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TahoeTraveler

Live from the Scenic Eclipse to Antarctica, 8 November to 7 December

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2 hours ago, Carol From California said:

 

Regarding your comment on the number of passengers, in Antarctica they limit the number of passengers to 200 guests.  At least this was the case on our Silversea Expedition cruise to Antarctica. Although the ship holds more than that, Antarctica limits the number of passengers on land at the same time to 100. We were able to get off the ship twice per day to do the landings. I assume this is the same situation for Scenic. 

Yes, they do.  But this ship is, in my opinion, not equipped for 200, much less 228, passengers.  The dining facilities simply cannot handle it, especially with a pool set right in the middle of the main breakfast and lunch venue.  It is a terrible design and will have to be addressed. I am most definitely not the only one who feels this way. The ship is beautiful...the practicality of it is awful.  As for the 100 passengers allowed on shore at one time, that is true.  However, I don’t believe they really monitor the numbers.  They did break us up into four color groups, with two always being the first, separated by 30 minutes, and the other two coming about an hour later, also separated by 30 minutes.  But they certainly do not force everyone from the first group to get back on the ship before they let anyone from the second group on shore.  It seems to me to be an artificial limit that they try to achieve, but most definitely do not enforce strictly.  

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2 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

Yes, they do.  But this ship is, in my opinion, not equipped for 200, much less 228, passengers.  The dining facilities simply cannot handle it, especially with a pool set right in the middle of the main breakfast and lunch venue.  It is a terrible design and will have to be addressed. I am most definitely not the only one who feels this way. The ship is beautiful...the practicality of it is awful.  As for the 100 passengers allowed on shore at one time, that is true.  However, I don’t believe they really monitor the numbers.  They did break us up into four color groups, with two always being the first, separated by 30 minutes, and the other two coming about an hour later, also separated by 30 minutes.  But they certainly do not force everyone from the first group to get back on the ship before they let anyone from the second group on shore.  It seems to me to be an artificial limit that they try to achieve, but most definitely do not enforce strictly.  

I assume there is no "cover" over the main breakfast/lunch area where the pool is?  If so, yes I agree this is a very poor design for polar cruising. I'll be interested in knowing what they do about this. 

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2 hours ago, Carol From California said:

I assume there is no "cover" over the main breakfast/lunch area where the pool is?  If so, yes I agree this is a very poor design for polar cruising. I'll be interested in knowing what they do about this. 

The Yacht Club area is covered, and there is no way to uncover it.  The pool, set right in the middle of it, has a retractable roof, but again, it is literally right in the middle of the eating area and is ridiculous.  I guess I cannot adequately explain it, but think you’re on a garden deck, with a buffet behind you and a pool directly in front of you, taking up 80% of the area where people should be eating at tables.  Absolutely no one that we’ve talked to on this ship thinks this was a good idea...and in fact, most have ridiculed it constantly.  It is honestly the dumbest idea we’ve ever seen.  And I do think some newcomers to Scenic will chose not to cruise with them again simply because of that.  

 

Ridiculous too is the draining of the hot tubs on the 10th deck during the Drake Passage, but not refilling them once we reached the amazingly smooth seas in the Antarctic.  So many people have wanted to hit those hot tubs in Antarctica...and they finally filled them  late today.  But unfortunately the water is about 5 degrees (Fahrenheit) below normal body temps, and is not tolerable in these temps.  Perhaps they will heat them up eventually but for now, hitting the “hot” tub (what a misnomer) is not realistic for any of us.  Again, the logistical issues on this ship are quite surprising.  It is a beautiful ship and we have had a fabulous time.  But there are still some issues to be worked out. And, in the case of the pool, completely eliminated.  

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And I have to apologize for the very, very strange post I added a few hours ago.  The internet on board is fabulous, but apparently there was a glitch at some point and my post was truncated, pictures duplicated, and everything was just messed up.  Please understand that we are at the mercy of an internet on a ship in the Antarctic Peninsula.  

