svalbard cruise

Introduction

Join Secret Atlas on a 15-day in-depth wildlife viewing and photography exploration of South Georgia’s spectacular nature. This expedition is aimed at those wanting to spend the maximum amount of unhurried time ashore observing wildlife and is suited for photographers and wildlife watchers.

What makes this trip even more special is our vessel takes just 48 guests and when you are ashore you will be in a small group of just 12 guests for an intimate wildlife and photography experience. Travelling on a small expedition vessel allows us to visit many sites along the coast that larger ships are not allowed to land and get closer to South Georgia’s incredible nature.

South Georgia Photo & Wildlife Tour Highlights

  • A rare opportunity to join a in-depth exploration of South Georgia with extended time ashore to view and photograph wildlife.
  • Explore key wildlife sites including Saint Andrews Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour.
  • Develop your photography skills in the field with our highly experienced photography guides.
  • Comfortable, and intimate ice-strengthened expedition vessel.
  • Encounter South Georgia’s wildlife. This trip has the most time spent ashore viewing king penguin colonies, elephant seals, fur seals and an abundance of birdlife including albatrosses.
  • Numerous opportunities to photograph South Georgia’s wild and stunning landscapes from the ship and shore.
  • Led by highly experienced expedition leaders and photography guides.
  • Small, intimate group size. The ship takes just 48 and ashore guests are in a group of 12.

Wildlife Highlights in February and March

Each season offers amazing opportunities for encountering South Georgia’s wildlife. Our later season voyage offers a wondrous spectacle of nature that is ideal or photographers and wildlife lovers looking to see the newly born animals.

Expect an abundance of baby fur seals which cover South Georgia’s beaches at this time of year which makes an excellent photographic subject that you will not find during other months.

February and March offers the unique opportunity to land on Prion Island, which is closed to visitors for most of the season and off limits to larger ships year round, to witness the spectacle of Wandering Albatross’s feeding their newborn chicks at their nests.

Young king penguins are starting to test the cold waters for the first time at the rookeries in Saint Andrews Bay and Salisbury plain. Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins gather in large creches as they start to fledge.

This season is the most active for marine life and offers the best opportunities for whale watching in South Georgia and species such as minke, humpback, fin and orcas are at their most numerous.

The Voyage

Day 1 Welcome aboard! Depart Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Day 2-3 At Sea

Day 4 First landing on South Georgia

Days 5 – 12 Exploring South Georgia

Days 13 – 14 At Sea

Day 15 Arrive Port Stanley am

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South Georgia Cruise Day by Day

Day 1

Falkland Islands

In the afternoon we embark Polar Pioneer in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands ready for an adventure of a life time. The Falkland Islands is accessible by flights from Chile and the UK. We will depart late afternoon and set sail towards South Georgia.

.7° S, .5° W

.8° S, .6° W

Days 2-3

Sailing to South Georgia

As we sail across the Scotia sea towards South Georgia we will spend time on deck looking out for wildlife. Wandering Albatrosses often follow the ship. In the water it is possible to see whales and Orcas. During the sea days our guiding team will do lectures on the wildlife, history and geology of South Georgia. In the afternoon of day 3 we will sight South Georgia for the first time.

Days 4-7

Exploring South Georgia

The plan is to sail along the entire coast of South Georgia and to make landings on all the days. The main focuses of this expedition is to visit as many wildlife sites as possible. South Georgia is home to 450,000 king penguins offering some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. We aim to visit key penguin breeding colonies at St Andrew’s Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour. An advantage of a longer trip allows is that it allows us a much larger weather window to visit different sites.

.8° S, .6° W

.7° S, .8° W

Days 8-12

Exploring South Georgia

Other landing sites could include Prion Island to see nesting albatrosses, a site that is only accessible to ships carrying under 50 guests. Cooper Bay on the islands south is home to Macaroni penguins living in the tussock grass. Alongside wildlife, South Georgia is home to fascinating history and we will visit Grytviken, a former whaling station on South Georgia and home to the grave of explorer Ernest Shackleton. We also plan to explore the Drygalski fjord home to some of the islands most breathtaking landscapes.

