Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Why? A Small Expedition Cruise to Patagonia.
Hola, Happy Travelers! Maria here, from Across South America, the Boutique Travel company that’s been helping travelers worldwide fall in love with the continent since 2007!
Now that the world is moving forward and back to the menu, most travelers are looking for sustainable holidays, that is, that are “naturally friendly”; environments with fresh air and vast horizons are very much in demand. The immense wilderness of Patagonia offers just that, the opportunity to be in close contact with nature and walk freely in places that have been kept untouched.
The Small Australis Expedition Cruises have been sailing in Patagonia for the past 30 years, and they are the only cruise company that can take you to the famous Cape Horn. These small, modern expedition cruises are perfect for exploring the “uttermost end of the earth” and reaching places that are unreachable to most people.
In this guide, I will take you through the details of this unique journey and how to start planning.
1. The Highlights of the trip
We invite you to explore the wonders of the Patagonian fjords with Australis, a Chilean Expedition Cruises company that, since 1990, has been touring the main attractions of Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and Cape Horn. Discover impressive geography marked by imposing Glaciers, native forests, and exotic flora and fauna while sailing through canals of incomparable beauty.
The journey sails through one of the few uninhabited areas of the planet, promoting an EXCLUSIVE, NON-MASSIVE OR INVASIVE tourism, accompanied by expert guides trained to inform and instruct guests on a scientific basis. A unique experience that combines a PREMIUM ALL-INCLUSIVE SERVICE, the best standards in hospitality, and fascinating field EXPEDITIONS, all based on an operation that prioritizes, above all, sustainability and safety.
The main Highlights of the trip are:
Punta Arenas, Chile. Located on the continental shore of the Strait of Magellan, a little over 3,000 km south of Santiago, capital of Chile, it was the main port of navigation between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans until the construction of the Panama Canal in 1914. This explains why it flourished as the tremendous cosmopolitan center of the southern tip of South America, providing it with a rich architectural heritage preserved to this day.
Cape Horn: Considered the southernmost cape among the three great projections of the southern hemisphere, it marks the northern limit of the Drake Passage, which separates America from Antarctica. It is a place of great importance and mysticism for world navigation, for the majesty of its landscape, and for having been the site of numerous shipwrecks in ancient times. Disembarkation at Cape Horn National Park depends on the weather conditions. For reference, the historical percentage of possible landings is 75%.
Strait of Magellan: Discovered in 1520 by Ferdinand Magellan, it is the navigable maritime route located immediately south of continental America and north of the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and was the first maritime trade route between the East and Europe.
Magellanic penguins: There are numerous colonies of Magellanic penguins in the region. The most accessible are the penguins of the Otway Sound, with approximately 5,000, and that of Magdalena Island, in the Strait of Magellan, where over 130,000 individuals are located in what is called the "Penguins National Monument." Penguins are migratory birds usually found in the region between October and March.
Onboard lectures: The guides will pass on their knowledge of glaciology, flora and fauna, geography, history, and the evolution of the landscapes we travel through. Daily, they will share this knowledge with passengers on board through thematic lectures that complement and deepen what is discovered and experienced during the expeditions.
Premium Gastronomy: Various breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, a 24/7 cafeteria service, combining the best local ingredients in an international gastronomic proposal that prioritizes variety, quality, and excellence.
A Sustainable experience: An in-depth exclusive, non-massive journey accompanied by expert guides trained to inform and instruct guests scientifically.
Daily activities on board the Australis Cruise include spectacular trekkings to view impressive glaciers up-close.
2. The Ships
Australis Cruise has two beautiful, modern vessels. The VENTUS AUSTRALIS and the STELLA AUSTRALIS.
The Expedition Cruises Ventus Australis and Stella Australis were specially designed to access the most remote corners of the Strait of Magellan, where larger vessels cannot navigate.
The ship characterizes as being small on the outside and spacious on the inside.
For a maximum of 200 passengers, only one hundred cabins allow the ships to navigate through unique landscapes intimately and exclusively. All the lounges and cabins have exterior windows, ample space, and a delicate decoration.
Life on board and dress code
The Australis Cruise offers an intimate and casual atmosphere.
The dress code on board is casual, so we suggest dressing comfortably and bringing enough clothes changes since there is no laundry service. For field expeditions, weather conditions are very unpredictable and constantly change during the day. Therefore, we recommend dressing in layers and bringing the following equipment: - Sunglasses. - Waterproof Clothing: Hat, gloves, pants, parka. - Sweater. - Sunscreen. - Trekking shoes or hiking boots, waterproof.
Various breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, and a 24/7 cafeteria service, combine the best local ingredients in an international gastronomic proposal that prioritizes variety, quality, and excellence.
T guides will pass on their knowledge of glaciology, flora and fauna, geography, history, and the evolution of the landscapes we travel through. Daily, they will share this knowledge with our passengers on board through thematic lectures that complement and deepen what is discovered and experienced during the expeditions.
The guides will pass on their knowledge of glaciology, flora and fauna, geography, history, and the evolution of the landscapes we travel through. Daily, they will share this knowledge with our passengers on board through thematic lectures that complement and deepen what is discovered and experienced during the expeditions.