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1 hour ago, TahoeTraveler said:

And I have to apologize for the very, very strange post I added a few hours ago.  The internet on board is fabulous, but apparently there was a glitch at some point and my post was truncated, pictures duplicated, and everything was just messed up.  Please understand that we are at the mercy of an internet on a ship in the Antarctic Peninsula.  

 

Thanks so much for all your posts so far, my wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying them as we're departing for Antarctica on the eclipse in 18 days. So far all your critiques would be similar to ours and we don't feel in any way that you're acting like a princess haha.

 

We have a few questions as you've now reached Antartica :):

- What layers did you wear under your parka for your landings? Both you and your husband? Did you feel you needed more or less?

- Do you think it's a good idea to bring waterproof fleece lined socks or do the boots seal appropriately (your socks don't get wet?)

- How cold has it been in Antartica? What's the average temperature? Is there a lot of wind chill? 

- Now the hot tubs are open, are they available 24/7 or only at selected times?

- What's the temperature like in the ship? Have you found yourself getting cold or hot? Is it too warm to wear a nice knit for evenings?

- When you have done the landings in Antarctica how long does it take to get to the shore? And how long do they generally allow you to stay there for?

 

Thanks so much in advance for answering these :). We hope you enjoy every moment!!!

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2 hours ago, Lovenkisses said:

 

Thanks so much for all your posts so far, my wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying them as we're departing for Antarctica on the eclipse in 18 days. So far all your critiques would be similar to ours and we don't feel in any way that you're acting like a princess haha.

 

We have a few questions as you've now reached Antartica :):

- What layers did you wear under your parka for your landings? Both you and your husband? Did you feel you needed more or less?

- Do you think it's a good idea to bring waterproof fleece lined socks or do the boots seal appropriately (your socks don't get wet?)

- How cold has it been in Antartica? What's the average temperature? Is there a lot of wind chill? 

- Now the hot tubs are open, are they available 24/7 or only at selected times?

- What's the temperature like in the ship? Have you found yourself getting cold or hot? Is it too warm to wear a nice knit for evenings?

- When you have done the landings in Antarctica how long does it take to get to the shore? And how long do they generally allow you to stay there for?

 

Thanks so much in advance for answering these :). We hope you enjoy every moment!!!

Not who you asked but maybe I can help with some of your questions. A pair of thick wool socks is all we needed with the boots. Our feet never were cold and never got wet. First layer long underwear.  We wore the capilene type. Over that fleece tops and thick pants or leggings that can tuck into the boots. You will need waterproof pants to put over the pants.  The parka will keep you warm. Gloves, a knitted or fleece cap, and a fleece neck warmer... you can pull it up over your mouth... all are good to have.  Also we used collapsible trekking poles.  On Slversea it was only a 5 minute zodiac boat ride to the landings. Temps were in the 30's. Some people thought it was warm.  They were from Canada.

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I did a trip on the Seabourn Quest two years ago, sailing from Santiago to Buenos Aires via the Chilean fjords, Antarctica and South Georgia.  The ship had 400 passengers and we did one landing per day in Antarctica and South Georgia.  One landing was enough for me - getting togged up in all that clobber was something I didn't fancy doing twice a day.  I know from previous trips that you get a more immersive experience aboard a 100 passenger expedition vessel such as the Lindblad Orion but the Seabourn Quest was utterly fabulous - it had vast amounts of deck space, dining options and, frankly, I would have been perfectly happy just to have stayed on the ship gazing at the scenery.  Until I got to South Georgia which was the absolute highlight of the trip.  Another thing about a ship like the Quest - it cut through rough seas like a knife through melted butter.  We did the Drake in a day.  A small expedition ship can become quite claustrophobic and uncomfortable in rough weather. 

 

Each ship has its own advantages and drawbacks.  The current reports from Scenic Eclipse are fascinating.  It seems to me that the ship is getting in the way of the passengers just a little bit.

