I have been to Antarctica twice, not with National Geographic but with Hurtigruten and on a similar "expedition type" trip with landings and zodiac cruising. Having done that, I cannot imagine doing just a drive-by cruise in this area. The landings were a very big deal. Penguins rookery, icebergs up-close, visits of scientific bases (abandoned or not) and so on, it was a very big deal indeed. I also kayaked in the middle of ice. It was unforgettable.
I paid a hefty price for those trips and I don't regret a single euro.
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My travelblog : http://voyageterremer.blogspot.com Hurtigruten, Antarctica, Svalbard, Norway (and other places...).