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Price: $57,732USD per person
Departure Date: August 13, 2023
Return Date: November 13, 2023
Photo: Map of Pole to Pole Itinerary
Join us on a Grand Expedition cruise from the Arctic to Antarctica as we set out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience between the polar regions. Your basecamp at sea will be the comfortable and stylish MS Fridtjof Nansen, our state-of-the-art hybrid electric-powered expedition ship. From pole to pole this is an epic expedition of discovery. You’ll begin your 93-day expedition cruise in Reykjavík and sail across the Denmark Strait to Greenland. Then, you navigate the fabled Northwest Passage to the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. We’ll land at sites linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities, and look out for Arctic wildlife, including seabirds, seals, whales, and polar bears. We then turn south and cruise along the western seaboard of the United States. On landings and shore excursions, explore the national parks of the Pacific coast before taking in the warm seas and vibrant cultures of Mexico and Central America. In South America, visit ancient sites in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile before witnessing the ethereal splendor of the Chilean fjords and Patagonia. End your expedition in otherworldly style by spending four days in the pristine beauty of Antarctica before returning to Ushuaia in Argentina. On this Grand Expedition cruise, experience the fantastic diversity of cultures and ecology in the Americas and Antarctica. Your hand-picked Expedition Team will guide and inspire you, making your cruise an adventure to remember forever.
- Transfer from the ship to the Ushuaia airport after the expedition cruise
- Flight in economy class from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
- Expedition cruise in the cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
- Fine-dining in À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Laundry service
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organizes and guides activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program, which allows guests to contribute to current scientific research projects
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, an infinity pool, a sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and an outdoor running track
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers help you configure your camera settings
Not Included in Your Expedition
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Pole to Pole Adventure - Unique Expedition Cruise from the High Arctic to Antarctica
Reykjavík to Buenos Aires
93 Days | MS Fridtjof Nansen
DAY 1 - REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND
The world’s northernmost capital
August 13, 2023 Your adventure starts in Reykjavík, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavík is both quaint and cosmopolitan. This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture, and history. Stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, filled with boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Consider picking up some Icelandic knitwear, famous for its quality, style, and warmth. You can also head towards the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery, and the many smaller galleries and museums throughout the city. Learn about Icelandic history by stopping off at the National Museum, the Saga Museum, and the Maritime Museum. Bring your swimsuit to take a dip in one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and hot tubs, too.
DAY 2-8 - AT SEA Western Greenland and the Davis Strait
August 14, 2023 - August 20, 2023 Ease into your adventure as you spend time at sea on the way to Greenland and the Northwest Passage. The Denmark Strait is actually the site of the world’s largest waterfall... underwater! The mixture of warm and cold currents and strong winds means that the waters here are sometimes a bit choppy. Relax, get to know your fellow travelers, and check out the facilities. Meanwhile, the Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventure ahead with their lecture programs on Artic wildlife and ecosystems in the Science Center. They will also talk about important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You’ll learn how you can protect wildlife habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit Arctic communities in a proper and respectful way. Prince Christian Sound - Exploration Prepare to witness some of the most stunning views on the planet in Prince Christian Sound region. Marvel at the maze of geological patterns in the rock faces and the bright white of the numerous glaciers. These slow-moving masses of ice grind their way from the enormous Greenlandic ice sheet and flow straight into the sound, calving white-blue icebergs of all sizes, shades, and shapes.