Edited by Fletcher

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8 hours ago, Carol From California said:

Not who you asked but maybe I can help with some of your questions. A pair of thick wool socks is all we needed with the boots. Our feet never were cold and never got wet. First layer long underwear.  We wore the capilene type. Over that fleece tops and thick pants or leggings that can tuck into the boots. You will need waterproof pants to put over the pants.  The parka will keep you warm. Gloves, a knitted or fleece cap, and a fleece neck warmer... you can pull it up over your mouth... all are good to have.  Also we used collapsible trekking poles.  On Slversea it was only a 5 minute zodiac boat ride to the landings. Temps were in the 30's. Some people thought it was warm.  They were from Canada.

 

11 hours ago, Lovenkisses said:

 

Thanks so much for all your posts so far, my wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying them as we're departing for Antarctica on the eclipse in 18 days. So far all your critiques would be similar to ours and we don't feel in any way that you're acting like a princess haha.

 

We have a few questions as you've now reached Antartica :):

- What layers did you wear under your parka for your landings? Both you and your husband? Did you feel you needed more or less?

- Do you think it's a good idea to bring waterproof fleece lined socks or do the boots seal appropriately (your socks don't get wet?)

- How cold has it been in Antartica? What's the average temperature? Is there a lot of wind chill? 

- Now the hot tubs are open, are they available 24/7 or only at selected times?

- What's the temperature like in the ship? Have you found yourself getting cold or hot? Is it too warm to wear a nice knit for evenings?

- When you have done the landings in Antarctica how long does it take to get to the shore? And how long do they generally allow you to stay there for?

 

Thanks so much in advance for answering these :). We hope you enjoy every moment!!!

Carol is spot on regarding what clothing to bring.  The boots they provide are warm and thick, and do not let any water in whatsoever (unless you decide to go swimming in them!).  Do bring hiking poles though if you are like me, and not so sure on your feet in icy conditions.  There was a hill we wanted to climb yesterday to get a good view of Brown Bluff, but it was slick and without poles, I wasn’t going to risk it.  The crew on shore did have extras they offered to loan us, but by the time we found that out, we were already on our way back to the Zodiak.  So it’s probably best to bring your own.

 

Temps on the ship are very comfortable.  In fact, in the evenings I’ve been able to wear fairly thin blouses without needing my wrap.  The Teppanyaki is an exception (at least, it was when we went there a couple of weeks ago)...it was very cold, especially during the first seating, and I had to run get my wrap because of it.  I see lots of folks walking around the ship in their short sleeve shirts, so that should tell you how pleasant it it.  However, Mike has also been comfortable wearing his nice sweaters in the evenings, so I would say you’d be safe no matter what you bring.

 

As for the temps in Antarctica, they’ve been right around 0 degrees Celsius/32 Fahrenheit.  Today is sunny and calm, and I think we might actually get a bit warm on our kayaking trip this afternoon.  I’m still going to layer up though...I hate being cold!  We have honestly been pleasantly surprised at how nice the temps are, if you dress appropriately.  To be honest, I think it felt colder in the Chilean fjords.

 

I’m not sure about the hot tub hours, but anytime there is water in them, they’re available.  We’ve heard of people going in them early in the morning, as well as in the evenings.  The one thing you have to remember about these types of cruises is that there really is no set schedule for much of anything except the restaurants and bars...you just go with the flow because it is impossible to predict from one day to the next what the conditions are going to allow.

 

The time it takes for the landings is completely dependent on how close the Captain can get the ship to the shore.  Yesterday, on the second landing, it was quite a ride that took about 15 or 20 minutes...but they went next to small icebergs so it was an interesting ride.  The ride on the morning landing was maybe 5 minutes.  So it just depends.  The number of landings depends too.  The crew doesn’t know what the conditions will be at any given place until we get there (we were supposed to kayak two days ago, at Half Moon Island, but the seas were too rough).  They assess each location as we arrive, and then we go from there.  Being flexible and patient is a MUST on these types of cruises.  But trust me...you will be rewarded for that.  And in a BIG way, if you’re as lucky as we’ve been (more on that in a later post!!).

