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Expedition Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to operate this tour. Please contact Thalassa Journeys at 1-866-633-3611 for alternate dates and tours being offered instead.

(January 17 – February 6, 2023)

Aboard the New 152-Guest Expedition Cruise Ship Minerva

Dear Friends,

While there are many captivating places in the world, few can compare to Antarctica and the islands of South Georgia and the Falklands for awesome beauty and remarkable wildlife. The images that greet you in these remote and unspoiled places are simply overwhelming: Icebergs as blue as a clear summer sky; jagged mountains laced with a snowy white mantle; and thousands upon thousands of penguins stretching as far as the eye can see. Next January, join us on our voyage to this incomparable part of the earth aboard the new state-of-the-art 152-guest expedition cruise ship Minerva.

Sailing from Argentina’s Ushuaia, located at the southernmost tip of South America, we will retrace the sea lanes navigated by storied explorers, including Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton. Our expedition will take place during the austral summer, when the days are long and relatively mild and the wildlife is at its peak.

We will first explore the Antarctic Peninsula, a narrow finger of land that separates the ice-chocked waters of the Weddell and Bellingshausen Seas, and surrounding islands. As Minerva sails through scenic waterways, witness a breathtaking panorama of icebergs, blue glaciers and jagged snow-capped mountains, and explore penguin rookeries, see other wildlife, and look for minke, humpback and orca whales that frequent the icy, food-rich waters of Antarctica.

After stopping at Elephant Island, where the men of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition aboard the ship Endurance were stranded in 1916, we will reach South Georgia, the spectacular, remote island in the South Atlantic with its glacier-clad mountains, craggy peaks, and vast numbers of king penguins, other penguin species, as well as large colonies of albatross, fur and elephant seals. Before ending our voyage of discovery, we will spend two days in the Falkland Islands, an archipelago that harbors an amazing concentration of wildlife that boasts over 200 bird species, including several that are endemic to the islands.

Constructed in Finland and launched in December 2021, Minerva was designed specifically for polar exploration. Enjoy the luxurious amenities of this new state-of-the-art expedition cruise ship that accommodates a maximum of only 152 guests in elegant and spacious staterooms and suites. The ship’s size; limited guest capacity; superb accommodations and public spaces, facilities and services; advanced and eco-friendly technical and mechanical systems; and a complement of experienced officers and crew make Minerva the ship of choice for exploring remote parts of the world in safety and comfort. A fleet of Zodiac landing craft will bring you into intimate contact with the incredible places we will explore.

We are most fortunate to have as our expedition guest lecturers three outstanding scientists. The lectures, presentations and discussions of Dr. Dee Boersma, Dr. Sue Moore, and Dr. Nigella Hillgarth will provide depth and meaning to our exploration.

We hope you will join us on this once-in-a-lifetime travel adventure.

With warm regards,
Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

7% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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Dr. Dee Boersma


Dr. Dee Boersma is the Director of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington and holds the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science. She has worked on Galapagos penguins for 50 years, Magellanic penguins in Argentina for nearly 40 years, and Fork-tailed storm-petrels in Alaska for a decade. Dr. Boersma pioneered the use of seabirds as environmental sentinels. She has determined the reproductive success of penguins, their foraging locations, population dynamics, and the effects of climate variation, pollution, and how their behavior and physiology influences their survival. Dee holds a B.Sc. with honors in Biology from Central Michigan University, a Ph.D. in Zoology from Ohio State University, and an honorary doctorate in Science from Central Michigan University. She was President of the Society of Conservation Biology, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State University, holds the 15th Heinz Award for the Environment and is an elected fellow of the American Ornithologists Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Washington State Academy of Science.

Dr. Sue Moore


Dr. Sue Moore is a research scientist and Affiliate Professor at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels in the Biology Department of the University of Washington. She has 40 years of research experience focused on the ecology, bioacoustics, and natural history of whales and dolphins, with most of her work directed toward cetaceans in the Pacific Arctic region. Sue worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for 20 years, where she served as the Director of the NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory and as a Senior Scientist for the NOAA Fisheries Science & Technology Marine Division. From 2008 to 2012, Sue served as Chair of the Environmental Concerns Working Group of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee. In March 2020, Dr. Moore was honored to receive the IASC Medal in recognition of her Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Marine Mammals as Ecosystem Sentinels and How Climate Change is Influencing the Phenology of Arctic Species. IASC Medals are given for exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic. She currently serves as a Science Advisor to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, the NOAA Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Working Group, and the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Nigella Hillgarth


