How likely is it to miss SGI or FI all together due to weather in Nov?

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#1
Florida
54 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
DH and I are not able to take a month long vacation due to work so we are looking at a few relatively shorter (18 to 19 days) cruises that go to both FI and SGI in addition to the peninsula so the ship can stay at each island for only 2 or 3 days.

My question is, does that sound very risky in terms of missing an island all together in case we run into bad weather? Will the captain have some flexibility to shuffle the itinerary order around to stay away from bad weather? Or are landing times fixed for each ship so there is no flexibility?

I understand it is impossible to predict weather but just want a little better understanding.

Thanks!
#2
ExPerth, Now Melb Aus
589 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Every voyage has the risk of weather affecting some or all of a day, and some or all of an entire voyage. Its so changeable down there that no-one predicts more than a few hours ahead.

With the Falklands its usually very specific landing spots - like West Point Island and Saunders Bay and Stanley itself. All involve zodiacing to shore so that is dependant on wave and swell conditions. With West Point the ship (depending on the size) can manoeuvre a little further into the shelter of the bay to make for a shorter zodiac trip. With Stanley it can be very choppy and the wind really whips through. Saunders is very flat and open to the elements.


For South Georgia each landing zone is very different - some are wide unsheltered stretches of shoreline and others are small sheltered bays - the weather can be completely different from bay to bay just an hour apart. Generally the captain will arrive at a potential region and make a decision to watch and wait for an hour or move on to another location.


The expedition team's goal is to ensure everyone gets to experience a landing and they and the captain will work hard to achieve that. But Mother Nature out rules everyone else so if she is in a mood - then she wins !!


The landing permits are dependant on who it is you are choosing to travel with. The larger long term companies like Quark usually have plenty of spare permits and time slots up their sleeves so they can be more flexible. Smaller companies may only have a single permit and time slot ie "Gold Harbour Tuesday AM only".
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Sailed aboard - too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean)
Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Nov 2010 (West Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Riser Laarsen Coast, Sth Sandwhich & Sth Georgia Islands)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Dec 2011 (Final voyage - East Antarctica & Heard Island)
Sea Adventurer: Feb 2014 (East side of Antarctica Peninsular, South Georgia Is, Falkland Is).
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.

Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Coming Up:

Hmmmmmmmmm
#3
Florida
54 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by PerfectlyPerth
Every voyage has the risk of weather affecting some or all of a day, and some or all of an entire voyage. Its so changeable down there that no-one predicts more than a few hours ahead.

With the Falklands its usually very specific landing spots - like West Point Island and Saunders Bay and Stanley itself. All involve zodiacing to shore so that is dependant on wave and swell conditions. With West Point the ship (depending on the size) can manoeuvre a little further into the shelter of the bay to make for a shorter zodiac trip. With Stanley it can be very choppy and the wind really whips through. Saunders is very flat and open to the elements.


For South Georgia each landing zone is very different - some are wide unsheltered stretches of shoreline and others are small sheltered bays - the weather can be completely different from bay to bay just an hour apart. Generally the captain will arrive at a potential region and make a decision to watch and wait for an hour or move on to another location.


The expedition team's goal is to ensure everyone gets to experience a landing and they and the captain will work hard to achieve that. But Mother Nature out rules everyone else so if she is in a mood - then she wins !!


The landing permits are dependant on who it is you are choosing to travel with. The larger long term companies like Quark usually have plenty of spare permits and time slots up their sleeves so they can be more flexible. Smaller companies may only have a single permit and time slot ie "Gold Harbour Tuesday AM only".


Thank you for the insight! The two trips I am looking at are by Hurtigruten and Quark respectively and I think they are both big players.

I will do some research about the two ships, MS Fram vs Ocean Adventurer. At first glance seems to me the Fram is nicer but the Adventurer is smaller which likely translates to more landing time.
#4
France
746 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Falkland Islands is not one island but an archipelago which offers plenty of landing conditions depending on weather. I was with Fram in 2013 on such an itinerary and our first landing spot in FI was cancelled because of wind and swell, but we were able to make it to another island which had a more sheltered landing point in that weather. Similar situations can happen in SG. Usually the expedition team and the ship's crew have a vast range of plans B, C, D and so on in case plan A does not work so they will do their best to get you to land. If they really can't, they will try to offer something else to keep you busy (zodiac cruising...).

What cannot be planned in advance is the specific location you will land, and of course as PP said everything in these areas are conditionned by weather so it might happen that landing is impossible for a full day. Big cruise liners that go only to Port Stanley for on day have more risks to have that landing cancelled because they don't have plan B and cannot afford to wait if the conditions are unfavorable. But expedition ships usually plan to stay a few days in FI and SG and it would be really bad luck if you are unable to land at all. However I suppose it could happen so keep your expectations low and your mind wide open, and you will have a great time.