The sound isn’t always accessible, but when it is, you may be lucky enough to spot ringed seals and bearded seals on the ice, along with glaucous gulls and black guillemots nesting in the cliffs. Minke and humpback whales may also make an appearance, although they tend to not swim into the narrow stretches of the sound, preferring the wider sections at the entrance. Ivittuut - Greenland Do you like to visit ghost towns? If so, Ivittuut is for you. This former mining outpost hosts long-forgotten locations, some old and some even older. Once a busy cryolite mining station, the only inhabitants you see in Ivittuut today are musk oxen grazing the overgrown grass around the abandoned buildings. Ivittuut is believed to have been the last Viking settlement in Greenland, but was also the first to be abandoned. The town also played an important role during World War II, due to its deposits of rare cryolite used in the construction of aircraft. Wander these eerie-yet-photogenic ruins today and you’ll see decaying structures and rusting machinery, with the abandoned buildings and lonely cemetery standing in stark contrast to the surrounding natural beauty. Nuuk - Greenland
Nuuk is located at the mouth of a system of spectacular fjords and mountains. Founded in 1728, it’s Greenland’s oldest settlement. Although Greenland’s capital is classed as a city, fewer than 17,000 people call it home. Today, Nuuk combines old and new traditions. The old picturesque buildings dotting the fjord’s edge give way to ultra-modern architecture in the Greenlandic Parliament and the wave-shaped Katuaq Cultural Centre, inspired by the Northern Lights. Discover the fascinating culture here, or marvel at the coastal scenery on a hike through Paradise Valley. After Nuuk, we’ll set sail across the Davis Strait towards Canada and the fabled Northwest Passage. DAY 9-25 - THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE All the way through the Northwest Passage August 21, 2023 - September 6, 2023 The time has come for us to attempt a complete transit of the Northwest Passage. The earliest attempts to navigate this seaway go as far back as 1497. James Cook attempted it in 1776 and many may have heard about the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition lasting from 1903 to 1906, aboard the converted herring boat, the Gjøa. We’ll enter the Northwest Passage on our own adventure aboard a state-of-the-art expedition ship named MS Fridtjof Nansen, aiming to sail through to Alaska. You will land at sites linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities, and hope to spot Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, and a variety of seabirds. Opportunities will open for small-boat (RIB) cruising between ice floes, and in true expedition style, we’ll go ashore and experience the pristine wilderness first hand. The captain and Expedition Leader will continuously assess the weather and sea conditions and adapt the activities accordingly, adjusting the itinerary to where the sea ice allows us to go. Like all good explorers, we respect and work with nature, never against it. Here are some of the places in the region that we hope to explore during landings and short walks—wind, waves, and sea ice permitting.
Called ‘Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, it means ‘the place where the landing place is’. This is a traditional Baffin Island Inuit community that enjoys views of the Eclipse Sound and the mountains of Bylot Island. It’s also known as a great place to see narwhal—the unicorn of the sea. Devon Island
Welcome to the largest uninhabited island on Earth. The only signs of human life are at the long-abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbour, along with several archeological sites from the Thule period.
This is the final resting place for three members of the lost Franklin expedition, which sailed into the Northwest Passage in 1845, never to return. It is customary for explorers in the region to stop and pay their respects at the graves, as Roald Amundsen did in 1903.
Fort Ross has an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Trading post located at the southern end of Somerset Island. The storehouse here is still occasionally used as a shelter by travelers, with bunk beds and shelves of canned goods.
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen wintered at this hamlet in 1903, on the expedition the ‘haven’ is named after. During his time here, he learnt crucial survival skills from the local Netsilik Inuit people. This knowledge would later give him the upper hand in his famous race to the South Pole in 1911. There is an informative walking tour, a Heritage Center, and a Hamlet Center dedicated to the history and culture of the area. Cambridge Bay
Located on Victoria Island, this is the largest stop for vessels traversing the Northwest Passage. It is also called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq’ (‘A Good Fishing Place’) due to the Ekalluk River, which attracts Arctic char, musk oxen, and caribou.
Many in the 500-people strong community are involved in the local artists’ co-op and produce prints, tapestries, and other handicrafts. This is also home to the world’s northernmost golf course, which hosts a tournament every summer. Smoking Hills
Then it’s into Amundsen Gulf, where we hope to observe the remarkable and colorful Smoking Hills. It’s an amazing sight, with smoke billowing from the cliffs on the east coast of Cape Bathurst. Lignite (a combination of eroded shale and pyrite) spontaneously ignites when exposed to air, creating this photogenic phenomenon. As we pass into the Chukchi Sea and the waters surrounding Northern Alaska, after the smoking hills, reflect on your incredible journey through the Northwest Passage while scanning for bowhead whales and grey whales. We’ll pass through the Bering Strait, with the USA to the east and Russia to the west as we make our way toward Nome.
Photo: Kayaking in the Smoking Hills, Northwest Passage
DAY 26-42 - NOME, ALASKA TO VANCOUVER Alaska and British Columbia - Inside Passage, Bears, and Aleutian Islands September 7, 2023 - September 23, 2023 Nome
Situated on the Seward Peninsula, Nome’s name went down in Alaskan history the day that ‘Three Lucky Swedes’ discovered gold in Anvil Creek in 1898. Prospectors soon flocked from the Yukon and from San Francisco by steamboat. Even the famous sheriff Wyatt Earp followed the call of gold and opened a saloon here. Leftovers from Gold Rush era are everywhere, from abandoned dredges to turn-of-the-century steam engines and old railroad tracks. Cries of “Gold! Gold!” can still be heard today by those foraging on the banks of the Snake River and elsewhere in the area.
