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Experienced Antarctica Cruisers


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1 hour ago, roaming_kiwi58 said:

We have also done Greenland on HAL. We found it quite unexciting compared to Antarctica

I have not done Antarctica ( M has) but the pictures I see posted here are not nearly as exciting as what I saw in Greenland where you can walk up to huge glaciers and float by icebergs the size of Staten Island. No penguins though 🙂

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We were fortunate enough to do Antarctica in 2008 on the La Boreal, now a Ponant Line ship, but wasn’t back then.  I would highly recommend trip with landings.  More than just penguins.  Much more in the way of wildlife, both on land and sea.  Zodiacs and the drivers of them were amazing.  Trekking on land to see ice and geologic features was very special.  Had several landings per day.  About 100 passengers onboard.  Food and expedition team were awesome.  After Antarctica, Iguasu falls was also included as a 4 day post trip.  Awesome!!!  So we had Antarctica and the tropics in one trip.

 

My personal opinion, but if you have The bucks and can handle the landings and trekking, by all means do Antarctica on land and sea.

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We did San Antonio to BA on Seabourn Quest this past Feb/March. Had 8 days in Antarctica and 2 great stops in the Falklands. What an experience! Sailing past those tabular icebergs was AWESOME! as was the other scenery. We were up close to leopard seals, humbacks, and all sorts of penguins. Zodiac landings everyday save for 2 zodiac cruises and of course the tendering at Stanley. All drinks on Seabourn are included in the fare and there were special deck parties with champagne, vodka and caviar several times during our voyage. We didn't spend $25k per person but rather total for the 2 of us including prem econ air for the flight back to our home city.  

 

Not tooting our travel horn but we have been to Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and of course the fjords of Chile but nothing compares to the Antarctica experience in our experience.

 

As an aside: for once we DID book air through the cruise line because we got a better fare than we could do ourselves. Thank heavens! Argentina closed its border to us 2 days before so we were going to disembark in Uruguay and fly back from Montivideo. Alternative air bookings were made for us and then changed when Uruguay closed its borders. Somehow Argentina relented and let us in but we had to be off the ship by 11 am as the port was closing at 4 pm. The passengers who did their own air were on the phone and computers for hours! 

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24 minutes ago, rich48100 said:

the landings and trekking,

I have some medical issues that affect my mobility but still totally worth it. And those zodiac 'drivers' were something else. They could spot the whale 'bubbles' and then they'd stop we could almost touch them.

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THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!  You guys are great, this is why I love CC, and especially our O board.
 

We decided to cancel the Marina and sail on the Seabourn Quest.  We typically sail on O but we’ve been on Quest and she is great too.  Either Feb 3 for 21 days with five days, twice daily, landings, or Feb 24 for 24 days including the five Antarctica days plus three landings in South Georgia.  Leaning toward Feb 3 to play it safe as March is late for Antarctica and weather may start impacting the landings although, I understand that South Georgia is Amazing.
 

Dan, I hear you big time about the cold but can’t resist seeing a sea lion pup up close and kayaking with whales, the pictures sold me.  I was on a Nile cruise this past Jan and I froze.  Temps in the 30’s at night with zero humidity and no heat.  Plenty of A/c though as it’s a bazillion degrees in the Sahara most of the year!  I will do some serious extreme cold apparel shopping prior to February.

 

Paul, my hubby went to Northern Greenland near Thule for a joint physics experiment with some Air Force scientists.  They flew on a refueling aircraft and had to refuel a plane mid air.  The air force guys let him operate the boom.  He thought Greenland was beautiful but I know that in his mind, it couldn’t compete with all those aircraft gadgets.  🙂

 

Thanks again everyone for the info.  Feb can’t come soon enough.  My July, September and Nov sailings have already been cancelled.  I’m crossing my fingers for Feb!  And, hey, with three less sailings, even factoring in Antarctica on the Quest, I’m actually saving in the long run, but..... I still despise that bas***d COVID.

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1 hour ago, the more ports the better said:

Feb can’t come soon enough.  I’m crossing my fingers for Feb!

I do hope your sailing will go off without a hitch and that you have a time of your life with many landings.

Edited by Paulchili
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We used Seabourn air last year, and were incredibly impressed by the price.  Much, much, much cheaper than we could get on our own.  Definitely worth looking into for you Ports....I almost didn't because it's never been worth it.

 

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On 8/31/2020 at 5:47 AM, chengkp75 said:

Marina, built in 2011, will complete her second Special Survey in Jan 2021, and that will be the latest her polar certificate will last, so she will not be permitted to operate south of 60* south latitude after that date.  60* south is a parallel that crosses only ocean as it circles the globe, and the closest land is the South Shetland Islands, 35 miles (over the horizon) south, and the South Georgia Islands (60 miles) and the Antarctic Peninsula (180 miles to the tip) are further.

 

Even most of the expedition ships will no longer be permitted in Arctic/Antarctic waters after 2021, only those built within the last 2-3 years.

