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abbydancer

Live (somewhat) from the Eclipse SA and Antarctica

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On 1/24/2019 at 7:13 AM, 4774Papa said:

I have read on cc Boards that half the time cruises that go to Antarctica find that the weather is so bad you can't see land.

 

Well, given that Antarctica is among the coldest places on Earth, it 'manufactures' its own cold air masses which continually flow off the cap, sometimes producing winds in excess of 100 mph. All of this cold air leaving Antarctica must be replaced, so then you have warmer air masses flowing off the (relatively) warmer southern ocean water that surround the continent. These air masses flow over the cap, warming it, thereby condensing and creating more snow. So, yeah, the weather is highly changeable and unpredictable. Here are 2 very different pics - in terms of weather visibility - from when we were there in '17. Quite honestly, even though our trip didn't do it, I'd suggest the best way to visit down there is to choose an itinerary (probably an expeditionary journey) that spends 3-4 days or more so as to maximize the chances of getting some good weather. I feel fortunate just to have gotten there due to the unpredictable nature of crossing the Drake. 

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Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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40 minutes ago, Tarwood3 said:

So we have looked at this trip numerous times but keep thinking that if we go all the way to Antarctica , we want to step foot on land and see some wildlife.  We go back and forth since obviously an expedition trip is more expensive.  We keep leaning toward the Silversea experience where you do zodiacs to land.....  For anyone who has done this tripbefore, is it really worth it? Do you feel like you saw enough or were you left wanting more? In the meantime,  We have decided to do a Feb 14 2021 cruise on the Silhouette (will be refurbished by then) from Buenos Aires to Santiago (no Antarctica)

 

Quite honestly, I'd say the best way to really see Antarctica is indeed to spend a longer time there than these Celebrity itineraries provide. That being said, I was on the Infinity 2 years ago and absolutely loved the trip. We had never been to South America before, and so the itinerary just suited us. I know what you're going through - having wrangled over all different options for probably close to 10 years (seriously). What held me back from going during all that time is just the thought of crossing the Drake. Plus, we just weren't sure if the whole zodiac / expeditionary approach was what we really wanted to do. I'm sure doing a zodiac landing there is an experience like no other, but I feel what we got to see was more than worth it. It was (probably) one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips that I'm really glad we did. As to leave "wanting more" I'd have to say that I'm basically satisfied with the trip as a whole. The time in Antarctica was short, but it was an amazing journey to be sure. Thankful that we had "Drake Lake" instead of the Rake for both crossings. Our weather down there was unbelievable. As Alejandro said the one day, "Not even in the Caribbean are they having this weather"  LOL  

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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We will be on Silhouette 2 years from today heading to Antarctica.  Much as we would like to do an expedition I just don't have the stamina to do it.  I'm quite happy getting this close.

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Hi Mary Lou,

 

Yeah...the whole zodiac thing just didn't seem like what we wanted. Hardest part was actually making the decision to go. I finally realized that if I kept on going the way I was, i.e. the wrangling over whether to do this trip - expedition vs. "drive-by", that I'd probably never actually get there. So the February '17 itinerary presented itself while we were on another Celebrity cruise, and then we booked it shortly after getting home. It was the right decision. We got to Port Stanley (not all ships do) and had a great penguin excursion there. I'm sure you'll enjoy...

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If you want a day-by-day account of the Seabourn Quest's visit this year, check out Pete's account on his Inside Cabin blog - theinsidecabin <dot> com.  He has also detailed a couple of HAL's round the world voyages.  

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@gretschwhtfalcon 

Nat'l Geographic/Lindblad and Hurtigruten also do landings on Antarctica. I haven't looked at any recent quotes to compare, but I seem to recall they are not the same style as Seabourn or Silversea.

 

There is also an outfit called Quark Expeditions that does some really hard-core expeditions in much less comfort (the comfort level is based on my reading of their website and others may disagree). They also offer a package that flies over to the continent and then you explore by boat.

 

The internet has been a slight disappointment on this cruise. I have done less instagraming and facebooking than I expected.

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I even looked into flying over the Drake to avoid the possibility of rough seas, but then reconsidered it. I agree with what you've found - that Quark, etc., while offering an excellent product - does not offer exactly deluxe accommodations. That was another consideration as to why I wound up with Celebrity. I'm sure something like the Hurtigruten Fram is fine, but I really wanted a line that I was more familiar with. I knew the Infinity would be a comfortable journey. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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Just got a Nat Geo brochure today.  A 14 day expedition cruise starts just under $14,500 PP, if memory serves.  This includes air from Miami, gratuities and a beverage package.  Still a lot more than Celebrity, and I'm not sure we could do an expedition cruise at our age.

Edited by CHEZMARYLOU

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Hi,

 

No worries, I've been keeping pretty good notes, although the sea days are very repetitive, and there were a lot of them.

