Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

SPECIAL OFFERS

Complimentary Roundtrip Airfare on Select Expedition Cruises

Book a voyage on select dates by October 31, 2020 and receive complimentary roundtrip airfare.

*Complimentary flights based on economy group flights and must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions. In the case that group flights are not available at time of booking, we reserve the right to issue an air credit.

  • Seek out Antarctica’s iconic wildlife—including penguins, seals, and killer whales—and marvel at incandescent icebergs using our fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs.
  • Navigate Chile’s coastal fjords and explore spectacular Glacier Alley, where five tidewater glaciers spill into the sea.
  • Hike among the snowcapped “horns” of Torres del Paine, and enjoy special access to Karukinka Natural Park, the largest protected land area in Tierra del Fuego.
  • Cruise the waters of Francisco Coloane Marine Park, searching for the humpback whales and dolphins that inhabit this vast marine reserve.

Itinerary

Itinerary

The southernmost realms of the planet are places of unimaginable beauty, where humpback whales breach and penguins gather by the thousands, where icebergs shimmer and sapphire-hued fjords harbor snowcapped peaks and virgin forests. Join us on a 20-day odyssey aboard the National Geographic Orion that combines the celebrated wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula, southern Patagonia, and the Chilean fjords—all in a single, epic voyage. Follow in the wake of legendary explorers like Ernest Shackleton and Ferdinand Magellan to encounter otherworldly icescapes and calving glaciers, remote reserves and pristine parks, and the incredible creatures that thrive at the “edge of the world.”

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Days 1-2: U.S./Santiago, Chile

Depart on an overnight flight to Santiago. Settle into our hotel before heading out on a guided tour of the vibrant Chilean capital.

Meals Included:Day 2 (Lunch)
Accommodations:Hyatt Centric Hotel (or similar)
Day 3: Ushuaia, Argentina

Fly to Ushuaia, a colorful town perched at the southernmost tip of South America. Embark our ship.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

National Geographic Orion for the entire voyage

Day 4: At Sea/Drake Passage

Sail to Antarctica via the Drake Passage, named after 16th-century English admiral Sir Francis Drake. Watch for dozens of species of seabirds gliding alongside our ship—including the albatross, which boasts the longest wingspan of any extant bird—and enjoy talks from our onboard naturalists about the wildlife and geology that await us on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 5-10: Exploring Antarctica

With long hours of daylight at this time of year, we have ample opportunities to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands. Our schedule is flexible, allowing us to take advantage of unexpected wildlife sightings and fortuitous weather conditions, whether we’re watching whales at play off the bow of our ship or enjoying an evening Zodiac cruise amid glittering icebergs.

One day, we might set out by kayak to encounter towering icebergs at water level; embark on a Zodiac excursion in search of seals and blue-eyed shags; or walk on a beach amid thousands of Adélie and gentoo penguins, learning about how climate change is affecting resident penguin colonies. The next, we might experience the thrill of the ship crunching through pack ice.

As we explore Antarctica’s ethereal icescapes, our expedition team will enrich our experiences with their intimate knowledge of the region. A National Geographic photographer and a National Geographic–Lindblad-certified photo instructor provide guidance on how to capture stunning images; our undersea specialists share fascinating video from their dives and reveal underwater footage taken some thousand feet below the surface using the ship’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV); and our expedition leader is always on the lookout for thrilling ways to appreciate the wonders of the Earth’s coldest continent.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 11-12: At Sea

Relax onboard and enjoy the ship’s amenities as the coast of Antarctica disappears from view. Round the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn, and witness the dramatic meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans en route to the Chilean fjords.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 13-14: Exploring the Chilean Fjords: Glacier Alley

Sail into southern Patagonia’s vast wilderness of forested isles, mirror-like lakes, and snowcapped peaks. In this pristine landscape, myriad fjords cut between soaring granite walls and waterfalls tumble from high above. Explore the region known as Chile’s Glacier Alley, part of the UNESCO-recognized Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Cruise into the secluded Pia fjord, admiring views of the massive glacier at its terminus; and glide into Garibaldi Fjord in Alberto de Agostini National Park, where the formidable Andes meet the sea. Get up close to the monumental wall of ice that marks the edge of Garibaldi Glacier, exploring by Zodiac or kayak. Continue to Agostini Sound, where numerous glaciers originate from the nearby mountains, for a chance to witness thunderous glacial calving.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 15: Tierra del Fuego: Karukinka Natural Park and Ainsworth Bay

Cruise to Tierra del Fuego and venture into the archipelago’s largest protected land area: Karukinka Natural Park. Karukinka, meaning “our land” in the language of the area’s ancient inhabitants, harbors over a hundred native species of wildlife as well as the world’s southernmost old-growth forest. Visit this private reserve by special permission, searching for culpeo foxes, guanacos, black-browed albatross, and more. Then sail to Ainsworth Bay, a stunning fjord perched at the mouth of the Marinelli Glacier and surrounded by subpolar forest, keeping an eye out for elephant seals sunbathing along the shore.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16: Francisco Coloane Marine Park

Today, we enter the Strait of Magellan—which separates mainland South America from Tierra del Fuego—to explore Francisco Coloane Marine Park. One of the largest marine protected areas in Chile, the park covers more than 165,000 acres of land and sea and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including humpback whales, two species of sea lion, and Magellanic penguins. Glide along the coastline by Zodiac and kayak to spot black-and-white Peale’s dolphins and keep a lookout for the near threatened Chilean dolphin. Step ashore to spy the Andean condor, one of the largest of all flying birds, soaring overhead.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 17: Exploring the Chilean Fjords: Kirke Narrows and Puerto Natales

Continue our discovery of the Chilean fjords and their spectacular maze of channels and islands, where we may explore by ship or take a walk in the surrounding forest. As we continue to Puerto Natales, local pilots will join our captain on the bridge to guide us through the winding Kirke Narrows, accessible only to small expedition ships. We dock for the night in Puerto Natales, a picturesque port town located at the head of a glacially carved fjord.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 18: Torres del Paine National Park

Spend our final day in Patagonia exploring majestic Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Set out by foot or by vehicle across the windswept, rugged landscape, which spans nearly 500,000 acres and harbors an astounding variety of geological forms, from soaring granite pillars and windswept grasslands to rivers, glaciers, and gem-colored lagoons. As you explore this natural wonderland, keep an eye out for guanaco and flocks of rhea—a flightless bird distantly related to the ostrich—and smaller creatures like foxes and armadillos. Celebrate our epic adventure at a farewell dinner this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 19-20: Puerto Natales/Santiago/U.S.

Disembark in Puerto Natales and take a charter flight to Santiago to connect with your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch Daily