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Itinerary: A&K Total Solar Eclipse Cruise to Antarctica

Le Lyrial, Abercrombie & Kent
Le Lyrial, Abercrombie & Kent

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Partake in this once-in-a-lifetime expedition cruise designed around the total solar eclipse on 4 December 2021, which will plunge parts of the Southern Ocean into complete darkness. View towering icebergs, massive glaciers and penguin colonies on this trip from Santiago to remote regions of Antarctica.

Cruising at the peak of the austral summer, the 15-day voyage aboard the exclusively chartered luxurious mega-yacht, ‘Le Lyrial,’ will explore the Antarctic Peninsula. Experts joining A&K’s award-wining Expedition Team include leading astronomer Dr. Massimo Terenghi, former astronaut Kathy Sullivan and space scientist David J. Crain. The Expedition Team will be on hand throughout the journey delivering fascinating lectures and sharing their remarkable experiences in the field. Dedicated photo coaches are also on hand conducting workshops on board to maximise photographic opportunities during the journey.

 

Day 1

Santiago

Arrive in Chile’s capital and transfer to your hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, located in Santiago’s Las Condas district. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. Tonight, gather with your fellow adventurers and the A&K team for a welcome reception at the Observatorio Astronómico Andino, located in the outskirts of Santiago. Join A&K’s solar and space experts, who discuss the exciting itinerary of this once-in-a- lifetime solar eclipse voyage.

Day 2

Santiago

Choose from a number of included excursion options, such as an active walking or bicycle tour of the city, an insider art walk with a visit to an artist’s studio, a visit to Santa Rita winery located in the Maipo Valley, or a stroll through the city’s famed graffiti street art district. This evening, relax and enjoy the amenities of your hotel and prepare for tomorrow’s charter flight to Ushuaia.

  • Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago
  • Breakfast

Day 3

Ushuaia

Fly to the port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. On arrival, enjoy lunch at the Arakur resort and — time and weather permitting — take a guided trek in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve. This afternoon, arrive at your ship and settle in for your first night on board. ‘Le Lyrial’ features all-balcony staterooms and suites only on A&K journeys to Antarctica. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, or relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. On departure, enjoy cruising through the Beagle Channel before heading out to sea.

Day 4-7

At Sea

Relax and enjoy the special touches and amenities available on board ‘Le Lyrial’ while getting to know your fellow explorers and enjoying the many enrichment programs offered. Weather permitting, A&K’s seasoned expedition staff lead the Zodiacs towards Signy Island and the rarely visited South Orkney Islands. Typically only traversed by British and Argentine scientists, the archipelago comprises four main islands and supports a wide variety of tundra vegetation, plus offers polar scenery. Attend a special presentation from guest lecturer Kathy Sullivan, who shares what it was like to be the first American woman walking in space and how the earth looked from the space shuttle ‘Challenger’ — 140 miles above the earth. Later, your Expedition Leader confirms the plan for the total eclipse viewing.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8

Southern Ocean

Weather, sea and ice conditions permitting, your Captain navigates ‘Le Lyrial’ to the centre of the solar eclipse’s path of totality, which is the very narrow track on the surface of the earth where the radiating “circle of light” is best seen. The proposed positioning of ‘Le Lyrial’ would allow for a remarkable viewing time of approximately one minute and 40 seconds. The next total eclipse in this part of the world isn’t until 2061, which makes this a truly once-in- a-lifetime trip for many travellers.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9-13

Antarctica

Dependent on weather, sea ice and wildlife conditions, Antarctic expeditions demand spontaneity and no two are ever the same. With that in mind, your Captain and Expedition Team carefully plan your active, curated itinerary and daily excursions that may include the following areas:

Danco Coast: Bordering the South Shetland Islands along the Antarctic continent, the Danco Coast is famed for its scenic waterways. From the comfort of ‘Le Lyrial,’ you may sail through some of its stunning and photogenic channels, straits and bays.

Elephant Island: Located in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island is a mountainous and ice-covered islet. The island gained fame after British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton rescued himself and 22 of his crew from the remote island after his ship, ‘Endurance,’ was stranded by ice. Now, only the luckiest get to land on Elephant Island due to challenging currents and weather.

Antarctic Sound: At the northernmost tip of the Antarctic mainland, this body of water features some of the best sightseeing on the peninsula and a proliferation of giant icebergs. Noted for its vast numbers of bird species, the sound is home to the largest breeding colonies of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Look forward to opportunities to land on remote, wildlife-laden islands as well as possible opportunities to experience a continental landing on the northwest tip of the Antarctic peninsula.

South Shetland Islands: Antarctic research stations, remarkable history, amazing geological features and abundant wildlife define these islands off the shore of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our expedition team looks for opportunities to visit a wide range of sites including working research stations, volcanic islands, and historic sites as well as gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguin rookeries.

Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast followed by a morning excursion on swift Zodiacs. Piloted by expert A&K drivers, each excursion is accompanied by lecturers and joined by groups of no more than 10 guests. After mornings discovering native species and striking terrain, return to ‘Le Lyrial’ for lunch and time to relax and observe the wildlife. The waters that surround you allow for excellent viewing of everything from fin whales, humpback whales and orcas, to Antarctic and imperial shags. By afternoon, set out for the day’s second excursion, which may include visiting a scientific research station, hiking on a sheltered beach packed with basking Southern elephant seals or circumnavigating colossal icebergs that serve as floating homes to seals and penguins. After full days of adventure, evenings aboard your luxury cruiser invite you to unwind over cocktails in the cosy lounge before dinner in the elegant dining room. At night, choose to recap the day’s discoveries with your naturalist guides, chat on deck with fellow guests or seize the opportunity to capture photos in the low light characteristic of Antarctica’s long, ethereal twilight.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 14-15

Cruising the Drake Passage

The ship’s return through the Drake Passage is an interlude for recap and reflection with time to compare notes with your expert lecturers on the wildlife, history and geology of the White Continent. Spend time on board with newfound friends in the comfortable common spaces of ‘Le Lyrial,’ enjoy quiet relaxation on your own private balcony or absorb more fascinating lectures by your captivating Expedition Team. While cruising through this historic passage, you may spot various species of whales and seabirds. The immense albatross is an especially stunning sight to behold. These wandering birds boast a wingspan approaching 3.7 metres and are capable of gliding through the air for hours at a time in search of food.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’ 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 16

Depart Ushuaia

‘Le Lyrial’ docks at Ushuaia this morning. Enjoy breakfast, and then say goodbye to your Expedition Team and ship’s crew before disembarking by 9:00 a.m. You are transferred to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires, where you connect to your international flight home.

  • Breakfast

The Details

A&K’s 15-day Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse Cruise sails 28 November – 12 December 2021 and is priced from $29,685 per person twin share (was $34,910), single supplement from $25,065.

Special offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.

For even more astral adventure, A&K is offering a six-day pre-cruise extension to explore the Atacama Desert and the lunar landscapes of the Moon Valley. An exclusive behind-the-scenes visit to the Paranal Observatory is included – alongside its founder, Dr Tarenghi – with a unique look at the world’s most advanced optical instrument, the VLT, or Very Large Telescope. Extension prices on application.

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