The Great Austral Loop

17 days / 16 nights
    Expedition
    The Great Austral Loop

    Cruise Antarctica

    from 19 December 2016 to 4 January 2017
    17 days / 16 nights

    Departure Port : Ushuaia
    Arrival Port : Ushuaia

    Ship : LE SOLEAL

    • Ref : S191216

    To begin your cruise, discover the Falkland Islands and their undulating hills and verdant moors. Farther along, South Georgia is home to imposing glaciers that tilt towards the sea and the black sandy beaches play host to thousands of King Penguins, the emblem of this faraway land.

    Then,we will head South to discover the Northern Peninsula’s unique beauty: iridescent icebergs, floating ice fields and extraordinary marine mammals, such as the majestic Humpback Whale or Leopard Seals, playing in the ships’ wake.

    PONANT is a voting Member of International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), organization founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. (iaato.org)

    • Free parka Free parka
    • Naturalists Naturalists
    • Free boot rental Free boot rental
    See the map

    Highlights

    • Wildlife: Huge colonies of King Penguins, many Elephant Seals basking on the black sandy beaches, large populations of Fur Seals and Macaroni Penguins in South Georgia. Also, hundreds of Gentoo Penguins, Adelie and Chinstrap and the majestic Humpback Whales in Peninsula, as well as the elegant Albatros in the Falkland.
    • Landscapes: Mountain chains, imposing glaciers, lush green pastures. Abandoned former whaling stations and historic centers. Drifting icebergs and sea ice in Peninsula.
    • Hiking possible: Grytviken, Deception Island and Fortuna Bay.
    • Outings in Zodiac® dinghies: Cooper Bay, New Island and Half Moon.
    • Instructive Discovery in the respect of Environment

    * Just for example. Taking into account the state of the ice and the weather conditions.

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    Staterooms & Suites

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      There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.

      LE SOLEAL

      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL

      LE SOLEAL

      Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and her intimate size (only 132 staterooms and suites)make this a rare and innovative yacht on the cruise market. 

      Interior Design

      With her fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white, Le Soléal presents references to a nautical theme.

      Port of call & excursions

      19 December 2016 – At sea

      Ushuaia

      Embarkation 19/12/2016 from 17H00 to 18H00 . Departure 19/12/2016 at 18H30 .

      Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

      20 December 2016 – At sea

      20 December 2016 – At sea

      Arrival 20/12/2016 . Departure 20/12/2016 .

      During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

      21 December 2016 – New Island, Grave Cove

      21 December 2016 – New Island, Grave Cove

      Arrival 21/12/2016 . Departure 21/12/2016 .

      Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white.  A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you'll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you'll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.

      22 December 2016▸23 December 2016 – At sea

      22 December 2016▸23 December 2016 – At sea

      Arrival 22/12/2016 . Departure 23/12/2016 .

      During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

      24 December 2016 – Salisbury Plain - Fortuna Bay

      24 December 2016 – Salisbury Plain - Fortuna Bay

      Arrival 24/12/2016 . Departure 24/12/2016 .

      25 December 2016 – Grytviken - St Andrews Bay

      25 December 2016 – Grytviken - St Andrews Bay

      Arrival 25/12/2016 . Departure 25/12/2016 .

      26 December 2016 – Gold Harbour

      26 December 2016 – Gold Harbour

      Arrival 26/12/2016 . Departure 26/12/2016 .

      Majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, pitch-black volcanic sand beaches: these are just a few of the wonders to be found in Gold Harbour's landscape. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussocks and framed by snow-capped peaks. On this island where summer days are endless, the wildlife stays up with the sun. Fur seals, elephant seals and king penguins move about the island like tiny black dots along the landscape. Those humans who enter this kaleidoscope of colours and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

      27 December 2016▸28 December 2016 – At sea

      27 December 2016▸28 December 2016 – At sea

      Arrival 27/12/2016 . Departure 28/12/2016 .

      During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

      29 December 2016 – Deception Island

      29 December 2016 – Deception Island

      Arrival 29/12/2016 . Departure 29/12/2016 .

      Situated just above the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Island is easily recognisable thanks to its distinctive horseshoe shape. The crater of this former volcano caved in 10,000 years ago and the resulting caldera was flooded, creating a natural harbour. Deception Island still bears traces of its past as a longtime hub of the whaling industry. The vestiges of abandoned sheds that line the black sand of its volcanic beaches share space with the island's spectacular fauna: it is home to the Antarctic Peninsula’s largest colony of chinstrap penguins, as well as numerous elephant seals and fur seals.

      30 December 2016 – Whilhelmina - Paradise Bay

      30 December 2016 – Whilhelmina - Paradise Bay

      Arrival 30/12/2016 . Departure 30/12/2016 .

      Between 1897 and 1899, Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache led an Antarctic expedition aboard the Belgica. There, he discovered a quiet, protected bay which he named in honour of the Dutch queen, Wilhelmina of Orange-Nassau. In this enchanting place, towering mountains reflect off of still waters, offering up a magnificent and colourful feast for the eyes. Yet another source of wonder: humpback whales, majestic and frequent visitors to the bay, feed in the surrounding waters amidst a stunning seascape of ice floes and icebergs.

      31 December 2016 – Pleneau Island, Port Charcot

      31 December 2016 – Pleneau Island, Port Charcot

      Arrival 31/12/2016 . Departure 31/12/2016 .

