Strait of Magellan Cruises

Cruise the Strait of Magellan

From September to April, visitors can travel from Argentina to Chile via the Strait of Magellan—a critical natural passage between South America and Tierra del Fuego, connecting the Atlantic and Southern Pacific oceans.

Australia Tours Cape Horn

First navigated by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, this remained the primary route around South America until the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914.

Today, approximately 1,500 ships pass through the Strait of Magellan each year and around 50 Magellan tour cruise ships arrive each summer in the city of Punta Arenas.

Punta Arenas is Chile’s southernmost city and is the largest settlement along the Strait of Magellan. Even today, it serves as the center for tourism and cruises in the region.

Stella Astralis ship

The fjords and channels throughout the Strait of Magellan are known for their natural beauty and calm waters.

Along the route, high glaciers flow to the sea from steep snow-capped peaks. Protected bays are populated with elephant seals, Humpback whales, and Magellanic penguins.

These cruises offer guided excursions to:

  • Glaciers
  • Forests
  • Wildlife Colonies
  • Historic Sites

Australis Tours

Australis offers several cruise routes that navigate through some of the world’s most remote areas like Tierra del Fuego, Straits of Magellan, Cape Horn and more.

Australis has two “twin” vessels — the Stella Australis and Ventus Australis — that depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, traveling west to Punta Arenas, Chile (or vice versa).

Stella Australis Ship

Australis ships offer a variety of amenities including:

  • Full-board bar and meal system
  • Free lectures from guides
  • Library
  • Luxury Lounges
  • Board games
  • Entertainment
Stella Australis lounge
Ventus Australis lounge
dining room Ventus Australis ship

Stella Australis

Stella Australis, Latin for “Southern Star” offers guests a relaxing stay with comfortable cabins, ocean views in every room, and fine dining.

Constructed in 2010, Stella Australis has a maximum occupancy of 210 passengers and a total of 100 cabins.

The six different cabin types, ranging from B cabins to AAA Superior cabins, are either 177 or 220 square feet, and feature twin or double beds.

Stella Australis exterior
Stella Australis room detail
Stella Australis twin room detail

Ventus Australis

Latin for “Southern Wind,” the Ventus Australis ship was specially made to explore the narrow fjords and maneuver the tricky channels found throughout the southern tip of South America.
Like Stella Australis, Ventus was crafted by the Chilean shipyard Asenav, and features the latest safety regulations and efficiency.

Its first departure was January 2018 and can accommodate up to 210 passengers with a total of 100 cabins.

The three different cabin types include the twin, matrimonial, and superior, ranging from 177 to 220 square feet and featuring twin and double beds.

Ventus Australis ship
Ventus Australis twin room detail
Ventus bridal suite Australis

Australis Sample Itineraries

Australis tours take visitors throughout the regions of Patagonia accompanied by expert guides who educate them on everything from fjords to glaciers to Magellan penguins.

Their cruises are currently booking from September through April on both the Stella and Ventus Australis.

Fjords of Tierra del Fuego:

Punta Arenas – Ushuaia, 4 nights, on board Stella Australis or Ventus Australis

Day 1: Punta Arenas

Check-in between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in Punta Arenas. Boarding at 6:00 p.m.

That night, the ship crosses the Strait of Magellan and navigates the intricate channels within southern Patagonia.

Day 2: Ainsworth Bay – Tuckers Islets

The ship navigates through the Almirantazgo Sound up to the Marinelli Glacier in Ainsworth Bay.

During the afternoon, travelers will visit the Tuckers Islets, where they will see Magellan penguins and cormorants from Zodiac boats.

Guests will also go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which harbors impressive bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals.

Ainsworth Bay Australis tours

Day 3: Pía Glacier – Garibaldi Glacier

In the morning, the ship navigate’s the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel, to enter the Pía Fiord and disembark for a walk up to the vantage point overlooking the stunning glacier.

Pia Fjord Australis tours

Day 4: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay

We will navigate along the Murray Channel and Nassau Bay up to the Cape Horn National Park where, weather permitting, we will disembark on the island that harbors legendary Cape Horn.

We will disembark again to visit the beautiful Wulaia Bay where visitors will stroll through Magellan forests of lengas, canelos, ferns and other fauna.

Stella en Wulaia Australis tours

Day 5: Ushuaia

Arrival in Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world. Disembark at 8:30 a.m.

Ventus ship Australis tours

Patagonian Explorer

Ushuaia – Punta Arenas, 4 nights, on board Ventus Australis or Stellla Australis

Day 1: Ushuaia

Check-in between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Boarding at 6:00 p.m.

During the night, the ship traverse the Beagle Channel and crosses from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters.

Day 2: Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay

The ship navigates along the Murray Channel and Nassau Bay up to the Cape Horn National Park where, weather permitting, visitors disembark to take an amazing excursion. In the afternoon, travelers visit the beautiful Wulaia Bay.

Day 3: Pía Glacier – Garibaldi Glacier

In the morning, the ship navigate’s the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel, to enter the Pía Fiord and disembark for a walk up to the vantage point overlooking the stunning glacier.

Pia Glacier Australis tours

Day 4: Agostini Sound – Águila Glacier – Cóndor Glacier

The ship cruises through the Agostini Sound where it disembarks and visitors go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. In the afternoon, the ship approachs the Condor Glacier via Zodiac, and see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.

Day 5: Magdalena Island – Punta Arenas

Early in the morning, the ship disembarks at Magdalena Island, home to a large colony of Magellan penguins. Disembarkation in Puerto Arenas at 11:30 a.m.