 

And I’m not a princess???  Darn it.  Maybe I’d get that invite to the Chef’s Table if I was!!!

 

 

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6 hours ago, Fletcher said:

I did a trip on the Seabourn Quest two years ago, sailing from Santiago to Buenos Aires via the Chilean fjords, Antarctica and South Georgia.  The ship had 400 passengers and we did one landing per day in Antarctica and South Georgia.  One landing was enough for me - getting togged up in all that clobber was something I didn't fancy doing twice a day.  I know from previous trips that you get a more immersive experience aboard a 100 passenger expedition vessel such as the Lindblad Orion but the Seabourn Quest was utterly fabulous - it had vast amounts of deck space, dining options and, frankly, I would have been perfectly happy just to have stayed on the ship gazing at the scenery.  Until I got to South Georgia which was the absolute highlight of the trip.  Another thing about a ship like the Quest - it cut through rough seas like a knife through melted butter.  We did the Drake in a day.  A small expedition ship can become quite claustrophobic and uncomfortable in rough weather. 

 

Each ship has its own advantages and drawbacks.  The current reports from Scenic Eclipse are fascinating.  It seems to me that the ship is getting in the way of the passengers just a little bit.

Wow, the Drake in a day????  That’s pretty impressive.  Although, we probably would have made it in a day (24 hours) if we hadn’t hit rough seas in the last quarter or so of it.  We had to slow down for that quite a bit.

 

Your assessment of the Eclipse is spot on.  And I like how you phrased it...as the design of the ship is really cumbersome in some places.  Another issue with the pool being in the Yacht Club is that the pool is heated, which ends up heating up the Yacht Club uncomfortably.  We went up there a while ago for lunch, and had to just take our plates back to our cabin...it was simply too hot and stuffy in there to eat.  

 

And I agree about staying on the ship for the most part...we just skipped the second landing yesterday because weather was coming in and it wasn’t a continental landing (it was on one of the outer islands).  That’s when we tried to hit the hot tub, figuring we’d catch it when no one else was in it.  Oh well, I’m sure there will be another opportunity to hot tub it in Antarctica!!

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The adventure continues.  After actually stepping foot on the Antarctic continent two days ago, we didn’t think there was anything else we could experience that would top that.  We were wrong.  

 

Yesterday we were awakened by a lot to ice crunching against the hull of the ship.  That hasn’t been unusual, as our route has taken us through a lot of sea ice (and supposedly our Captain was determined to break some ice on this maiden voyage of the Eclipse to Antarctica).  However, this was particularly loud, and then was soon followed with an announcement.  Since it was 7:00am, we weren’t sure what was going on.  Come to find out, the Captain had managed to bring the ship right up alongside a huge piece of sea ice, still attached to an island in the distance.  And they had dropped the landing platform, and we were invited to step out for a walk on sea ice!!!!  I kid you not!

 

But it got so much better.  Penguins are very curious creatures, and after a while, some Adelie penguins joined us on the ice.  They were quite cute and not at all afraid (although I think they may have been a bit confused at the very strange looking animals in black and blue parkas!!!).  Mike and I walked around a good bit, and were thinking about heading back to the ship when one of the Discovery Team members yelled out, “Everyone stay right where you are...those are Emperor penguins coming our way!!!”  Say what???  It is quite rare to actually see an Emperor penguin up close, as they live and nest strictly on the sea ice...they never go to land masses.  But to have FOUR of them jump out of the water and start walking to us?  Magical.  Simply indescribable.  I’ve been calling this the trip of a lifetime, and it became just that on that sea ice.  Words (and pictures) just don’t do it justice.

