Scenic has launched its 2023-24 Antarctica voyages prior to its full worldwide program which will follow in January.
New cruises have been introduced for the 2023-24 season flying from Punta Arenas, Chile, to meet the Scenic Eclipse at Antarctica’s King George Island – the largest of the South Shetland Islands. The new nine- and 10-day fly-cruise itineraries would allow guests to avoid the nearly two-day Drake Passage journey and enjoy a “fully-focused” Antarctica adventure by utilizing a two-hour flight.
According to a press release, the nine-day Antarctica Insights: Fly & Cruise voyage will be Scenic Eclipse’s first-ever fly-cruise, allowing guests to travel over the Drake Passage one way by air – flying from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island to embark the luxury yacht, and returning by yacht to Ushuaia, Argentina for a flight to Buenos Aires and then home.
The flight option to Antarctica provides a shorter overall voyage and allows for “even greater” exploration of Antarctica, Scenic said. Fares start at $17,417 per person, double. The reverse 10-day itinerary – flying from King George Island to Punta Arenas at the end of the cruise – is priced from $17,617.
For guests looking to avoid the Drake Passage crossing completely, Scenic is offering the nine-day Wild Antarctica: Fly the Drake itinerary, with flights both ways between Punta Arenas and King George Island. Guests will spend one night at each end of the cruise in Punta Arenas and the rest of the time exploring Antarctica. There are three departures, and fares begin at $15,722.
Scenic is also introducing a 16-day Beyond the Antarctic Circle cruise exploring south of the Antarctica Circle – a “rarely visited region of the world,” according to the cruise line. Heading south of latitude 66° 33’ south (Antarctic Circle) brings with it “a change in scenery, more sea ice and wildlife living off the krill-rich waters,” according to the cruise line. This voyage offers a chance to explore more places and make more landings and spend more time taking in Antarctica’s wildlife-filled landscapes. Prices for the 16-day itinerary on Feb. 9, 2024, start at $20,032.
Visiting Antarctica onboard the Eclipse provides guests with the opportunity to cruise on zodiacs or kayak and paddleboard around ice formations, step onto islands uninhabited by humans and walk among vast penguin rookeries and seal colonies and, conditions permitting, visit a working scientific base and meet the staff located there.
Passengers can explore below the horizon aboard the Scenic Neptune – the ship’s six-guest submarine – taking in the wildlife and scenery beneath the continent’s icy surface or explore above the horizon on one of the ship’s two helicopters with a bird’s eye view.
Onboard, the 20-strong Specialist Polar Discovery Team will host a series of lectures about Antarctic history, geography and its ecosystem.
Scenic has also confirmed that the Eclipse will operate six scheduled sailings in Antarctica, commencing on Jan. 8, 2022. This will signal the cruise line’s return to the region after almost two years of not operating.
“We’ve been planning this 2022 season for months and the crew are excited to be sailing back to the pristine White Continent, for a season of ultra-luxury meets discovery. Thanks to the size and capabilities of the Scenic Eclipse, we’ve been able to secure exclusive landings in Margarite Bay, a southern destination that very few other ships visit,” said Scenic’s Expedition Operations Manager Jason Flesher.
All Scenic Eclipse voyages are all-inclusive, including itinerary-required flights, transfers, up to 10 fine dining experiences, premium branded beverages, once-in-a-lifetime immersive excursions, butlers, use of the spa (services are extra), and more.