Isla Magdalena Australis tours

One Ocean Expeditions

One Ocean Expeditions offers a Southern American cruise that travels through networks of fjords and channels, eventually landing in Valparaiso, Chile.

Roger Pimenta ship

RCGS Resolute

RCGS Resolute, the newest addition to the One Ocean fleet was specifically built for polar expedition cruising with the highest ice class. Equipped with stainless steel propellers, the RCGS Resolute persists through the ice, when other ships cannot.

The ship amenities aboard the RCGS Resolute include:

  • Two bar and lounge areas featuring deck views
  • Stocked library
  • Meals prepared for you by a culinary team in one of our two dining rooms
  • Both dining rooms have open seating, modern furnishings, and large picture windows
  • Theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness centre, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room and salt water pool
Bistro on the Resolute ship
Forward Observation lounge on the Resolute ship
jacuzzi on the ship Resolute

RCGS Resolute Cabins

The RCGS Resolute’s six cabin options all feature outside viewing offering expansive panoramic windows. Cabins all have the ability to be single beds, or 1 double bed depending on our guests needs.

Recent renovations include new carpets, cabinetry with soft close drawers, contemporary and spacious bathroom design, all paired with soft accent lighting.

All cabins offer lounge quarters, providing a place to relax and unwind.

Resolute triple private room
One Ocean Suite Resolute
twin room Resolute

One Ocean Sample Itinerary

Chilean Fjords Adventure:

Ushuaia – Valparaiso, 13 nights, RCGS Resolute, March 28 – April 10, 2020

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

The journey through Chile’s fjord region commences in the afternoon

Day 2: Garibaldi Fjord and Alberto de Agostini National Park, Chile

In the morning, the RCGS Resolute enters Garibaldi Fjord and passengers disembark in Zodiac boats to explore nearby glaciers from a distance. In the afternoon, the ship arrives at Alberto de Agostini National Park.

Day 3: Alberto de Agostini National Park and Marinelli Glacier, Chile

In the morning, the ship has rounded the western tip of Tierra del Fuego. The ship enters the remote D’Agostini Sound.

The Dainelli and Serrano Glaciers cascade into the sea. Assessing current ice and weather conditions is essential in determining where the ship can land and explore the shore.

Day 4: Magellan Strait & Cabo San Isidro

The ship arrives at Cabo San Isidro, on the north shore of the Magellan Strait, and site of the southernmost lighthouse on the continent.

Here, passengers enter the normally impenetrable Magellanic southern beech forests. A hiking trail follows the shoreline, leading from Aguila Bay, a site of an important whaling station over a century ago.

Day 5: Inside Passage Puerto Natales

The ship navigates the maze of channels that form Chile’s Inside Passage, as it makes its way northward towards Puerto Natales. Enjoy the views of forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and glaciers that continue for miles from the comforts of the observation lounge or ship’s outer decks.

Day 6: Torres del Paine National Park

Today, passengers head ashore for a full-day excursion to Torres del Paine National Park. This location boasts some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, with the celebrated ‘towers’ looming above the surrounding plateau and glacier-fed lake systems.

There are some short hikes to lookouts and viewpoints, providing privileged views of the immense massif.

Day 7: Montañas Fjord & Bernal Glacier

Departing Puerto Natales by night, the ship waits for optimal conditions to make its way through the narrow Kirke channel.

Following the pass through the Kirke Channel, the ship stops at the Bernal Glacier for an up-close view.

Jason Ransom
Jason Ransom

Day 8: Peel Fjord – Asia & Amalia Glaciers

Navigating into Peel Fjord, the ship makes its way towards the impressive glaciers of this region. Passengers can witness the glacier faces from the vantage point of the Zodiacs or Kayaks. Wildlife such as South American Sea Lions, Rock Cormorants, and Andean Condors are found in this region.

Day 9: Wellington Island & Puerto Eden

The ship lands off the shores of Wellington Island, alongside the tiny indigenous village of Puerto Edén, home to the last remaining Kawéskar people.

Day 10: Chonos Archipelago & Guamblin Island

The ship stops at Guamblin Island. This forested and hilly island, once inhabited by the Chono people, is now a remote and infrequently visited National Park.

Day 11: Castro & Chiloe Island

The tour arrives in the town of Castro – the provincial capital of the island of Chiloé. Today it is known for its elaborate churches, made entirely of wood, which have earned it a designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The local markets are a highlight and showcase some of the most impressive crafts and textiles in the country. Reboarding the ship in the afternoon, it hugs the coastline, where passengers get to see the snow-capped summits of the many active volcanoes that characterize this region.

Day 12: Coastal Cruising & Niebla

Located at the mouth of the Valdivia River, Niebla is an intriguing coastal town with rich history. Take in the historical remains of Fuerte de Niebla – part of an important fort system established by the conquering Spanish army to protect the estuary of the Valdivia River.

Day 13: Coastal Cruising towards Valparaiso

The ship heads towards the historic port of Valparaiso. the educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. This evening, passengers enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 14: Valparaiso, Chile

This morning the ship arrives at Valparaiso. A transfer to downtown Santiago, via Santiago Airport, is provided for all guests, however Valparaiso is well worth a day or two of exploration if your schedule allows.

Jason Ransom
Jeff Topham Chile
LANDED organizes Strait of Magellan Cruises, Patagonia Excursions, luxury accommodation, charter transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

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William Hazlitt