The passion of our Expedition Guides and the warmth and friendliness of our crew give the voyage a unique atmosphere that stands out as one of the great hallmarks of the Australis Experience. Passengers often say goodbye, heartfeltly thanking the professionalism of all the team on board, who made them feel at home.
Enjoy the Off-line Mode
Deep in Patagonia, connectivity disappears between fjords and glaciers, and the Digital Detox begins. Far from civilization, the most unspoiled landscapes of the planet invite you to take your eyes off your phones, replace screens with windows, and discover the colors and contrasts of nature without a filter.
Safety on board and during excursions is a priority at every moment of the operation. That is why we are governed by the highest standards in terms of infrastructure and equipment and implementing strict protocols that safeguard the safety of passengers and crew members. To ensure that all these protocols are correctly complied with, the vessels carry out periodic audits and training of the guides and crew and deploy different information systems on board to ensure that all passengers are adequately informed and understand the measures and conduct they must adhere to.
3. The Cruise Routes
For the next 2022/23 Season (from September 2022 until April 2023), the Australis expedition cruise offers two four nights of excellent routes.
The first one called “FJORDS OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO” departing from Punta Arenas, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. Set sail from the Chilean city of Punta Arenas, on the shores of the historic Strait of Magellan, on an unforgettable voyage of discovery through the fjords and channels of Tierra del Fuego. Discover Cape Horn and the historic Wulaia Bay, among other attractions along the route.
The second route, called “Patagonian Explorer,” departs from Ushuaia, Argentina, arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile. When you embark on this five-day, a four-night expedition from Ushuaia (Argentina) to Punta Arenas (Chile), you will discover the wild beauty of Patagonia on a voyage that will show you the region's pristine landscapes, varied wildlife, and fascinating human history aboard an expedition ship that brings extraordinary levels of comfort and service to the end of the world.
Both itineraries offer four nights, and prices start at USD 1,590 per person, depending on the travel date and cabin type.
4. Departures, Seasons & Guide of Prices
The season at Australis Cruise runs from September to April. Prices start at U$D 1590 per person (cabin Category B – low season September) up to U$D 6,000 per person in the highest cabin category during high season (December).
The cruise is “all-inclusive,” and rates include:
Breakfasts, lunches, and meals.
Open bar when the bartender is on duty.
Daily shore excursions, as scheduled by the Company.
Whiskey and hot chocolate during excursions.
Activities inside the ship.
Port fees are an additional cost to the fare and are paid together with the total value of the ticket.
Total port fees per person for bookings are as follows:
SPECIAL SEASON 2021 / 2022
• Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas route: US $60
SEASON 2022 - 2023
• Punta Arenas to Ushuaia route: US $95
• Ushuaia to Punta Arenas route: US $95
• Punta Arenas to Ushuaia to Punta Arenas route: US $110
• Ushuaia to Punta Arenas to Ushuaia route: US $110
These values may be modified without prior notice and may vary depending on the amount determined by the corresponding authorities of each country.
As for Tips, each passenger is free to decide how much to tip. Those who wish to reimburse the service onboard must deliver the gratuity at the ship's reception desk on the last day of the voyage. We suggest the US $15 per person, per day, which will be distributed equally among all the crew that has made the trip an unforgettable experience.
5. What about COVID-19?
Australis has adopted a series of measures to provide an unforgettable experience while sailing through Patagonia. For instance, each passenger will receive a kit with masks and a hand sanitizer for proper use during the trip. The use of a show will be mandatory in all enclosed public areas of the cruise, except when passengers are seated at their tables during food and bar services.
Another new protocol is that the usual buffet system during breakfast and lunch has been replaced with table service, maintaining the quality of the gastronomic experience. On board the cruise, there is a daily monitor of the temperature and symptoms of all guests and crew members, and there is a ventilation system based on bipolar ionization equipment technology (Plasma air), which ensures a 99% decrease in viral load for COVID-19 in the air, among other essential protocols.
6. Finally, is this trip for me?
Are you wondering if this trip is for you? If your answers are mostly YES to the questions below, the response is positive!
If you want to see Glaciers at the “edge of the world.”
If you want to be among the Magellanic Penguins.
Reach the southernmost point of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Cape Horn.
If safety and security are at the top of your mind when it comes to travel.
If you are concerned about the impact on the places, you visit.
If you are looking for more sustainable escapes, rather than “throwaway trips,”
If you want to explore an environment full of fresh air and vast horizons.
If you want to see the vast, untouched Patagonia.
If you enjoy lectures, learning, and gaining new knowledge while traveling.
If high-quality food is an integral part of your trip.
If you want to explore intimately and exclusively.
Read our Tailor-Made Itinerary Patagonia & Australis Cruise. This fantastic itinerary will allow you to travel on board the Australis Patagonia Expedition Cruise, Trek the Perito Moreno Glacier, and discover Torres del Paine, Chile, with its multiple treks. Like all our trips, this is 100% custom-made for you.
Ready to start planning your Patagonia and Australis trip? Book now a Day & Time to speak with us!
We are waiting for you, and so is Patagonia!
Thanks for reading, and If you have any questions, get in touch!