 

I will come back and keep going, but it took me several minutes to get logged in so I can post.  Between the slow internet, and CC's not keeping the logins, it's been hard.  But I will start catching up tomorrow!

 

Now we have to be up in 6 hours to get off the ship (sob), so goodnight all

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On 2/2/2019 at 7:21 PM, CHEZMARYLOU said:

Just got a Nat Geo brochure today.  A 14 day expedition cruise starts just under $14,500 PP, if memory serves.  This includes air from Miami, gratuities and a beverage package.  Still a lot more than Celebrity, and I'm not sure we could do an expedition cruise at our age.

 

NO comparison between prices of the X cruise and any expeditionary trip - one of the reasons (though not really the most important one) I went with a 'drive-by'. BUT...be cautioned that if you visit the Antarctica forum here, those who have done landings on the continent really don't consider drive-bys as being a true visit to Antarctica. This was discussed on our Infinity cruise with the onboard ranger, who (in his opinion anyway) told us that our visit did indeed 'count' as having been to Antarctica. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter other than that there were many passengers hoping to check off their 7th continent! 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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An eclipse photo:Eclipse.thumb.jpg.acbc014081e2ceb4f92da496d4e9d437.jpg

 

And at total:

 

Eclipse2.thumb.jpg.0d2daa90f0d03f9956e06dd9529bd51c.jpg

 

I have some photo arranging to do, but I will start uploading the posts from the now post live Eclipse trip soon.

 

 

Edited by abbydancer
add picture

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Hope your debarkation was not frenzied as well as sad!  Looking forward to the rest of the review.

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14 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

 

NO comparison between prices of the X cruise and any expeditionary trip - one of the reasons (though not really the most important one) I went with a 'drive-by'. BUT...be cautioned that if you visit the Antarctica forum here, those who have done landings on the continent really don't consider drive-bys as being a true visit to Antarctica. This was discussed on our Infinity cruise with the onboard ranger, who (in his opinion anyway) told us that our visit did indeed 'count' as having been to Antarctica. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter other than that there were many passengers hoping to check off their 7th continent! 

 

Interesting to read your post, Ive wondered if you need to touch land to “count” as having been to Antarctica. I guess it all depends who you ask.

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It's actually unlikely that you will touch land, even if on an expedition 🙂   

 

I'd suggest that those that take the zodiac cruises have, at best, touched snow/ice that is in the Antarctic region.....and a cruise that is 1/4 mile off the ice pack is as much a visit to Antarctica as being on a Zodiac. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, lovecruzin said:

 

Interesting to read your post, Ive wondered if you need to touch land to “count” as having been to Antarctica. I guess it all depends who you ask.

 

Well...don't ask (at least I suspect most of) those who have been on expeditions...it has been my experience from communicating with some of them that they don't consider these "drive-by" trips to be the real deal. Not me saying this...but merely reporting feedback I've gotten. Suffice it to say that a VERY small percentage of travelers wind up going there...I think I'm correct about that. A travel agent I worked with for years - who was in the business for a long time - upon getting questions from me concerning Antarctica options (this was years before I actually wound up on the Infinity) indicated that he has never had any clients go there.

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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3 hours ago, ghstudio said:

It's actually unlikely that you will touch land, even if on an expedition 🙂   

 

I'd suggest that those that take the zodiac cruises have, at best, touched snow/ice that is in the Antarctic region.....and a cruise that is 1/4 mile off the ice pack is as much a visit to Antarctica as being on a Zodiac. 

 

 

 

HA!  Great post!.....still probably a technicality that I'm betting wouldn't wash with the expeditionary-experienced group. I'm going with what our onboard ranger said..that we were there. I can view it both ways. If you're only off the coast of Manhattan on a ship, but don't actually come ashore...does it count as a visit to NY? This is what one of the people asked me over on the Antarctica forum. Still another took a more admonishing tone...'if you're doing a trip to Antarctica mostly for the sake of being able to check it off a list of continents visited...perhaps that's not the best reason for going'. I get that as well. 'Different strokes for different folks', as the saying goes. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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We are not going to Antarctica to be able to check it off a list of continents visited but for the wild life and scenery.  We do not need to "set foot" on land and being in our 70's we have no desire to do so. I like my "creature comforts" and am quite happy to be able to make this trip.

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15 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We are not going to Antarctica to be able to check it off a list of continents visited but for the wild life and scenery.  We do not need to "set foot" on land and being in our 70's we have no desire to do so. I like my "creature comforts" and am quite happy to be able to make this trip.

 

Great post.  😊

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My brother did G Adventures a much more reasonably priced option that Nat Geo or any of the other expedition type. It looked like an amazing trip but I too like my creature comforts and their cabin was so sparse and cold looking. He would not consider a “drive by” as having been to Antarctica...that would not be my reason for going, but I sure would count it!

