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Fram to Antarctica - post cruise thoughts

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I have done both Antarctic Circle and Falklands/SG/Antarctica loop with MS Fram. Both were fantastic! ;)

 

On a "purely Antarctica" trip (Circle or not) it is very unlikely that you will not stop in some of the South Shetlands Islands as they are right there on your way and offer very nice landing opportunities. They are not that different from what you can see closer to the Peninsula. I chose the Antarctic Circle trip because at this point it was the longest trip I could do, which should be your only incentive, since a Circle crossing is never guaranteed (depends on ice conditions, weather, and so on). We did cross the Circle, and our most spectacular landscapes were in that area, but as it was later in the season there was less ice in the northern part.

 

I did the Falkland/SG/Antarctica trip in early December, and we didn't go as much South of course, but the landscapes in the Peninsula were as spectacular as what I had seen further South later in the season. Falklands were a nice surprise, but it is true you can visit it by other means if you really want. But to be honest, South Georgia is a place like no other. All superlative, dramatic landscape, neverending fauna, and rich human history. So for the next trip, I have chosen this route again. I'm doing the "Ultimate Antarctica" loop which I think has a good balance, with 2 days in Falklands, 2 days in SG, an attempt to visit South Orkneys and at least 5 days in the Peninsula (we had 6 last time since Orkneys were not possible).

 

So my advice now (I'm not the only one to give it) : go for the longest trip your money (and free time) can give you and try to include South Georgia in it. But do not aim for any specific landing spot or landmark as nothing is a given in this area and you shouldn't open yourself up to be disappointed. And another optimistic note : whichever itinerary you choose, if you go with an open mind and are ready to be flexible on the schedule, then you will have an absolutely amazing time.

 

Good to hear as we have a Christmas/ New Year cruise there in 2017.

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Though the Circle trip is subtly more impressive

 

I realised that wasn't too clear but did so too late for an edit.

 

So, for the sake of clarity, I meant that that part of Antarctica towards and below the Circle was subtly more impressive than that part of Antarctica that is visited on a peninsula cruise.

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Thank you to everyone that has responded to the circle or not post. Sounds like I can't go wrong whatever itinerary is chosen so timing, length and cost will be the deciding factors. :)

 

I really want to say I have gone past both extreme circles....but it isn't like people who have gone to Antarctica greatly out numbers those who haven't when you consider how few get there at all.

 

Thanks for the input!

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I really want to say I have gone past both extreme circles.!

Yes, but again, what if you choose an "Antarctic Circle" trip that ends up not being able to go there for weather/ice reasons? Will you be disappointed?

I have been through both circles and to be honest, except me and my travel companion, it doesn't impress anybody! ;) The fact that you willingly choose to spend your holiday in a freezing place is enough to make people look at you funny. The Circle usually doesn't mean much.

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The fact that you willingly choose to spend your holiday in a freezing place is enough to make people look at you funny.

 

I showed photographs from one of our Antarctic trips to my 100 year old aunt. Her response? 'You can keep it!'.

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The fact that you willingly choose to spend your holiday in a freezing place is enough to make people look at you funny. The Circle usually doesn't mean much.

 

Haha I do agree. I got those looks for my November trip to Iceland and Norway. I wanted to see fjords and northern lights.

 

And the larger part is me wanting to go to Antarctica. Circle is more a personal goal. If we didn't make it I would be sad but fine.

 

And this is definitely helping my decision. Thanks again everyone!

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The boots were actually free also on my first trip with MS Fram (2009) and they were to rent (for a very reasonable fee though) on my second trip (2013). However the boots they now have for rent (Arctic Muck Boots, pretty awesome) are so much better than the previous ones.

 

And the arrangement has changed once again. After a long, and very useful, conversation with a representative from Hurtigruten today I understand that boot hire is now included and no longer a chargeable extra.

 

I understand, too, that Hurtigruten's expedition team now has three Chinese members available for those cruises where their services may be welcome.

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