Consider booking a trip to Antarctica on one of the ships if you need to get away from it all.
A land mass can be buried beneath the South Pole ice. This land was once closer to the equator, covered in forests, and home to many animal species. As the continent moved southward at a rate of centimeters per century, the species that lived there adapted to the shifting climate by evolving new ways to survive.
Those kinds of animals can still be found there. There is an abundance of wildlife on the continent, as well as in the Southern Ocean that surrounds it. This is the only place where wild animals don’t fear humans.
This region may not have a large human population, but it is home to a vast array of animal life, including many distinct kinds of whales, seals, and sea lions. The Rockhopper penguin, the Magellanic penguin, the Adelie penguin, the Chinstrap penguin, the Gentoo penguin, and the King penguin will all be seen by you. Albatrosses, Kelp Gulls, and Terns are available for observation by anyone interested in flying birds.
The majority of people are curious about seeing orcas and killer whales, and this is a species that is unquestionably one of a kind, particularly when observed in family groups.
A cruise around Antarctica will allow you to see the Antarctic coastline and some of the islands in the Southern Ocean. On many of these islands, the number of people is extremely low, and others are entirely devoid of inhabitants (by people anyway.) The silence is breathtaking when you get far away from the ship.
Q & A
1. How physically prepared should you be for a trip to Antarctica?
The vast majority of voyages to Antarctica can be classified as “soft adventures” due to the lack of strenuous physical activity that is typically required. Walking distances are relatively low, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula. When longer walks are available, they are generally optional and are presented alongside shorter trips when they are accessible at all.
Most trips provide a wide variety of alternative adventure activities, such as kayaking, camping, and other outdoor pursuits, for more physically active passengers. Certain departures, such as the Basecamp Adventure, are also primarily geared for those interested in active travel.
2. How far in advance should you make a reservation for an Antarctica cruise?
Booking 12–18 months in advance, or as soon as the departure dates are made available, is the best way to increase the likelihood that you will be able to reserve the accommodation of your first choice. Due to the high demand for these itineraries and the limited number of departures available, it is critical to begin booking Fly & Cruise and South Georgia cruises as soon as possible.
For individuals who aren’t used to making plans this far in advance, this may appear to be an unnecessary amount of time, but to prevent being disappointed on an Antarctic excursion, it is imperative to make reservations as soon as possible.
3. Where do passengers embark on their expeditions to the Antarctic?
Ushuaia, located in southern Argentina, and Punta Arenas, located in southern Chile, are the two primary ports of departure for Antarctic voyages. The most critical access points to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are here.
4. Is the Drake Passage actually as treacherous as it seems?
The Drake Passage has a bad reputation, and for a good reason: roughly 30% of voyages experience rough weather; however, it can be surprisingly calm (‘The Drake Lake’). The Drake Passage has a reputation, not without reason, as approximately 30 percent of voyages experience rough weather.
If avoiding The Drake altogether by flying to Antarctica is your option, firsthand expertise and can help is available. However, the truth for most customers is that it’s rarely as horrible as it sounds, and it’s undoubtedly a “price” well worth paying.
Being on the continent alone (with a small group), with a wonderful guide (Nacho), on a still summer solstice night was spectacular. It was idyllic: peace and quiet, a majestic environment, and curious penguins and seals. It was the loveliest night’s sleep I’ve ever had camping, and it was bizarre to wake up in that hole and witness the dawn in Antarctica.
I loved all the zodiac rides, from sailing around icebergs to gliding up to snoozing seals, with intriguing insights from the drivers and guides.
As inexperienced kayakers, Louise put us at ease and enabled us to enjoy passing icebergs, observing calving and avalanches, and having a fantastic time. We also had fun making the word ‘Hi’ for the mountaineers to see.
Amazing. We snowshoed often and saw penguin rookeries, elephant seal populations, and historic landmarks like Damoy Hut and Port Lockroy (where I could happily live, work, and spend the rest of my days). Brilliant excursion personnel, plenty of valuable and entertaining information, and always answered queries. We felt comfortable, privileged, and respected the land, wildlife, and ecology. It’s hard to capture all the beautiful moments (on film or in words).
Andrew Bishop, the Expedition Leader, was soft-spoken, passionate about Antarctica, and highly personable. We had complete faith in him because he was constantly on the ball, in control of every circumstance, and helped us all be responsible and flexible. The expedition staff’s lectures and speeches, mainly Andrew’s, were an excellent way to pass the time on long sailing days through the Drake Passage, which flew fast since there was so much to listen to and do.
That ship educated me. The staff helped me learn more about Antarctica and appreciate its uniqueness. On Christmas Eve, we saw many humpback whales ‘bubble feeding’; it was awe-inspiring. We saw Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Adelie penguins, and I have a new appreciation for these beautiful animals.
It was a privilege to see how they lived in this fantastic place. We spotted Crabeater and Weddell seals, which were terrific, and a slumbering Leopard Seal, whose size was shocking. It peeked up to see us in our zodiac from its floating ice bed and went back to sleep happily.
The Elephant Seals we saw at Robert Point were also really spectacular. We observed more chicks here than anyplace else, and they were fascinating to visit. Wandering Albatrosses and Petrels that followed the ship were also a joy to watch, and the expedition staff’s talks about the birds and nature helped us grasp their remarkable existence.