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Questions about Zaandam In Antarctica in 2018

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We have a refundable deposit for the 22 day Zaandam cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso which includes the 4-day "Antarctic Experience" I know it's a glorified drive-by, but $$$ are an issue and I'd rather do this than no trip to Antarctica at all.

 

I have a couple questions that maybe someone can help me with:

 

#1 The "Antarctic Experience" is listed as occurring from 8AM-6PM for four days. What happens after 6PM? (When I asked the HAL rep onboard when I made the deposit, she said "It gets dark and you can't see" - That doesn't make sense to me, isn't it close to 24 hours of daylight around that time of year there? What does happen after 6PM?

 

#2 I've booked a veranda because we like instant access to the "outdoors" especially in the morning in bathrobes. But maybe this time, I should pull back to an oceanview because we'll be on deck most of the time anyway? Any thoughts from anyone who's done one or the other?

 

#3 I figure "layers" are the way to go and that Antarctica, like Alaska, is a bit less Gala on Gala nights. Did anyone pack anything that they found to be a godsend? or forget something that they wished they'd brought?

 

Very much looking forward to this adventure even if it is just under a year away!! Thanks in advance for any and all input!

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Doesnt sound like the rep has ever been there.

 

You wont be far south enough in a ship that size to get 24/7 daylight - but it will be very light right through the evening - with dusk starting around 10pm ish.

 

So your experience can last as long as you personally want to stay outside watching til darkness does fall.

 

I cant really give an opinion on a balcony vs a window as I have only done expedition ships. The balcony might be nicer to utilise if all the viewing is on your side of the ship - and only heading out to the main decks when the view is on the other side.

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I did this trip on the Zaandam a few years ago. Overnight, the ship goes out into open water to run up its engines and make water. I left my GPS running and we went out quite a way and circled. I was disappointed we didn't go a few miles further south and cross the Antarctic Circle (the furthest south we went was 65 deg 1.5 mins).

 

I had an oceanview which is useful for seeing if there's anything out there (though the bow camera would do that) but you cannot really enjoy the view (the window is dirty, and you cannot sit and look out because the bed is in the way). Plus it lets in the light (and it is light nearly all the time) which makes for disturbed sleep. Also, these rooms have the shower over the bath, as opposed to a proper shower enclosure.

 

The best views are undoubtedly outside, on the bow, on level 6 below the bridge, and on the promenade deck, but it's mostly standing, which gets tiring after a while. So I'd suggest a balcony if you can, and an inside if not, but don't bother with an oceanview.

 

I'd go in the other direction if you can; the spectacular Chilean fjords seem like minor sights after the Antarctic peninsular, whereas in the other direction it's more cumulative, and then the Falklands and the Argentine ports are more of a change of scene.

Edited by someotherguy
Clarity

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The best views are undoubtedly outside, on the bow, on level 6 below the bridge, and on the promenade deck, but it's mostly standing, which gets tiring after a while. So I'd suggest a balcony if you can, and an inside if not, but don't bother with an oceanview.

 

 

We have cruised with HAL quite a few times now, and have sailed on Hurtigruten's expedition ship, Fram, in the Arctic and Antarctic five times. Experience tells me that the best option for the Antarctic is an oceanview. As you say, the best views are out on deck, somewhere we have spent almost all of our time (it can be tiring, but how else are you to lose the calories you're taking in in the dining room each meal!?). The best views are not from the cabin: that's for sleeping, bathing and dressing!

 

A balcony is of limited use in cold polar seas. It offers a view, but it's still a relatively restricted view and you can almost guarantee that anything of interest that pops up is going to be on the other side of the ship.

 

An inside cabin offers no clue as to what might be going on outside: icebergs, landscape, weather, huge waves?

 

An oceanview is a good compromise: you get plenty of clues on where you are and what's happening. More than once, I have got ready for sleep, glanced outside of the porthole, seen a beautiful sky, or incredible light on the ice, and got dressed to go out on deck.

 

My opinion, no more, no less.

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We have cruised with HAL quite a few times now, and have sailed on Hurtigruten's expedition ship, Fram, in the Arctic and Antarctic five times. Experience tells me that the best option for the Antarctic is an oceanview. As you say, the best views are out on deck, somewhere we have spent almost all of our time (it can be tiring, but how else are you to lose the calories you're taking in in the dining room each meal!?). The best views are not from the cabin: that's for sleeping, bathing and dressing!

 

A balcony is of limited use in cold polar seas. It offers a view, but it's still a relatively restricted view and you can almost guarantee that anything of interest that pops up is going to be on the other side of the ship.

 

An inside cabin offers no clue as to what might be going on outside: icebergs, landscape, weather, huge waves?

 

An oceanview is a good compromise: you get plenty of clues on where you are and what's happening. More than once, I have got ready for sleep, glanced outside of the porthole, seen a beautiful sky, or incredible light on the ice, and got dressed to go out on deck.

 

My opinion, no more, no less.

 

Thank you for your opinion. My Zaandam 2017/2018 cruise to this part of the world will be my first such experience. In selecting a stateroom, an oceanview made more sense to me than one with a veranda. With a bow camera, and maybe a stern camera as well, in operation as well, one has a minimum of 2 views even within the stateroom.

