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About kaisatsu

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Oslo, Norway
  • Interests
    Travel, Literature, Food, Wine, Craft Beer
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  1. If your flight down is delayed by a day or two, you’re usually out the day or two of the expedition. On the way back, most itineraries typically return to Punta Arenas at least a day before the end of the scheduled itinerary. If there’s bad weather on the forecast, they’d probably try to fly back early, but I would plan to fly out late on that last day. Even sailing the Drake, there have been cases where ships were delayed (or the port was closed due to wind), so I always try to book an afternoon/evening flight, plan an extra night, or book a flexible ticket. Since most of the fly-
  2. Lindblad/Nat Geo prides itself on having top notch expedition staff, and I’ve met former Nat Geo staff working on other lines who were quite proud to have done it. That said, staff do tend to move between companies depending on contract logistics, so having sailed with three different companies I haven’t noticed a marked difference in competence. The bigger differences have been in logistics and operations. Do staff produce their own lectures, or do they have to follow a template? How much do the staff mingle with the passengers outside of official duties? I’ve probably learned eve
  3. Why not just go for fewer days? Also, there are plenty of trips that are under $1K/day. Especially if you’re willing to consider the larger 200-400 pax ships with shorter and less frequent landings.
  4. My cabin mate on my last Antarctica trip did her first expedition with Polar Latitudes. She only had good things to say! But considering that she’s a wilderness medicine expert who had chosen to share a cabin on a fairly basic ship for a 30-day Amundsen Sea crossing, I would guess she based her opinions on the expedition operations and didn’t care much about how luxurious the ship was!
  5. Just to clarify, Polar Latitudes ships are ice strengthened, not icebreakers. Seaventure will be ice class 1A Super, which does allow her to navigate some of the most extreme ice conditions of any ice-strengthened passenger ship, but she is not an actual icebreaker (which requires a special hull design). Even a lower ice class can break through first-year ice. The higher classes can simply break thicker ice. I’ve been on a few 1B ships that have sailed through fairly high ice cover. But it’s a pretty slow and challenging thing to do, regardless of ice strength. Early in the season,
  6. We visited East Greenland as a trip from Svalbard to Iceland. A few different companies do this once each season as part of the southbound reposition. They often fill up shortly after they’re listed, so we were crazy lucky to catch a last-minute cancelation one year. I’m an ice buff, so I still love Antarctica more, but northeast Greenland was so different from all the other polar regions I’ve visited that I’m very glad to have seen it!
  7. I think that all of my Antarctic expeditions have included this demonstration during the life boat drill. I definitely remember it from the first one back in 2011, but I’m pretty sure all of them since have included it as well.
  8. Sorry, that should have been @Travel Cat1
  9. You need to be on a ship with a capacity under 250. Port Lockroy can only allow 50 passengers ashore at a time, so a larger ship than that will not logistically be able to visit. I have been there on the MS Expedition with GAdventures, and we were still planning to visit on the larger MS Fram with Hurtigruten, though it would have meant more rotations. I would expect anything bigger than that to be unlikely. As mentioned above, everything is at the whim of weather and ice conditions. When we arrived on the Fram, there was too much brash ice blown in along the shore, so we could not
  10. If you do take a taxi from the airport, you should use the electronic kiosk. Prices vary greatly, and you do not need to take the first taxi in the queue. Fixed prices are generally cheaper but need to be booked/agreed up front. If you plan to do any sightseeing within the city, staying close to Oslo S (central station) aka Jernbanetorget is the most convenient for public transit. Alternatively, stay within a block or two of Karl Johans gate near Stortinget or Nationaltheatret. As for particular hotels, it depends on your budget and tastes. At the top end, T
  11. Seeing this thread again, I guess it’s time for me to eat crow. My last Drake Crossing was a proper ordeal! Not because the conditions were so unbelievably bad, but instead because conditions had been consistently bad earlier in the trip. We were behind schedule, so we didn’t have the flexibility to plot any course but straight to Ushuaia with a direct crosswind. Since were coming up from Peter I Island, it was a looong crossing, and the first days we’d angle the ship into the wind during meals. By the end we didn’t even have time for that and had to eat meals holding on to each di
  12. Having done it both ways, I would say there are pros and cons to each. I really like Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego and think it’s worth a couple days to explore if you’re keen (especially if the weather is nice). However, domestic flights in Argentina are known to be a bit unreliable so you absolutely need to arrive a few days ahead. On my first trip, there was no charter from BA, and of 120 passengers, a half dozen had delayed luggage. Most of them got their bags the next morning after their arrival, but one person ended up having to do the entire expedition in new/borrowed gear! T
  13. Honestly, I'd de-prioritize the Antarctic Circle if you can bear it. I'm a cartophile, so I understand the allure, but it really is a bit of an arbitrary delineation considering the additional complications. Choose the season that appeals to you most, and prioritize that and the Falklands/S.Georgia way above the prospect of a Circle crossing. Crossings tend to be more popular later in the season, and if you're looking for larger fledgling penguin chicks, that might be a possibility, but having been down twice before I crossed the Circle, I really don't think it's a high priority. I
  14. While the average summer temperatures for the Norwegian coast tend to be in the upper teens (C), Norway has been seeing more and more particularly warm days in the summer. It's not so uncommon these days to see temperatures reach 25°C (77°F). However, temperatures tend to rise through the day, so the warmest times are late afternoon and early evening (around 16:00 or 17:00). But honestly, I wouldn't worry at all. Princess probably included that because they can't guarantee that the bus will have AC. However, this is pretty standard from vehicle manufacturers, and companies would li
  15. It obviously depends on the location, so the suggestion that it's not an inconvenience is very specific to the situation. Yes, it's the norm for tour companies in Russia, and tipping in dollars is no big deal in a place like Cancun, but that doesn't mean it's universally convenient for the recipient. In Scandinavia, cash is becoming less and less common (most local banks do not even accept local cash), so finding affordable options to exchange foreign cash can be a challenge.
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