Insight /

Antarctica

The Ultimate White Christmas

This extraordinarily diverse trip is an opportunity to do something truly different this Christmas and New Year.

Christmas Polar expedition followed by fireworks and New Year in Rio

The lowdown

  • Getting There

    Cruises depart from Ushuaia, which is accessed by flights from Buenos Aires.

  • Price

    Allow a minimum of £12,000 per person for the cruise (excluding flights) but we recommend calling us for a personalised quote.

  • Top Tip

    This a photographers paradise and a dedicated photography coach will be at your disposal with invaluable tips and advice on how to capture the natural beauty of this unique landscape. But we strongly recommend you pack a waterproof camera case (or dry bag) to store and carry your equipment.

First expedition ship Island Sky will take you into the heart of the White Continent to spend Christmas Day among giant icebergs, prehistoric glaciers and penguins. Afterwards, you’ll fly on to Rio de Janeiro to spend New Year’s Eve watching fireworks explode over the legendary Copacabana Beach.

Discover Drake Passage

Begin in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, on the windswept island of Tierra del Fuego before embarking Polar Latitudes’ state-of-the-art expedition ship Island Sky to begin crossing the Drake Passage. This intimate ship has spacious, well-appointed suites (some with balconies), stylish common areas and ice-strengthened hulls. Also aboard are knowledgeable guides, naturalists and expedition crew members.

As you edge closer to the White Continent, you’ll learn all you need to know about the wildlife, history and geography of Antarctica. You’ll even have the opportunity to participate in Polar Latitudes’ exclusive ‘Citizen Science’ programme, which could see you tracking whales, surveying penguins or mapping phytoplankton in the name of science, with the data you help gather sent to research facilities like NASA.

Antarctic Island Hopping

After two days crossing the Drake Passage, your first sight of land will be the volcanic South Shetland Islands, home to sub-Antarctic species like chinstrap penguins and southern elephant seals. South of the islands, the Antarctic Peninsula beckons like an outstretched arm. Explore by zodiac or even kayak and spot predatory leopard seals and inquisitive Antarctic fur seals, and minke, humpback and orca whales. Wandering albatross soar overhead and icebergs sculpted into fabulous shapes dazzle in shades of cyan blue and aquamarine.

On Christmas Day itself, the ship is wreathed in decorations, carols play out, Christmas dinner is served with all the trimmings and you may even find Santa Claus driving your zodiac. Come Boxing Day, the ship begins its return across the Drake Passage, arriving in Ushuaia on 28 December.

Mix it up - Rio Experience

Swap snowscapes for sunshine the following day by flying to Rio for a New Year to remember. Temperatures in the high twenties mean conditions on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana are just about perfect.

To make the most of the city, we’d recommend a couple of private tours. A visit to the iconic statue Christ the Redeemer is a must, with a stop afterwards in the hillside district of Santa Teresa, home to gourmet restaurants, trendy art galleries and charming cobbled streets.

Also not to be missed is the chance to ride a cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain for breathtaking views of Rio’s island-flecked bays and golden beaches. This is followed by lunch at one of the city’s best barbecues.

To make your visit truly special, stay at the Belmond Copacabana Palace. Built in 1923 at the birth of the Jazz Age and set right by the sands of Copacabana Beach, this iconic hotel remains the symbol of Rio glamour and romance.

Your stay will include complimentary access to the hotel’s legendary New Year’s Eve party – one of the hottest tickets in town. Gather on the terrace to watch the thronging crowds and fireworks on the beach. Afterwards continue the party in the hotel’s ballroom and by the pool.  Buzzing with memories from this incredibly diverse trip, you will begin your journey home.

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