 

Thanks for that precise description.

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20 hours ago, clo said:

How extremely insulting! Ego had not a single thing to do with it! To both of us it was a must do. Especially the zodiacs. We did it in January and when we were on the ship we wore SHORTS! Temp was in the 50s.  To us not going ashore would be like, say, sailing past San Francisco and not going ashore. Your know-it-all-ness has reach new limits. "Driven by ego." The only ego would likely be yours.

PS: In that photo of the folks in the zodiac, most people didn't have their hoods up or caps on.

PPS: The guy with the blanket is my husband. Under the blanket was shorts and a golf shirt and the blanket was cotton or another light synthetic. Outside on the aft deck post-breakfast.

 

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Ego was the wrong word..... sorry...    Having lived on a Glacier for 3 months I  guess I can not fully understand the attraction.   I do not wish to smell the penguins..  When you can see more wild life and variety in Alaska I just do not see the attraction so many put on this "forbidden" land.    Maybe that is the attraction that it is forbidden fruit?    Anyway  sorry for the ego  choice  but many I think go there just to post on their Facebook page....Don't know 

 The weather you experienced was truly remarkable......NOTHING at all like my experiences.  Never got above 38F  lots of fog too.     You lucked out

 

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Well, I booked the sailing and then last night I bought my airline tickets.  Today, all the sailings were cancelled!  Looks like it’s back to 2022 for Antarctica.  Prices are double for the same itinerary though as all the new expedition ships hit the market.  Darn!!!  Oceania looks like a bargain!

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Your cancellation may be just be a case of Seabourn revising the Quest's 2021-22 program to take over its previous 2020-21 plan.

After they have a chance to contact everybody you may find you can book something close to your intended plan and, fingers crossed, close to the past Antarctic pricing. CruiseTimetables still has Quest's pre Covid 2020-21 schedule on display, it can be translated to 2021-22.

 

Bill

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1 hour ago, Two4Sea said:

Your cancellation may be just be a case of Seabourn revising the Quest's 2021-22 program to take over its previous 2020-21 plan.

After they have a chance to contact everybody you may find you can book something close to your intended plan and, fingers crossed, close to the past Antarctic pricing. CruiseTimetables still has Quest's pre Covid 2020-21 schedule on display, it can be translated to 2021-22.

 

Bill

That is great news!! Thanks for posting this! We had pretty much written off going on an Antarctica expedition cruise in the future due to the crazy costs. But hearing this news has definitely got us interested in booking a 2022 sailing on the Quest if the prices for the 20+ day itineraries are near to what they have been in the past and the Quest is actually allowed to sail there past Jan 1, 2022.

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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About 15 years ago, we faced the decision between a sail by experience and an expedition ship. We opted for the latter. Glad we did it while still in great shape.  We picked a company not mentioned here, but they are the "granddaddy" of expedition travel. The founder of the company was the first to use zodiacs, (adapting them from the inventor, Jacques Cousteau),  Their captain had sailed to and around Antarctica more than anybody and was adding to the maps.

    The company is called Lindblad and at the time, they had just merged with National Geographic and it was amazing. Less of the creature comforts of the mainstream lines, but tons of experienced guides and fascinating speakers. We did not have time to go to South Georgia Island, but were able to do the two week cruise, roundtrip from Ushuaia. We had daily zodiac rides as well as landings on South Shetland Island and the Antarctic peninsula.

     There have been more and more restrictions placed on the sail by ships. There are no landings and the distance they need to stay from the peninsula certainly distracts from seeing much. The larger ships will allow tendering to the Falklands, but the sea conditions often leads to that port being skipped. 

     I just went online and Lindblad is still doing the trips, but the price is about double what it was when we sailed. Same itinerary - hard to improve on fabulous.  They offer three different itineraries- the usual two week Antarctica, a three week that adds Falklands and South Georgia, and a 35 day one that crosses the Ross Sea and ends up in New Zealand.

     The website is www.expeditions.com  We took them to the Galapagos, as well a few years earlier.  Best trip we have ever taken.

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On 9/1/2020 at 12:45 PM, Hawaiidan said:

 

Ego was the wrong word..... sorry...    Having lived on a Glacier for 3 months I  guess I can not fully understand the attraction.   I do not wish to smell the penguins..  When you can see more wild life and variety in Alaska I just do not see the attraction so many put on this "forbidden" land.    Maybe that is the attraction that it is forbidden fruit?    Anyway  sorry for the ego  choice  but many I think go there just to post on their Facebook page....Don't know 

 The weather you experienced was truly remarkable......NOTHING at all like my experiences.  Never got above 38F  lots of fog too.     You lucked out

 

I accept your apology and thank you. And BTW penguin poop is the worst smelling poop that I'VE ever smelled. 🙂

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19 hours ago, clo said:

I accept your apology and thank you. And BTW penguin poop is the worst smelling poop that I'VE ever smelled. 🙂

On a steady diet of fish.... you bet......On our sail by, you could smell the penguins  Long before you could see them. several miles !!!... Seals too..... if you ever visited Pier 39   you would agree.......