Days 13 – 15

At Sea & Falkland Islands

As we sail towards the Falkland Islands our guiding team will do a series of lectures to finish off our exciting adventure. The final 2 sailing days offers a chance to relax onboard, take a sauna and share stories from the expedition with fellow guests. On safe arrival in Port Stanley we will disembark after breakfast on the final day.

The above itinerary is a guide only. A part of any expedition is the flexibility to take advantage of the weather conditions which are highly variable in South Georgia. Our expedition team will make sure you see as much as possible.

.7° S, .5° W

Guest Photographers

Alongside our Secret Atlas expedition team of 5 wildlife guides we also have our guest photographers.

photography gear guide

Chase Teron

Canadian environmentalist Chase Teron is a professional wildlife and nature photographer who has worked with major international clientele for his photography and drone work. For the past decade, Chase has continued to expand his expertise in photography as well as prime his knowledge on all things artistic theory in the field and in post-processing.

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Jenni Teron

Jenni Teron is an artist and photographer with a deep love of nature. Her work has been featured in major commercial campaigns for international brands such as Canon, Arc’teryx, Aquatica and she regularly donates her imagery to fundraising efforts for nature conservation.

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Hannes Becker

Hannes is a photographer specialised in the adventure and landscape niche. He is inspired by the north and drawn to the remoteness faraway. To inspire the viewer and showcase his experiences in a realistic manner, he does not only document his travels, but makes part of his personal interpretation come to live within his photographs, by emphasising composition and lighting

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frauke hameister profile secret atlas

Frauke Hameister

Frauke is a professional adventure and travel photographer and creative freelancer passionate about capturing the big and small moments of the world around her. Both behind and in front of the camera, she specializes in adventure travel with a strong focus on story- telling and lifestyle imagery. 

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Inside This South Georgia Expedition

Our trips are aimed at anyone with a passion for exploring the Arctic with a small group of like minded individuals on a comfortable small ship cruise and include :

small expedition ship

Expedition Vessel With 48 Guests

We believe the best way to experience an environmentally sensitive place such as South Georgia is with a small group of travelers. New expedition cruise ships now take up to 350 passengers, we believe smaller is better and that is why we take the smallest group sizes available.

Expedition Leader and Guides

An aspect of our journeys is to learn about the place you are visiting. Our onboard guides are the core of what we do and will share their passion and knowledge of South Georgia throughout the trip. We offer the best guide to guest ratio available, and have 5 expert guides, one for every 10 guests.

Zodiac landing craft for shore landings

Shore landings are the essence of every expedition and your guides will take you exploring on a daily basis. The vessel is equipped with 6 landing craft that can be used to reach remote beaches so you can experience the wilderness firsthand. The beauty of a small ship expedition is that everyone onboard can fit in a Zodiac at the same time, so no waiting to go ashore.

Climate Compensated

Caring for the environment is what we do. For every trip we run we plant trees in Greenland to offset the emissions. As a member of AECO, we follow strict guidelines to ensure minimal disturbance to wildlife and natural sites.

Your Vessel

MV Polar Pioneer

south georgia expedition vessel

Step aboard MV Polar Pioneer a true polar expedition vessel

MV Polar Pioneer needs no introduction. She is a veteran expedition vessel with a proven track record exploring the polar regions. She returns in 2022 with a full refurbishment. We love this vessel because she was built for the polar regions and is a very strong and capable vessel to explore the ice with. She takes just 48 passengers offering the lowest group numbers in Antarctica and South Georgia. She has a large deck space with raised areas making her perfect for photography. She features a large passenger saloon with bar, and an onboard sauna to warm up in after a day in the cold. She is crewed by a team of experts with decades of experience navigating polar waters, and is an ideal vessel for guests looking to go on a real expedition with an authentic expedition vessel. There is accommodation for 48 guests across twins, triple cabins and suites. She is equipped with Zodiacs that can accommodate all guests for shore landings and exploring. The Polar Pioneer can transit open water crossings with ease and comfort due to its integrated dynamic water ballast system, which guarantees a great reduction of rolling in heavy seas. As a result, Polar Pioneer is among one of the most stable vessels currently in operations in the Polar regions.

