. Wildlife: 100,000 pairs of Adelie penguins on south coast; snowy sheathbill.

Brown Bluff

(planned for Day 16)

Brown Bluff is on the mainland of the Antarctic peninsula and takes its name from its imposing brown cliffs - part of an ancient volcano.

The cliffs and the narrow beach below are covered in wildlife. If you land you may be able to walk (carefully) on the beach amid large numbers of nesting Gentoo and Adelie penguins. There is also a nesting kelp gull colony.

Other birds usually seen at Brown Bluff include nesting Cape and Snow petrels on the cliffs.

Leopard seals may be on patrol in the waters close to the beach.

Deception Island

(planned for Day 17)

Deception Island is one of the most incredible islands on the planet. It is an active volcano in the South Shetland Islands, off the Antarctic Peninsula. Its unique landscape comprises barren volcanic slopes, steaming beaches and ash-layered glaciers. It has a distinctive horse-shoe shape with a large flooded caldera. This opens to the sea through a narrow channel at Neptune's Bellows, forming a natural sheltered harbour. It is one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of a restless volcano.

It earned the name of 'Deception' from the concealed horsehoe-shaped harbour. The volcano beneath it was formed 10,000 years ago but erupts still in modern times, with fissures and cones in the late 60s and in 1970 that destroyed UK and Chilean scientific bases. Seismic activity was also detected in 1992 but no eruption occurred. This volcanic activity probably accounts for fewer glaciers on the island than on other islands in the area.

Telefon Bay is a small bay on the north-west coast of Port Foster, Deception Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It is surmounted by Telefon Ridge. The name appears on the chart of the French Antarctic Expedition under Charcot, 1908–10, and derives from the ship SS Telefon, which sat here awaiting repairs.

Points of interest include volcanic caldera, geothermal hot springs, scientific bases, extensive moss beds with the additional wildlife: Chinstrap penguin, Cape petrel, Antarctic fur seal, and Weddell seal, which is the most southerly of the Antarctic seals and lives mostly on fast ice.

Half Moon Island

(planned for Day 17)

Half Moon Island palls into insignificance against the glaciated shores of Livingstone Island, that is…until you reach its shore, where its peaks and ramparts of volcanic rock stand out clearly against the icy cliffs or low lying cloud. Wildlife is mainly found to the southern part of the crescent and consists mainly of Chinstrap penguins or Antarctic terns, Skuas and Kelp gulls nesting on the more prominent ramparts. Wilson’s storm petrels nest at the highest points as do black bellied storm petrels and cape petrels. Weddell seals are on the beaches and by late January Antarctic fur seals start to arrive, gradually taking over the beach area. There is also an Argentinian station here, open just in the summer months. More recently Camara Station has been used for research by ornithologists and geomorphologists.

  • Bar
  • Communication - Telephone - the INMARSAT system
  • 4 Decks
  • Dining room -The Dining Room on the Main Deck F comfortably accommodates all guests at a single seating.
  • Electrical Appliances and Outlets - Some outlets in public areas are 220v-240v and are clearly marked.
  • Electric current on board is 110 V/ 60 Hz
  • Gift shop
  • Internet(no Wi-Fi
  • Library
  • Medical room
  • Observation lounge/Lecture room
  • Panorama Deck
  • Zodiacs

Daily Program

Each evening Recap and presentation of next day programme.

All announcements made via our Public Announcement (PA) system on board. The bridge announces interesting events and wildlife attractions.

Please note: expeditionary nature of this voyage may result in changes to the daily program due to sea, weather, ice and local conditions. Also, your Captain and Expedition Team may deviate from the program to take advantage of unexpected opportunities such as wildlife sightings, advantageous sea conditions, or other local events.

Any changes to the daily program will be announced over the PA system so understanding and flexibility are required.

Maximum number of passengers


Naturalist guides

Crew members


Overall length (ft)


Cruising speed


Gross tonnage




Other technical information

  • Length 84.73m / 278.3 feet
  • Breath 15.41m / 51 feet
  • Draught 5.48m / 18.08 feet
  • Gross Tonnage 2,923 tonnes
  • Speed (Max) 14 knots
  • Cruise Speed 12 knots
  • Passengers 88
  • Crew & staff 38
  • Zodiacs & RIBs 7
  • Electrical Outlets 110 V, 60 Hz
  • Yard American Shipbuilding, Toledo, Ohio
  • Year of build 1970
  • Classification INSB Ice class C
  • Flag Union of Comoros
  • Engine 2 ALCO 1600 HP each
  • Bow thrust 1x 500Kw

This information has been provided by the boat operator and is subject to alteration

Customer reviews for Ushuaia

Sailings for 'Ushuaia'

Our prices

Prices are per person. The prices shown here are the current prices charged locally by each boat in their chosen currency. We charge our UK customers the equivalent price converted to British pounds at the current exchange rate. This helps keep prices low and protects you from currency fluctuations.

Our price promise

Our prices should be the best available anywhere. If you find a better price elsewhere please let us know: we will certainly try to match or beat it.

Complete trips

An expedition cruise is only part of your complete trip. Discuss your ideas with us. Our well-travelled experts can arrange your international flights from the UK, and design all the other parts of your trip in Argentina, Chile or elsewhere to fit the exact dates of your cruise and the things you want to do, and to make the best use of your time and budget. There is no obligation until you are ready to go ahead.

Your financial protection

By booking your trip with us you also benefit from our 100% financial protection and the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, or your plans change, our friendly experienced and resourceful travel specialists are here to help you.

Special offers

Special offers are often available (some are very generous) but they may only be open for short periods. Contact us to find out which offers are available now.

Cruise Starts Ends Nights Suite Superior twin private cabin Premier single cabin Premier twin private cabin Standard plus twin private cabin Standard twin semi-private cabin Standard plus triple private cabin