Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Akademik Vavilov)

Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Akademik Vavilov)

From USD $11,695


Utilizing our decades of experience, we have designed a new voyage allowing us to reach our objective of the Antarctic Circle in just 11 days. On the way south, we enjoy eight days of off-ship exploration visiting a large number of landing sites and cruising among the ice floes in our Zodiac boats, before reaching the Antarctic Circle in the vicinity of Detaille Island.

We explore the coastline visiting several classic locations such as Petermann Island and the iceberg ‘graveyard’ at Pleneau Island. We transit the Lemaire Channel if ice conditions permit and make continental landings at Paradise Harbour or nearby Neko Harbour. Both locations offer outstanding hiking opportunities. Each day we explore on shore by foot, observing wildlife colonies, visiting historic huts and science bases, photographing icebergs and soaking up the incredible landscapes that surround us. Our journey concludes with visits to a number of locations in the South Shetland Islands. From King George Island in Antarctica we fly back to Punta Arenas in just two hours – saving more than two days crossing back to South America. For a relatively short voyage, this trip packs a serious punch and offers fantastic scenery, wildlife, historic and scientific interest.

Please Note: your voyage prices include flights to Stanley, Falkland Islands and from King George Island

Trip Name
Quest for the Antarctic Circle (Akademik Vavilov)
Vessel Type: Ice - Strengthened Length: 117 metres Passenger Capacity: 92 Built: 1988 Stability and Strength. Our ship was purpose built to conduct sensitive hydro-acoustic research and science in the polar regions. The original design brief dictated that the vessel offers a very high level of stability. This is achieved through a sophisticated internal trimming system, controlled via a series of gyroscopic sensors around the vessel. This stability feature is something you will greatly appreciate should you encounter less than ideal sailing conditions. Maneuverable, Quiet and Fast. With both bow and stern thrusters and twin reversible propellers, the ship can spin on its own axis – greatly assisting embarkation of the zodiacs in windy conditions. You will notice there is little – if any – ambient noise or vibration, which makes for a quiet ship. The ship is fast, with a top speed of 14.5 knots in open water. Unmatched stability, coupled with superior speed allows for more time at your destination (rather than ‘at sea’) and more flexibility with itinerary planning – a critical factor in polar waters where ice and weather conditions sometimes dictate our daily itinerary. Superb Design and Layout. Throughout the ship there are spaces ideally suited to every need. Spacious outer decks provide 360 degree views of the stunning polar landscapes – as well as a great place for an outdoor barbecue, which usually happens once on every voyage. Inside there are comfortable presentation spaces for lectures and film screenings and there’s a multimedia computer lab with several large screen workstations where guests can download and back up photos. Six Different Cabin Categories. All cabins feature outside windows allowing ample natural light to filter in. Cabins all have lower berths (some triple share cabins have one upper/lower bunk scenario and feature port holes). Akademik Sergey Vavilov carries a maximum of just 92 guests – making for true, small-ship expedition cruising. This is particularly important in Antarctica where visitor guidelines dictate that no more than 100 people can be on shore at any one time. We fall under this limit and that equals maximum time ashore at all locations. Ships carrying more than 100 guests compromise your time ashore. Enjoy Great Dining? So do we. The exciting schedule of onshore excursions, zodiac cruises and onboard activities are guaranteed to work up a serious appetite. Although the ship operates in some of the most remote locations in the world, you can expect an exceptional variety of tasty meals, prepared by a team of professional international chefs. Breakfasts are usually buffet style. Lunches offer a great choice of light meals - as well as more substantial options for those who are hungry - and each evening there is a hearty three-course meal offering both variety and choice. There’s also an excellent wine list featuring a range of international wines. You can get a cup of tea or coffee at any time of the day or night and we always offer afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits. Guests with dietary restrictions or special meal requirements are also well catered for. Join us on the Bridge. There is an open-bridge policy and guests are welcome to meet the navigating crew at virtually any time of day; there’s always something to learn from the officers on watch and the bridge is one of the best places on the ship for spotting whales and sea birds. Operational Safety. There are no compromises here. The expedition staff and crew onboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov have the deepest respect for changeable weather in the polar regions and the varying sea and ice conditions. That respect is apparent in every decision made throughout the voyage. The ship carries the most extensive inventory of safety equipment on all excursions and require leaders to undergo vigorous and effective safety training programs. Your expedition team are well prepared, so you can relax and enjoy your voyage. Relax — You're on Holiday. The ship also features a Finnish dry-heat sauna, a plunge pool, a hot water Jacuzzi, a small gymnasium and day spa with massage therapist. An expedition gear package is included. An expedition cruise requires a fair bit of planning and some special items of clothing and equipment are needed. You will have use of an expedition wet weather gear package free of charge, which includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants as well as insulated, comfortable rubber boots designed for extended walking. A set of expedition binoculars and a walking pole are also available for the duration of your voyage. This saves you buying expensive items you may only ever use once and eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear all the way to the ship. If you do have your own gear, of course you are welcome to bring it. Make sure it is wind and waterproof. If you have questions about gear, feel free to ask.


