The Great Austral Loop
* Subject to availability.
- 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.
- Staterooms & Suites
- LE SOLEAL
- Port of call & excursions
- Important information
- Pre/Post & Overlands
Staterooms & Suites
There are no staterooms available for booking. Please contact our cruise advisors.
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.
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
UshuaiaEmbarkation 24/11/2016 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 24/11/2016 at 18H00 .
Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the “Great White“ and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…
25 November 2016 – At seaArrival 25/11/2016. Departure 25/11/2016.
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 observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
26 November 2016 – New Island, Grave CoveArrival 26/11/2016. Departure 26/11/2016.
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.
27 November 2016▸28 November 2016 – At seaArrival 27/11/2016. Departure 28/11/2016.
29 November 2016 – Salisbury Plain - Fortuna BayArrival 29/11/2016. Departure 29/11/2016.
30 November 2016 – Grytviken - St Andrews BayArrival 30/11/2016. Departure 30/11/2016.
1 December 2016 – Gold HarbourArrival 01/12/2016. Departure 01/12/2016.
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.
2 December 2016▸3 December 2016 – At seaArrival 02/12/2016. Departure 03/12/2016.
4 December 2016 – Weddell SeaArrival 04/12/2016. Departure 04/12/2016.
Amidst the eerie stillness of the Weddell Sea, you'll wend your way through a veritable labyrinth of majestic table icebergs. Sweeping ice platforms sculpt a landscape unlike any other, populated by fur seals, penguins, wandering albatross and other imposing seabirds. The Weddell seal, king of this realm, will welcome you to his territory with a haunting cry that pierces the surrounding silence. You'll recognise him by his dark grey coat and spotted belly. Weddell seals have the impressive distinction of being able to stay underwater for more than an hour.
5 December 2016 – Gerlache StraitArrival 05/12/2016. Departure 05/12/2016.
5 December 2016 – EnterpriseArrival 05/12/2016. Departure 05/12/2016.
6 December 2016 – Deception IslandArrival 06/12/2016. Departure 06/12/2016.
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.
6 December 2016 – Half Moon IslandArrival 06/12/2016. Departure 06/12/2016.
Nestled among the South Shetland Islands in the icy waters of the Antarctic, Half Moon plunges visitors into a surreal and mystical setting. Long, jagged coastlines alternate with gently sloping bays, overlooked by petrified volcanic pipes. Camara, a former Argentine research station built at the centre of the island in 1953, still stands in the crook of a vast, crescent-shaped beach of large ash-coloured pebbles battered by icy electric-blue waves. Half Moon's wild lunar landscape is home to a number of animal species, including chinstrap penguins, fur seals, Weddell seals and Antarctic terns.
7 December 2016▸8 December 2016 – Drake PassageArrival 07/12/2016. Departure 08/12/2016.
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.
UshuaiaDisembarkation 09/12/2016 at 07H00 .
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.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
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.
We remind you that all our ships 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.
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…
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.
- 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)
Pre/Post & Overlands
Before your cruise
22/11/2016 – Pre Cruise Overnight in Buenos Aires + Flights
** Prices per person, based on double occupancy