Dr. Nigella Hillgarth is a research scientist and Affiliate Professor at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels in the Biology Department of the University of Washington. Dr. Hillgarth served as the Executive Director of the Birch Aquarium, the outreach arm of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, from 2002 to 2014. Among other achievements, during her tenure, Nigella developed one of the first major exhibits on climate change in the US. Prior to her work at Birch Aquarium, she served as Executive Director of the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, the largest bird sanctuary in the country, where she collaborated on conservation efforts for marine birds in the Galapagos islands, Peru and Argentina. From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Hillgarth served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New England Aquarium, where she raised the profile of the Aquarium’s global conservation and research work by founding the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, as well as developing a vision for the future of the Aquarium and the surrounding Boston waterfront. In 2019, Dr. Hillgarth was the Climate Art Fellow for the Climate Science Alliance, and worked on visualizations of ocean-atmosphere interactions and climate with the National Science Foundation Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. An avid photographer of the natural world, Nigella received a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Oxford University in the UK, as well as a PhD in Evolutionary Biology. She has conducted research on behavioral ecology and evolution of birds, including penguins, in many parts of the world, including Britain, India, Thailand, the Arctic, South America, and the United States.



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Depart the United states for Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Wednesday, January 18

Arrive in Buenos Aires, the beautiful capital of Argentina. Transfer to the Alvear Icon Hotel. In the evening, meet fellow travelers, your guest lecturers and trip director at an evening cocktail reception.


Thursday, January 19

Transfer to the airport for the group flight to Ushuaia, claimed to be the world’s southernmost city, located in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, between the famed Beagle Channel and the mountains. On arrival, transfer to the pier to embark Minerva, which will begin cruising this evening. As the ship navigates the Beagle Channel, enjoy spectacular vistas of glaciers and misted mountains. Meals: B, D

DAY 4 & 5

Friday, January 20 & Saturday, January 21

Attend lectures and enjoy the ship’s facilities as Minerva cruises through the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Look for Albatross, Cape Petrels and whales that may accompany the ship on its passage. Meals: B, L, D

Aboard the ship’s Zodiacs, cruise among ice floes and explore penguin rockeries.

DAY 6–9

Sunday, January 22 to Wednesday, January 25

Explore the pristine wilderness of Antarctica and its surrounding islands. As Minerva cruises through scenic waterways, witness a breathtaking panorama of icebergs, blue glaciers, and jagged snow-capped mountains. Aboard the ship’s Zodiacs, cruise among ice floes and explore penguin rockeries. Although the itinerary varies according to local ice and wind conditions, we plan to land at such places as Petermann Island, the habitat of Gentoo and Adelie penguins, and where humpback and minke whales are often sighted offshore; Paradise Harbor, the habitat of Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and Weddell seals; and Deception Island, known for its volcanically-heated hot springs. Navigating through the magnificent Lemaire, Errera, Neumayer and other protected channels is also planned. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 10

Thursday, January 26

Call at Elephant Island, the refuge of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew in 1916, after the loss of their ship Endurance in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. Weather permitting, we will land at Cape Lookout to explore this desolate island. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 11

Friday, January 27

Follow Shackleton’s rescue root as Minerva cruises to South Georgia. Meals: B, L, D

South Georgia visitors include four species of albatross, eight species of penguin, including 3-foot-high king penguins, and a million southern fur and elephant seals.

DAY 12–15

Saturday, January 28 to Tuesday, January 31

Mountainous and magnificent, the remote, crescent-shaped island of South Georgia is renowned for its rich wildlife, its stunning natural beauty and its vital role in the history of Antarctic exploration. First claimed in 1775 by the ubiquitous Captain Cook, the island has hosted such explorers as Larsen and Shackleton as well as a long succession of sealers and whalers. South Georgia’s more regular visitors include four species of albatross, eight species of penguin, a million of southern fur and elephant seals. We have four days to explore this extraordinary island. At the Bay of Isles we will discover a truly amazing site, a rookery of 3-foot-high king penguins that numbers some 75,000 birds. We will search the grassy slopes for nesting wandering albatross with 12-foot wingspans, view other bird colonies and stop at Grytviken to see the abandoned whaling station and the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 16 & 17

Wednesday, February 1 & Thursday, February 2

Cruising toward the Falklands. Meals: B, L, D

Explore Stanley, the quaint capital of the Falkland islands.

