VACAYA Antarctica LGBTQ Cruise
Updated: Feb 16
Join our friends at VACAYA as they set sail December 6-17, 2022 on the luxury expedition ship, Ponant's Le Boreal. This sailing is exceptionally popular and currently is sold out, however I would encourage you to add your name to the waitlist in the event cabins open up.
A once in a lifetime all LGBTQ luxury adventure to the end of the earth! The most remote continent on Earth is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve seen on previous travels, Antarctica is different from every other destination on the planet. Here, in the midst of the great Southern Ocean, you’ll find nature at its most magnificent. Make history with VACAYA yet again as they host the first all-LGBTQ full-ship charter to Antarctica on the most thrilling journey of all time! They are sailing one of the world’s most luxurious expedition ships – Le Boreal from Ponant, which provides the perfect home-away-from-home for 10 adventure-filled days and nights in Antarctica. And YES… there are multiple daily landings on the continent via Zodiac®, so you’ll have the chance to hike, kayak, mix and mingle with penguins, and explore this new universe up close and personal!
For those who’ve traveled all over the world but are still missing this elusive final continent, this is your chance to add #7 to the list!
In Antarctica you’ll see thousands of penguins eagerly nesting and feeding during the short summer months. There’s also a rich variety of mammals. Since they haven’t been hunted for decades, most species are more curious than afraid of humans. There’s also an abundance of birds, with the mighty Albatross as the king of the sky. During the austral summer, Antarctica’s shores are a feeding ground for thousands of whales. You can also see the torpedo-like leopard seal patrolling the shorelines, and the singing humpback whale as it acrobatically breaches the water.
But before we get to Antarctica, we get to explore one of the greatest cities in the world together… BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA!
Our journey begins under the warm summer sun of one of the world’s most exciting cities, the “Paris of South America” – Buenos Aires, Argentina. We’ll all meet up here for an overnight in this bustling town of beautiful people, delicious delicacies, and unique neighborhoods. Live your Evita dreams as you stroll past the Casa Rosada or visit her grave in Recoleta, sit in a churrascaria and enjoy the best steaks on the planet, or grab a tasty empanada to go as you stroll through La Boca or San Telmo. Your Dec 6 hotel is included in your VACAYA vacation package, but if this is your first time to Argentina, we HIGHLY recommend staying a couple extra days before or after the expedition cruise to explore this cosmopolitan gem.
The VACAYA Antarctic Itinerary
DAY 1 - TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2022
ARRIVE IN BUENOS AIRES
Our adventure starts with an overnight in one of the greatest cities in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina! Tonight’s 4-star hotel is part of your package and the night is all yours to mix and mingle with fellow guests as we all prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!
DAY 2 - WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS – FLIGHT TO USHUAIA
This morning, we all fly together from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (flight included with your purchase), where we’ll board Le Boreal. Settle in and get ready for two extraordinary days crossing the Drake Passage. Seafarers have navigated these tricky waters for centuries and now you’ll follow in their footsteps as we make our way to the Antarctic Peninsula.
DAY 3 - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2022
OUR FIRST SEA DAY – THE DRAKE CROSSING
Will we have the Drake Lake or the Drake Quake today? Only time (and sea conditions) will tell. But either way, today will be all about enjoying our ship, fellow adventurers, and preparing for our first steps on the continent.
DAY 4 - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2022
TRAVELING WITH RESPONSIBILITY
Today, our Antarctic Expedition Team will lead in-depth lectures on science, history, biology, geography, geology, and culture to provide context to our voyage and help us understand the unique destination we’re about to experience. You’ll also learn how to make your visit as safe and as sustainable as possible. We’re getting close now and both the sea and the sky will change dramatically. Icebergs – both large and small – begin to appear and if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see lenticular clouds, which are only seen with any regularity over Antarctica and are a true otherworldly sight to behold.
DAY 5 - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2022
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
So few people have had the opportunity to actually walk on Antarctica. Today, you make history by becoming one of the lucky few who’ve had the chance to explore this land of extremes. Antarctica never fails to inspire awe and wonder, with white horizons above oceans full of icebergs and whales. Perhaps even more awe-inspiring will be your encounters with the huge colonies of penguins.
DAY 6 - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2022
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you’ll find yourself surrounded in spectacular shades of blue and white, with exceptional wildlife all around you. Penguins, humpback whales, seals, and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas.
