Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse (Island Sky)

Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse (Island Sky)

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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 Island 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 (Island Sky)
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.


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 Island 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


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