Plancius – Polar Circle

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Please Note: Our website packages are here to provide you with a guide on what we can offer. If this package does not suit your requirements we can easily cutomise your trip to suit your needs and preferences.


This 12 Days Polar Circle Cruise travels from Ushuaia to the Shetland Islands and then far south down the Antarctic Peninsula to Detaille Island, crossing the Polar Circle. This border, located at Latitude 66° 33′ South, marks the Antarctic Territory. Sea mammals such as killer whales, humpback whales, minke whales, leopard and crabeater seals are frequently seen during Antarctic Circle voyages. 

The Antarctic Circle experiences a period of 24 hours of continuous daylight at least once in the year. The reason for this phenomenon is that the axis of the earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees. South of the Polar Circle, at Detaille Island in Crystal Sound, is the farthest south that this excursion will probably reach at Latitude 66°52′ South. The farther south in Antarctica, the colder it gets. Temperatures slightly below 0ºC (32ºF) can be expected on these journeys. 

See the sub-ducted crater that is Deception Island, including hot springs and an abandoned whaling station. Look for black-bellied storm petrels nesting in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Take in a large colony of gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island. Enjoy Zodiac cruises through the ice-filled waters of Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay, and possibly Pléneau Island, watching for humpback and minke whales. Hope to sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Petermann Island, before moving on to Detaille Island, which is likely to be the most southern landing.


Day 1: Embark Ushuaia
Day 2 & 3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 4 to 9: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the Polar Circle
Day 10 & 11: At Sea crossing the Drake Passage
Day 12: Arrival at Ushuaia - Disembark

NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of Motor Vessel Plancius is 10.5 knots.

  • Ushuaia - Embark

    Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America.

    Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

  • Crossing the Drake Passage

    Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray.

  • Crossing the Drake Passage

    After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. 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 are a few of the birds you might see

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Options for Antarctic Peninsula activities are many, and no less great during the late summer. Humpback whales are prolific in this region, gorging themselves on krill before their migration north. The penguin chicks are also fledging, stirring up activity on the beaches while sleek leopard seals lie in wait, poised to attack the less fortunate ones.

    Sites for your Antarctic adventures may include:

    Livingston Island – Here you find a wide variety of gentoo and chinstrap penguins on Hannah Point, as well as southern giant petrels and elephant seals hauling out onto the beach.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Deception Island – Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. Hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels also nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.

    Cuverville Island – A small precipitous island nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Rongé Island, Cuverville houses a large colony of gentoo penguins and breeding pairs of brown skuas.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. You might also be able to set foot on the continent here.

    Paradise Bay – You could take a Zodiac cruise in these sprawling, ice-flecked waters, where you have a good chance of seeing humpback and minke whales.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you may sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales as well as leopard seals.

    Crystal Sound – Your journey takes you south along the Argentine Islands to this ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Detaille Island – You may make a landing at an abandoned British research station here, taking in the island’s lofty mountains and imposing glaciers.

    Fish Islands – Further north you encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Melchior Islands – These islands offer a beautiful landscape rich with icebergs. Leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales are found here, and there are excellent opportunities for kayaking and diving.

    Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

  • At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

    Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

  • At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

    Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

  • Ushuaia - Disembark

    Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.


  • Passengers: 106 in 50 cabins
  • Staff & crew: 47
  • Length: 89 meters (293 feet)
  • Breadth: 14,5 meters (47 feet)
  • Draft: 5 meters (16 feet)
  • Ice class: 1D (Plancius has a Lloyds class notation 100A1 Passenger ship, Ice Class 1D at a draught of 5 meters)
  • Displacement: 3211 tonnes
  • Propulsion: 3x Diesel-Electric
  • Speed: 10.5 knots average cruising speed


Motor Vessel Plancius accommodates 106 passengers in 50 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 3 quadruple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 26 twin window cabins, 2 twin deluxe cabins and 10 superior cabins.

All cabins offer lower berths (one queen-size bed in the superior cabins and two single beds in the twin cabins), except for the 4 quadruple porthole cabins (for 4 persons in 2 upper and 2 lower beds) and 2 triple porthole cabins (1 bunk bed plus 1 lower bed). Common amenities include desk and chair, telephone and internet connection, a flatscreen TV and a hairdryer in each cabin and ample storage space.

Quadruple Porthole

#203-206 on Deck 2: two upper & lower berths and one porthole. Approximately 161 square feet. This cabin is suitable for families traveling with children, or guests who do not require a twin or more luxurious cabin.

Twin Porthole

#301-307, 309 & 311 on Deck 3: two lower berths and one porthole. Approximately 161 square feet.

Twin Window

#403-408 & 410-429 on Deck 4: two lower berths and one window. Approximately 161 square feet.

Twin Deluxe

#401-402 on Deck 4: two lower berths and two windows. These corner cabins feel slightly more spacious than the normal twin window/porthole cabins, yet are still approximately 161 square feet.


#409 on Deck 4; #501-504 on Deck 5; #601-606 on Deck 6: one double bed, two windows, one sofa bed, refrigerator, coffee and tea maker. Approximately 226 square feet.




  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.


  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).


Optional Activities

  • Kayaking – US$465 per person
  • Diving – US$530 per person
  • Camping – US$190 per person

Age and Nationality

Passengers on a typical voyage range from their 30s to their 80s – with a majority usually from 45 – 65. Our expeditions attract independent-minded travellers from around the world. They are characterised by a strong interest in exploring remote regions. The camaraderie and spirit that develops aboard is an important part of the expedition experience. Many departures have several nationalities on board.

Dress Code

In keeping with our expeditions atmosphere, dress on board is informal. Bring casual and comfortable clothing for all activities. Keep in mind that much of the spectacular scenery can be appreciated from deck, which can be slippery. Bring sturdy shoes with no-slip soles and make sure the parka is never far away in case of the call “Whales!” comes over the loudspeaker and you have to dash outside. Wear layers since it is comfortably warm aboard the ship – and often cold on deck.

Currency & Payment

Refreshments from the bar and souvenirs will be charged to your cabin. The day before departure you can settle your bill with the Hotel Manager and pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or cash (Euro or Dollar). We do not accept cheques of any kind. The prices and standard currency on board our vessels is the Euro. Other currencies may be accepted at the discretion of the hotel manager at prevailing rates.

Electric current

The electrical supply aboard the ship is 220v, 60Hz. Electrical outlets are standard European with two thick round pins. You may need a 220v/110v converter.


The customary gratuity to the ship’s service personnel is made as a blanket contribution at the end of the voyage which is divided among the crew. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. As a generally accepted guideline, we suggest US$8 to US$10 per person per day. It is better for the crew, if you can give them cash US Dollar.

Non-smoking policy

On board our vessels we have a non-smoking policy. It is prohibited to smoke inside the ship. You can smoke in the designated smoking areas. Please respect the wishes of non-smokers.

Your physical condition

You must be in good general health and you should be able to walk several hours per day. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join most excursions, you must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. This will become progressively easier with practice. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. You are travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Plancius is 10.5 knots.