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On 2/5/2019 at 7:42 PM, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We are not going to Antarctica to be able to check it off a list of continents visited but for the wild life and scenery.  We do not need to "set foot" on land and being in our 70's we have no desire to do so. I like my "creature comforts" and am quite happy to be able to make this trip.

 

Indeed...well said!!!  

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Since this now appears to have become a thread about drive by vs land, does anyone still want me to do my blog thing?  If so, I'm happy to.  If not, I'll drop it and just move it to my blog.

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I keep coming back here to read your blog as this cruise was my very favorite of all the cruises we have done.  Please continue!

 

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1 hour ago, abbydancer said:

Since this now appears to have become a thread about drive by vs land, does anyone still want me to do my blog thing?  If so, I'm happy to.  If not, I'll drop it and just move it to my blog.

 

 

Please keep posting!!!

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Ok - here you go with the first sea day.  I probably won't post sea day pictures since they are mostly of food and I didn't keep close enough track of what we ate when.

 

o, the first of our 3 start off sea days.  

 

We began with breakfast in Luminae, and were seated at the same table as last night.  We had the same serving team of Richie and Fernando.  After breakfast, M&K were off to the spa, and Glen and I were going to the official cruise critic meet and mingle.  We had a bit of time, so we went to the store to check for reading glasses, since Glen couldn't find his.  They didn't have any.

 

We arrived just in time for the M&M.  The cruise director introduced most of the officers, and we chatted with our fellow CC members.  They also let us have the mic to introduce tours, and some of the members asked me to introduce myself, since I coordinated the roll call and thus was known to all.  It was a fun gathering.  Afterward, Jacqueline asked me if I wanted to go to an aerobic dance class on the pool desk.  I said I would in a bit.  In the meantime, Mike had come down since there was a mixup on their spa appointment, and he wanted to go back up to check on Kathy.  So, we walked up together.

 

I joined Jacqueline and did some of the aerobics, although the music kept cutting out.  After about 15 minutes we'd had enough since it was hot and inconsistent because of the music problem.  So we headed to her room.  I chatted with her & David for a while, and then at about 12:15, we decided to go to lunch.  We'd already agreed to meet M&K at 1, so I decided I could do lunch in parts.  I called Glen and we had a nice lunch with Jacqueline and David.  As they were leaving M&K arrived so we had coffee and a second dessert with them.  Long, but a nice lunch period.

 

After lunch, I decided to deal with the ongoing DVD crisis.  While we were at dinner last night, they did set up the DVD player, but it was very difficult to use their remote to change the source back to the ship system.  I had some spare batteries, so I'd put them in some of those, and that solved it.  Since it was their remote, I figured they should supply them.  Plus, we still did't have our DVD that Glen'd put in the mini mac.

I went to John, and asked him to help.  He rummaged through his desk, but didn't find AAA batteries, and said he was having trouble finding them, but that didn't mean the ship didn't have them.  He contacted engineering, and said they'd come by the room if I was there.  I said I would be.

 

I went back to the room, and soon after an engineer arrived.  He pulled out the mini mac, and said he'd extract the DVD and be back with both soon.  I also mentioned the remote needed AAA batteries, and he said that a butler would bring them.

 

Soon a butler arrived with a new standard remote (the one that controls the Celebrity app).  We said no, we needed batteries for the Samsung universal remote that they gave us.  (Turns out we should have kept it as we had one to control both tvs on the X app).  So he left an came back a little while later with a box of 4.  I put 2 in, and we were good to go, although if we wanted to see our accounts, or watch tv we had to back to the now single basic remote.

 

Soon after, the original engineer arrived holding our dvd, now removed from the mac mini which he was also holding.  He reattached it and now all was well.  

 

We then decided to start watching the Hobbit trilogy, extended edition.  After watching that for a while, it was time for our next adventure - officer meet and greet in Michaels club followed by dinner in Tuscan.

 

We arrived in Michaels and took a seat.  Soon after, waiters with drinks and appetizers and officers started arriving and doing the rounds.  M&K joined us soon after, and we met and had a picture with the captain.  (Note that the photos arrived in our cabin the next day - nice as we never actually buy them).

 

At 6, we headed to Tuscan for our first specialty dinner.  There were six of us, as Jacqueline and David were joining us.  Because there were 6, the waiter suggested we order all the appetizers and the charcuterie plate.  We shared all the appetizers, and some of the plate, but there was a lot of meat and cheese left over.

 

I had the ribeye for my main, and it was very, very good.  But, by this point we'd been there a couple of hours.  My plans for the evening was to assume we'd be done in 2 hours or so, and then we'd head to the evening show - which was Topper.  It's a full production show, and Beth and I thought it was cute when we saw it on the Equinox in 2017.  It was evening chic night, so we'd get reserved seating at the 9pm show.

Somehow, by the time we finished, it was about 9:15, so so much for reserved seating.  We did catch the end of show.

 

After that, back to the room for a little moving watching and bed.  Another exciting day of doing not much looms tomorrow.


 

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