      Named after talented photographer Paul Pléneau, who accompanied Jean-Baptiste Charcot on his 1903 expedition, Pleneau Island has become a refuge for gentoo penguins, elephant seals and fur seals. A ‘fleet’ of imposing ice formations sit like anchored ships along its shores. Like works of art, these unusually-sculpted icebergs range in colour from white to blue and every shade in between. On land, red algae provides a striking contrast against empty swathes of snow that alternate with gentoo penguin nesting sites, strewn all across the island.

      1 January 2017 – Neko Harbour

      1 January 2017 – Neko Harbour

      Arrival 01/01/2017 . Departure 01/01/2017 .

      A little corner of paradise in the shadow of a towering glacier, Neko Harbour is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by Belgian navigator Adrien de Gerlache during his 1897-1899 expedition. Mountains, ice and wildlife combine to form a truly unique landscape. Animals are as abundant as they are exotic: among others, you'll encounter seabirds (gulls, Cape petrels, cormorants) and marine mammals (seals, orcas and other whale species). Head out on a Zodiac® excursion to get up close to the icebergs, stop over near a penguin colony, watch a leopard seal sunbathe between dives and enjoy an impromptu aerial show from passing Antarctic terns.

      1 January 2017 – Port Lockroy

      1 January 2017 – Port Lockroy

      Arrival 01/01/2017 . Departure 01/01/2017 .

      During your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to stop over at Port Lockroy, a spectacular natural harbour nestled in the very heart of the Antarctic Peninsula on Goudier Island. Discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1903, the site has served over the years as a stopover for whaling ships, a British military base and later a research station. The port is currently one of the most visited sites in the Antarctic, thanks to its tiny museum which allows visitors to experience the base as it was in the 1950s and to take home a souvenir from its gift shop. While you're here, don't miss the chance to send your loved ones a post card from the southernmost post office in the world!

      2 January 2017▸3 January 2017 – Drake Passage

      2 January 2017▸3 January 2017 – Drake Passage

      Arrival 02/01/2017 . Departure 03/01/2017 .

      If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

      4 January 2017▸3 January 2017 – Ushuaia

      Ushuaia

      Disembarkation 04/01/2017 at 07H00 .

      Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

      Formalities

      • We remind you that all our ships, with the exception of Le Ponant, have a doctor on board and medical facilities. However, these cannot, under any circumstances, be compared to any medical structure on land. Given the remote areas in which we will be sailing for a number of days, safety requirements mean that we are obliged to ask each passenger signing up for this program to provide us, no more than 45 days before departure, with a medical certificate from their GP, as well as the completed medical questionnaire received during registration.

      • The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.

      • Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.

      • Argentina: ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Australian, and Canadian citizens entering/exiting Argentina must have a valid passport and pay a RECIPROCITY TAX. Fee may be paid online in US dollars by credit card. Consult www.migraciones.gov.ar. At time of print, the fees were as follow (subject to change without notice) Australia: U$D 100*- (multiple entry valid for one year).  Canada: U$D 75*  (one entry) or U$D 150  (multiple entry valid for 5 years from first entry).

         

        Argentina: should you require a visa to travel to Argentina, we recommend you apply for a double-entry visa as a technical stop in Chile might be scheduled.

      Theme

      POLAR EXPEDITION

      POLAR EXPEDITION

      Discover the unique concept of PONANT polar expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.

      A luxury expedition voyage

      Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the ice floes of the Arctic and the Antarctic, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.

      PONANT, polar specialists

      With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is a real polar specialist. PONANT will take you to the most remote regions in total safety: our Captains and crew are professionals, specially trained to sail in icy waters. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.

      Professional expedition teams, varied activities

      After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the polar regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac dinghies and hikes on land so as to get as close as possible to nature and wild fauna. In the Arctic and in Alaska, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to understand the life of these peoples of the Far North, and to share it for a few hours. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…

      Important information

      Expeditions programs include activities such as Zodiac® outings (often with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Calls, landings & zodiac® cruises will depend on weather conditions, position of ice (during polar cruises) and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.

       

      Taking into consideration the unusual and exceptional character of expedition itineraries, the calls shown are an indication only. The final route will be confirmed by the Captain and Expedition Leader, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. Their decision will be subject to that of local authorities and the expert pilots present on board during the navigation in polar and /or isolated zones.

       

      Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience. The raw beauty and untouched wilderness offer an unusual chance to experience a place where there is little evidence of human presence. Inevitably, there are some consequences that come with such remoteness: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is highly expensive. Without the necessary medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid for with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe a full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully and be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive. 

       

       

       

      Dressing tips:



        • Water-resistant parka offered on board (for adults only) on Expedition cruises where the stamp “Parka gift” appears

       

        • Half calf rubber boots with non-slip soles, which will allow you to land in 20 cm of cold water, keeping your feet dry for walks and visits on steep paths. You can also bring water-resistant hiking boots. A boots rental will be offered onboard (for adults only) on Expedition cruises where the stamp “Boots offered” appears

       

        • Comfortable pants: classic Winter pants, warm cotton tracksuit

       

        • Water-resistant windbreaker over pants - COMPULSORY

       

        • Winter pants with water-resistant over pants is the ideal combination: water-resistance and comfort suitability of pants are essential

       

        • Pullover, sweat-shirt or fleece jacket

       

        • Thermal sweater

       

        • Fleece muffler and fleece cap or thermal beanie covering ears (avoid scarfs which do not stand still)

       

        • Water-resistant and supple gloves

       

        • Polarized sunglasses with high UV filter

       

        • Walking sticks (highly recommended)

       

      Need information ?