DAY 7 - MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2022
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Le Boreal’s Captain decides where we go today. No matter where we land, you’re sure to see sights you’ve never seen before, and there’s no more humbling a feeling than that. Think about this for one second… at times, you will be the first man, woman, or non-binary person in history to walk on that bit of earth. How’s that for life changing?
DAY 8 - TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2022
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Our Expedition Team will lead ice-cruising and landings at every opportunity to come ashore and explore the impressive Antarctic scenery. From deck, there are great chances to spot whales. Of course, this is true wilderness, so nature is in charge, but our experienced Captain will work with the elements to create the best possible itinerary for our adventure.
DAY 9 - WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2022
OUR FINAL DAY IN ANTARCTICA
Your entire view of our planet and of your place on it will have evolved completely by this day. Take in the wonder and the incredible beauty one last time. If we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll get the chance to visit the Penguin Post Office in Port Lockroy, Antarctica today. It was built back in 1944 and hasn’t changed much since. This is an actual working Post Office where you very well might be able to send truly unique postcards to friends and family from the bottom of the earth!
DAY 10 - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2022
WE BEGIN THE JOURNEY HOME
After exploring this exhilarating continent, we set course back to civilization. Spend the day at sea recapping your experiences, having fun onboard, or just relaxing on deck, spotting the many sea birds which follow our ship.
DAY 11 - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2022
NAVIGATING THE DRAKE
After 10 days of adventure, you’ll have stories and memories that’ll last a lifetime. Today is our last full day together, so make the most of it no matter where the day takes you.
DAY 12 - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2022
ARRIVAL IN USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
Today, our journey together comes to an end as we all fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires’ National Jorge Newbery Airport (AEP, flight included). From there, there’s no telling where you’ll go! Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great cities and it’s a warm summer weekend! We highly recommend staying a few extra days to explore on your own.
Click here to book now.
Le Boreal - Luxury Expedition Ship
Le Boreal is one of the most luxurious expedition ships on the planet – a 5-star, perfectly-appointed vessel made for kings and queens and queens. Subtly combining luxury, intimacy, and serene well-being, Le Boreal has been designed to offer her guests both moments of conviviality and spaces conducive to peaceful tranquility and a sense of escape and getting away from it all. She is exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages to Antarctica.
With a maximum capacity of 200 passengers, Le Boreal will allow us to explore this virtually untouched land rich in wildlife in small, intimate groups, all in an atmosphere of undeniable luxury and casual elegance.
When you choose a Ponant expedition cruise with VACAYA, you are choosing comfort, refinement, and discovery.
BUILT FOR EXPEDITIONS
Le Boreal is purpose built as an expedition vessel with a higher ice-class and advanced navigation tools that allow her to ply Earth’s polar regions. We believe that as an explorer you need an “expedition base-camp” that is not only practical, but luxurious, as well – something that combines all-oceans capabilities with safety, flexibility, and environmental friendliness. Le Boreal was selected by VACAYA because she’s simply the best expedition ship imaginable.
122 elegantly designed staterooms and spacious suites boast a warm and contemporary interior design by Jean-Philippe Nuel. The designer took direct inspiration from the destinations and cultures explored during Ponant’s stopovers and then punctuated the design with beautiful ethnic touches.
Faithful to Ponant’s commitment to spreading the French way of life around the world, they always pay special attention to the meals they serve throughout the day. Ponant’s talented chefs craft high-end menus so you can enjoy the delights of a refined table. They share their passion for premium produce with guests, enriched with the inspiring flavors of the region.
The ship has spacious outdoor areas. They are perfect vantage points to sit back, relax, and watch this fascinating new world glide by.
LOUNGES & BARS
Different lounges enable our guests to socialize and share moments together during their cruise. Our ship features the Main Lounge, an ideal place to meet over a drink and watch daytime or evening events; the Panoramic Lounge, an intimate piano bar with a unique view of the horizon; and the outdoor bar, a relaxation area with access to the pool and solarium. The main lounge can accommodate all guests for VACAYA’s social activities both day and night.
The theater seats all guests and is equipped with the latest sound and lighting technology. This will be the showcase venue for VACAYA’s and Ponant’s entertainment line-up, who are all complements to the true star of this voyage, Antarctica.
HAMMAM, GYM, & WELLNESS
Le Boreal offers a gym, hammam, and outdoor pool, available to all guests. Opening hours will be announced onboard.
The perfect place to warm up after a day of exploring by Zodiac or hanging out on one of the decks.
VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY We recognize this adventure will be expensive for most, but we’ve layered in quite a few inclusions that will hopefully make it irresistible to global explorers. And obviously it’s difficult for us to put a true value on this experience. As a wise man once said, “The person who is able to express the feeling of being in Antarctica in words has probably not been there.” Minus all superlatives and by every account, this trip will be life-changing.
THE PRICING INCLUDES ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
Accommodations for 11 Nights (1-night pre-cruise hotel & 10 nights aboard Le Boreal)
1- night pre-cruise in Buenos Aires, Argentina Dec 6
Flights (approximately 3.5 hours):
From Buenos Aires (AEP) to Ushuaia (USH) Dec 7
From Ushuaia (USH) to Buenos Aires (AEP) Dec 17
From our Buenos Aires Hotel to AEP Airport to catch the charter flight to Ushuaia Dec 7
From USH Airport to Le Boreal Dec 7
From Le Boreal to USH Airport Dec 17
Breakfast at our Pre-Cruise Host Hotel on the morning of Dec 7
All meals onboard
Standard Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (top-shelf brands at additional cost)
Daily afternoon tea and pastries
Coffee & tea throughout the day
24/7 Room Service
24/7 Stateroom Service
24/7 Reception Desk
Daily small boat landings at approved sites and onshore exploration with the expedition team
Ice-cruising for an up-close encounter with icebergs, wildlife, and more
Onboard WiFi (because we’ll be sailing in some of the most remote locations on earth, we will occasionally encounter limited connection and reduced bandwidth. Streaming is not supported.)
Professional English-speaking expedition guides, lecturers, and staff photographers
Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for any included optional activities
The VACAYA Touch
The Vacayan Hosts
Themed Cocktail Parties
THE PONANT EXPEDITION TEAM
Made up of captivating and enthusiastic expedition leaders, naturalist guides, and experts, the Ponant expedition team will unlock the doors to pristine natural spots. During the outings on Zodiac® boats and onboard talks, the team will give you the key to discover points of interest and wildlife sightings, understand the traditions and ways of life of locals, and get up close and personal with this remote region.
SMALL BOAT LANDINGS*
Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac® outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula: glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry.
The sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You’ll need to be fairly agile to board these, but there’s otherwise no need to worry about traveling in them. In Antarctica it’s mandatory to use rubber boots for all landings, so these will be provided to you. Landing operations depend on favourable conditions.
The French Touch means, above all, a French crew to welcome you and ensure your comfort and well-being throughout your cruise. In an atmosphere of elegant luxury, you’ll find 5-Star Service onboard. It’s a unique travel experience that’s simultaneously authentic and refined.
A FRENCH WAY OF LIVING
The French Touch also means a way of living in which excellent gastronomy takes pride of place. Every day you’ll discover fragrant flavors, carefully selected cheeses and wines, and delicious specialty breads & pastries from Maison Lenôtre. Maison Taillevent provides its fine selection of vintage wines by the glass, Maison Veuve Clicquot champagne is served at our gala cocktails, and delicious sweets from Ladurée bakery are on offer during afternoon teatime.
Finally, the French Touch is also evident in Ponant’s choice of partners whose expertise and passion for their work is in line with VACAYA’s quest for excellence: interior design by Jean Philippe Nuel, fabrics by Pierre Frey, delicate flavours from Le Palais des Thés, Hermès bath products in all staterooms and suites, spa care products by Sothy’s, and signature perfumes from Fragonard.
The following services are available for an additional charge:
Optional Shore Excursions (like kayak adventures)
Optional Pre- and Post-Cruise Excursions
Satellite Telephone Services
Commemorative voyage DVD that retraces the entire story of the trip, complete with interviews with lecturers, naturalists, and the Captain, and a stunning photographic montage from the staff photographers.
*A note about small boat landings:
As privileged guests in these extreme lands, we’re at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed; they vary from day to day, making each Ponant cruise a unique experience. The Captain and Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.
Sail with Confidence - enhanced health and safety measures
The unprecedented public health crisis we have just been faced with has been managed in an exemplary manner by both Ponant's land-based teams and their crews, with not a single case of COVID-19 detected onboard their ships. The speed and efficiency of their protocols and their state-of-the-art medical equipment together with the small size of our ships have made it possible to ensure everyone's safety and security. Ponant have put in place more stringent health protection measures and maximized safety levels to guarantee you a completely calm and stress-free sailing experience. Click here to read more.
Interested in other dates? Click here to view other LGBTQ departures.
Where do you want to go? Click here to contact me.