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Antarctica + South Shetland Islands Hosted by Denise Landau
Nov 26, 2023

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12 days

November 26, 2023

From: $13,889*
per person

AAA Travel invites you on an exclusive classic voyage with Expert Host Denise Landau!

Our Antarctic Expert, Denise Landau, owns an environmental consulting company-working on projects on multiple continents and is the President of “Friends of South Georgia Island” . She is on the Board of Governors for the American Polar Society and has had a glacier named in her honor, the “Landau Glacier”. Please see full Bio below. 

Sail aboard the luxurious Ocean Victory, an exploration vessel with the latest developments in marine engineering. This intimate ship offers unmatched comfort and safety in Polar waters with first-in-class luxury amenities. Explore one of the world’s top wildlife destinations, with expertly guided Zodiac excursions and shore landings, you’ll encounter a rich variety of penguins, seals, whales and marine birds. Expert-led discussions and shore excursions make this a journey of a lifetime!

*Rates are per person, double occupancy based on category D porthole stateroom. Other categories available and prices vary. A 25% Non- Refundable deposit per cabin is due at time of booking with LEGAL names and birthdates.  Rates do not include airfare. Hotels, events and itinerary are subject to change. Due to its remote location and governmental requirements, travel insurance is required for travel to Antarctica including, emergency medevac and repatriation coverage of $200,000 in the event of an unexpected emergency. Events and inclusions listed may be substituted or eliminated and have no cash value. Passports are required for US citizens and must be valid 6 month beyond return date of tour. This tour requires average physical activity. Passengers must be in general good health and physically capable of performing normal onboard and onshore activities, which may require moderate exertion, with a high degree of self-sufficiency. Travelers will need to be capable of boarding Zodiacs via gangways and navigate the onboard stairs between decks. The Auto Club Group is not responsible for errors or omissions in the promotion of this tour. 

DAILY ITINERARY:

You’ll be met on arrival and escorted to the 5-star Los Cauquenes Resort and Spa where Beagle Channel-view rooms have been reserved for you.

This day is yours to relax and enjoy the setting and amenities of the resort. Our expert guide can offer suggestions if you wish to explore on your own.

Enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow guests and meet your Expert Host, Denise Landau. (B, D)

This morning’s guided tour reveals the raw, wild beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park. Traveling through the Andean montane to Lapataia Bay, you’ll have a chance to immerse yourself into the forests full of native plants, unusual birds and mammals.

In the late afternoon, you will board our state-of-the-art ship and settle in to your beautiful stateroom. Meet your expedition team and get acquainted with our luxury Polar vessel as you set sail along the Beagle Channel. (B, D)

The Drake Passage is known for its remarkable birdlife, and our naturalist staff onboard will be able to show you Black Browed and the remarkable Wandering Albatross (with a 12 foot wing span) Cape Petrels and numerous other seabirds and whales found in the southern ocean.

You’ll sail confidently aboard the Ocean Victory, our next-generation Polar ship,  purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly-qualified crew. Your experience is enhanced by engaging shipboard talks with experts on the wildlife, ice, geology, history and the climate of Antarctica. This first day at sea sets the stage for the exciting voyage ahead. (B, L, D)

The Drake Passage is named for the renowned explorer Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578. As we head south, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence – where cold Polar waters sink beneath warmer currents creating a biological barrier between the Antarctic Ocean and the other Oceans. The convergence creates an upwelling of nutrients that sustains a remarkable diversity of marine life. Anticipation builds of the Antarctic wildlife that will fill the subsequent days. Indeed, this is the day that we might catch our first sightings of seals and penguins. (B, L, D)

Our exciting exploration begins in earnest. A haven for wildlife, the South Shetland Islands offer a chance to encounter vast penguin rookeries, numerous seabirds and pristine shorelines.