Day 1 - Day 1 / Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chileancity of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location beforetransferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to Stanley inthe Falkland Islands. (This flight is included in the price of yourvoyage). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrivaland transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastalBritain. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, prettyflower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs.The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of theservicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980s, is asobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore thetown before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. Aftersettling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet ourexpedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the airas we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound forAntarctica – and the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2 - Days 2 - 3 / At Sea towards Antarctica
We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. This stretch ofthe South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcasesan abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds ofseabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels andsmaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as we makeour way south. Photographing these magnificent birds takespatience and skill and our photography expert will be on handto show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on thebridge and learn about the operations of our modern researchvessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate uswith a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlifeand history and the locations we hope to visit in the comingdays.If we enjoy good sailing conditions crossing to Antarctica, wemay include a visit to the very historic location of ElephantIsland – a place central to the Shackleton story. Shore landingsat Point Wild are notoriously tricky due to surging swell onto therocky beach. Nevertheless this is a thrilling place to visit.
Day 3 - Day 4 - 5 / King George Island and Antarctic Peninsula
This morning we are in position at King George Island – thelargest in the South Shetlands group. There are two landingsites here and a visit depends on the prevailing weatherconditions. Penguin Island and nearby Turret Point offer goodopportunities for shore landings to view Adelie, chinstrapand gentoo penguins. Southern giant petrels, kelp gulls andAntarctic terns are also known to nest here. This afternoon wecontinue our journey south, navigating into the broad expanseof the Bransfield Straight – making our way ever closer to theAntarctic coastline. This is an important migration corridorfor wildlife and we keep a lookout for whales in the waterssurrounding the ship. Large icebergs will be present from thispoint onwards and make for striking photographs in the eveninglight. By morning, the towering mountain peaks of the Antarcticcontinent loom into view and we should make landfall aroundWilhelmina Bay. This is truly an ‘A-list’ location and a place wefrequently encounter sizeable pods of humpback whales. Wenavigate under the towering cliffs of Spigot Peak and into theErrera Channel hoping for a shore landing at Cuverville Island –home to a rookery of gentoo penguins. It’s a fantastic locationfor a Zodiac cruise or a paddle in the sea kayaks.
Day 4 - Day 6 - 8 / Towards the Antarctic Circle and Gerlache Coastline
We encourage you to spend time on the outer decks soakingup the scenery as we navigate further south. We pass throughthe ice strewn waters making our way towards our ultimateobjective, the Antarctic Circle. Given favorable ice conditions,our first goal will be to sail south of the Antarctic Circle and intoCrystal Sound. A favored landing site here is Detaille Island,home to an abandoned British science hut from the 1950s.This vicinity marks our turnaround point and from now on, wereturn in a northerly direction exploring the dramatic coastlineof the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit a working scientificbase to learn something of the important climate-relatedresearch happening here. A hike over the snowy saddle ofnearby Winter Island allows us to stretch our legs and explore ahistoric British Antarctic Survey hut – Wordie House. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight campingprogram to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. We haveall the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this anight to remember!Petermann Island is home to an Adelie penguin rookery. Adelies- the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, nest here and sharethe location with gentoo penguins and Imperial cormorants.The view to the north of Mount Shackleton and Mount Scott isimpressive. These towering granite sentinels mark the southernentrance to the nearby Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island offersmore opportunities for shore landings. Just off shore, massiveicebergs run a round in the shallows. Constant wind and waveaction sculpt these gargantuan chunks of ice into fantasticshapes, revealing more shades of blue than you can possiblyimagine. For many, a Zodiac cruise here may well be a highlightof the voyage.
Day 5 - Days 9 - 10 / Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
We aim to transit the Lemaire Channel on our way northtowards Paradise Harbour. This may be the first opportunityto step foot on the continent of Antarctica itself. Nearby NekoHarbour offers another continental landing. Both locations offerterrific hiking opportunities up to panoramic view points. Forthe sea kayakers, the paddling opportunities here are endless.Expect to be in full sensory overload by this time of the voyage.By morning we arrive in the South Shetland Islands. Theadventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sailthe ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island.This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as weexplore the old whaling station, with the rusted old boilers anddilapidated wooden huts. At the far end of the beach is an oldaircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins,made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is also anoutstanding hike here, high up onto the rim of the crater.On a sunny day, cruising along the coast of Livingston Island isa memorable experience. There are several other landing sitesin the vicinity including Half Moon Island, or the broad pebblybeach at Yankee Harbour, where we sometimes encounterWeddell seals sunning themselves. This is another great spotfor a hike or a Zodiac cruise. It’s a fitting place to reflect on awonderful expedition. Charting a course for King George Islandin the early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended bythe Captain of the ship.
Day 6 - Day 11 / King George Island – return to Punta Arenas, Chile
This morning we say goodbye to our expedition team andtransfer ashore by Zodiac. We walk from the shore landing sitepast the Chilean research station and up towards the airstripwhere we board our special charter flight. This flight takes alittle over two hours and is included in the price of your voyage.Upon arrival into Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport intotown is provided.POST VOYAGE HOTEL INCLUDED: This itinerary includesa complimentary hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guestsreturning from King George Island at the end of the voyage. Thisevening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cosyrestaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘ShackletonBar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect onyour journey to Antarctica.
Day 7 - Day 11 / Punta Arenas
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to theairport for your onward journey. (We recommend you bookflights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue yourexploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies thecelebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to toweringpeaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise forhikers and nature lovers.
Day 8 - Please Note:
Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $11,695Triple Share
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $13,795Twin Semi-Private
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $14,895Twin Private
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $15,595Superior
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $17,195Shackleton Suite
01-02-202011-02-2020USD $18,895One Ocean Suite


