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SH Minerva

From Ushuaia To Dunedin

Escape into another realm as you board our luxury boutique ice-class ship on this once-in-a-lifetime trip from South America to New Zealand. Our epic semi- circumnavigation cruise of Antarctica fulfils the ultimate bucket list, sailing on glassy seas, passing by monumental icebergs, unheralded landscapes and phenomenal wildlife. We explore icy waters to reach the world's southernmost islands where only a handful of adventurers, explorers and scientists have been before. And as we cross the polar circle, you get to join an elite group of people who have been to some of the least-visited places on the planet.


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    • Enjoy the unique experience of a sun that hardly sets as we cross the polar circle
    • Create unforgettable memories by reaching earth's southernmost regions
    • Follow in the footsteps of the world's most legendary explorers who reached the South Pole within weeks of each other
    • Marvel at the colours as they change from glassy white to turquoise green in this vast frozen wilderness
    • Discover rarely-visited islands where the world's rarest birds live among exceptional flora


    Rates are listed per person
    Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
    Feb 16, 2024Mar 19, 202423,046 25,063
    Rates are listed per person
    Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
    Feb 16, 2024Mar 19, 202423,046 25,063


    Ushuaia is the gateway to the White Continent. Found at the southernmost tip of South America in Argentinian Patagonia, the city is often described as "the End of the World". The city's mountain backdrop rises above the harbour and entrance to the Beagle Channel. The town itself is walkable and has a few small museums as well as pubs, restaurants and cafes - a good place to try Patagonian lamb cooked over open fire pits.

    DAY 2 AT SEA
    Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship's observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert's view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

    While the South Shetlands' proximity to Antarctica makes the ice-bound sea impassable during winter (April to November), these are the first islands to see snow melt in spring (March) and the slightly warmer temperature means that the fauna is also different from what you see in Antarctica proper. As we go ashore by Zodiac, notice ferns, grasses, lichens and native flora that have more in common with Patagonia than they do with Antarctica. The Antarctic Sound takes it up a notch with even more impressive bergs and ice cliffs. Possible landing points where you will meet thousands of breeding Adelie penguins include Brown Bluff and Paulet Island.

    Among captivating glaciers, majestic icebergs and snowy islands, the Antarctic Peninsula is where most visitors to the White Continent will live out their Antarctica dream. The Antarctic Peninsula, the most accessible area of the continent, hosts several scientific bases and some of the most interesting wildlife scenery, such as the extremely photogenic Lemaire Channel. Shore excursions might include Petermann Island, where among Adelie penguins, blue-eyed shags and skuas, huge, lumbering elephant seals haul out.

    Take in the magnitude of translucent bergs silently floating on crystal-clear seas, often broken up by the tail of a fluking whale and leopard seals resting on an ice floe, as we sail via two of the largest islands in the Antarctic - Alexander and Thurston Islands - past Peter I Island. Rarely visited by ships, Peter I is claimed by Norway. This ice-covered volcanic island is home to elephant seals, cape pigeons and southern fulmars.

    One of the most remote areas of Antarctica, covered mostly by glacial ice from the Thwaites ice tongue, and part of the Southern Ocean, Amundsen Sea is named for legendary Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen who led the first team to reach the South Pole in 1911. Marie Byrd Land on Antarctica's western coast is the largest single unclaimed territory on earth where chinstrap penguins and skuas have set up home on the ice-capped Shepard Island.

    DAY 15-22 ROSS SEA
    One of the least-visited spots in Antarctica, our on-shore excursions will hopefully take us to Hut Point on Ross Island, site of the US McMurdo research station and New Zealand's Scott Base. But the big draw is following in the footsteps of the great explorer, Robert Scott. Scott's cabin is here on the slopes of Mount Erebus, where he set off for the South Pole reaching it on 17 January 1912 five weeks after Amundsen.

    DAY 23 AT SEA

    The Balleny Islands lie over 2,000 kilometres south of New Zealand, only a couple of hundred kilometres off the coast of Antarctica. The heavily glaciated islands have had few human visitors since their discovery in 1839. The surrounding Ross Sea is one of the most biologically productive regions in the Southern Ocean, with research into the extent of this claim still ongoing. Weather and condition permitting, here we can explore the striking coastal environments in our Zodiacs. We'll be hoping to spot humpback, fin and minke whales along with crabeater, Weddell, elephant and leopard seals. Some of the islands here are also home to large colonies of Adelie and chinstrap penguins.

    DAY 25-26 AT SEA

    Sealers discovered the tiny windswept Macquarie Island (or Macca) in 1810. The southernmost territory of Australia, it is the site for Macquarie Island Station, an Australian Antarctic base, and a Tasmanian natural reserve and world heritage site protecting a pesty tundra ecosystem. Colonies of loudly barking southern elephant seals breed here and you might spot giant petrels and albatross. Four species of penguin make the island home including royal penguins, king, gentoo and southern rockhoppers.

    DAY 28 AT SEA

    Renowned for their seafaring and whaling traditions, the principal Maori iwi, Ngai Tahu considers Auckland Islands (Maungahuka) a place of great spiritual significance. Port Ross at the north end of the main Auckland Island - the largest of New Zealand's subantarctic islands - is a breeding site for southern right whales. You might also get to spot New Zealand sea lions alongside some of the world's rarest birds including yellow-eyed penguins, white-capped mollymawk and Gibson's wandering albatross.

    The smaller Enderby Island is a treat for birders including the Auckland Island snipe and teal, southern royal and light-mantled sooty albatrosses. The pocket-sized Auckland Island tomtit is a regular visitor and Hooker's sea lion haul out here. Growing on this remote archipelago 465 km south of South Island is an exceptionally rich flora of 200 native species such as pink gentiana, red rata blossoms, white tree daisies and megaherbs including the Campbell Island carrot.

    DAY 31 AT SEA

    Your luxury expedition cruise sadly comes to an end in Dunedin, on the South Island, the principal city of the Otago region. Set in a pretty bay that serves as a port and surrounded by bush-covered hills, the town has quirky historic appeal. One of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere, Dunedin is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, and it's proud of its Celtic connections. Small and eminently walkable, see elaborate civic buildings, New Zealand's only castles, funky alleyways filled with street art, and picturesque parks. The Toitu Otago Early Settlers Museum and Otago Museum come highly recommended, as well as a visit to the Dunedin Chinese Garden.

    SH Minerva

    SH Minerva has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.

    (Click image to view Ship details)


    • Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
    • Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
    • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
    • All meals onboard
    • 24-hour room service
    • Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
    • Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
    • Standard WiFi
    • Onboard gratuities and port taxes
    • One selected shore excursion/expedition activity per port of call
    • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
    • Itineraries are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change

    • Lecture Programme
    • Zodiac Excurcions
    • Polar Plunge
    • Kayaking : 250 USD per person per outing as per weather conditions offered on board, please pre register.
    • Snowshoeing

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    DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person and subject to change.