Our exact itinerary over the coming days will depend on weather and ice conditions. Each day will be determined by the ship’s Captain and Expedition Leader – and communicated to you through regularly scheduled shipboard briefings. (B, L, D)

Another thrilling day unfolds in the South Shetland Islands, or, weather depending, maybe already at the Antarctic Peninsula. Accompanied by our expert naturalists, you’ll set out in our maneuverable Zodiacs to explore the captivating seascapes and to go ashore for unforgettable walks among penguin rookeries. This time of year is especially thrilling for the ritualized penguin courtship rituals as they commence nest building.

Beaches may still be covered in snow for pristine photos. The Peninsula is home to thousands of Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins, Cape Petrels, Southern Giant Petrels, Brown Skuas and Weddell Seals, just a short list of what we will see. (B, L, D)

As the breathtaking white landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula surround us, the presence of the abundant wildlife features lively penguins and other nesting birds, seals, and Humpback Whales that come for the feeding bonanza of the Austral summer.

During our explorations we will continually thrill to the towering ice cliffs and huge glaciers, penguins porpoising through the water and, with luck, close encounters with the whales. As weather, sea and ice conditions permit, you can anticipate daily Zodiac excursions to experience Antarctica’s wonders up-close and shore landings that promise engaging wildlife encounters with our expert naturalists. (B, L, D)

Our exploration by sea and land continues to unfold today, with yet more landings and Zodiac excursions determined by our Captain and Expedition Leader. As always, weather, sea and ice conditions are the determining factors and your comfort and safety are always paramount.

When not venturing out in our Zodiacs or going ashore with our terrific naturalists, you can enjoy the views from the comfort of the ship, the fine dining, with wine at dinner and our ongoing enrichment program ranging from exploration history to polar ice, geology, history and wildlife. (B, L, D)

Having left the Antarctic Peninsula behind us, today finds the Ocean Victory charting a northward course across the Drake Passage. There will be more opportunities to photograph and view magnificent albatrosses, rare seabirds and whales. (B, L, D)

Our return journey is via the distant Cape Horn, a storied maritime landmark that marks the southern tip of the Continent. As the final day of your voyage unfolds, you can delight in the camaraderie of your fellow travelers, attend our engaging shipboard talks, and enjoy our ship’s amenities and inviting public spaces. (B, L, D)

Step off the Ocean Victory and transfer to the airport for your onward journey with a lifetime of lasting memories! (B)

Optional: 2 night Pre-Cruise Package in Buenos Aires Nov 24-26, 2023 - From $2099 per person, based on double occupancy

Highlights:

Discover the historic landmarks of Buenos Aires with a unique twist, as our engaging guide relates the sites you’ll see to the colorful life of Evita!

Peel back layers of history at Zanjon de Granados, an unusual subterranean architectural site that dates back to the 1700’s.

Thrill to authentic Tango at La Ventana, known for the passion of its dancers and musicians.

With 2 nights luxury hotel and guaranteed early check in; 4 meals with wine at lunch + dinner; comprehensive sightseeing; all transfers; one internal flight; and all gratuities

The Argentine capital is a rich mosaic of Spanish, Italian, German and French influences – in its cuisine, architecture and the spirit of its residents. 

On arrival in Buenos Aires, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Alvear Palace Hotel where we’ve arranged early check-in. Situated in La Recoleta, one of the city’s most exclusive, districts, our luxury hotel promises exceptional service and elegant rooms decorated in Empire and Louis XV style.

After time to rest, and lunch on your own, you’ll explore this delightful city with our expert guide including the elegant Plaza de Mayo; it’s the oldest public square in town and has been the scene of many significant and historic events. You’ll also see City Hall, an impressive Colonial-era landmark, and tour the Metropolitan Cathedral with its grand interior and lavish Rococo-style altar. Adding a unique twist to this afternoon’s city tour, your guide will offer fascinating insight, relating each of these landmarks to the colorful life of Eva Peron.

After returning to our hotel, we’ll conclude our introduction to Buenos Aires with a cocktail on the Alvear’s rooftop terrace overlooking the twinkling lights of this beautiful city.