Keep an eye on the waters for humpback whales. As the ship sails through the Bering Strait, look to the skies to spot a range of sea birds. This is also the international date line, so you’ll have ‘tomorrow’ on your left and ‘today’ to the right. St. Matthew Island
St. Matthew Island lies halfway across the Bering Sea, between Russia and the U.S. Coming ashore on its black-sand beaches, we’ll be the only humans on the isle.
Separated from the nearest village by more than 200 miles, this is probably the single most isolated place in Alaska. Given this state’s sparse population, that’s saying something!
The windswept island of St. Paul is the largest of the Pribilof Islands. The only inhabitants reside in the village of St. Paul, with a population of only 480 residents. Close to 90% are indigenous Aleuts, representing the largest Aleut community in the U.S.
The strong Aleut heritage here includes historical sites showcasing the remains of barabaras, traditional semi-subterranean Aleut houses made from soil. The unique design allowed for the abode to be less exposed to the strong winds of the Bering Sea and for the ground to act as natural insulation to keep in the heat.
The small town of Dutch Harbor is one of the most important fishing ports in America. Steeped in history, the port is home to the Museum of the Aleutians, the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, as well as the Russian Orthodox Cathedral dating back to 1896. Approximately 600 bald eagles, along with some 40–50 million seabirds such as puffins, cormorants, and kittiwakes inhabit the region around Dutch Harbor. Unga Village
The abandoned Unga Village is picturesque, located on the southern end of the uninhabited Unga Island in the remote Aleutian Islands. Settled by Aleuts in 1833, subsistence fishing proved insufficient to support the community, who had almost completely moved out by 1969. Today, only a few wooden buildings remain, surrounded by a carpet of pink louseworts and fireweed flowers. Chignik
The small village of Chignik is a prime example of a typical Alaskan fishing settlement. Red salmon fishing has been the core of the community’s economy for over a century. Stop in for a look at the fish processing factory, meet the welcoming locals, or step into the scenic surroundings to explore the salmon streams. Around 20 waterfowl species inhabit the area, so see if you can see them. Don’t forget to look up to the skies to spot Bald Eagles. Katmai National Park
Witness a park that is four million acres big, with over a dozen active volcanoes and which hosts the dramatic Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. In 1912, this was the site of one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions ever recorded in modern times.
Today, we’ll cruise around looking for bears from the deck or from our small boats (RIBs) at one of three possible sites in the park, each one known for its brown bear community. Katmai National Park offers excellent bear watching and has a population of protected grizzlies numbering more than 2,000.
The bustling fishing port of Kodiak sits on the eastern shore of Kodiak Island. The surrounding spruce forest and grassland inspired its nickname, the ‘Emerald Isle.’ This is Alaska’s largest island, at over 3,670 square miles and over 100 miles in length. It is the second-largest island in the U.S. after Hawaii.
The best-known park here is the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which covers two-thirds of the island. There are a wide range of habitats here, from mountains to meadows. It is also home to the island’s most famous residents: around 3,500 Kodiak brown bears.
Three prominent glaciers—Guyot, Yahtse, and Tyndall—feed vast chunks of floating ice into the bay’s waters. Our aim will be to visit the 34-mile-long and 8-mile-wide Guyot Glacier, although this depends on local weather conditions. We hope to land as close to the glacier as safely possible and explore the waters by kayak as part of an optional excursion. Like always, we’ll be on the lookout for the awesome wildlife that abounds in the Gulf of Alaska, including humpback whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, and other marine life. Sitka
Situated on Baranof Island on the outer coast of the Inside Passage, Sitka can only be reached by sea or by air. Tongass National Forest surrounds the town. This is the largest temperate rainforest in the world and a local highlight is the 107-acre Sitka National Historic Park. Settlements here date back over 10,000 years, and Sitka is a place where ancient culture can still be felt. Tlingit traditions remain strong, existing alongside Russian and American influences.
Feel like you’re truly stepping back in time at Wrangell, one of Alaska’s oldest and most historic island towns. Reconnect with nature on one of the local trails leading to the edge of the rainforest, surrounded by alluring scenery at the mouth of Stikine River and at the foot of Mount Dewey.
