MV Plancius

Plancius is a 267-foot oceanographic research ship fully rebuilt and ice-strengthened in 2010 for use for polar expeditions. Originally built in 1976 for the Royal Dutch Navy, it has been converted to a spacious and comfortable vessel for exploring both the Arctic and Antarctic areas. Onboard the ship you will find a panoramic observation lounge with a bar and a library, an airy restaurant, and large open deck spaces with excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and spot wildlife. Both observation lounge and restaurant will host frequent lectures by naturalist guides. Tasty meals are prepared by international chefs and feature a variety of cuisines.

Plancius has 53 cabins for a maximum of 110 passengers. Ten superior cabins are the largest and offer one queen-size bed each. 39 twin cabins have either a queen-size bed or two lower single beds. Four triple cabins have a bunk bed and a lower single. All cabins have private bathrooms and plenty of storage space. Due to the remote expedition areas, there’s an infirmary and a doctor onboard. Ten zodiacs will whisk you to the many land excursions and wildlife sightings.

PLEASE NOTE:

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per IAATO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with IAATO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

The Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp cruise offers you a myriad of ways to explore and enjoy the Antarctic Region. This expedition allows you to hike, snowshoe, kayak, go mountaineering, and even camp out under the Southern Polar skies.

Day 1: End of the world, start of a journey

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening. 

Days 2 - 3: Path of the polar explorers

Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.

Days 4 - 10: Entering Antarctica

Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. 

Places you might visit includes:

Neumayer Channel – The vessel may position itself here, launching its multiple basecamp activities from the protected waters around Wiencke Island. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea with Zodiac and kayaking trips, or if you’re in the mood for a walk, there are possible snowshoe hikes and soft-climb mountaineering options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities.
Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. At the nearby sites, such as Damoy Point there may be the opportunity for snowshoeing to the old ski-way, this is also one of our favourite camping sites.

Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering trips are the potential activities of this location. 

Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.

Paradise Bay – You have the chance to make camp here like a true polar explorer, enjoying a supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.

Errera Channel – Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island.   On your last day of near-shore activities, you pass the Melchior Islands toward the open sea. Keep a sharp lookout for humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. You might also shoot for Half Moon Island, in the South Shetlands, with further chances for activities. 

Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Days 11 - 12: Familiar seas, familiar friends

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 13: There and back again

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Passengers:116 in 53 cabins
Staff & crew:47
Length:89 meters (293 feet)
Breadth:14,5 meters (47 feet)
Draft:5 meters (16 feet)
Ice class:1D (Plancius has a Lloyds class notation 100A1 Passenger ship, Ice Class 1D at a draught of 5 meters)
Displacement:3211 tonnes
Propulsion:3x Diesel-Electric
Speed:10.5 knots average cruising speed

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Special: 

Journeys to the End of the World
AAT Special - 25% off all cabin types
Antarctica - Polar Circle Expeditions & Whales!

Mar 7-21, 2024 - from $7850
Mar 21-Apr 1, 2024 - from $5750