I travelled twice on MS Fram to Antarctica and both trips were awesome but if you are happy with the smaller ship I would go with the smaller ship. Both Hurtigruten and Quark are very knowledgeable and respected operators in this area so you cannot go wrong with either.
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My travelblog : http://voyageterremer.blogspot.com Hurtigruten, Antarctica, Svalbard, Norway (and other places...).
#5
Gold Coast
9,495 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by ms Eden
Thank you for the insight! The two trips I am looking at are by Hurtigruten and Quark respectively and I think they are both big players.

I will do some research about the two ships, MS Fram vs Ocean Adventurer. At first glance seems to me the Fram is nicer but the Adventurer is smaller which likely translates to more landing time.
I visited Falkland Islands, SG and A on MS Fram. In the Falkland Islands we visited three places - two by tender and Stanley by wharf. As Perfectly Perth said, there is always Plan B. We had two landings every day, in turn, as well as kayaking and overnight on the snow (extra $). Hurtigruten (Norwegian Cruise Line) has history in the region, which adds to the voyage.
When we went at the end of November, we had good weather and rough seas only between SG and A.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#6
ExPerth, Now Melb Aus
589 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
In my opinion - having seen the Fram often berthed in Ushuaia next to the "normal" sized expedition ships - its HUGE to me and I wouldn't personally set foot on it. But thats me. I prefer the smaller ships with less than 100. I have been on Sea Adventurer which is now the Ocean Adventurer on one of my trips and its a nice size when not fully booked. Apparently its just had a whiz bang makeover too - I haven't had a good look at the new interior photos yet.

Quark technically has a lot more long term experience in region over Hurtigruten (Quark and Lindblad have been operating down there longer than any other companies - by decades) and due to the sheer amount of ships Quark has - it generally has a lot more permits at hand - which gives it more flexibility over companies that only have 1 or 2 vessels.

If there are multiple ships (of any company) in a region they will all be in contact with each other comparing conditions and working out who can relocate elsewhere etc to still maintain the landing rules for a specific zone. There is no sense of "competitiveness" among the companies - they all share a common goal.

As the others said - a lot of time is spent working out plan B.... and C and D haha !!
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Sailed aboard - too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean)
Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Nov 2010 (West Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Riser Laarsen Coast, Sth Sandwhich & Sth Georgia Islands)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Dec 2011 (Final voyage - East Antarctica & Heard Island)
Sea Adventurer: Feb 2014 (East side of Antarctica Peninsular, South Georgia Is, Falkland Is).
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.

Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Coming Up:

Hmmmmmmmmm
#7
Florida
54 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by PerfectlyPerth
In my opinion - having seen the Fram often berthed in Ushuaia next to the "normal" sized expedition ships - its HUGE to me and I wouldn't personally set foot on it. But thats me. I prefer the smaller ships with less than 100. I have been on Sea Adventurer which is now the Ocean Adventurer on one of my trips and its a nice size when not fully booked. Apparently its just had a whiz bang makeover too - I haven't had a good look at the new interior photos yet.

Quark technically has a lot more long term experience in region over Hurtigruten (Quark and Lindblad have been operating down there longer than any other companies - by decades) and due to the sheer amount of ships Quark has - it generally has a lot more permits at hand - which gives it more flexibility over companies that only have 1 or 2 vessels.

If there are multiple ships (of any company) in a region they will all be in contact with each other comparing conditions and working out who can relocate elsewhere etc to still maintain the landing rules for a specific zone. There is no sense of "competitiveness" among the companies - they all share a common goal.

As the others said - a lot of time is spent working out plan B.... and C and D haha !!


Originally posted by SarniaLo
Falkland Islands is not one island but an archipelago which offers plenty of landing conditions depending on weather. I was with Fram in 2013 on such an itinerary and our first landing spot in FI was cancelled because of wind and swell, but we were able to make it to another island which had a more sheltered landing point in that weather. Similar situations can happen in SG. Usually the expedition team and the ship's crew have a vast range of plans B, C, D and so on in case plan A does not work so they will do their best to get you to land. If they really can't, they will try to offer something else to keep you busy (zodiac cruising...).

What cannot be planned in advance is the specific location you will land, and of course as PP said everything in these areas are conditionned by weather so it might happen that landing is impossible for a full day. Big cruise liners that go only to Port Stanley for on day have more risks to have that landing cancelled because they don't have plan B and cannot afford to wait if the conditions are unfavorable. But expedition ships usually plan to stay a few days in FI and SG and it would be really bad luck if you are unable to land at all. However I suppose it could happen so keep your expectations low and your mind wide open, and you will have a great time.

I travelled twice on MS Fram to Antarctica and both trips were awesome but if you are happy with the smaller ship I would go with the smaller ship. Both Hurtigruten and Quark are very knowledgeable and respected operators in this area so you cannot go wrong with either.


Originally posted by MMDown Under
I visited Falkland Islands, SG and A on MS Fram. In the Falkland Islands we visited three places - two by tender and Stanley by wharf. As Perfectly Perth said, there is always Plan B. We had two landings every day, in turn, as well as kayaking and overnight on the snow (extra $). Hurtigruten (Norwegian Cruise Line) has history in the region, which adds to the voyage.
When we went at the end of November, we had good weather and rough seas only between SG and A.


