The Via Australis and its sister vessel the Stella are a great option for travelers wanting to do a glacier cruise down the remote, southern length of Patagonia including Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel and Cape Horn.
On trips that range from three to seven nights, you will have the chance to cruise through an area boasting more glaciers than Alaska, and more fjords than Norway, Denmark, and Sweden combined. Skirt the island of Tierra del Fuego, pass through the Straight of Magellan and wonder at the awe inspiring labyrinth of ice and water at the bottom of the world. The area is off-limits to most of the larger cruise ships and the Australis is one of the few cruise lines to offer travelers the opportunity to go ashore at Cape Horn National Park, a World Biosphere Reserve sometimes called the “end of the earth.”
During the cruise there are daily land excursions including walks through trails in the native forests, visits to glaciers and to Cape Horn, including talks on the flora and fauna of the area. Groups are formed to embark on zodiac boats, which take you ashore.
While you are exploring one of the most remote parts of the world on daily excursions, you will be staying in comfort. The Via Australsis’ lounge areas are comfortably furnished and boast large windows with panoramic views of the passing scenery. On the uppermost deck is a great open-air terrace. The food on board is good, alternating between a la carte and buffet, with both international and traditional dishes. The service on board is excellent.
The ships travel between Argentina’s southernmost city of Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, Chile. Itineraries range from three to seven nights and run from September and April. Trips can be one way or roundtrip. While we prefer the Via Australis because it is slightly smaller than the Stella (136 versus 210 guests) but both offer an excellent experience.