Take the chance to cross Antarctica off your travel wish list with an exceptional expedition-style cruise on board the seriously stylish Silversea ship Silver Cloud. To tantalise you we’ve included a hip stay in Santiago and a detour to an exclusive winery in the Colchagua Valley before your cruise. Then, from the ‘world’s end’, Ushuaia, traverse Drake’s eponymous passage on the way to the Antarctic Sound and the Antarctic Peninsula. Keep your binoculars and camera to hand as you navigate ice floes and encounter seals, penguins and Orca whales, while revelling in the unparalleled service and spaciousness of the most comfortable ice class vessel in expedition cruising.
Kick off your thrilling adventure with a complimentary chauffeur-driven journey to the airport and VIP airport lounge access. Then, board an overnight flight to Chile, landing in Santiago.
On arrival in Santiago you will be transported to The Singular, a design hotel set in the centre of the city’s artistic hood Lastarria. From your boutique bolthole walk out and uncover the city’s must-see music halls, artisan eateries and galleries. Watch Santiago stretch out to the Andes from the rooftop while sipping a Chilean Pisco Sour and spy on the bustle of the bohemian borough below. Drop down to dine in the hotel’s renowned restaurant and satiate your desire for sustenance and style.
From the capital we’ll arrange a private transfer to Santa Cruz and the Colchagua Valley, arriving at Clos Apalta Residence (formerly Lapostolle). Enjoy very private and personalised service at this prestigious winery while you stay in a seriously stylish casita nestled in the forest hillside. The winery is a marvel of technical ingenuity and aesthetic elegance, while its reputation extends to award-winning vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere. Spend the following day relaxing, with a wine tasting to tickle the taste buds and a tour of the winery’s cellar in the company of a local guide. There’s also a swimming pool and wellness centre with a wide range of massage and beauty treatments with which to spoil yourself.
A morning flight will take you to 55 degrees latitude south and the town of Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world. The dramatic setting, where the city is pinned to the coast by muscular mountains, adds to the drama. The imposing physical landscape has a long and involved human history too, with footprints left by Yamana, Haush, Selk’nam and Alakaluf Indians over the course of the last 6,000 years. We will arrange a shared transfer to the embarkation point for Silver Cloud. Slip on board and settle yourself in your cabin before making your way to the Dolce Vita bar to toast your departure.
As you depart Ushuaia, you’ll be sailing in the wake of a long line of Antarctic explorers. Initially you’ll navigate Drake’s Passage, moving towards the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary between cold polar water flowing northward and warmer equatorial water moving southward. When these two contrasting current collide, nutrients are forced to the surface, making these rich feeding grounds for a multitude of whales and seabirds. Stake out a spot in Tor’s Observation Lounge and watch for breaching humpbacks or black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels gliding in the air currents alongside and in the wake of Silver Cloud. Learn more about the phenomenon and the wildlife that benefits from it in the course of lectures by the ship’s team of marine biologists, ornithologists and historians in the Explorer Lounge.
Next is the white wilderness of Antarctica. Remote and otherworldly, it is irresistible. The captain will select a route according to the sea and weather conditions but whichever itinerary you follow, there will be opportunities to land on the ice after Zodiac excursions. Explore the stark bare shores of Cuverville Island and spot fur seals basking here. Pay a visit to the scientific research station hidden among Paradise Bay’s glacial mountains. Travel to the penguin rookeries on Petermann Island and have an expert geologist point out the glacial forces that sculpted and shaped the land. Go whale watching in Neko Harbour on a Zodiac cruise, sail inside the caldera of Deception Island and uncover the island’s 20th-century history from whaling to scientific studies, and visit the World War II listening station at Port Lockroy.
Sailing from the Antarctic Peninsula via the Bransfield Strait you will reach the South Shetland Islands. This nine-strong scattering of islands was a favourite of early sealers in the 19th Century before it came to the attention of the scientific community, drawn here by the warmer climate that supports an exciting range of eco systems. Join a Zodiac safari to explore Aitcho Island and let a naturalist lead you to Gentoo and Chinstrap penguin colonies, where you’ll also encounter skuas and petrels. Elephant seals loiter by the landing site and you might spot a leopard seal hunting as you return to the ship.
Return through Drake Passage, navigating the turbulent waters and taking time to watch for wildlife and seabirds. Brush up on your area history in additional presentations by the Expedition Team in the Explorer Lounge and spend time editing your photos in the ship’s well-equipped photo studio as you sail towards Ushuaia. Make the most of the ship’s facilities too; spoil yourself with a spa treatment in the Zagara Spa or settle yourself in Connoisseur’s Corner for an exceptional cognac and premium selection of cigars.
After a final, leisurely breakfast, arrive in Ushuaia and disembark from Silver Cloud. You'll be transferred to the airport, where you will pick up a flight to Santiago. Your final night in Santiago is at the Sheraton, a centrally located and well-appointed last base complete with butler service, a superb spa and a cocktail bar with views across the city.
Stay: Sheraton Santiago Hotel and Convention Center
Conclude your adventure with a shared transfer to the airport, where you’ll connect with a flight to London, which arrives back in the UK the following day.
"This is an incredible way to see Antarctica up close. Paired with a luxury stay at a Chilean winery, this itinerary is very special. And of course, the highlight is always viewing whales, penguins and seals in their natural surroundings on Silver Cloud's Zodiac expeditions. I can't recommend the Silversea service enough."
High Season from: £11,750 pp
Itinerary subject to change based on weather and sea conditions