Ultimate Antarctica with Weddell Sea (Akademik Vavilov)

Ultimate Antarctica with Weddell Sea (Akademik Vavilov)

From USD $13,795


This exciting expedition provides great diversity and will appeal to those seeking the complete Antarctic experience. It includes the South Shetland Islands, the western and northern sections of the Antarctic Peninsula, the stunning Weddell Sea region located on the eastern side of the Peninsula, and the historic location of Elephant Island.

Adding to the experience will be a visit to several locations in the Falkland Island archipelago – home to nesting albatross and the colourful King penguin. These diverse locations feature their own unique attractions. Expect stunning glaciated scenery along the Antarctic Peninsula, enormous Adelie penguin rookeries and the flattopped ‘tabular’ icebergs in the Weddell Sea, rich history in the South Shetlands and Elephant Island – and observe several new wildlife species in the Falklands.

We maximize our time on this voyage by flying from South America to Antarctica, saving the two days crossing the Drake Passage. A further day and a half is saved by flying from the Falkland Islands back to South America at the conclusion of the voyage. The time saved by flying equals more time exploring down among the ice in Antarctica. Over the course of the journey, you can expect to be off the ship exploring for a busy nine of those 13-days. This unique expedition includes an extra day of exploration in the Falkland Islands compared to similar itineraries. We use this additional time to visit some of the hidden gems.

Please Note: your voyage rates include Special charter flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island (Antarctica). Scheduled flight from Stanley (Falkland Islands) back to Punta Arenas (Chile).

Trip Name
Ultimate Antarctica with Weddell Sea (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.


Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chileanport city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location andtransfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the DrakePassage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of yourvoyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark ourship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring ournew surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellowpassengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcomerefreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be lookingforward to the adventure ahead.
Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait andwake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid outbefore us. For the next few days we have a varied itineraryexploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, wecruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which mayinclude Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south liesPetermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery whereboth Adelie and gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to anactive science station nearby provides a fascinating insight intothe important climate change research occurring in Antarctica.There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we hope tomake a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side ofthe island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut ofWordie House begs for further investigation.Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of MountScott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transitof the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this sectionof the Antarctic coastline features heavily glaciated mountainspermanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is infull swing by now. Each day we enjoy guided walks on shore,visits to wildlife colonies and Zodiac cruising among the ice withour expert guides, providing insight and interpretation. Plannedvisits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or AndvordBay. Or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguinrookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is anotherfavourite location and one where we frequently encounter podsof humpback whales feeding. It is somewhere along this stretchof coastline that we plan to spend a night on shore, campingin Antarctica. We have all the right gear and equipment and anexpert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurousspirit! If the weather is good and site characteristics suit ourrequirements, we will always go for it. Camping is included inthe voyage price and there is no need to pre-book this activity
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – thegateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope tomake a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditionspermit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcaniccaldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to severalpenguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is allaround us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rustedrelics and old wooden structures. At the far end of the beachis an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir HubertWilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. Thereis an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’sWindow’ – high up onto the rim of the crater.
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical mileswide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from thenorthern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into thesound we witness for the first time the vastness and majesty ofthe Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading intothe Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the numberof huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. Thesemassive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the southand drift north on the currents. This always makes for excitingnavigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the softAntarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has adistinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeriesof staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nestingbirds. Such colonies dwarf the penguin rookeries visited so far.Weather permitting, excursions in the Weddell Sea region mayinclude Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will betrained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. Wehave enjoyed a number of emperor penguins sightings in thisarea in recent years and they are known to inhabit the area.The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich.Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904are found in several locations in this area. The epic centuryoldstory of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expeditionhas strong links to the region. It was here that he and his mendrifted north on the ice after the ship had been lost in the icepack months earlier. As we head north and out of the WeddellSea, the lavender pink sunset will make some of us pause toconsider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorerswho travelled these waters a hundred years before us.
Point Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home toan impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins alsobreed here and are a species we have yet to encounter to date.Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out onthe rocky beaches. If conditions permit, we may visit the fabledlocation of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It ishere that Shackleton and his men were encamped under theirupturned life boats, before five men set off on a rescue missionto South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'.
While sailing north to the Falkland Islands our onboard polarexperts will recap on our adventures in the Weddell Sea andprepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spentscanning the horizon in search of whales and other marinemammals. The spectacular pelagic seabirds including severalalbatross and petrel species, are our constant companionsas they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunningbirds in flight takes great patience and skill and our residentphotography expert will show you the best techniques. Oureducational program continues and our experts entertain uswith interactive presentations and leading lively discussions.
Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore theisland of West Point and nearby Saunders Island – in the WestFalkland archipelago. West Point is known for its rockhopperpenguin rookeries and substantial nesting black-browedalbatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacularbirds in close proximity on the nest is an immense privilege andan experience not easily forgotten. Other potential locationswe may visit include New Island and the remote Jason Islandgroup, situated in the far north-west of the archipelago. Onefinal highlight awaits – a visit to the wildlife-rich SaundersIsland. Along the white sand beaches and in the surroundingtussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguinspecies living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic androckhopper - and our ultimate goal during the Falkland Islandvisit, observing the impressive king penguin. Saunders Island isa fitting end to our epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a coursefor the port of Stanley in early evening, we enjoy a special dinnerattended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’sgreat travel experiences.
In the early morning, we navigate the ship through the narrowsand into port. Stanley - the capital of the Falkland Islands, iscurrently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscentof a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is a charminglocation, with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filledgardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. We havetime to explore town before a transfer takes us to the airportfor our return flight to Punta Arenas (this flight is included in theprice of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flightsthrough to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwiseenjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venture further afield to explorethe highlights of Patagonia.
Day 9 - Please Note:
Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at thetime of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leadercontinually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weatherand ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a largenumber of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavyice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $13,795Triple Share
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $16,295Twin Semi-Private
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $18,195Twin Private
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $19,195Superior
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $21,295Shackleton Suite
20-01-202001-02-2020USD $23,095One Ocean Suite


    • Fantastic glaciated scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula and Gerlache coastline
    • Exciting ice navigation and large penguin rookeries in the Weddell Sea region
    • Visits to historic sites and science stations
    • Varied wildlife encounters in the Falkland Islands – including King penguins!