 

Also amazing are the efforts the crew of the Eclipse are going to to make this a one of a kind adventure.  The Captain extended our time on the ice by an hour so that all the crew members could participate in the ice walk, and see the penguins.  Very cool of him to do that, as these people work so darn hard.  It was so wonderful to see so many of the crew out there, many in their working shoes (which for the women often meant dress flats or pumps...certainly NOT what you’d normally wear out on the ice), just loving the experience.  And then, as we headed back to the ship, we saw that the crew had put out the standard “welcome back” table with hot chocolate and brandy or rum, if desired. The difference this time was they had put the table out ON the ice, right in front of the landing platform!!!!  And several more Emperor Penguins were visible in the distance behind the table.  The whole experience was just unreal.  I’m sorry if I sound giddy, but I can’t help it.  I’m still in awe of the whole thing.

 

After we left the ice, we headed out to our next destination, D’Urville Island.  Mike and I opted to stay on the ship instead of taking a Zodiak there, and we took advantage of one of the hot tubs on deck 10.  Now, the hot tubs aren’t really hot...but the day was absolutely beautiful, and with the warm sun shining down on us, it was quite pleasant.  The head maitre D’, JP, walked by, and we asked him if we could order drinks...it was more of a joke than anything, as the Lounge Bar is down on deck 4.  But he was absolutely wonderful, and said he most definitely would get what we wanted.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, Rommel from the Lounge Bar showed up with our drinks.  By that time some other folks had gotten into the other hot tub and they asked Rommel for drinks as well...which he gladly went downstairs and got for them!!  I’m telling you, the service on this ship is levels above anything we’ve ever seen.

 

Our dinner at Elements was, unfortunately, very subpar.  We both ordered the lobster and I couldn’t even eat mine it was so bad.  Just so rubbery and tasteless (so very different from the lobster in Lumiere).  The food on the ship deserves another mention.  The best way for me to describe it is hit and miss.  Lumiere is consistently excellent.  Koko’s has, for us, been both excellent and not very good, depending on the menu.  Elements has, quite frankly, been more bad than good, but when it is good, it is outstanding.  It’s just difficult to answer the question, “How is the food?”  Not enough consistency with Elements and Koko’s to be able to adequately rate it.  The sushi bar is very good, but you have to go in and tell the sushi chef exactly what you want, or he will just give you the standard menu items.  He actually loves making “special” sushi rolls, but if you don’t tell him right off the bat what you want, he’ll start making all kinds of things that you might not want.  And if you are like us, you can’t just not eat the food when someone has worked so hard to put it together for you.  So just a heads up about the sushi bar...be proactive right up front and you’ll love it.

 

With reference to our Thanksgiving dinner, which Tom, the chef, put together for the few Americans on board this past Thursday (our Thanksgiving Day), it was the single best meal we have had on this ship, and quite possibly the single best meal we’ve ever had.  I cannot begin to describe how absolutely wonderful it was.  And how much it meant to us, and the other Americans on board, that the culinary team would do something so special for us.  

 

The crew is doing everything possible to make this the best experience ever for us.  They really are.  Our kayaking has been cancelled several times, and we were rescheduled for today.  Problem is, we didn’t know it was this afternoon, not this morning (for some reason our suite wasn’t serviced last night...supposedly the door wouldn’t open and they had to call the technicians to fix it, but apparently they never came back after it was fixed...and we never got the daily program to know that there were two kayaking trips scheduled for today).  So we showed up in full dry suit and gear, only to be told we weren’t on the list.  Luckily, someone cancelled so we were good to go.  We had anchored at Astrolabe Island, on the north side of the Antarctic peninsula (up to this point we’d been on the south side, in the Weddell Sea), but figured we wouldn’t be able to do a landing there since we were kayaking instead.  Well, the winds picked up as soon as we got on the kayak Zodiak and the kayaking team told us it was too windy to kayak.  However, the Discovery Team is awesome, and told us we could transfer to a landing Zodiak (kind of fun to do a mid-sea Zodiak to Zodiak transfer and I’m not sure anyone else on board is going to be able to have those bragging rights!!!) and they would take us to the island so we could walk around.  We did that, and as we were headed back to the Zodiak to go back to the ship, Sarah from the kayaking team radioed over and said she had found a calm cove where we could get into the kayaks.  So, we boarded a Zodiak, and did the mid-sea transfer again to the kayak Zodiak and then into our kayaks.  Had a marvelous paddle, even with the section we had to go through with very strong winds (we’ve never kayaked before where the waves splashed up over the front of the kayak straight at us!!!).  Most of the paddle was peaceful and all of it was beautiful.

