A cruise to Antarctica is truly one of the most memorable travel experiences one can have. The destination itself is unique in that few people ever set eyes on the continent; those few who get the opportunity are forever changed by it.
Antarctic cruises generally take place during the region’s summer season, the five month period from November to March. This is when the ice is breaking up and it is easier for the ships to navigate through the ice-filled waters. Many cruises to Antarctica take place on expedition ships which are specially designed and equipped to handle the icy conditions that will be encountered in this region.
More than 98 percent of Antarctica is covered with ice
When someone takes an Antarctic cruise, they need to keep in mind that there are no guarantees as to how far they will get due to the prevailing weather and ice state. Some of the expeditions will actually make a Zodiac landing on the continent, but passengers have to be flexible and realise that sometimes such a landing just may not be possible due to the ice conditions encountered as one gets closer and closer to the South Pole.
The draw of a cruise to Antarctica is the unlimited number of natural wonders that you will see. Huge icebergs floating around the ship, many with elephant and fur seals resting on them, other marine life, such as penguins and seabirds, whales and other sea mammals found nowhere else in the world is what makes this region attractive to the more adventure seeking travellers.
A cruise to Antarctica could last three weeks or longer. Most originate in Ushuaia in Argentina, as well as a few other South American ports. The ships used for these expeditions are the smaller specially equipped vessels. Rarely will a large “mega cruise ship” make the trip simply because they are not equipped to handle the dangerous icy conditions to be found in the region.
Since the ships will be smaller, you can’t expect a traditional cruise experience complete with onboard casino and disco. Instead what you will find is lots of highly educated, adventure seeking passengers such as yourself, who are onboard to appreciate the beauty of the natural environment and the wonders they will be seeing each and every day. Usually a naturalist will accompany the group, and he/she will give plenty of lectures on such subjects as Antarctic history as well as the natural history of the region.
Antarctica expeditions will generally cost a bit more, especially when you consider the distance you will more than likely need to fly to get to the ship but you will view some of the last unspoiled vestiges of nature, in their natural beauty that is unsurpassed by anything in our daily experience. A cruise to Antarctica and its surrounding regions can truly be a life changing event.