Best Antarctica Cruise - Celebrity or Holland America

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#1
Bakertsfield, CA, USA
148 Posts
Joined May 2001
I am thinking of going on one of the 2 mainline cruise lines that go to South America/Antarctica - Holland America for 22 days or Celebrity for 14 days.
Holland America spends 4 days in the area called the Antarctic Experience which goes to the Palmer Archipelago, Danco coast and Antarctic sound.
Celebrity spends 2 days in the area and goes to Schollart channel, Paradise bay, Gerlache strait and Elephant island.
Are the locations for these 2 cruises the same or does HA go to more locations?
Does anyone have an opinion what one is the best cruise? Since HA spends 4 days in Antarctica and Celebrity only spends 2 days there, thus on the surface it appears that HA is the best choice if you want the most time there. If you are going to spend a lot of money and time on these cruises, it would seem that the one with the most time in Antarctica would be the best choice (HA spends extra time going up to Santiago vs Celebrity goes back to Buenos Aries).
Any opinions on these cruises would be appreciated from people who have been on them.
Thanks, Rick
#3
Boston
4,718 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Globehoppers is correct, if you really want an Antarctic experience you need to be on a small (200 or less) person boat. That way you get to go on the ice, not just near it.
#4
9,609 Posts
Joined May 2009
While I agree that an expedition on a small ship would be "best," and ours was incredible, not everyone is able to do that.

The OP expressly asked about non-expedition cruises.

OP: you are comparing two very different cruises, pretty much apples and oranges. One is a more than a week longer than the other; they have very different itineraries. The HAL cruise is three weeks long, and if it's the one I pulled up to look at, it's a cruise around the Horn from Buenos Aires to Santiago, which will give you much more of South America than the two-week cruise on Celebrity, which is RT out of Buenos Aires. (You might find one of those cruises easier in terms of air travel, but that's your call.) As best I can tell, HAL also has a port call in the Falklands; this is not always made because of weather, but from what I've read, it would be great if you make it.

Since you are looking at cruises of such different lengths and itineraries, I suggest you really need to consider what is most important to you here.

Also, besides posting in this forum, I would also post on the HAL and Celebrity boards. You are not likely to get comparisons anyway (folks are not likely to have done both cruises), but I think you may well find it helpful to get replies from people who have taken these cruises with each cruise line, and a good way to get that info is on those boards.

I hope this was helpful.
#5
Palm City, Fl
3,917 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
For expanded knowledge about a cruise ship in Antarctica, I suggest you spend some time on YouTube. There are some enthralling videos from sailings of major cruise lines as well as expedition ships.
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Carnival Spirit 2003 (Caribbean)
Carnival Fascination 2004 (Caribbean)
HAL Noordam 2004 (Norway)
Celebrity Horizon 2005 (Caribbean)
Sun Princess 2006 (Caribbean)
Diamond Princess 2007 (Alaska)
Carnival Splendor 2008 ( E. Mediterranean)
Carnival Glory 2010 (b2b E+W Caribbean)
Emerald Princess 2012 (Caribbean)
Island Princess 2012 (Panama Canal-full transit)
Ruby Princess 2014 (Caribbean)
HAL Ryndam 2014 (W. Caribbean)
Ruby Princess 2014 (W. Caribbean)
Carnival Glory 2016 (Journey-E. Caribbean)
HAL Zaandam 2016 (BA to Santiago)
#6
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We are doing the HAL cruise in Jan a much better itinerary.
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For Cruise Reviews and Pictures, visit our website at www.thepreismans.com
Mike


Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#7
UK
1,525 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Celebrity's two days can soon turn into a big disappointment if the weather decides to intervene. Two days, for me, is too risky.

If it's Antarctica you want to see, as opposed to it being part of a South American trip, then you should take a serious look at an expedition trip on a smaller ship that will allow you to land. A world of difference, and one which is more than worth the extra cost (which may not be as much as you imagine).
#8
Adrift
487 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
If it's important for you to see Antarctica but not particularly important to do landings the HAL is better as it gives you a couple more days around the peninsula. Besides it also visit Chilean fjords which are beautiful in a different way. The big advantage of the celebrity itinerary is it is shorter and requires less time off work but that might not be a factor to you.