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I did this trip on the Zaandam a few years ago. Overnight, the ship goes out into open water to run up its engines and make water. I left my GPS running and we went out quite a way and circled.

This is such a pity! The best lights are the couple of hours before and after sunset (and before and after sunrise). Am I right in understanding that you were actually away from the ice and mountains at those times?

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Well, I went and looked at my logs and photos.

 

The first day, we arrived at the South Sandwich Islands mid morning and cruised down their south side, nosing in to various bays (with research stations and penguins), ending up at Deception Island (a partially submerged caldera) in the evening. Then we spent the night heading down to the north side of that Antarctic Peninsular. There were scattered islands, not to mention icebergs and whales, on the way.

 

The next day was spent along the north coast of the Peninsular and its islands and channels, including Paradise Bay (with sailboats!), ending up near Palmer Station about 7pm. Then we went out to sea, returning 12 hours later and picked up a few people from Palmer Station. Then the Gerclache Straight (we missed the Lemaire channel because it was clogged with icebergs) and and a left turn up past the Mechior Islands about noon and then back across the Drake Passage.

 

The scenery was magnificent the whole way. We were fortunate to have bright sun almost all the time. It was much less attractive when under cloud.

Edited by someotherguy
punctuation

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someotherguy,

 

Were the people picked up from Palmer Station returned there or did they remain on the ship?

 

Were these people providing information to the guests while they were aboard?

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The next day was spent along the north coast of the Peninsular and its islands and channels, including Paradise Bay (with sailboats!), ending up near Palmer Station about 7pm. Then we went out to sea, returning 12 hours later and picked up a few people from Palmer Station.

Thank you for your experience. Just to make sure I understand properly : between 7pm and 7 am the next morning, you were actually away from land? What did you do during that time?

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It was intended that we would pick up scientists from Palmer Station on the second day and they would provide commentary/lectures and be dropped off again next day. As it happened, the wind was too strong to do that. We did pick up at least one person the next morning (we were at the same table for dinner) and she was staying on the ship on her way somewhere else.

 

There were several lecturers on board for the whole trip: a former program manager from NSF, a relative of one of Scott's team, a naturalist. We also had a talk from the ice pilot (a former icebreaker captain).

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Thank you for your experience. Just to make sure I understand properly : between 7pm and 7 am the next morning, you were actually away from land? What did you do during that time?

 

 

I had dinner, enjoyed some music and a few cocktails (there was an excellent South American Jazz trio plus singer in the Ocean Bar), took some sunset photos of icebergs, and went to bed. We were still in sight of land while I was about, but my GPS says we went further out while I was sleeping.

 

By the way, this cruise was over Christmas and New Year, so the night we're talking about was 30 December. The sun set at 23:00 and rose at 01:00.

Edited by someotherguy
Added dates

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The first day, we arrived at the South Sandwich Islands mid morning and cruised down their south side, nosing in to various bays (with research stations and penguins), ending up at Deception Island (a partially submerged caldera) in the evening.

 

Can I just get you to clarify whether you definitely mean the South Sandwich Islands ? In the Weddell Sea ? They have no research stations there (nor people) and only 2 ships (an ice breaker which I was on and an ice strengthened ship) have reached them since 2010. They are roughly a 7 to 10 day sail (if not longer) from Deception Island.

 

Are you sure you do not mean the South Shetland Island group ? of which Deception Island is a part of.

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We have a refundable deposit for the 22 day Zaandam cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso which includes the 4-day "Antarctic Experience" I know it's a glorified drive-by, but $$$ are an issue and I'd rather do this than no trip to Antarctica at all.

 

I have a couple questions that maybe someone can help me with:

 

#1 The "Antarctic Experience" is listed as occurring from 8AM-6PM for four days. What happens after 6PM? (When I asked the HAL rep onboard when I made the deposit, she said "It gets dark and you can't see" - That doesn't make sense to me, isn't it close to 24 hours of daylight around that time of year there? What does happen after 6PM?

 

#2 I've booked a veranda because we like instant access to the "outdoors" especially in the morning in bathrobes. But maybe this time, I should pull back to an oceanview because we'll be on deck most of the time anyway? Any thoughts from anyone who's done one or the other?

 

#3 I figure "layers" are the way to go and that Antarctica, like Alaska, is a bit less Gala on Gala nights. Did anyone pack anything that they found to be a godsend? or forget something that they wished they'd brought?

 

Very much looking forward to this adventure even if it is just under a year away!! Thanks in advance for any and all input!

 

Clothes which proved to be a godsend -

 

Light merino wool neck gaiter, which can be pulled up to cover your nose.

Silk thermal underwear, which can be worn on its own for warmer days or as an extra layer under thermal underwear in extra cold conditions.

Liner gloves to be worn under heavier gloves, for taking photos.

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Does the Zaandam just stay on the west side of the peninsula or does it do anything on the east side. It appears that it goes as far down the west side as the Palmer station. The west side does appear more interesting.

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Does the Zaandam just stay on the west side of the peninsula or does it do anything on the east side. It appears that it goes as far down the west side as the Palmer station. The west side does appear more interesting.

 

In Antarctica nothing is fixed. It's all 'We hope to...'.

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the spectacular Chilean fjords seem like minor sights after the Antarctic peninsula

 

That was our experience after Antarctica when we took a ferry up the inner passages of western Chile.

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