Among the tours are three new air and cruise packages that include ‘shortcuts’ by plane to reduce the sailing time to the polar region and allowing passengers more time to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and also South Georgia, which boasts more wildlife per square metre than any other place on Earth.
The air credit offer is valid for 2015/16 Antarctica earlybird bookings made with Active Travel before November 30, 2014. The adventures are run by longstanding, polar travel specialists, One Ocean Expeditions, which Active Travel pioneered in the Australian market in 2008.
The three new Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ‘air and cruise’ packages range in length from 11-15 days and all include flight sectors to cut the time at sea, reduce the chance of cross-passage sea sickness, allow more exploration time on land and reduce the length and cost of the tour.
The three new voyages are aboard the Russian, ice-strengthened ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, with the maximum passenger load lowered from 92 to 70 passengers, allowing for more personal service and attention.
Active Travel’s first new package – the 11-day ‘Antarctic Peninsula Explorer and the Falklands’ – starts with a 90-minute flight from Punta Arenas to Port Stanley in the Falklands, followed by a 10-night cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula and then a two-hour flight from the South Shetland Islands back to Punta Arenas. The itinerary in Antarctica includes walks ashore with naturalist guides, visits to historic huts, cruising in zodiac boats to view spectacular icebergs and witnessing an abundance of wildlife species including seals, whales and penguins. Including the two flight transfers, the package is priced from US$9795 per person, triple share, or form US$11,795 twin-share. Departures from Punta Arenas are on December 19, 2015, and January 9, February 13 and March 7 in 2016.
A 12-day ‘Ultimate Antarctica’ tour begins with a flight from Punta Arenas to the South Shetland Islands, followed by an 11-night cruise to the Falklands via the Antarctic Peninsula and ending with a flight from Port Stanley back to Punta Arenas. Departing Punta Arenas on December 8 and 29, 2015, and January 19 and February 23 in 2016, the package is available from US$10,045 triple-share, or from US$12,045 twin-share, including the two air transfers.
The third package – the 15-day ‘South Georgia in Depth’ – includes one flight – from Punta Arenas to the Falklands, with passengers then spending 14 nights at sea, including eight days exploring the snow-capped peaks, stunning fjords and wildlife-rich shores of South Georgia Island, famous for its massive colonies of King penguins and elephant seals which jostle for space on the foreshore. Only 30 scientists live on the remote and rugged island in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The voyage, which ends in Ushuaia, Argentina, is available from US$10,145 triple-share and from US$11,245 twin-share, including the flight transfer. One departure is available on October 17, 2015.
Flights from Australia to South America are extra. Bookings made for the cruises before November 30, 2014, will receive a flight credit of AU$750 per person, to be used towards international flights booked in conjunction with the cruise through Active Travel. Pre/post cruise accommodation can also booked through Active Travel.
For details of the Antarctica packages, visit www.activetravel.com.au or call 1300 783 188.