  • Capable expedition vessel with highest ice class gives the best chance of reaching the sea ice edge
  • Small group size of 48 guests ensures an intimate experience
  • Large passenger saloon with bar
  • Newly refurbished to a high standard with warm, comfortable cabins
  • Sauna
  • Equipped with 5 x zodiacs for shore landings. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs together so no waiting to go ashore.
  • Large open deck space and raised areas for photography
  • Expert team of crew and guides
  • Boots provided for shore landings


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Dates and Prices

Prices quoted are per person. Twin and double cabins are based on double occupancy.

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24th February – 9th March 2024

Cabin Type

Persons per Cabin

Price per person

Triple Cabin with Shared Facilities 3 $13.995 Book
Twin Cabin with Shared Facilities 2 $15.795 Book
Twin Cabin with Private Facilities 2 $16.995 Book
Mini Suite 2 $17.995 Book
Captain’s Suite 2 $18.995 Book

Cabins

Captain's Suite - Type A

  • For 2 Guests
  • Double bed
  • Ensuite shower and toilet
  • Lounge area with sofa
  • Located on deck 5
  • Windows
  • Corner desk & chair
  • Wardrobe
  • Cabins 501
  • 22.5 m2

Mini Suite -Type B

  • For 2 Guests
  • Double bed
  • Ensuite shower and toilet
  • Lounge area with sofa
  • Located on deck 5
  • Windows
  • Corner desk & chair
  • Wardrobe
  • Cabins 502 & 503
  • 16.8 m2

Twin with Private Facilities - Type C

  • For 2 guests
  • 2 Lower twin beds
  • Ensuite shower and toilet
  • 9.8 m²
  • Located on deck 4 & 5
  • Window
  • Wardrobe
  • Cabins 504 - 507, 400-401, 404 - 408

Twin with Shared Facilities - Type D

  • For 2 guests
  • 2 Lower twin beds
  • Sink in room
  • 9.8 m²
  • Located on deck 3
  • Porthole
  • Wardrobe
  • Cabins 302 - 310

Triple with Shared Facilities - Type E

  • For up to 3 guests
  • 2 Lower twin beds and 1 bunk bed
  • Sink in room
  • 10.2 m²
  • Located on deck 3
  • Porthole
  • Wardrobe
  • Cabins 300 & 301

Deck Plan

polar pioneer deck plan
Departure Location Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Arrival Location Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Trip Style Exploration
Physical Rating Easy
Maximum Group Size 48
Accommodation Twin Cabins, Triple and Suites
Duration 15 Days
Time of Year February
Included
Not Included

We would like to ensure our guests about our risk free booking policy.

As travel returns to normal we would like to ensure you we will do everything to make sure your trip goes ahead as planned.

If your trip is canceled by us you can rebook on another departure free of charge or receive a full refund with no questions asked.

If you can’t enter the departure country due to covid travel restrictions we will offer you a free rebooking on a future departure.

You can read our full policy here.

We offer payment via the following methods:

  • Credit card
  • Payment by bank transfer

Please let us know at the time of booking your preferred method.

A 30% deposit is taken at the time of booking with the final 70% payable 90 days prior to departure.

We highly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking that also covers cancellation.

Solo travellers are welcome on all our voyages. We often host solo travellers, particularly on our photo voyages so the chances are you won’t be the only one. We offer the following accommodation options:

  • Option to share a twin cabin with another traveller of the same gender.
  • Option to have your own cabin for an additional supplement. Please contact us for this option as the price varies depending on trip and availability.

This trip is operated by Secret Atlas and is subject to the Secret Atlas terms and conditions of travel. You can read the full booking terms here.

South Georgia Useful Information

How To Get To South Georgia and The Falkland Islands

Our South Georgia cruises depart from the Falkland Islands. Find out how to get there.

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South Georgia Wildlife Guide

Learn about all the beautiful wildlife that calls South Georgia its home and get a feel for what you will encounter.

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South Georgia Facts

Do you know who was the first explorer to land on South Georgia? Find out here.

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