 

So this afternoon we are headed to Lindblad Cove in Charcot Bay, a 3km long cove on the peninsula, where we cannot land but can ride Zodiaks around.  Not sure we’re going to do the ride though...we have reservations at Lumiere tonight at 7 to have their marvelous sole and chateaubriand and we definitely don’t want to miss that!!!

 

Photos are of icebergs we’ve seen around Antartica, our sea ice landing and Emperor penguins, and Adelie penguins and a Weddell seal on Astrolabe Island.

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Thank you for sharing beautiful photos of penguins and ice.  Favourite photo is of penguin mid step.  Brought back wonderful memories of cute penguins, wildlife and spectacular Antartica scenery on our cruise five years ago.

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I too thank you for sharing these incredible photos. Quite amazing that you were able to just walk off the ship on to the ice. I can feel your excitement and I would have been giddy too! Also brought back wonderful memories of our Antarctica trip last year. 

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Wow, Wow, Wow 😲 Just fantastic. 

can I ask what camera you are using. Excellent photos. 

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1 hour ago, czardas said:

Wow, Wow, Wow 😲 Just fantastic. 

can I ask what camera you are using. Excellent photos. 

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for all the photos.  The seal, penguin in mid-stride and the penguins nesting were all taken by a fellow passenger.  I’m not sure what camera he is using, but it has about an 8 inch lens.  He’s become quite popular on the ship, as many are asking him to share his photos with them.  One of my favorites, the one with the four Emperor penguins with the Eclipse in the background, was actually taken with Mike’s iPhone 6!!!!!

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It's VERY unusual to see Emperor penguins . . . I thought taking any food or drink ashore was strictly against protocols. 

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Thank you so much for all this information.  It is making me much more excited for my upcoming cruise.  Hope all the rest of the days are just as perfect.

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Seeing Emperor penguins up close is very special.  What a memorable adventure you are having!  Thank you for taking us along for the ride.  

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On 12/2/2019 at 6:34 AM, Fletcher said:

It's VERY unusual to see Emperor penguins . . . I thought taking any food or drink ashore was strictly against protocols. 

People come to Antarctica on adventure trips so I’m sure there is some allowance for bringing food and drink.  I wouldn’t know the specifics for getting authorization though.  And, seeing how very serious the crew is regarding not bringing any contaminants or non-native species of anything ashore, I feel quite sure they took every precaution, such as sanitizing the table and equipment both before and after setting it up.  

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I must, at this point, give credit to the photographer of the stunning close up photos of the wildlife (I just now got his last name).  All close up photos of the penguins and seals courtesy of Keith Glennan.

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We ended up not going on the Zodiac ride into Lindblad Cove, and instead we tried the pool, after the Yacht Club was closed (no way was I going to subject anyone trying to eat to have to see me in a bathing suit!!!). It is actually very interesting.  There are lots of buttons on the sides of the pool that turn on different jets.  For example, there are two submerged seats on either side of the steps leading into the pool, and if you push the button next to them, you get an awesome back massage.  Problem is, none of the jets stay on longer than 30 seconds!!!  Seriously.  You want jets, you hit the button and you get jets...for 30 seconds.  And then they turn off.  Every single one of them works like that.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t care to have to push a button every 30 seconds just to have “continuous” jets.  Why, Scenic, why?????  The pool location is bad enough!!!