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34 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

On a steady diet of fish.... you bet......On our sail by, you could smell the penguins  Long before you could see them. several miles !!!... Seals too..... if you ever visited Pier 39   you would agree.......

I think I was at Pier 39 once, a gazillion years ago, and don't remember that smell. But when we were walking up to where the penguins were we were walking right through it. Nasty.

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From a different perspective, consider the sea conditions of the Drake passage.  We were on the Infinity in Jan 2010.  On the traverse from the Falklands to Antarctica Peninsula we encountered a 75 mph storm with  cross wise 38 ft seas.  More than minor damage to the ship and injuries.  Waves blew out windows on some of the lifeboats, the top forward lounge had the roof peeled back.  The captain altered the itinerary and we landed at Ushaia.  We then resumed our journey to Paradise Bay.  Great time and great excitement.

 

Recommend the lowest cabin in the middle of the ship.  Definitely not the suites, forward or aft. Some Vista suite pax reported being lifted off their beds

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1 hour ago, floridatravelersforlife said:

From a different perspective, consider the sea conditions of the Drake passage.  We were on the Infinity in Jan 2010.  On the traverse from the Falklands to Antarctica Peninsula we encountered a 75 mph storm with  cross wise 38 ft seas.  More than minor damage to the ship and injuries.  Waves blew out windows on some of the lifeboats, the top forward lounge had the roof peeled back.  The captain altered the itinerary and we landed at Ushaia.  We then resumed our journey to Paradise Bay.  Great time and great excitement.

 

Recommend the lowest cabin in the middle of the ship.  Definitely not the suites, forward or aft. Some Vista suite pax reported being lifted off their beds

Yes, we also had the bucking bronco bed for 4 nights heading to S.Georgia from Montevideo . This was on Ponant. Will never forget it. :(( 

Oops, forgot the passenger that died on the 2nd night. 

Edited by TrulyBlonde
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4 hours ago, floridatravelersforlife said:

From a different perspective, consider the sea conditions of the Drake passage.  We were on the Infinity in Jan 2010.  On the traverse from the Falklands to Antarctica Peninsula we encountered a 75 mph storm with  cross wise 38 ft seas.  More than minor damage to the ship and injuries.  Waves blew out windows on some of the lifeboats, the top forward lounge had the roof peeled back.  The captain altered the itinerary and we landed at Ushaia.  We then resumed our journey to Paradise Bay.  Great time and great excitement.

 

Recommend the lowest cabin in the middle of the ship.  Definitely not the suites, forward or aft. Some Vista suite pax reported being lifted off their beds

Wow! It was described to us as the "Drake Shake" or the "Drake Lake." Glad we got the latter. And glad you enjoyed it.

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On 8/31/2020 at 9:47 PM, the more ports the better said:

THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!  You guys are great, this is why I love CC, and especially our O board.
 

We decided to cancel the Marina and sail on the Seabourn Quest.  We typically sail on O but we’ve been on Quest and she is great too.  Either Feb 3 for 21 days with five days, twice daily, landings, or Feb 24 for 24 days including the five Antarctica days plus three landings in South Georgia.  Leaning toward Feb 3 to play it safe as March is late for Antarctica and weather may start impacting the landings although, I understand that South Georgia is Amazing.
 

 

While we haven't done Antarctica, we did do the Galapagos back in 1989 on a 12 passenger motor cruiser .  The on-shore visits were the highlight of the trip.  On one shore visit Howard was snorkeling with penguins and I had a relationship with a young seal.  She was sniffing at my toes and when she got too close I jumped back and so did she ...

 

 

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9 hours ago, clo said:

As a result of the cruise?

Probably the result of smoking and drinking and a long flight from France. However, it brought on a sadness to all onboard and the realization that you are far away from getting help for survival. Your body stays with the ship until it returns to port after 2 weeks. The poor family.

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On 9/3/2020 at 2:16 PM, clo said:

I think I was at Pier 39 once, a gazillion years ago, and don't remember that smell. But when we were walking up to where the penguins were we were walking right through it. Nasty.

The seals took over the marina and.....well enough said..   I am not a seal fan over abundant because of over protection the population has exploded to dangerous levels......More seals than the environment can support   bring on the white sharks....we  need help   

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We sailed Le Ponant thru Tauck tours. Yes it was more expensive but we were glad that we did it. There was only two rough days of sailing, but if you get woozy, take your seasick meds.  The zodiac trips were amazing. We had humpbacks come within 2 feet of our zodiac. When we started watching the humpbacks they were a good distance away but they changed course and came very close to our zodiac .  It was an experience I will never forget.  Also with this tour you will actually step on the continent of Antarctica which you will not be able to do on a larger ship. We also had some time in Buenos Aries and tours while there.  Tauck also provided a speaker from BBC who was fantastic and helped make each landing even more incredible.  Would I do it again. No, but i am glad I did it

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