I’ve just returned from my third expedition to the 7th continent, and this time it was an 11 day Antarctica Peninsula itinerary. Most of the itineraries for this trip are fairly similar, but always remember; EVERYTHING is weather dependent!
The 11 Day Antarctica Peninsula is the cheapest option for going, and literally takes you to “just the tip” of the actual continent. But don’t be deterred that you’re not making a trek to the actual South Pole. Because the area around the Antarctica peninsula is absolutely stunning, and where you’ll see the most wildlife!
Yes, you will have to cross the dreaded Drake Passage, but just think of it as part of the adventure! Speaking of which, this trip is A LOT more fun with like-minded travelers! Especially when you’re disconnected for over a week!
BTW I am self-proclaimed to be known as “The Girl Who Wears Gowns in Antarctica” — I have worn full on gowns on every voyage because I was once told that “millennial women are not the target demographic for Antarctic voyages”. This is also why I wear and encourage my Travel Tribe to wear the colorful metallic snowsuits! If you happen to wear either on your trip, please tag me (@mylifesatravelmovie) so I can show some love!
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NOTE: This was the itinerary for an 11 Day Antarctica Peninsula Voyage on the Ocean Endeavor!
DAY 1: USHUAIA
This particular itinerary listed the trip starting as day 1 in Ushuaia, which is the southernmost town of South America. All it included was a night at a hotel, but to be fair, that works out well since most people arrive a day early anyway. But, this is also a great/easy way to upsell the trip as an 11 day itinerary instead of a 10 day one like the one I did on the Ocean Victory.
Ushuaia is a pretty cool little town in my opinion! If you have extra time you can book a mini-excursion if you’d like, or just explore and enjoy the town!
Favorite Restaurants in Ushuaia:
- El Viejo Marino — a MUST for fresh whole crab at a great price!
- La Casa de los Mariscos — great seafood, and super cute
- Isabel — fancier dinner spot
- Sushi Truck — pretty good sushi in a cute little food court looking area
- Ramos Generales El Almacen — SUPER cute olde-timey restaurant with an amazing “White Malbec” wine
Things to do in Town:
- Take the sightseeing train to the “End of the World”
- Take a pic at the “Fin del Mundo” sign
- Check out one of the many bars 😉
- La Anonima (snacks and drinks)
- Duty Free Ushuaia
Day 2: Boarding!
Day 2 of the 11 Day Antarctica Peninsula itinerary is an absolute whirlwind of emotions! You’ll have instructions on where to drop your bags (we had to leave them at reception the night before) which get brought to the ship, then the expedition team tells you when your boarding time is.
Ours was later in the day, around 4pm, so we did some last minute crab feasting, and also shopping for alcohol.
PRO TIP: You are allowed to (inconspicuously) bring your own alcohol onboard! It’s very cheap in Ushuaia at the Anonimos super markets and it will save you a lot of money!
Usually you board by a ramp but this year they shuttled us there on a catamaran because there wasn’t enough room at the port or something.
Once you’re onboard you will hand over your passport (scary, I know), and get your room key, which is also your ID card that you need to show when you get on and off the ship. Then it’s off to your cabin to start settling in and exploring the ship for a bit!
What the ships are really like post coming soon!
Soon after you’ll hear an announcement to head to your muster station (noted on your ID card) for the safety drill and briefing. Then you get some more briefings, and eventually they let you go and you can go enjoy the views of Ushuaia before they call you for dinner! We started sailing through the Beagle Channel towards the Drake Passage during dinner.
After dinner our group had a onesie party, but if you’re not in a group, most people (well, including our group) congregate at the bar!
Day 3 & 4: The Drake Passage
Yes, the Drake Passage can be really bad, and yes, a lot of people get sick, including me at least once. But it’s also true that you can get a “Drake Lake” where the passage is relatively smooth. I had the Drake Lake the entire way there on my second voyage!
During the “Drake Shake” however, waves can reach up to 40 feet high! The reason why the Drake Passage is so treacherous is because currents at its latitude meet no resistance from any landmass, which makes it an extremely powerful convergence of seas.
