Travel ▻ Polar ▻ Antarctica12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica

12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica

12 days

12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
from $8045 USD

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The Basecamp Antarctica expedition is expressly designed for active outdoors enthusiasts seeking the most adventure possible out of their Antarctica experience! This is our most popular Antarctica offering. Travelers enjoy camping on Antarctica, mountaineering, hiking, snowshoeing, and sea kayaking all included in your expedition rate. The vessels that serve as your mobile "basecamp" provide an ideal balance of toughness and comfort. These expeditions are great value in the world's greatest place!

2019-2020 Departures

*** Please contact us for specific availability and rates for 2019-2020, thank you!

  • November 3-14, 2019 (Ortelius)
  • December 5-16, 2019 (Ortelius)
  • December 18-29, 2019 (Plancius)
  • December 29, 2019-January 9, 2020 (Plancius)
  • February 27-March 9, 2020 (Plancius)
  • March 9-20, 2020 (Plancius)
2020-2021 Departures
*** Prices for 2020-2021 departures start at US$8,045/person sharing in a quad cabin (and up, in higher cabin categories, like twin porthole cabins, etc.)  for many of the departures. Prices vary a bit by length of trip and departure date, with the most expensive trips typically around the holidays and the lesser expensive expeditions being the shoulder departures. Twins with portholes , on most departures, are US$9,945/person but the same notes apply (prices vary by departure date, length of the expedition, etc.). Please contact us for specific rates for the trip date and cabin type you'd prefer. 
November 8-19, 2020 (Ortelius)
November 21 - December 2, 2020 (Plancius)
November 29 - December 20, 2020 (Ortelius)
December 10-22, 2020 (Ortelius) - 13 days
December 22, 2020 - January 3, 2021 (Ortelius) - 13 days
February 25 - March 8, 2021 (Plancius)
March 8-19, 2021 (Plancius)



On Basecamp voyages, we offer an exciting "open air" camping option, which gives an intensive experience of the Antarctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to a tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of Antarctica. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. One expedition guide will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. We can help with more details, please inquire with us if you have any questions.


During voyages with hiking options we hope to be able to exceed on our normal shore excursion walking Program. The possibilities to hike longer distances in de Antarctic are limited by mountains and glaciers. In general the longest hikes can last up to two hours. We aim at one or two hikes per day during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of ankle high hiking boots and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge; contact us for more details.


In general we plan to at least offer 4 kayaking days. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Parallel to all other activities we are planning on offering kayaking excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. The vessel will provide kayaks, neoprene wet suits, booties and gloves. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions.


This is a technical and more strenuous activity for mountaineers who wish to walk beyond the shore radius in order to reach higher grounds and view points. Mountaineers walk in rope parties under the leadership of a certified mountain guide mostly across glaciated environment. Mountaineering knowledge is preferable, but not required. Physical fitness is essential. The maximum number is limited to 6 mountaineers per rope party. Special glacier equipment will be provided: ropes and carabiners, harnesses, helmets, ice axes and crampons. Participants will bring their personal protective outdoor clothes, mountaineering boots (ankle high) suitable for using crampons. A mountain guide and assistants (depending on group size) will supervise and guide the activity.


Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further inland. During voyages to the Antarctic we are planning on offering hiking excursions with snowshoes. Snowshoe walking is easy and does not require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided to everyone on board. Those will fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with supplied rubber boots.

Photo Workshop

On selected voyages, another fun opportunity for travelers are the photo workshops for beginners and advanced photographers under the supervision of a photo expert on board. Everybody is welcome to participate, no previous experience required. The workshop group (up to 20 participants per guide per landing) will be accompanied by the photo expert during activity ashore. Participants with a special interest in photography will bring their personal photo equipment. During cruise days everybody will be able to listen into photo lectures and workshops in order to learn more about objects, exposures and photo composition. The workshop does not intend to instruct on how to use specific camera models, but more to give an insight on better photo results by respecting basic rules of photography. Photographers can also take part in other activities of their choice. Photo workshops are free of charge on Basecamp voyages. The photo workshop must be pre-booked prior to departure.

Character of photo workshops: this is a free "try out" activity for everybody, participants also dip into other activities, group size up to 20 participants per photo guide and landing, daily changing groups, workshop content not too specialised, target group "beginners to experts" who wish to receive daily photo tuition. During photo workshops powered by Leica Akademie, participants can test Leica camera equipment free of charge.