Thank you all so much!

As a researcher and planner the uncertainty unnerves me a little, but the excitement of adventure makes up for it abundantly.

BTW, does any of you know if Quark Ocean Adventurer offers parkas and boots if we book through a 3rd party agent?
#8
Gold Coast
9,495 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by ms Eden
Thank you all so much!

As a researcher and planner the uncertainty unnerves me a little, but the excitement of adventure makes up for it abundantly.

BTW, does any of you know if Quark Ocean Adventurer offers parkas and boots if we book through a 3rd party agent?
You can research detailed information and ask questions on the Trip Advisor Antarctica Adventures Forum, which is a valuable resource for research on all aspects of Antarctica travel.

Planning is half the fun!
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#9
Florida
54 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by MMDown Under
You can research detailed information and ask questions on the Trip Advisor Antarctica Adventures Forum, which is a valuable resource for research on all aspects of Antarctica travel.



Planning is half the fun!


It really is!

I have been reading feverishly on Trip advisor and Travel to the poles this weekend! LOL
#10
Oslo, Norway
1,535 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Another thing to consider in the Hurtigruten vs Quark decision is whether you're especially interested in camping in Antarctica. Quark allows you to see whether this is an option and add it at the time of booking (at least if you do it through their website), whereas Hurtigruten does a lottery on board. If this is important to you, and it's available on the Quark sailing, that would be a huge plus for me. On our Fram sailing, there were probably three times as many people in the drawing as there were spaces in the camping program, so lots of disappointment.

Re: the parka and boots... Nearly every ship has boots, and if the ship you're on loans out boots, it doesn't matter how you booked. Similarly, for the ships that typically include the parka for free (which is fairly common now), it doesn't matter where you booked. The only time that might change is if a charter company books out the entire ship and sells it at as a separate product (e.g. as they do for the marathon and certain other special cruises).
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(Please disregard typos. I do know how to spell, but my iPad sometimes thwarts me when I'm not careful.)
Cruise history: Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea (MS Explorer) - Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands (MV Fram) - Indian Ocean (Costa Romantica) - East Asia (Sapphire Princess) - Baltic Sea (Vision of the Seas) - Norwegian Fjords, Svalbard (QE2) - Norwegian Fjords (Vision of the Seas) -Hamburg (Vision of the Seas) - Canary Islands (Voyager of the Seas) - W. Caribbean (Rhapsody of the Seas) - California Coast (Crown Princess) - Hawaii (SS Constitution)
#11
Florida
54 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by kaisatsu
Another thing to consider in the Hurtigruten vs Quark decision is whether you're especially interested in camping in Antarctica. Quark allows you to see whether this is an option and add it at the time of booking (at least if you do it through their website), whereas Hurtigruten does a lottery on board. If this is important to you, and it's available on the Quark sailing, that would be a huge plus for me. On our Fram sailing, there were probably three times as many people in the drawing as there were spaces in the camping program, so lots of disappointment.

Re: the parka and boots... Nearly every ship has boots, and if the ship you're on loans out boots, it doesn't matter how you booked. Similarly, for the ships that typically include the parka for free (which is fairly common now), it doesn't matter where you booked. The only time that might change is if a charter company books out the entire ship and sells it at as a separate product (e.g. as they do for the marathon and certain other special cruises).


Thank you! I will let DH know as I think he will be interested in camping if it's available.
#12
UK
1,490 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Each to their own, but we have sailed on Fram on five trips (Antarctic and Arctic) and have enjoyed each one. For us, she offers an excellent compromise in terms of itineraries, size, comfort and cost.

Two of our trips included the Falklands and South Georgia and we made it to each planned landing without any delays. But that is not to say that on another trip the weather may not be so helpful.

And, just for clarity's sake, Stanley is not a tender port: Fram docks at FIPASS.
#13
ExPerth, Now Melb Aus
589 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by ms Eden
Thank you all so much!

As a researcher and planner the uncertainty unnerves me a little, but the excitement of adventure makes up for it abundantly.

BTW, does any of you know if Quark Ocean Adventurer offers parkas and boots if we book through a 3rd party agent?
It depends if your agent is simply "making a booking with Quark" - or whether it is buying space on board as part of a bulk charter.

If its a charter than Quark does not distribute its boots and parkas. If its simply a booking then yes you get a parka to keep and boots to loan. Not that the parka has a removable puffer inside it so its essentially 2 jackets.
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Sailed aboard - too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean)
Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Nov 2010 (West Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Riser Laarsen Coast, Sth Sandwhich & Sth Georgia Islands)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Dec 2011 (Final voyage - East Antarctica & Heard Island)
Sea Adventurer: Feb 2014 (East side of Antarctica Peninsular, South Georgia Is, Falkland Is).
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.

Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Coming Up:

Hmmmmmmmmm