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MVPinBoynton

Review of HAL Zaandam SA/Antarctica Cruise with lots of Photos

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I know that many people looking at this board are not able to do expedition ships for some reason, and are interested in doing a cruise with HAL or Celebrity to be able to experience Antarctica. We spent four amazing days in Antarctica on the HAL Zaandam in January and just loved the experience. Such a beautiful and unique experience. Standing next to King penguins in the Falklands was also an awesome experience. I am so glad that we were able to do this cruise. I have done a complete review of the cruise with lots of photos if you are interested in seeing what a cruise like this is like.

 

You can see the review on our website, which is linked to in my signature. Enjoy!

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Great review and great pictures. DW and I are planning a cruise to Antarctica in 2020.

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Great review and great pictures. DW and I are planning a cruise to Antarctica in 2020.

 

 

You will be glad you did if you book one. It is an amazing one of a kind adventure.

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Thanks for a great review Mike!! It really does help in the decision process.We are also looking at doing it 2020. I think at this point, I need a spread sheet:eek::eek:

Mary

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Thanks for a great review Mike!! It really does help in the decision process.We are also looking at doing it 2020. I think at this point, I need a spread sheet:eek::eek:

Mary

 

Hi Mary,

I highly recommend booking this cruise. It is a once in a lifetime experience for sure. Since I am a CPA, I do spreadsheets for everything, almost. :D It is most helpful, especially with so many ports. Hopefully, by the time we see you on the Marina, you will have all your plans completed for it.

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There are wonderful photos here and it is great you had a good time.

 

For those without mobility issues, seriously consider taking a ship which allows shore landings in Antarctica.

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DW and I are planning a cruise to Antarctica in 2020.

 

Do try, if at all possible, to book an expedition cruise on a small ship and walk on snow amongst the penguins. A completely different experience for probably less additional cost than you might imagine.

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Do try, if at all possible, to book an expedition cruise on a small ship and walk on snow amongst the penguins. A completely different experience for probably less additional cost than you might imagine.

We are researching all the cruises going down there. Especially the small ships.

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I know that many people looking at this board are not able to do expedition ships for some reason, and are interested in doing a cruise with HAL or Celebrity to be able to experience Antarctica. We spent four amazing days in Antarctica on the HAL Zaandam in January and just loved the experience. Such a beautiful and unique experience. Standing next to King penguins in the Falklands was also an awesome experience. I am so glad that we were able to do this cruise. I have done a complete review of the cruise with lots of photos if you are interested in seeing what a cruise like this is like.

 

You can see the review on our website, which is linked to in my signature. Enjoy!

 

Thanks for your posting and photos. Very nice.

 

We were on the Seabourn Quest, also in January 2018. I found it very interesting to see how close you were able to come to our landings. While I would not trade our landing experiences, I think your pictures show that a "sail-by" is a viable alternative, worthy of recommendation.

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Thanks for your posting and photos. Very nice.

 

We were on the Seabourn Quest, also in January 2018. I found it very interesting to see how close you were able to come to our landings. While I would not trade our landing experiences, I think your pictures show that a "sail-by" is a viable alternative, worthy of recommendation.

 

Thank you. I was quite pleased about how close we did get to land, after reading how a "sail-by" didn't get close. Going to Antarctica and seeing the amazing beauty there is certainly one of the highlights of our cruising life. I am so glad that those that can't do an expedition cruise do have options for seeing this "must see" place.

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We are researching all the cruises going down there. Especially the small ships.

 

If you haven't already found them - we have a huge digest of trip reports on the Trip Advisor for all the small vessels operating down there. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12337-k8993183-Frequently_Asked_Questions_Top_Questions_on_Antarctic_Travel-Antarctic_Adventures.html

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If you haven't already found them - we have a huge digest of trip reports on the Trip Advisor for all the small vessels operating down there. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12337-k8993183-Frequently_Asked_Questions_Top_Questions_on_Antarctic_Travel-Antarctic_Adventures.html

 

I noticed that you sailed on the Kapitan Khlebnikov's final Antarctic voyage. It was a long-held dream to sail the Kapitan in Antarctica. Could you explain why it stopped voyaging down there? Thanks.

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I noticed that you sailed on the Kapitan Khlebnikov's final Antarctic voyage. It was a long-held dream to sail the Kapitan in Antarctica. Could you explain why it stopped voyaging down there? Thanks.

 

 

 

Initially it was because it's 20 year tourism contract had ended and it was called back to duty as an icebreaker in Russia.

Expense was another major reason. It costs over a million to get the empty vessel from northern hemisphere to southern and because of the heat systems it's impossible to sell it as a repositioning cruise. It gets unbearably hot the closer it gets to the equator.