I’ll have a whole post about the Drake Passage coming soon, but in the mean time…
Pro Tips for Handling the Drake Passage:
- Take Dramamine! Non-drowsy if you want to stay away, or regular if you want to sleep through it
- If you get sick, it’s ok! But if you puke more than 3 times in a row, go to the infermerarie
- Neck patches also work but make sure they are prescription strength, not herbal! You can order them online here!
- Keep loose items, especially heavy ones, secured at all times and away from the bed
- Always hold on to a railing, especially in the bathroom!
- For me it helps to NOT look outside
So what do you do for two days while you’re getting rocked around? My Travel Tribe group itinerary had plenty of activities, like a gift-exchange, two truths and a lie, and other fun games to distract ourselves. But many of us were either sleeping, watching movies in bed, attending lectures, eating, or…at the bar.
Days 5-8: Landings and Additional Activities
You will be beyond happy on day 5 of the 11 day Antarctica Peninsula itinerary when you start to see icebergs and islands! And even more excited when you hear the announcement for the first landing!
The first couple of landings are usually in the South Shetland islands. And then you typically get one actual continent landing towards the end, so be sure NOT to miss that one! On this last trip, we were lucky to get two landings on the continent, which is super rare!
Here’s an overview of what landings are like in Antarctica
- Remember, everything is WEATHER DEPENDENT including if you land or not
- Typically you get two landings per day, one early in the morning, and one after lunch
- Before or after a landing, you do a zodiac cruise around the icebergs and shore to spot wildlife
- There are thousands of PENGUINS!
- If you get picked for an additional activity, you don’t do a landing (so make sure it’s not the continental one)
- During landings you have around an hour to walk around, and sometimes hike
Additional Activities in Antarctica
There are several additional activities you can pay extra for to do on an 11 day Antarctica peninsula itinerary, but once again, they are all weather permitting. I’ve only been able to do each of them once or twice throughout my three voyages.
Here’s an overview of the additional activities in Antarctica:
- Kayaking – one of the most popular! The regular program gives you the option to kayak each landing (*weather permitting) but keep in mind that means you miss the landing! You don’t need a ton of experience, but yes, it is a tad bit difficult, especially if it’s a freezing day.
- Ice Camping — this was one of the most intense, extreme, things I have ever done. It’s right up there with summiting Kilimanjaro. You sleep in what’s basically a body bag cocoon meant to withstand subzero temperatures, but when we did it, the temperature was even below that. More on this soon.
- Paddleboarding: I did this five years ago but I have not seen anyone offer it recently, sorry! Just added it in case you were going to ask.
- Snowshoeing: I haven’t done this but everyone who has raves about it, so I’d definitely recommend it!
- The Polar Plunge: is FREE and it’s a MUST! Yes it really is freezing, but take a shot of whiskey and do it anyway!
In between landings you basically just eat. You have lunch, then dinner, then you can hit up the jacuzzi, sauna, and as you can probably guess…the bar.
Days 9-10: Back Through the Drake Passage
It might seem like four days of landings isn’t enough, but trust me it is, and you will be satisfied and exhausted. Which makes the two days back across the Drake Passage a really good time to take that Dramamine and SLEEP!
Day 11: Disembarkment
I feel like days 1 and 11 are cheat days since they’re just logistical, but I still have some tips for you.
On disembarkment day they kick you off the ship early AF! So if you want to try to catch an early flight, go for it! This year they wouldn’t let me off until 8am, and somehow I still made a 9am flight (by literally running and getting Speed Racer as a taxi driver), so I wouldn’t recommend that early, but 11am or later is usually good.
I say this because otherwise you’re going to have a lot of time in Ushuaia which isn’t fun when you’re exhausted and feel like you’re still swaying from the ship. If you take a later flight, I’d suggest booking a cheap hotel or hostel to nap and chill. Otherwise the ship has a storage room you can put your luggage in and go eat or explore!
What to Pack for Antarctica: Check out my ANTARCTICA PACKING GUIDE
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