Misty Fjords National Monument is nothing short of spectacular. It forms part of the two-million-acre Tongass National Forest, a pristine coastal wilderness of evergreen trees, deep fjords, and majestic snow-capped peaks. Sailing south, we’ll make our way toward the narrow channels of Canada’s Inside Passage. Navigating through the thousands of islands of the Pacific Northwest, we’ll make our way to the city of Vancouver, where the next part of your journey will begin.
Set amid gorgeous mountain scenery and along the waters of English Bay, Vancouver is both a bustling seaport and cosmopolitan city.
Its neighborhoods buzz with world-class restaurants. Chinatown and Punjabi Market have arguably the best Asian food in North America, while Commercial Drive is the home of Little Italy.
Don’t miss Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. Gastown’s Victorian buildings house some of the city’s hottest restaurants and Vancouver Lookout, at 547 ft high, offers great views of the city. Take in the neon lights and nightlife along Granville Street strip or just relax on one of the beaches in West End. It is also the gateway to the towering red cedars of Stanley Park, filled with wide-open spaces to explore.
Photo: Katmai, Alaska
DAY 43-49 - VANCOUVER TO SAN DIEGO
Highlights and National Parks of the Pacific September 24, 2023 - September 30, 2023 Scenic Cruising in the San Juan Islands
Today, we cruise around the ecological haven of the San Juan Islands. These rugged islands form an archipelago between the state of Washington and Canada’s Vancouver Island—they’re a world class destination for spotting marine wildlife. What could be better than sitting on deck and gazing at these pine-covered islands with a backdrop of mountain peaks in the distance? Olympic National Park
Today we’ll drop anchor at the small seaport of Port Angeles for a day of mountain exploration. We’ll explore the subalpine region of Olympic National Park and take you to mountainous Hurricane Ridge. From here, you’ll have the option to join a guided hike through the park to discover its rich and varied flora and fauna. There will be plenty of birdwatching opportunities along the way. You may even come across Roosevelt elk, which are indigenous to the area, as are black bears. Redwood National Park
Today we’ll drop anchor at Eureka. From here, we’ll go on an included excursion to the incredible Redwood National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve. With some giant old-growth redwoods towering over 330 feet tall, you’ll see why the world’s tallest trees are often called ‘nature’s skyscrapers’. Certain trees here are over 1,500 years old, living testaments to the success of a well-supported conservation project that saved these ancient giants from the lumberjack’s saw.
Situated between the fertile vineyards of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the pristine Pacific coast beaches, Santa Barbara has old-style Spanish charm in a Golden State setting. For over a decade, the city housed the world’s largest silent film studio, until the business grew too big and they took it all to Hollywood.
A great place to start exploring is the Santa Barbara Mission church. Admire the beautiful Spanish-era buildings, browse the shops along terracotta-tiled State Street, and stroll through the peaceful Mission Rose Garden. At Stearns Wharf, California’s oldest pier, take in views of the Pacific and grab some homemade ice cream. Still have some time to spare? Try one of the excellent restaurants or bars here. Or do a wine tasting from a local vineyard—the city is famed for its wines, after all. On our way to and from Santa Barbara, don’t forget to get on deck to spot whales as we sail through the surrounding Channel Islands.
Welcome to ‘America’s Finest City’, the ‘Beach City’ of California! San Diego has it all: a mix of urban sophistication, a laid-back surfer vibe, and year-round sunshine.
Spend your day enjoying some fun in the sun and water sports at one of its many beaches. Or take a trolley car tour and explore Downtown, from the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the San Diego Bay waterfront.
DAY 50-61 - SAN DIEGO TO PUNTARENAS
Explore the nature and culture of North and Central America’s Pacific coastline.
October 1, 2023 - October 12, 2023
We wave goodbye to the U.S. as we sail south along the coast of Baja California to Cabo San Lucas. The onboard lecture program continues, offering a wide range of subjects to spark your interest. Hone your expedition photography skills on deck as you scout for wildlife and seabirds. Weather permitting, join our yoga and meditation program out on deck—or relax in the Wellness Center. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Situated at the southern tip of Baja California, where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean, the Los Cabos Peninsula is a mixture of desert and coastal landscapes. The stunning beaches and azure waters of Cabo San Lucas has long made it the resort of choice for Hollywood stars and other holidaymakers. Its reputation as a party town is well earned. Here, you can frolic in the sea by day and enjoy the lively bar scene by night.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Situated along Bahía de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's premier coastal destinations. The town is vibrant and full of personality, while the beaches and marine life offer plenty of nature and watersport options. Downtown in El Malecón, the seafront boardwalk buzzes with activity. Admire street performers as you peruse the many stands selling souvenirs and cold refreshments such as the jalisco tejuíno (a regional drink made of fermented corn) and agua fresca.
