December 7 - 19, 2020
About This Tour
For even the most experienced world traveler, Antarctica represents the one true unexplored wilderness, or the Last Continent you’re likely to ever visit. At 5.4 million square miles, Antarctica is twice as large as Australia, and its haunting landscape and sheer enormity makes visitors feel just a little bit insignificant. Add to this the challenge of traveling to this remote land of ice and snow and you have what is an adventure of epic proportions, honestly your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Most people arrive to Antarctica by cruise ship, and there are only 58 vessels approved worldwide to travel here without harming the environment of this fragile landmass. Because of this, it’s no surprise that your journey to Antarctica is one of the world’s most costly tours, but it is also the most unique trip you will ever take. Toto Tours is partnering with Abercrombie & Kent, a leader in this destination, to take you to the far southern edge of the world in high style. Our ship – Le Lyrial – is only a couple of years old and each cabin has a balcony for wonderful views.
Toto has reserved just 10 cabins on this ship, and we anticipate the cruise will fill up fast. Also, this is not a tour you can decide to do at the last minute, with visa and documents to acquire, specialized gear to buy, and final payments required a full five months before departure. We suggest that you don’t delay and send in your reservation right away.
Antarctica will surpass all your expectations with its wild beauty, untouched environment, and surprising array of wildlife. You will have bragging rights among all your family and friends because you will have visited our planet’s final frontier and its Last Continent.
OUR PARTNERS FOR THIS EXPEDITIONWe are pleased to join forces for a second time with the wonderful team of professionals at Abercrombie & Kent. Abercrombie & Kent pioneered offering luxury adventures more than 50 years ago. Today they are the world’s undisputed luxury-travel leader, offering an award-winning combination of exclusivity, comfort and authenticity on all seven continents. Their inspiring journeys have won praise from travelers and travel professionals alike, including being named Travel Weekly's "Best Luxury Tour Operator" for more than a decade. To register for this tour, click the “Book Now” link at either the top or bottom of this page. We will provide your details to A&K, who will process all charges for deposits and final payments without any added bank fees.
- Start with two nights in Buenos Aires.
- Enjoy a tour in Buenos Aires.
- Pre-boarding welcome lunch in Ushuaia.
- Guided walk in Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Ushuaia.
- Cruise out to sea through the scenic Beagle Channel.
- Make the famous two-day crossing of the Drake Passage.
- Cruise for 10 nights aboard a luxury all-balcony expedition ship.
- Zodiac boat tours for Antarctica landings and wildlife viewing.
- Discover some of the world's rarest wildlife and terrain.
- Exciting excursions led by the region's most passionate and seasoned guides.
- Learn about Antarctica's environment - and efforts to conserve it - on a visit to U.S. Palmer Research Station.
- Gain a deep understanding of the region with enriching lectures by award-winning experts, including leading scientists, authors, historians and professional photographers.
- An all-inclusive journey including polar gear, onboard gratuities, unlimited house drinks and all port charges on the ship.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Book your flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina (airport code EZE) so that you arrive sometime today. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel, where you spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Most hotels allow check-in to take place during the midafternoon. Should you wish to have a guaranteed room ready for your immediate check-in upon arrival, we will need to reserve the room for the night of December 6 at an additional charge. We are happy to provide details and prices. (Meals Aloft)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Latin passion and European romance define the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, a dynamic mecca known for its wide-ranging architectural styles, contemporary and historic arts, and culinary pleasures and parrillas (steakhouses). This morning choose from a selection of included excursions and experience the city’s best treasures alongside local guides. You may, for example, choose a panoramic city tour complete with a tango demonstration, or a tour focused on Buenos Aires’ lively street art scene. Later this afternoon, meet with your fellow adventurers for a welcome cocktail reception and briefing. (Breakfast / Cocktail Reception)
Fly to Ushuaia, Argentina / Board Ship
Fly to the charming port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. On arrival, enjoy a gourmet lunch at the Arakur resort, enjoying panoramic city and mountain vistas while you dine. Time and weather permitting, take a guided walk in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve or simply relax with a cappuccino and enjoy scenic views of Ushuaia. This afternoon, transfer to your ship and settle in for your first night on board. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. From your private balcony or the outside decks, take in views as you cruise the beautiful Beagle Channel before heading out to sea. (All Meals)
