Other spectacular birds on Emperor Penguin Trips may include the rare Antarctic Petrel, by Paul Macklam.
Emperor Penguin, as well as Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, Black-browed, Grey-headed, Light-mantled, both Royal and Wandering Albatrosses, Antarctic and Snow Petrels, Pale-faced Sheathbill and Magellanic Woodpecker, as well as Ashy-headed, Kelp and Upland Geese, Flightless Steamer Duck, Great Grebe, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Southern Fulmar, Blue, Cape and White-chinned Petrels, Antarctic, Fairy and Slender-billed Prions, Black-bellied, Grey-backed and Wilson's Storm Petrels, Antarctic and Imperial Shags, Black-faced Ibis, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, White-throated (Ushuaia Rubbish Tip), Chimango and (Southern) Crested Caracaras, Southern Lapwing, Dolphin and Kelp Gulls, Antarctic Tern, Brown, Chilean and South Polar Skuas, Austral Parakeet, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, Austral Negrito, Austral Thrush and Patagonian Sierra Finch. Also a chance of Spectacled Duck, Magellanic Penguin, Atlantic, Grey, Kerguelen, Soft-plumaged and White-headed Petrels, Common and Magellanic Diving Petrels, Andean Condor, White-bellied Seedsnipe and Yellow-bridled Finch (the latter two at Garibaldi Pass and Martial Glacier near Ushuaia). Most of the landbirds listed can be seen in Tierra del Fuego NP near Ushuaia in Southern Argentina where cruises usually start and finish.
Humpback, Killer, Fin and Sei Whales, Southern Elephant Seal, and Crabeater and Weddell Seals. Also a chance of Leopard Seal and other whales.
Antarctica Virtually the whole of the Antarctic continent is covered with ice, on average 3000 m (9800 ft) deep in the east, and much of the coastline is fringed with ice shelves about 200 m (650 ft) thick, pack ice and icebergs of every imaginable size and shape, so it is, more or less, completely picturesque.
A typical itinerary in the Weddell Sea could be as follows. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.
The best time, indeed the only time, to visit is mid-November to mid-December, during the Antarctic spring.
A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife by H Shirihai. Helm, 2007 (Second Edition).
Field Guide to the Birds of Chile including the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia by A Jaramillo. Helm, 2003.
Antarctica Wildlife Guide.
Many trip reports, some for the Emperor Penguins Trip, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours for the Emperor Penguins. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours for Emperor Penguins' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
The most expensive cruises to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands tend to be those on the largest and most lavish vessels where every cabin has private facilities, but it is the smaller vessels, with much smaller passenger numbers and mostly shared facilities, which enable greater and easier access to certain areas, and sometimes longer times ashore.
Many tour companies, some of which are listed below, can organize cruises for Emperor Penguins which are run by Oceanwide Expeditions.