    • Wildlife Identification. An activity everyone can participate in! Join us as we work through our wildlife list identifying markers and checking off even the most elusive species.
    • Photographer in Residence. On each and every departure our Photographer in Residence provides presentations, critiques, informal instruction and a photographer zodiac to assist you in your photographic goals.
    • Camping. Providing top notch sleeping bags, liners, bivvy bags, and all of the essentials onshore –we’ve got you covered.
    • Education. Ornithology, marine biology, geology, & history make up the backbone of our educational program. Our educators are part of our expedition team travelling alongside you from the zodiac to the dinner table.
    • Enhanced Photography. In addition to our Photographer in Residence we incorporate an additional professional photographer on staff effectively doubling your access to custom feedback and skill development throughout the voyage.
    • Fitness & Yoga. Offered at various times throughout the day, as well as by private schedule, our fitness/yoga instructors/trainers offer a full suite of active movement programs for you to either stay fit, or start a new regime.
    • Trekking/Hiking. Where possible we tailor the options to offer our contemplative walk for those wanting to stay close to shore and not hike up slope, our mid range hike and our longer hikes. The longer hikes can range from two to three hours in duration, and may involve challenging terrain without the assistance of trails.
    • Whale Watching. Experience the ultimate wildlife show from your front row seat. While sailing and exploring on the ship or cruising through the shallow waters of the coastal area, you will be surprised by the gracious movements of those majestic animals.
    • Zodiac Cruising. Heavy duty mark V zodiac inflatables paired with yamaha 60HP four stroke engines and a trained guide/driver provide a brilliant platform for small group cruising.