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Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse (Hebridean Sky)

Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse (Hebridean Sky)

From GBP £13,395

Description

It is hard to put into words the sheer grandeur of an Antarctic landscape. This most southern of continents, this desert of ice, is so unique and rare to man’s experience, that even the most dramatic of photographs pale into insignificance when one is confronted by the sheer magnitude, beauty and wonder of the landscape. Enormous icebergs rise from the sea, hillsides are covered with thousands of penguins and seals bask on icebergs dotted in the ocean; the sights, sounds and emotions will stay with you forever. When these scenic marvels are combined with an incredible astronomical phenomenon, the total solar eclipse, we have something very special.

For most travellers Antarctica is a once in a lifetime visit, it is therefore important that the trip should be as rewarding as possible and the MS Hebridean Sky is the perfect vessel both in terms of the educational opportunities on board and the number of occasions to go ashore. Antarctica is to be experienced, not just to be seen, and we believe the only way to do this is on board a small ship.

Whilst an undoubted highlight of the cruise is the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse, there is much more included to occupy us. The timing of the eclipse coincides with what is regarded as spring in Antarctica as the pack ice begins to melt. This is the mating season for penguins and other species and you can observe their spectacular displays of courtship ritual, nest building and such antics as stone stealing. This is also the time when fur seals claim their breeding territories.

In addition to the Antarctic Peninsula, we have also included magnificent South Georgia where you will experience one of the world’s natural wonders, the ‘Alps in mid-ocean’, offering remarkable concentrations of wildlife against a backdrop of glaciers and snow-covered mountains. Hugging the coast to the wildest reaches of the island we will land on beaches alive with rampaging fur seals, somnolent elephant seals and truly astonishing numbers of king penguins. We have three days of exploration in this unique animal paradise and using the Zodiacs we will aim to land each day allowing you the optimum time ashore to experience this rich animal kingdom. We also spend time on the Falkland Islands, a truly enchanting place with a unique character and staggering wildlife. This is the last sanctuary of the elegant albatross which soars gracefully against the blue sky, with colonies of elephant seals basking at the foot of vertiginous cliffs. In between our landings and while at sea, you can pass the time on deck looking for wildlife, attend the series of lectures by members of the expedition team and simply relax on board.