DAY 18 & 19

Friday, February 3 & Saturday, February 4

Spend two days in the Falklands Islands, consisting of two main islands and some 200 small ones, which are mostly rugged, rocky moorlands. Located in the exceptionally rich waters of the southern Atlantic, they harbor an extraordinary concentration of wildlife, including over 219 bird species and the world’s largest numbers of black-browed albatross and Rockhopper and Gentoo penguins. Explore Stanley, the quaint capital of the islands; Westpoint Island, where we will enjoy a walk across the moors to a busy rookery of Rockhopper penguins; and Saunders Island, whose dramatic beaches harbor large numbers of Magellanic and Gentoo penguins, cormorants and black-browed albatross. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 20

Sunday, February 5

Enjoy closing lectures and the ship’s amenities as Minerva cruises back to Ushuaia. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 21

Monday, February 6

Disembark in Ushuaia. Transfer to the airport for the group flight to Buenos Aires to connect with flights to the United States. Meals: B


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  • Minerva
  • Minerva Club Lounge Sitting Area
  • Minerva Sauna
  • Minerva Observation Lounge
  • Oceanview Stateroom
  • Minerva Pool and Grill Deck

Watch a virtual tour of the Miverva as well as a dry dock time-lapse video of the ship assuming its graceful final form.

The New 152-Guest Expedition Cruise Ship Minerva

Built in Finland, and launched in December 2021, Swan Hellenic’s Minerva is a new-generation expedition cruise ship. Although at 10,250 tons the ship is large enough to accommodate more than 250 passengers, Minerva accommodates a maximum of 152 guests in 76 spacious staterooms and balcony suites. The low guest density results in one of the most generous indoor and outdoor space-to-guest ratios among cruise ships.

Minerva has been designed to meet the stringent requirements of the new Polar Code for ships navigating in Polar regions. Its high PC5 Category A ice-strengthened hull, and other technical and mechanical features, allow the ship to cruise the world’s remote regions in safety and utmost comfort. Technologically advanced hybrid engines and a system of powerful batteries make it possible for the ship to cruise in ecologically sensitive areas, leaving minimal footprint, while a computer-controlled Dynamic Positioning System allows the ship to maintain position without anchoring. Operated by a complement of 120 experienced European officers and international crew members, Minerva will carry a fleet of Zodiacs, versatile landing boats, and kayaks. Powerful stabilizers provide a smooth ride.

All staterooms and suites face outside and are equipped with private facilities, climate control, TV, Wi-Fi and USB connections as well as other amenities. Of the ship’s 76 staterooms, 60 have balconies. Public areas include a spacious observation lounge that is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for lectures and presentations; a club lounge; a restaurant that accommodates all guests at one seating; an outdoor café/bar that surrounds the heated swimming pool; a wellness area with gym, spa, and sauna that includes an adjoining outdoor jacuzzi; library; beauty salon; a “mud room” with lockers for storing expedition gear; and an infirmary that is attended by a full-time doctor and nurse. The ship also features expansive open-deck areas. Two elevators connect all decks. Attentive service is provided on a 24-hour basis.

Rates are All-inclusive

Rates are all-inclusive. There are no hidden costs and no additional charges such as embarkation and port charges. Other than the airfare and expenses of a personal nature, all else is included.

For details on rates, yacht & cabin descriptions, deck plan, payment schedule, refunds, cancellations, insurance, and responsibilities, please download the Expedition Brochure.

Savings for Solo Travelers

A limited number of staterooms are available for single occupancy in categories E through B at no additional charge. Additional single staterooms are available at a supplement of 40% of the per person double occupancy rate, instead of the normal 70% supplement. Register ASAP.

Program Inclusions

Specifically, the rates include the following:

  • one night at Alvear Icon Hotel (or similar)
  • round trip group flight between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia
  • welcome dinner at the hotel
  • 18-day cruise aboard the Minerva, as described in the itinerary
  • airport/hotel/pier transfers and handling of luggage
  • complete program of shore landings and activities organized by the expedition leaders and naturalists
  • all meals aboard the ship, with a selection of wines, beer and soft drinks during lunch and dinner
  • welcome and farewell cocktail receptions aboard the ship hosted by the captain
  • open bar with select alcoholic beverages
  • coffee, including espresso and cappuccino, tea and soft drinks throughout the day and night
  • 24-hour room service
  • gratuities to the ship’s crew, porters and drivers
  • basic Wi-Fi aboard the ship
  • the services of an experienced trip director
  • all local taxes and service charges, including port and embarkation taxes
  • lectures by the guest lecturerers, expedition leaders and naturalists
  • use of rubber boots for shore landings
  • cmplete pre departure material.
NOT INCLUDED: airfare; travel insurance; expenses of a personal nature; any items not mentioned in the itinerary or the above inclusions.


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For more information, please contact Colin Church of Thalassa Journeys by emailing or Rich Mathews by emailing, or by calling 866-633-3611.

Thalassa Journeys
8815 Conroy-Windermere Rd.
Suite 406
Orlando, FL

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