The journey south toward Antarctica is an exciting one, furthered by singular, voyage-long access to our knowledgeable Expedition Team and enrichment experts — both on board and on shore. Set out into the Drake Passage, a 600-mile-wide swath of water where the Southern Ocean currents are squeezed between South America’s southern tip and Antarctica’s northernmost reaches. An important trade route in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the waters and icy conditions that define this passage once made the journey a difficult one, though the stabilizer-equipped ‘Le Lyrial’ handles it with ease. After lunch, enjoy a stimulating presentation from one of your expert lecturers or join your naturalists on the deck to look for whales and abundant seabirds, which join other mammals in feasting on the Drake’s krill-rich waters. It’s all just a taste of the educational enrichment and wildlife you will encounter in the days to come. Later, chat with your Expedition Team about the next day’s itinerary. (All Meals)
As the Antarctic Peninsula and its offshore islands appear on the horizon, a sense of excitement begins to build. Travel in the comfort of your luxury cruiser, enjoying enriching lectures from members of the Expedition Team on topics ranging from birdlife to photography and history. Dependent on weather, sea, ice and wildlife conditions, Antarctic expeditions demand spontaneity and no two are ever the same. With that in mind, your Captain and Expedition Team carefully plan your active, curated itinerary and daily excursions that may include the following areas:
Antarctic Sound: At the northernmost tip of the Antarctic mainland, this body of water features some of the best sightseeing on the peninsula and a proliferation of giant icebergs. Noted for its vast numbers of bird species, the sound is home to the largest breeding colonies of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Look forward to opportunities to land on remote, wildlife-laden islands as well as possible opportunities to experience a continental landing on the Northwest tip of the Antarctic peninsula.
South Shetland Islands: Antarctic research stations, remarkable history, amazing geological features and abundant wildlife define these islands off the shore of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our expedition team will look for opportunities to visit a wide range of sites including working research stations, volcanic islands, and historic sites as well as gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguin rookeries.
Danco Coast: Bordering the South Shetland Islands along the Antarctic continent, the Danco Coast is famed for its scenic, jaw-dropping waterways. From the comfort of ‘Le Lyrial,’ you may sail through some of its most stunning and photogenic channels, straits and bays.
Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast followed by a morning excursion on swift Zodiacs (sturdy inflatable boats). Piloted by expert A&K drivers, each excursion is accompanied by lecturers and joined by groups of no more than 10 guests. After mornings discovering native species and striking terrain, return to ‘Le Lyrial’ for lunch, and time to relax and observe the wildlife-rich waters that surround you, searching for everything from fin whales, humpback whales and orcas, to Antarctic and imperial shags. By afternoon, set out for the day’s second excursion, which may include visiting a scientific research station, hiking on a sheltered beach packed with basking Southern elephant seals, or circumnavigating colossal icebergs that serve as floating homes to seals and penguins. After full days of adventure, evenings aboard your luxury cruiser invite you to unwind over cocktails in the cozy lounge before dinner in the elegant dining room. At night, choose to recap the day’s discoveries with your naturalist guides; chat on deck with fellow guests; or seize the opportunity to capture photos in the stunning low light characteristic of Antarctica’s long, ethereal twilight. (All Meals)
Bid farewell to wondrous Antarctica and begin your cruise back to Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of Argentina. The ship’s return through the Drake Passage is an interlude for recap and reflection, with time to compare notes with your expert lecturers on the wildlife, history and geology of the White Continent. Spend time on board with newfound friends in the comfortable common spaces of ‘Le Lyrial,’ enjoy quiet relaxation on your own private balcony or absorb more fascinating lectures by your captivating Expedition Team. While cruising through this historic passage, you may spot various species of whales and seabirds, including the elusive albatross and the giant petrel, an opportunistic predator and scavenger nicknamed the “stinker.” The immense albatross is an especially stunning sight to behold. These wandering birds boast a wingspan approaching 12 feet and are capable of gliding through the air for hours at a time in search of food. (All Meals)
Disembark in Ushuaia / Depart
Our ship docks at Ushuaia this morning. Enjoy breakfast, and then say goodbye to your Expedition Team and ship’s crew before disembarking. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires, where you connect to your international flight home. (Breakfast)
Entry Requirements-- A valid passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter Argentina. Leisure and business travelers are allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days in Argentina without a visa. In 2016, a presidential decree revoked the $160 reciprocity fee that had been in place since 2009.
Immunizations and Health-- Argentina requires no vaccinations for entry. We recommend that you contact your physician or nearest travel clinic to obtain appropriate vaccinations and medications for this specific itinerary. Click the country names to read the latest recommendations from the Center for Disease Control: Argentina AntarcticaExit Requirements - Departure taxes are now included in the cost of your airline ticket.