Begin your sightseeing in La Boca, the colorful and historic neighborhood where the Tango was born. It’s situated along the waterfront and retains a strong European ambiance thanks to the area’s early settlers, many of whom came from the Italian city of Genoa. The homes and buildings are colorfully painted, there’s always music to be heard, and street performances of Tango are a regular occurrence!

Then continue to San Telmo, where the weekly San Telmo Antique Fair hosts more than 250 vendors. Mingle with residents who are out to shop and to enjoy the impromptu performances of dance and theater that make this one of the capital’s liveliest events. San Telmo has also emerged as a gastronomic hub making this a terrific place for lunch. Today, you’ll also visit Zanjon de Granados. Discovered in 1986 and dating to the 1700’s, this unusual subterranean architectural site encompasses a network of tunnels and cisterns that have been carefully reconstructed and lit, offering a fascinating look into the earliest days of the city.

This evening, enjoy dinner and the Tango show at La Ventana, a venue famed for the passion and skill of its dancers and musicians. (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Ushuaia, where you’ll be met and escorted to the picturesque Los Cauquenes Resort and Spa. (B)

AAA EXCLUSIVE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Rates include a $100 per person donation to the Friends of South Georgia Island**
  • Lectures and insights from our onboard experts every day of your voyage, at sea and ashore
  • Discover Tierra del Fuego National Park at the End of the World, a land of mountains, sea coasts, forests and waterways
  • Numerous Zodiac excursions revealing mythic seascapes and terrain of the wild and pristine coast of the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Penguin mating, nesting and egg laying rituals—seen this time of year
  • Pristine snow and ice vistas due our early season visit.
  • Luxury accommodations for 2 nights pre-cruise
  • Cruise on the Ocean Victory, outside cabin, 9 nights
  • 29 meals and open bar on board the ship
  • Parka to keep
  • Boots will be provided for onboard for use on during the trip
  • All sightseeing + shore excursions
  • All transfers and luggage handling
  • Port charges and all gratuities
  • Services of an Expert Antarctica Host

   **Friends of South Georgia Island is a non-profit
    organization dedicated to raising funds to protect and
    conserve the natural and cultural heritage of South
    Georgia, restoring the ecological balance and returning it
    to the incredibly rich and biodiverse island it once was.

Denise Landau Bio

Denise Landau combines her love of natural history and expedition travel with a focus on environmental protection and education. She owns an environmental consulting company-working on projects on multiple continents and is the President of “Friends of South Georgia Island” (www.fosgi.org). Denise is also a Trustee for the Scottish charity, South Georgia Heritage Trust (www.sght.org). In having actively participated in both of these Sub-Antarctic South Georgia organizations, she oversaw the highly respected and successful Habitat Restoration, biological conservation and cultural heritage projects.

She was Acting President and is on the Board of Governors for the American Polar Society (www.aps.org) and founding /board member of Linking Tourism and Conservation (www.ltandc.org) and a fellow for the Canadian Royal Geographical Society. She is constantly looking at how to create projects in order to benefit all the organizations she’s involved in.

Denise has a Bachelor of Science in Field Natural History and Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University and has been able to combine her love for adventure, wildlife and wilderness whilst at the same time developing strategic conservation management policies and working on a governmental level to implement such policies worldwide. She has been actively involved in building bridges between the cruise tourism industry, governments and environmental groups for the last 30 years. Until 2008 she had been the Executive Director of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), an organization which under her leadership set the highest environmental operating standards within a self-regulatory regime anywhere in the world. As a result of her many years of work within the industry she was awarded, by the US government in 2009, a glacier named in her honor, located in the Antarctic Peninsula – the “Landau Glacier”.

She began her career as a park ranger in North Cascades National Park, followed by 3 years in Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska) and North Cascades National Park Washington (USA). On shoulder seasons she began working on ships as a naturalist, lecturer first in Alaska in the early 1980’s and has since travelled all seven continents in search of remote corners of the world. She has spent many years sailing and or logistical planning in both the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Interview with Greg Carter

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