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Follow explorers' adventurous route across Ross Sea on these Antarctic cruises

Follow explorers' adventurous route across Ross Sea on these Antarctic cruises
Make friends with emperor penguins on Oceanwide Expeditions' cruises across the Ross Sea to Antarctica. (Rolf Stange / Oceanwide Expeditions)

Sail to Antarctica the challenging way aboard an icebreaker that crosses the Ross Sea. Dutch polar cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions ratchets up the adventure factor with two cruises from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Cruises on the Ross Sea are rare; Oceanwide led test runs in 2013 and 2015 that led to the scheduling of two Antarctic cruises in 2017. The company also uses helicopters to shuttle passengers to and from shore stops.

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There's a 30-day cruise from South America to New Zealand and another 30-day cruise in return, from New Zealand to South America.

Dry Valleys on the Commonwealth Glacier has a Mars-like landscape.
Dry Valleys on the Commonwealth Glacier has a Mars-like landscape. (Michael Martin / Oceanwide Expeditions)

Participants aboard the Ortelius will visit remote locations such as Peter I Island, the huts of British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, the famed McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and an area known as the Dry Valleys, which has a Mars-like landscape.

Shown is the Canada Glacier in Taylor Valley.
Shown is the Canada Glacier in Taylor Valley. (Rolf Stange / Oceanwide Expeditions)

In terms of wildlife, you can expect good sightings of birds such as emperor and adelie penguins, skuas and petrels. Orca and minke whales as well as Weddell and crabeater seals ply the waters of the Ross Sea.

Dates: Feb. 15 to March 17, 2017; and Jan. 13 to Feb. 14, 2017

Passengers will be on board the Ortelius, which carries a helicopter.
Passengers will be on board the Ortelius, which carries a helicopter. (Oceanwide Expeditions)

Prices: Starting at $25,700 per person for a cabin that sleeps four. Cost includes all meals, programs by naturalists and expert staff members, some gear (rubber boots and snowshoes), helicopter transfers for shore excursions, transfer from Ushuaia, Argentina, to the ship, and taxes and port charges.

International airfare is extra.

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