Puerto Vallarta is a great place to pick up local Mexican handicrafts, such as like colorful bags, silver jewelry, wooden toys, and leather goods. Expect a friendly haggle. Huatulco, Mexico
We’ll spend the day in Huatulco, home to nine scenic bays, 36 pristine beaches, sheltered coves, and a range of eco-lodges and beach resorts.
The national park here stretches over three of the nine bays and includes several different ecosystems, including a deciduous forest, mangroves, savanna, wetlands, and coral reefs. The park is a dream for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and photographers alike. It’s home to over 700 species of plants, 130 different types of mammals, 300 different types of birds, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians. Puerto Chiapas, Mexico
We arrive at Puerto Chiapas in Mexico. This is the main port affiliated with the bustling commercial center of Tapachula, about a 30-minute drive inland. The fertile soil of the Soconusco region is famed for producing coffee, bananas, cacao, and sugar cane.
The region’s reputation for premium coffee and cocoa plantations brought immigrants from Germany, China, and France. Their influence is clearly visible, especially in the city itself. Chinese cuisine has fused with regional Maya and Spanish cuisines, and these fusion dishes have left Tapachula’s small Chinatown district and forged their way into Puerto Chiapas restaurants. Acajutla, El Salvador
We dock at Acajutla, which is El Salvador’s main seaport to export coffee, sugar, and balsam of Peru. Ruins near the port reveal how the city was originally a Mayan village. Enjoy the comfortable atmosphere here, hunt for treasures in the quaint shops, and stroll the dark-sand beaches. Restaurants on the harbor serve up fantastic seafood and will be delighted to introduce you to typical Salvadoran dishes. Order a pupusa, the national dish of El Salvador. This corn tortilla can be filled with cheese, pork, or beans, and is topped with a sour cabbage salad and light tomato sauce. Don’t forget to try some of the local coffee too—the region is famous for it. Corinto, Nicaragua
Just one hour from Puerto Corinto by shuttle bus, you’ll find León, the former capital of Nicaragua. Its large student population makes León a cosmopolitan and vibrant city. It’s considered the intellectual and liberal center of the country. Stroll its streets and immerse yourself in the animated chatter emanating from local coffee houses and bars. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
The southern Pacific beach town of San Juan del Sur is located on a pretty horseshoe bay with nice mountain views. This once-sleepy fishing village has grown in popularity as Nicaragua’s surfing destination hub. It is known for its dark-sand beaches, rolling green hills, colorful Victorian-era clapboard houses, fresh seafood restaurants, and a laidback surfer lifestyle. Lie back on the beach and relax while you soak up the sun and people watch. A short walk will lead you to a spectacular 1,500-year-old petroglyph that depicts a hunting scene that was carved into a large rock. You can also enjoy an hour-long hike up to Cristo de la Misericordia, a statue of Jesus towering 82 feet tall, where you’ll also be rewarded with picturesque views over the town and beach. A bus tour of the city of Granada is your included activity today. Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Arrive in in Puntarenas, a city on a needle-thin strip of land on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. City folks from San José often try to slip away to Puntarenas for the day to bask in the relaxed coastal life and fresh ocean air. While it is still an active fishing port, Puntarenas is mainly a starting point for people heading elsewhere in the region, like to the white-sand beaches of Nicoya Peninsula or the waterfall-rich Tortuga Island.
DAY 62-76 - PUNTARENAS TO VALPARAISO Diverse cultures and national parks of Latin America October 13, 2023 - October 27, 2023 Quepos, Costa Rica
You’ll find that the town of Quepos and its surroundings come packed with plenty of things to see and do. The many boats in the gorgeous Marina Pez Vela serve the big-game fishing industry for which Quepos is known. That said, the main attraction of Quepos is not the town itself, but rather its proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica, and appears on Forbes’ list of top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world.