 

 

Then it returned to Quark a few years later to do a few itineraries in the Arctic.

 

It returns to Antarctica this year for a few Snow Hill Is trips. They sold out last year in a nanosecond. I know several people who bought all 4 trips.

 

Haven't had word from Quark if they are going to make it an annual thing. The pricing of the KK means it can't compete with the many budget level 200pax vessels down there now. So it's appeal is to its ongoing fan base.

 

I would like to see it return to its Aus/NZ departures of the past - down to East Antarctica and Ross Sea.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Having sailed on the Zaandam's cruise prior to the OP's cruise and reading/viewing the photos, it makes me more appreciative of what I experienced. His wife and he experienced different sights due to weather/ice conditions as well as different on-shore experiences.

 

I returned home with the thought of: "been there, done that". Surely, thankful that I have been able to experience my visit to the last Continent yet to be visited. But, flights are long and not inexpensive to get to the ship. His review has me thinking if a reprise to this area of the world would not be enjoyable? My winter gear still fits.

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...has me thinking if a reprise to this area of the world would not be enjoyable? My winter gear still fits.

 

Do it! But, as I suggested above, seriously consider a smaller ship which will allow you to land. It really is a very different experience no matter how close your sail-by was.

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Do it! But, as I suggested above, seriously consider a smaller ship which will allow you to land. It really is a very different experience no matter how close your sail-by was.

 

If I were 10 years younger without stability issues at times, I'd do it. At this stage of my life, doing so would be foolish.

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Thank you for the detailed review. We will be in that area next Jan and had planned to do some of the things you’ve done. It was great to see pictures and read your experiences.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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If I were 10 years younger without stability issues at times, I'd do it. At this stage of my life, doing so would be foolish.

 

You might like to consider Hurtigruten Fram's polarcirkel boats which take you safely from a solid tender pit on the ship to shore. There is staff support on both the tender pit and on shore.

 

My daughter had been to Antarctica etc. on a small basic boat, so knew all the activities she wanted to do. On my first visit, I wanted to feel safe (not climb down any rope ladders, etc. into tube like boats). Fram met both our needs. I would love to go again, like everyone who has been to that unique region.

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You might like to consider Hurtigruten Fram's polarcirkel boats which take you safely from a solid tender pit on the ship to shore. There is staff support on both the tender pit and on shore.

 

My daughter had been to Antarctica etc. on a small basic boat, so knew all the activities she wanted to do. On my first visit, I wanted to feel safe (not climb down any rope ladders, etc. into tube like boats). Fram met both our needs. I would love to go again, like everyone who has been to that unique region.

 

Fram's Polarcirkels really are very good. Firm seating and plenty of rails to hold onto. On our first Antarctic trip the expedition team and crew got a lady in a wheelchair ashore in one.

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Fram's Polarcirkels really are very good. Firm seating and plenty of rails to hold onto. On our first Antarctic trip the expedition team and crew got a lady in a wheelchair ashore in one.

 

How stable are the Polarcirkels, and also getting in and out?

Is it more like getting into a regular tender (lifeboat) or a zodiak or ?

 

That's really nice about the woman in a wheelchair being helped ashore in Antarctica!

(It fits with our one experience with Hurtigruten, albeit in Norway. The crew were the most pleasant and helpful we've encountered on any line/any ship. But getting a wheelchair and occupant onto land in Antarctica... no doubt "priceless" for her :))

 

GC

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I know that many people looking at this board are not able to do expedition ships for some reason, and are interested in doing a cruise with HAL or Celebrity to be able to experience Antarctica. We spent four amazing days in Antarctica on the HAL Zaandam in January and just loved the experience. Such a beautiful and unique experience. Standing next to King penguins in the Falklands was also an awesome experience. I am so glad that we were able to do this cruise. I have done a complete review of the cruise with lots of photos if you are interested in seeing what a cruise like this is like.

 

You can see the review on our website, which is linked to in my signature. Enjoy!

 

AMAZING photos!

Thanks so much.

 

We had no idea one could get so close with ships that weren't "expedition" ships trying to get passengers on shore via zodiacs and such.

 

We'll look into this more now!

 

I've *really* wanted to see Antarctica, but was concerned that I wouldn't do well in the zodiacs (although I'd definitely still want DH to do that).

 

The other concern is in case of medical emergency... it's so more time for any rescue than most other itineraries...

(No, we wouldn't be expecting any such emergencies, or we'd never even consider such a trip. But we aren't 20-somethings anymore...)

 

Thanks SO much for sharing those photos (especially that "page 4" of your photos - wow!).

 

GC

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