If you do decide to do an expedition including landings, ideally you would want a ship carrying about 100 people. Any ship carrying more than 200 may be considered too big by some but then you also have to consider comfort level. Chances are it will be a compromise of several factors.
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#9
UK
1,525 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by genegri
Chances are it will be a compromise of several factors.
Antarctica is always a compromise!

We sailed on Hurtigruten's Fram on each of our trips simply because she offered the best compromise (for us) in itineraries, cost and comfort.
#10
PA
636 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by stromer
I am thinking of going on one of the 2 mainline cruise lines that go to South America/Antarctica - Holland America for 22 days or Celebrity for 14 days.
Holland America spends 4 days in the area called the Antarctic Experience which goes to the Palmer Archipelago, Danco coast and Antarctic sound.
Celebrity spends 2 days in the area and goes to Schollart channel, Paradise bay, Gerlache strait and Elephant island.
Are the locations for these 2 cruises the same or does HA go to more locations?
Does anyone have an opinion what one is the best cruise? Since HA spends 4 days in Antarctica and Celebrity only spends 2 days there, thus on the surface it appears that HA is the best choice if you want the most time there. If you are going to spend a lot of money and time on these cruises, it would seem that the one with the most time in Antarctica would be the best choice (HA spends extra time going up to Santiago vs Celebrity goes back to Buenos Aries).
Any opinions on these cruises would be appreciated from people who have been on them.
Thanks, Rick
I can't speak for the HAL trip, but we did the Celebrity trip this past February. I've not done any expeditionary cruises down there, but, for me, I felt the "drive-by" was a great experience. What made it particularly nice is that our weather was amazing. Smooth crossings of the Drake both ways. We had two fantastic onboard lecturers/naturalists that provided wonderful information and daily programs.

I have no doubt that an expedition ship is the true and best way to explore Antarctica, but since DW and I have never been to South America either, we liked the X itinerary in that we got to experience several different ports. If you are interested, here is a link to a youtube video that I posted of our trip. It is rather long, but does include footage of the entire voyage. Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u_nyC1phHM&t=3068s

The only thing I highly suggest is to please view it in HD (720p) format. Otherwise the clarity is considerably compromised at lower resolution.
#11
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by three4rd
I can't speak for the HAL trip, but we did the Celebrity trip this past February. I've not done any expeditionary cruises down there, but, for me, I felt the "drive-by" was a great experience. What made it particularly nice is that our weather was amazing. Smooth crossings of the Drake both ways. We had two fantastic onboard lecturers/naturalists that provided wonderful information and daily programs.

I have no doubt that an expedition ship is the true and best way to explore Antarctica, but since DW and I have never been to South America either, we liked the X itinerary in that we got to experience several different ports. If you are interested, here is a link to a youtube video that I posted of our trip. It is rather long, but does include footage of the entire voyage. Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u_nyC1phHM&t=3068s

The only thing I highly suggest is to please view it in HD (720p) format. Otherwise the clarity is considerably compromised at lower resolution.
Thanks for sharing. You only have 2.5 minutes of video while you were in Antarctica; and it appears that you didn't get very close to anything there. Do you have another video that shows more of what you saw while there? The videos I have seen from other HAL and X cruisers normally show the ship being much closer to the mountains and massive icebergs.
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Mike


Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#12
Toronto
3,517 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We took HAL's Zaandam to Antarctica for their Holiday cruise 3 years ago. We were plenty close to the continent.

One of the best features of the HAL cruise were the lectures they had on board by scientists who had worked at the South Pole. There were multiple lectures per day.
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#13
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by boulders
We took HAL's Veendam to Antarctica for their Holiday cruise 3 years ago. We were plenty close to the continent.

One of the best features of the HAL cruise were the lectures they had on board by scientists who had worked at the South Pole. There were multiple lectures per day.
I can't wait to experience it first hand in January
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Mike


Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#14
PA
636 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by MVPinBoynton
Thanks for sharing. You only have 2.5 minutes of video while you were in Antarctica; and it appears that you didn't get very close to anything there. Do you have another video that shows more of what you saw while there? The videos I have seen from other HAL and X cruisers normally show the ship being much closer to the mountains and massive icebergs.