Scuba Diving

Scuba is no longer offered on Basecamp expeditions however other select Antarctica expeditions continue to provide this option; please contact us for available dates and rates. Divers must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. We hope for 1-2 different dives per day parallel to all other activities. Diving depends on local ice and weather conditions. Dive masters and dive guides are responsible for safety during operation. Basic equipment is onboard (scuba tanks, compressors, weights and diving essentials). Divers bring their personal gear. A supplement will be charged for the activity package. To operate this activity, there is a minimum # of divers required on board the ship, of 8, with a maximum of 24.

*** NOTES:

While quad cabins, sharing with others, is an excellent option for small parties of friends of the same gender and solo travelers, other cabin types like twins with portholes or superiors, for example, are better for couples. There are also triples available to share as well. Please contact us for specific pricing based on the cabin type you'd prefer and the departure date. All travelers are encouraged to contact us and book as far out from the departure date as you can - this will help you with finding the cabin space you prefer on the trip you want. 

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.


Day 1: Embark from Ushuaia

This afternoon, make your way to the port and board the ship. We embark from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

*** Please note that we strongly recommend you fly into Ushuaia the day before your expedition and overnight. There are a number of 3-star and higher properties to choose from.

Meals included: Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 2: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

During the next two days, we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see 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.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 3: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

Near the South Shetland Islands, we spot our first icebergs. The chances are good that we see the South Shetland Islands in the evening of day 3 steering past Nelson Island through Nelson Strait in order to reach King George Island. The South Shetland Islands are windswept and often hide in the fog. There are a wide variety of flora to see (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna (Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap penguins, and giant petrels) to admire.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 4: King George Island

We begin our program with a landing on the island King George Iceland, which is over 1100 sqm large which has become an important center of the Antarctic research activity. In the ice-free areas of King George Island, mainly in the southwest of the island, there are a number of Antarctic research stations. Two species of flowering plants grow here. The island is inhabited by several penguin and seal species, like Gentoo penguins, elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals. In the shelter of the bay we offer excursions and activities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 5: Deception Island

We will sail to Deception Island. Our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune's Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. We hope for a good long walk and kayak trip which will depend on site availability and weather conditions. Deception is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson's Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. We continue our voyage towards Trinity Island and Mikkelsen Harbor. We continue our voyage South.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 6: Explore Antarctica

We visit Trinity Island and Mikkelsen Harbor. On our way further South we will sail through the Gerlache Strait, the breathtaking Neumayer Channel where we go ashore at Damoy Point and Dorian Bay. We will visit the British research station and the post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. We look out for leopard seals, crabeater seals and whales. Sailing north again we have good chances to see minke of humpback whales. Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. In Neko Harbour we have the opportunity for zodiac cruising amongst the ice floes and to set foot on the Antarctic Continent. We arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. From here we sail via Melchior Islands towards the open sea of the Drake Passage. We have again a chance of seeing many seabirds.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 7: Explore Antarctica

Further exploration - please see Day 6.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 8: Explore Antarctica

Further exploration - please see Day 6.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 9: Explore Antarctica

Explore more of the region with the full range of activities continuing. Late in the evening of Day 9, the expedition often begins the journey back to Ushuaia. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 10: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

On our way north, we are again followed by a fantastic array of polar seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage. Lectures continue to provide us with more knowledge of the region's singular wildlife, geology, and more. We'll be on the lookout for whales too. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 11: Sailing the Drake's Passage / At Sea

At Sea.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius

Day 12: Disembark in Ushuaia

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark. A group bus transfer from the port to the Ushuaia airport is included. You'll want to scheduled your departure flight out of Ushuaia from 12noon and later. 

Meals included: Breakfast


12-Day Active Basecamp Antarctica
from $8045 USD

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • Voyage aboard an ice-hardened expedition vessel
  • Free use of rubber boots (for wet landings) and snow shoes
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the ship to the Ushuaia airport (directly after disembarkation)
  • Lecture program by noted naturalists and experienced staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges during the program
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material Services of professional expedition staff
  • All activities as indicated (except scuba diving, which comes with an extra charge)
  • Coffee, tea, and water on the vess
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Scuba diving (optional)

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