In this park, you can catch impressive views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons, beaches, and tropical forest. With 350 bird species and 109 species of mammals, visitors have described it as an ‘outdoor zoo’. By following the breathtaking Perezoso trail, you might spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, four species of monkey, sloths, iguanas, and armadillos. Golfito, Costa Rica
The laid-back town of Golfito is sheltered in the gorgeous Golfito Bay, which lies within the larger Golfo Dulce. Enjoy views from the seaside marinas or, better yet, follow the scenic hiking trails up the hill and into the wildlife refuge, ending in at Piedras Blancas National Park. Your exploration of the lush rainforest will bring you up close with picturesque waterfalls. Keep an eye out for toucans, macaws, blue morpho butterflies, anteaters, sloths, mantled howler monkeys, and more. The calm waters around the bay also make it ideal for touring the local mangroves and for joining an optional kayaking excursion to the isolated beaches. Manta, Ecuador
MS Fridtjof Nansen will bring us across the Equator early in the morning. Join a traditional ceremony on board in which we seek King Neptune’s blessing. Setting foot on South American soil, our first port of call is Montecristi, located five miles inland from the tuna-fishing port city of Manta. This town was established in the 16th century by manteños (indigenous Ecuadoreans) seeking respite from the frequent pirate raids on the coast. Montecristi is the actual birthplace of the Panama hat, despite its name. Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador
Machala’s main claim to fame is Puerto Bolívar, an important Ecuadorian port where coffee, cocoa, shrimp, and bananas (which the locals call ‘oro verde’, or green gold, given their abundance) leave for export. The nearby Puyango Petrified Forest has one of the largest collections of fossilized trees in the world, thought to be about 100 million years old. Salaverry, Peru
Pummeled by the Pacific Ocean’s wind and waves, Salaverry can be a tricky port to access. If we are able to land there, it’s a good starting point to explore Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city, along with the array of pre-Colombian archaeological sites scattered throughout the region. Lima, Peru
Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, you’ll find the Peruvian capital city of Lima. Served by the seaport of Callao, Lima is the largest city in the country. It’s a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and modernity mix to create a heady cocktail of culture and cuisine. Among this modern metropolis, the fascinating and enigmatic adobe clay ruins of the Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca ceremonial pyramids are all that remains of a long-lost ancient culture.
Nestled on a bay behind a peninsula, the humble and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown-sugar–colored cliffs and lovely beaches. Opposite the Paracas harbor is a mysterious local geoglyph carved into the landscape of a candelabra-like symbol—the origin and meaning of which remain a mystery. It could be related to the famous Nazca Lines, which you may have an opportunity to visit in the Pisco Valley on an optional excursion. Arica, Chile
Unusual for a city by the sea, Arica is bathed in glorious sunshine almost every day of the year. Residents proudly describe the place as being immersed in a never-ending spring. You can’t miss the San Marcos Cathedral, designed by Gustave Eiffel (of Parisian fame) and inaugurated in 1876. Iquique, Chile
Welcome to a slice of paradise by the Pacific Ocean, complete with palm trees and beachside promenades. You may have the opportunity to visit the nearby abandoned saltpeter mining town of Humberstone in the Atacama Desert. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a slice of history that you can literally walk through. La Serena, Chile
Set beside the ocean, La Serena is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches all along Avenida del Mar and beyond. You’ll find Chile’s second-oldest city to have a distinct Neo-Colonial look and feel to it. Its modern buildings meld with classic architecture, such as the 30 or so carefully restored stone churches, some of which are around 350 years old.
Known as UNESCO’s ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, this UNESCO World Heritage listed city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular cable cars, trendy neighborhoods, cobblestone alleys, colorful houses, and charming plazas. DAY 77-86 - PATAGONIA Cruising toward the Antarctic October 28, 2023 - November 6, 2023 Castro
We’ve made it to Patagonia. In Castro, bring your camera to snap the brightly painted palafitos. These are traditional wooden houses on stilts, which line the edges of the fjord at Gamboa Wharf. The nearby UNESCO-listed Church of San Francisco is a masterpiece of carpentry, made entirely of wood in a Neo-Gothic style. Puerto Edén
The tiny hamlet of Puerto Edén sits on a bay in a remote peninsula jutting into a fjord in the province of Última Esperanza (which means ‘Last Hope’). This is a good place to access the exceptional landscapes of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, Chile’s largest protected area. This features a stunning network of peaceful fjords and gorgeous forest-mantled mountains. There are no roads leading to or from this isolated village—and not even within it! There are simply boardwalks and footpaths connecting the homes of its fewer than 200 residents.