2.5 minutes? Not sure what you mean. The Antarctica portion begins around the 29 minute mark and ends at around the 44 minute mark. I suspect we got as close as any other X cruise. What you see on my footage is what we saw. I tried not to miss anything, at least from whatever side of the ship I was on at the time.
#15
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by three4rd
2.5 minutes? Not sure what you mean. The Antarctica portion begins around the 29 minute mark and ends at around the 44 minute mark. I suspect we got as close as any other X cruise. What you see on my footage is what we saw. I tried not to miss anything, at least from whatever side of the ship I was on at the time.
OMG, I am so sorry. I don't know what I was looking at. Please accept my apology. I will go back and watch it again tomorrow.
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Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#16
PA
636 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
No problem and certainly no need to apologize!! It just had me wondering, though, being that I have another (much shorter) video that I uploaded to youtube that likely does only have a few minutes of Antarctica since that video features mostly just the penguin excursions we did. So I thought that perhaps you wound up seeing that video instead. Then, however, I checked the link I posted and saw that it does go to the 90 minute video. Anyway, hope you find some benefit from my video. It is a truly amazing place down there that is undoubtedly to remain as one of the top highlights of my entire travel experiences.

Just don't forget to watch the video in HD (720p) format as suggested right on the video. Otherwise it really doesn't do justice to it.
#17
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by three4rd
No problem and certainly no need to apologize!! It just had me wondering, though, being that I have another (much shorter) video that I uploaded to youtube that likely does only have a few minutes of Antarctica since that video features mostly just the penguin excursions we did. So I thought that perhaps you wound up seeing that video instead. Then, however, I checked the link I posted and saw that it does go to the 90 minute video. Anyway, hope you find some benefit from my video. It is a truly amazing place down there that is undoubtedly to remain as one of the top highlights of my entire travel experiences.

Just don't forget to watch the video in HD (720p) format as suggested right on the video. Otherwise it really doesn't do justice to it.
I did watch it in HD and certainly enjoyed it. It was also nice to see Alejandro again, who we have cruised with a couple times; as well as seeing Mickey in action again. We have been on the Infinity many times; but are doing the Zaandam cruise instead, so that we get 4 days in Antarctica instead of 2.
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Mike


Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#18
PA
636 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
So glad you enjoyed! Yes...Alejandro is truly amazing. He has a natural gift for what it takes to do that job in such an enjoyable and funny manner. It was our first time with him, as well as for Mickey. We thoroughly enjoyed him as well. The onboard park ranger, John, was very good also.

Your trip sounds great! 4 days in Antarctica instead of 2 sounds terrific. Do you also get to Puerto Madryn and Port Stanley? It was only our 2nd cruise with X - both on the Infinity. Our other cruise was the New England / Canada a few years ago. I am already looking forward to hearing about your trip next year!! Wishing you the smooth sailing and fantastic weather that we had. Thanks again for taking the time to watch that rather lengthy video!
#19
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,968 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by three4rd
So glad you enjoyed! Yes...Alejandro is truly amazing. He has a natural gift for what it takes to do that job in such an enjoyable and funny manner. It was our first time with him, as well as for Mickey. We thoroughly enjoyed him as well. The onboard park ranger, John, was very good also.

Your trip sounds great! 4 days in Antarctica instead of 2 sounds terrific. Do you also get to Puerto Madryn and Port Stanley? It was only our 2nd cruise with X - both on the Infinity. Our other cruise was the New England / Canada a few years ago. I am already looking forward to hearing about your trip next year!! Wishing you the smooth sailing and fantastic weather that we had. Thanks again for taking the time to watch that rather lengthy video!
With the cruise being 22 days, in addition to all the stops you went to, our cruise has 5 ports in Chile, cruising the Chilean fjords and the extra 2 days in Antarctica. The first time we did an SA cruise, I was still working, so I couldn't have taken this longer cruise. We are really looking forward to it.
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For Cruise Reviews and Pictures, visit our website at www.thepreismans.com
Mike


Upcoming Cruises:
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Constellation - April 2018 - Arabian Sea & Suez Canal
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean






#20
PA
636 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
I checked out the itinerary and it looks great. Almost makes me want to go again, but If it's always done in December as scheduled for this year, that would not work well for me. As a Catholic church organist and choir director, it's not a great time to be away during advent and over Christmas! Come to think of it, I believe I had considered the Zaandam but probably ruled it out due to when it goes. So the February trip with X was ideal. Does the Zaandam have zodiac boats or is this trip also a "drive-by"?