WHAT TO BRINGAntarctica’s weather and climate are influenced by its position, elevation, the amount of snow and ice covering the surface of the continent and the lack of precipitation. The climate also varies by region and temperatures in the interior are far more extreme than coastal areas and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Peninsula experiences relatively mild temperatures during the austral summer. Between November and February temperatures can go up as high as the mid-50s, but usually average in the 30s. You will be outfitted for arctic gear as part of your tour cost. Click here to see full destination information and a packing list.
MONEY MATTERSIn Argentina, the U.S. dollar is accepted by many tourist-oriented businesses and shops. Major credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard are accepted at larger establishments although local merchants may refuse to accept them. ATM access (with payout in pesos) is available in urban areas. If using an ATM, do so during business hours at a location inside a bank, supermarket, or large commercial building.
‘Le Lyrial’ uses the euro as its official currency. Guests can pay for incidentals with U.S. dollars as well, and exchange rates will be provided by the Purser when making payment. Cash, travelers’ checks (in euros) and credit cards are accepted as payment of onboard accounts. VISA and MasterCard are the recommended brands although American Express is accepted as well. Personal checks cannot be cashed on board and funds for cashing travelers’ checks are limited. There is no ATM access on board the ship.
For purchases on board, guests should present their key card to the cashier who in turn will swipe the card and process a charge docket for signature. The charges will automatically be transferred to your onboard account. Any personal expenses incurred onboard (including champagnes and non-house wines, boutique, laundry, communications charges, medical services and medications) will be charged to your shipboard account and presented for payment at the end of each expedition.
All onboard transactions made by bank or credit card are processed via the Ponant home office in Marseille, France. Call your bank or credit card company and let them know about your travel plans and advise on board charges are processed through France to avoid having your overseas purchases viewed as suspicious. Please note when receiving your credit card statement, credit card charges from the vessel will show on your statements as charged to ‘Le Lyrial’.
THE TOTO SPIRITToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
(Tour prices per person with $3,000 early booking discount valid for new bookings only through March 31, 2020. 50% savings on the single supplement is valid only in stateroom categories 1 – 3.)Category 1: $12,995 per person in double (regular $15,995)
Classic $18,743 per person in single (regular $27,490)
Category 2: $14,995 per person in double (regular $17,995)
Deluxe $21,743 per person in single (regular $31,490)
Category 3: $15,995 per person in double (regular $18,995)
Premier $23,143 per person in single (regular $33,290)
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance Due: August 9, 2020 (120 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation if enrolling after this date.)
Included: Airport transfer to hotel in Buenos Aires at the start of the tour; 2 nights hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires with guaranteed early check-in; welcome cocktail party in B.A.; hotel breakfasts in B.A.; several Buenos Aires touring options; Welcome Lunch in Ushuaia at the Hotel Arakur; ground transfers in Ushuaia; 10 nights cruise accommodations on MV Le Lyrial in cabin category of choice (based on availability); private balcony with every onboard accommodation level; all excursions and lecture programs on board led by an experienced and professional scientific expedition team; full board services (all meals) aboard MV Le Lyrial; maximum personnel-to-guest ration of 1 to 1.3; culinary program featuring French-inspired cuisine including house drinks, afternoon tea and pastries;; 24-hour room service and breakfast in bed; complimentary expedition parka, backpack and water bottle, and use of waterproof pants, boots and trekking poles; Zodiac excursions led by expert naturalist driver-guides; Traveller’s Valet laundry service; all gratuities, port charges and taxes; complimentary wi-fi on board and in hotels; onboard services provided by an English-speaking staff, including an accredited physician; post-cruise logbook; full travel-tip packet, reading materials, and trip/cruise documentation. This is a fully guided tour.
Not Included: International round-trip airfare to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE); round-trip airfare between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia (economy class from $895); ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; insurance; telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
(Click hotel name to read description)
- Category 1 – Classic Balcony Stateroom 312, 314, 318, 319, 323
- Category 2 – Deluxe Balcony Stateroom 418, 419, 421, 424, 429
- Category 3 - Premier Balcony Stateroom - None blocked, but available upon request
Staterooms are subject to availability, and subject to change. Staterooms in higher categories are available but will not qualify for the $2,500 early booking discount for Category 4 and higher. Click here to see the deck plan for each level aboard “Le Lyrial”.