Take in the breathtaking views of the southern Andes as we arrive at Puerto Natales. The city is an entry point to Torres del Paine National Park, which attracts hikers and climbers from all over the world. Aside from a full-day optional excursion to the national park, you can also spend some time leisurely exploring Puerto Natales on foot. This sleepy city is a mix of Bohemian bars, outdoor gear retailers, corrugated tin houses, and restaurants serving international cuisine. Chilean fjords
We’ll cruise among the fabled fjords and a multitude of islands found within Chile’s rugged Magallanes Province, where jagged mountains reach for the sky. We will pass through the western part of the Strait of Magellan, named after the famous 16th-century Portuguese explorer who first traversed it. The scenery is so fantastic that you’ll feel an innate sense of wonder and awe. Cape Horn & the Drake Passage
After looping around the glacier-carved Alberto de Agostini National Park, we’ll enter Beagle Channel. Take in breathtaking landscapes as we pass between the national park and Isla Gordon, which belongs to the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. At the tip of South America lies the legendary Cape Horn. It was a major milestone in the old clipper routes that connected Europe with the Far East and Oceania. This is where the open waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide, creating powerful waves made even stronger by swirling westerly winds. For yachters, rounding Cape Horn is a maritime feat, comparable, for them, to summiting Mount Everest. Given the notoriety of these turbulent waters, we can’t guarantee a landing. However, if fortune plays in our favor that day and the weather is stable enough to dock on the island, you’ll be among a select few in the world to set foot here. From Cape Horn, it’s a clear shot to Antarctica across the Drake Passage.
Photo: Patagonia, Chile
DAY 87-90 - ANTARCTICA The most remote and beautiful place on Earth November 7, 2023 - November 10, 2023 Ever felt completely overwhelmed by nature’s beauty? Prepare for that feeling as we reach Antarctica. Its immense landscapes amaze and its stark beauty astonishes. Some guests burst into tears from joy and sheer awe. To make the experience even more magnificent, your visit in late austral spring means many sculpted icebergs will be floating in the straits. Romance will also be in the air, as the gentoo and chinstrap penguins engage in courtship and mating. These clumsy-yet-charming creatures will melt your heart as they waddle around flirting with their partners and building their nests. Keep an eye out for a variety of seabirds such as gulls, terns, and herons. There are as many as 45 different species here. Throughout your four days here, you will join the Expedition Team on a range of landings and ice-cruises using small boats (RIBs) that will bring you to scenic locations and penguin colonies on and around the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands. Conditions permitting, you may also get a chance to go snowshoeing or kayaking as optional activities. You never know when a penguin or seal might turn up nearby in the water to investigate you. To further engage with Antarctica’s unique environment, you can join different Citizen Science projects, such as photographing whales, seabirds, and leopard seals; sampling phytoplankton; or cloud and sea ice observation. Your participation in these projects not only helps scientists around the world, but also allows you to gain a better and more meaningful understanding of Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem. The onboard lectures enhance your experience. And by analyzing samples taken during the day, you will observe another kind of Antarctic ‘wildlife’ on a cellular level using the Science Center’s advanced microscopes.
Photo: Cuverville Island, Antarctica
DAY 91-93 - USHUAIA/BUENOS AIRES To the bottom of the world and back again. November 11, 2023 - November 13, 2023 After the magic of Antarctica, we’ll set off on a two-day journey back across the Drake Passage to South America. This is the perfect time to wind down and reflect on your experiences in the frozen continent. Pamper yourself in the Wellness Center with a soothing treatment and hang out in the Explorer Bar and chat with your fellow voyagers about your memories from the trip.
Perhaps join the Expedition Team in the Science Center to review everything you’ve seen and learned along the way? Once we arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, it means your pole-to-pole journey has now come to an end. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. You can choose whether to fly home directly or spend a few extra days exploring the birthplace of the tango. Before you disembark, bid a bittersweet goodbye to the ship, the crew, your fellow guests, and the amazing Expedition Team. Each team member has worked very hard to make your adventure a joyful and unforgettable one. We share an overall goal: Showing you and all our guests that expedition cruises can and should be sustainable, and inspiring everyone to do more to protect and cherish the delicate balance of life on our planet. This is the appreciation we want you to take home with you and share with your friends and family. Here’s to seeing you on your next adventure!