 

We had another lovely dinner at Lumiere, and Mike was once again so impressed with the sole.  We didn’t have room for the dessert, but I really wanted to try it later and we asked if they could just deliver instead to our suite.  They did without question.  It was fabulous!  And so nice (and, quite frankly, necessary at this point!!) to be able to eat it in our stretchy jammies and robes!!!  Especially since we wanted to go to bed early in order to take full advantage of the next day at Neko Harbor.

 

Neko Harbor offered us our second landing on the continent, and it also offered us our first real opportunity to trek about on snow and ice, rather than on rocks and penguin guano.  We were able to climb up a steep hill where we had amazing views of the bay and the glacier, as well as of the ship.  We completely overdressed though...that trek up the hill had us both sweating and dumping layers!!!

 

We sailed yesterday afternoon to Paradise Bay, where there are two Antarctic science stations, Gonzalez Videla, operated by Chile, and Almirante Brown, operated by Argentina.  We anchored just off the Brown station, and surprisingly enough, were able to do another continental landing (getting two in a cruise like this is difficult; three is almost unheard of).  However, Mike and I figured we’d already stepped foot on the continent twice, and it didn’t look all that interesting (certainly not as interesting as the morning landing had been), so we stayed on the ship and Mike bought me two pair of tanzanite earrings instead.  Tanzanite is apparently considered quite rare, as it is only mined in a 17km square mine in Tanzania...the single source supposedly will be mined out within the next few decades, so it is not a bad investment (at least, that’s what I told Mike!!!).  Emma, the lovely boutique manager, was offering a 20% discount on all tanzanite because she’s getting off the ship with us in Ushuaia, and wanted to do something great for her “final” passengers.  At least, I thought it was great (I’m pretty sure Mike had a different opinion!!!).

 

The evening was fabulous, as we cruised south to the Lemaire Channel.  The scenery was gorgeous, and the Captain yet again showed off his polar cruising skills as he navigated the ice masterfully.  He took us as far as he could to the Channel...the ice was still blocking it (it is very early in the season and is still Spring here, so there is a lot of ice...exactly why we were able to walk on it a couple of days ago!).  But the views were stunning...at 10 o’clock at night and still light!!  Another highlight for us, to be sure.

 

That was as far south as we will go (for all you geeks like Mike out there, it is at latitude 65.11S, longitude 64W).  Overnight we cruised to Spert Island, where we were entertained by a pair of Humpback whales.  The weather is pretty miserable so we didn’t go out for the Zodiac cruise around the island...plus, I really needed to catch up on this blogging and the internet seems to be quite stable here.

 

I have been amused at the crew members, and fellow passengers, who think I must be a travel agent or employed by Scenic somehow, due to the sheer amount of time I spend on my iPad, posting this blog, as well as my personal travel blog on Facebook.  One of the crew members just today was surprised to hear that I had actually paid for this cruise!!!  Apparently a lot of folks think that Scenic paid for it for some reason.  Shame that, as I hate to think they might be being nice to me just because they think they have to be!!!!

 

I have also been bemused by some passengers who apparently feel that they are the only ones on the ship. I saw one woman at Neko Harbor who had apparently taken, on a previous landing, three of the hiking poles that the ship has for passenger use, as she showed up getting out of the Zodiac holding onto them (no, they were not hers...the Eclipse has a certain brand that they use).  The problem is, the whole time she was holding on to them, no one else could use them. And the crew members were trying to nicely tell her that others need to use those poles too, but she was oblivious.  Then, yesterday afternoon, as I was doing laundry (gotta do it myself and not pay for it, what with those new earrings and all!!!), I was standing there waiting for my machine to finish and a woman who had obviously just come in from the landing walked in, and demanded to know, “Where is my laundry?”  She had been gone for over an hour, and I guess just assumed that it was perfectly acceptable to hold up a dryer for as long as she wanted.  Someone had taken her things out (I saw him do it, but have no idea who he is and I certainly didn’t blame him) and put them in a basket. When I said, “I have no idea,” she huffed off and then showed up a few minutes later, sans her waterproof gear and life jacket, and found the laundry basket with her stuff in it. I can’t imagine putting your clothes into a dryer and then heading out for a Zodiac cruise, but to each their own.

