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Atlantic Odyssey - Cruise

Tour Overview:

The Mid Atlantic islands of Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena, and Gough are among the most remote inhabited places on Earth. This once-in-a-lifetime voyage takes you to several of the Mid Atlantic islands. Each of these islands is a paradise for birders and cetacean enthusiasts, promising a wealth of amazing sightings, from endemic birds to breathtaking mountainous and volcanic landscapes. Days at sea will be highlighted with amazing seabird life and migrating whales, along with unique lectures by expert expedition staff – and of course delicious dining!

Our odyssey sets off from Ushuaia, Argentina, from which we head towards the enigmatic South Georgia Islands. Here we visit wildlife colonies and of course expect to find huge numbers of King Penguins. After taking in this mindblowing spectacle, we navigate towards some of the world’s most isolated islands in the middle of the South Atlantic. The following days we visit Gough and Tristan da Cunha, places that only a very few people get to experience. Our voyage continues to exotic Saint Helena, where Napoleon Bonaparte was famously imprisoned.

Upcoming Departures:


29 March - 19 April

Prices range from $8500 to $15500 per person, double occupancy, depending on cabin type. Single cabins are available but begin at $21200. If you are booking alone and do not require a single room, the cruise operator can assign a roommate. This trip can also be combined with a cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula from 14-27 March, but please keep in mind that late summer is not the ideal time to visit Antarctica.

Please Contact Us for current availability.

*Note: A night in Ushuaia before the cruise is not included in this price, but should be considered as essential.

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Other Tour Details:

Length: 23 Days
Starting City: Ushuaia, Argentina
Ending City: St. Helena
Pace: Relaxed
Physical Difficulty: Easy
Focus: Birding, Photography, Cetaceans

*Note: These cruises are led by superb expedition staff leaders. A Tropical Birding guide will join the trip only if we sell a certain number of berths, but a TB guide is not essential for you to have a great trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, and the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations, as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions. As with all expedition cruises, safety is the top priority, and weather or other factors could prevent visiting any of these locations after the tour begins.

Day 1: Ushuaia
Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, said to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, we embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego (nicknamed “The End of the World”) and sail the mountainous Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.

Days 2 – 4: Sea route to South Georgia
Today we are en route to South Georgia. After passing the Antarctic Convergence, which is a natural boundary formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic waters, we enter the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the bird life changes, too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. On clear nights, you can observe the stars of the southern sky as well as the Magellanic Clouds, the small neighbors of our own galaxy.

Days 5 – 7: South Georgia
Our aim today is to visit some of the world’s top king penguin rookeries. This time of year you have a good chance of seeing these animals nesting on eggs, with their chicks nearby. The rookeries are sometimes overflowing, with penguins traveling to and from the beach.

Possible visits in this region include:

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – Here you can see not only the massive king penguin colony, but also elephant seals and limitless fur seal pups playing in the surf.

Prion Island – This is a great location to watch for wandering albatrosses.

Grytviken – We also have the opportunity to check out this abandoned whaling station, where king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do! You might also see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave here.

Cooper Bay – This is a fine place for a Zodiac cruise, and this bay also houses a rookery of macaroni penguins. King penguins, pintails, and giant petrels may also appear here.

Moltke Harbour – Located in Royal Bay, this scenic spot gives you the chance to see the huge king penguin colony that lives here. This bay was also the site of the astronomical station where a German expedition using the vessel SMS Moltke observed the Venus transit in 1882.

Days 8– 11: At sea
A pleasant tailwind often accompanies the vessel through the westerlies, and on both sides of the Antarctic Convergence, you might see large numbers of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic seabirds. If the conditions are right, you can also observe the stars changing position as we travel north.

Day 12: Gough Island
Today we plan to approach Gough Island for a Zodiac cruise in Quest Bay, if the weather permits. Here you might see northern rockhopper penguins and sub-Antarctic fur seals. In previous years, it has been possible for us to circumnavigate most of Gough Island’s 33-mile circumference, taking in this area’s splendid scenery and abundant wildlife.

Days 13 – 16: Tristan da Cunha
The remote islands of Tristan da Cunha are famed for their plentiful bird populations, which include rockhopper penguins, several species of albatross, petrels, skuas, terns, and many others. Our goal during this stage of our voyage is to visit the small settlement on the west side of the main island, but we might also land at Seal Bay on the south side of Tristan da Cunha or at Sandy Point on the east side. In these stunning locations, you could encounter such exotic wildlife as yellow-nosed albatrosses and sub-Antarctic fur seals, all while exploring a rarely visited spot. We also intend to land at Nightingale Island and Inaccessible Island, both of which offer great views of beautiful seabirds ranging from yellow-nosed albatrosses to brown noddies. Two days are reserved at Tristan da Cunha in case of bad weather, but please remember that nature determines our itineraries here: Since beginning the Atlantic Odyssey cruise in 1998, adverse weather led to the cancellation of 35% of Tristan da Cunha landings. If we have to divert for safety reasons, we will find good alternatives.

Days 17 – 20: Subtropical seas and seabirds
Seabirds and dolphins often follow our vessel in this area, where you may also be able to see how the constellations are changing again. As we sail, the northern constellations start to appear while the Magellanic Clouds sink low to the horizon.

Days 21 – 23: Saint Helena
After we land at Jamestown on Saint Helena Island, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the area’s local culture, pleasant climate, and endemic bird life. You can pay a visit to Longwood House, where Napoleon died in exile; walk the 699-step Jacob’s Ladder, if you’re feeling ambitious; or snorkel the shallows offshore, seeing multitudes of tropical and subtropical fish. We also plan to visit the location where English astronomer Edmond Halley observed the southern sky, describing nearly 400 stars and their constellations during the 17th century.

Trip Considerations

CLIMATE: Very variable, from freezing conditions in South Georgia to hot and humid in the tropics of St. Helena. It is fair to say that almost any type of weather can be expected on this trip and you will need to bring clothing to cover almost any possibility.

DIFFICULTY: Easy. The cruise is not physically challenging. Most activities involve rides on zodiacs and easy walking, with occasional more difficult hikes up to lookouts that are optional and often not particularly good for bird or wildlife viewing. The only major restriction is that you must be able to safely get in and out of the Zodiac, so anyone with a serious physical issue that could affect this should contact our office for advice. The ocean crossings can be rough, and seasickness for those prone to it is a real possibility – taking along seasick pills or patches is absolutely essential.

ACCOMMODATION: The cabins on the ship are well-appointed and comfortable, and the food is superb throughout the voyage.

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