Trip Name
Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse (Hebridean Sky)
Days
23
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 90.6 metres Passenger Capacity: 118 Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016 The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky. Your Suite. On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry. Your Space. The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your Dining. It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations. For Your Comfort. The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck. Life Onboard. If large resort-style vessels accommodating many thousands of passengers are your ideal, then our ships are not for you as you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship on board style. However, if like us you prefer a more peaceful life at sea you will find our flagships the perfect vessels. When choosing your next voyage the choice of vessels is astounding. You can select a ship carrying in excess of 4000 passengers with impersonal service or join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky or MS Hebridean Sky where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. Instead, the atmosphere is warm and convivial and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, Guest Speakers and informative port briefings from our Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and of course good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make any voyage aboard these wonderful vessels a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship. The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress on board is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London to Santiago, Chile.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Santiago.
Arrive this morning and transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities or explore the city independently.
Day 3 - Day 3 Santiago to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Port Stanley, the charming capital of the Falkland Islands. On arrival transfer to the MS Hebridean Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.
Day 4 - Day 4 Port Stanley.
Spend the day in Stanley where during our excursion we will see some of the highlights of the town including the cathedral, battle memorial and the Historic Dockyard and museum which documents the social, maritime, military and natural history of the islands. Alternatively learn more about the 1982 conflict whilst, if conditions permit, we also hope to offer nature walks or a 4x4 tour to one of the beaches where we may find King, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins. Sail this evening for South Georgia.
Day 5 - Days 5 & 6 The Southern Ocean.
As we cruise towards South Georgia the richness of these waters will be evident in the marine mammal life, especially the fur seals on fishing forays. We have a good chance of spotting whales such as fins and minkies whilst the birds circling our stern will be outstanding, especially the large albatrosses and numerous breeds of petrels.
Day 6 - Days 7 to 9 South Georgia.
We have two and a half days of expedition cruising in and around South Georgia, a paradise island with snow-clad mountain peaks rising 9000 feet and with 165 glaciers tumbling down towards the sea. We arrive early in the season when parts of the island are still covered by a thin layer of snow. For anyone interested in wildlife, South Georgia is a true oasis. The beaches will be covered by elephant seal bulls and females with feeding pups. They share the beach with a myriad of nesting King penguins. Most of the other sea birds have arrived and started nesting. This is also the time when the great arrival of the fur seals starts. Millions of fur seals will, over a few weeks, return to the beaches to breed. During our time here we hope to visit Salisbury Plain where we will find enormous elephant seals which crowd the beaches alongside thousands of pairs of King penguins whilst in Fortuna Bay we will see nesting light mantled sooty albatrosses and hope to witness their gracious courting flights. A few thousand King penguins nest here. Meanwhile in Grytviken we will visit the old whaling station and of course pay our respect at the grave of ‘the boss’ – Ernest Shackleton.
Day 7 - Day 10 At sea.
The waters between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula are rich with fin whales, where in good conditions we have seen as many as a hundred in a day. If not whale-watching, lookout for Antarctic petrel, Kerguelen petrel and one of the most beautiful birds of the Southern Ocean, the snow petrel. The icebergs will also become more plentiful as we sail south. Alternatively join the lecture programme as we learn more about the wildlife and history of the region.
Day 8 - Day 11 Solar Eclipse Day.
Today we will position the ship to achieve the best location to view the solar eclipse which is due to start in the late morning. The advantage of our small ship is the ability to find a spot or break in the clouds to increase our chances and maximise our time under a total eclipse. With our onboard experts on hand to provide commentary we will remain here until the end of the eclipse’s passage when we continue our voyage to Antarctica.
Day 9 - Days 12 to 18 Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.
We have seven days of exploration around the Peninsula and South Shetland Islands which will include many of the best places for wildlife and magnificent scenery. Whilst we arrive with a planned itinerary the final schedule will be determined by our Captain and the Expedition Leader based on sea, weather and ice conditions. Using our Zodiacs we hope to make daily landings or cruises for unique close encounters with animals such as adelie and gentoo penguins, fur seals and petrels. Watch avidly on deck as we approach land or sail through breathtaking channels surrounded by lofty peaks looking down on ice-strewn waters where resting crab-eater or leopard seals can be spotted. Enroute South we plan to see Elephant Island with its rocky and inhospitable shore where Shackleton’s crew famously survived. We hope to sail past the collapsed volcanic cone of Deception Island for a chance to visit Whalers Bay, Petermann Island, home to numbers of adelie penguins, picturesque Neko Harbour, the Lemaire Channel where towering icebergs rise from the sea and Half Moon Island with its rookery of chinstrap penguins. We also endeavour to sail through the breathtaking Antarctic Sound, alternatively known as ‘iceberg alley’, where massive icebergs drift north from the continent.
Day 10 - Days 19 & 20 Drake Passage.
Two days to relax onboard and reminisce with your fellow travellers about all you have seen and experienced during our expedition. Enjoy a lecture, look for wildlife or simply relax as we make our way across the Drake Passage toward Ushuaia. Named after the 16th century English seaman, Sir Francis Drake, the Drake Passage separates the southernmost tip of South America from Antarctica. This is a particularly good area to spot royal albatross and blue petrel and we will also be on the lookout for pods of sperm whales.
Day 11 - Day 21 Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. This evening we will meet for dinner and a tango show in a local restaurant.
Day 12 - Day 22 Buenos Aires to London.
After breakfast in the hotel transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 13 - Day 23 London.
Arrive this morning.
Day 14 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £13,395Amundsen Deck Standard Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £18,995Shackleton Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £19,495Byrd Deck Superior Sole
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £20,495Shackleton Deck Hebridean Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £14,395Byrd Deck Superior Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £15,395Mawson Deck Premium Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £15,995Mawson Deck Corner Suite
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £17,495Amundsen Deck Standard Sole
24-11-202116-12-2021GBP £17,795Scott Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite

Inclusions

    • Discover the wonders of Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands
    • Experience the Total Solar Eclipse aboard the MS Hebridean Sky

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