 

Which reminds me, for you future passengers on the Eclipse.  Number one: one laundry with three washers and three dryers is not sufficient for a ship of 228 people.  Perhaps the thinking is that it will force passengers to pay to use the ship’s laundry, but that has hardly been the case on this cruise.  Number two: number one especially holds true when one dryer’s heating element is either burned out or simply doesn’t work as clothes do not dry in it, period.  That dryer is the top right one in the pair on the far wall...and yes, many of us have reported the issue but nothing has been done about it.  Hopefully it is just a matter of needing to get a replacement part and perhaps they will be able to do just that when we get back to Ushuaia.  But if not...you have been warned!!!

 

We are now anchored off D’Hainaut Island in the Mikkelson Harbor.  Weather is even worse here than it was at Spert Island, so of course, Mike and I are staying on the warm ship.  We are not alone...of the 100 passengers scheduled to just depart for the Zodiacs, only about 20 went off the ship.  Plus, we have reservations at the Teppanyaki grill at 6:30, so don’t want to miss that.  I do feel badly for the Discovery Team, as they pulled out all the Zodiacs and set up a path for everyone to walk on, and so few people have taken advantage of it.  They really do such an awesome job.  And Louie, the Discovery Team leader, is back on the ship from the island, trying to work out the logistics for tomorrow.  It sounds like the weather at our last stop, Deception Island, is going to be even worse than today’s and I think they are trying to come up with something that the passengers will enjoy, even if it means not hitting Deception Island.  This is what I mean by the Discovery Team being so fabulous.  They just do not stop working to make this the best voyage ever.

 

Four more days, two of them in the Drake Passage, and then we must leave this beautiful ship.  I will miss the crew and I will miss my newfound friends so much.   It has been the most incredible adventure ever, and we are so blessed to have been able to do this.

 

Even without Caffeine Free Diet Coke (and yes, I am totally joking!!!!)!!

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Thank you for all your posting.  I was on the Eclipse  from Cartagena to Lima. We have now booked a second cruise for South Georgia and Antarctica in a year. Can’t wait. 

Edited by Vpilon

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On 12/3/2019 at 4:47 AM, TahoeTraveler said:

People come to Antarctica on adventure trips so I’m sure there is some allowance for bringing food and drink.  I wouldn’t know the specifics for getting authorization though.  And, seeing how very serious the crew is regarding not bringing any contaminants or non-native species of anything ashore, I feel quite sure they took every precaution, such as sanitizing the table and equipment both before and after setting it up.  

 

On 12/2/2019 at 2:34 AM, Fletcher said:

It's VERY unusual to see Emperor penguins . . . I thought taking any food or drink ashore was strictly against protocols. 

I just returned from the Hondius an Oceanwide ship and food and drink except water was stricky forbidden under IAATO laws and regulations!  Which Island our mainland where you on?  Did you have to vacuum your clothes you were wearing onshore? And attend the meeting for IAATO, which is mandatory?

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6 hours ago, Bigdogwon said:

 

I just returned from the Hondius an Oceanwide ship and food and drink except water was stricky forbidden under IAATO laws and regulations!  Which Island our mainland where you on?  Did you have to vacuum your clothes you were wearing onshore? And attend the meeting for IAATO, which is mandatory?

We were not on an island or mainland...we were on sea ice, which technically is not land at all.  Perhaps if you’d read all the posts you’d have gleaned that bit of information.  And yes, all our clothing was vacuumed.  And yes, we attended the mandatory meeting.  Thank you for your concern.  I can assure you that the crew on this ship has been more than diligent in their efforts to prevent contamination of Antarctica from this ship or her passengers.  

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