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November in Antarctica

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We are looking at a cruise on Hurtigruten in November. I've read that it is still very icy, and that you won't see any whales until December or January. Does anyone have experience with going during November?

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One of our trips was in November and we saw whales. It's not that you won't see any, just that the number varies over the season. Whenever you go you will see wildlife and landscapes to amaze you. Enjoy!

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Thank you, I appreciate your response. After further checking, I missed an earlier thread that discussed this issue. We can't go in November now, so we'll do a different cruise this time around. We might need to wait until 2020 or after to do this.

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If you intend going in 2020 then you should look to book this year when brochures are released if you want the best choices and best prices.

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Off Deception Island last November it was described by the experts as whale soup. All at the same time we had sperm whales, humpbacks and 2 killer pods. I won’t forget that couple of hours, brilliant.

 

 

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If you intend going in 2020 then you should look to book this year when brochures are released if you want the best choices and best prices.

 

Not necessarily true. I just booked a S. Georgia and Falklands trip that leaves in November 2018. I am getting 40% off the rack rate. I am not saying that you should not book 2 years in advance but there are probably will be options closer to the sail date.

 

DON

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The best choices: dates, cabins and itineraries, are available when the brochures are issued, as are early booking discounts and lowest air fares. There may be late offers but they are not always available and most would be lucky to find one which matches their wants and needs.

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In November there is more ice around. Fantastic you are thinking. Well check your ship carefully. We didn’t get to PortLockroy because of too much ice. But the ship, while being ice strengthened, was not really built for the job. If it has a bulbous bow then crunching through quite thick ice will be a no. Go for a proper expedition ship.

Examples, Hapag Lloyd have the Bremen and Hanseatic. I believe the Hurtigruten ships and National Geographic ships will get through. I am sure people on here can clarify.

 

 

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Hurtigruten's Fram is ice class 1B so well suited to pushing through ice. We have spent several hours on our Antarctic and Arctic trips out on deck watching the ice sheets give way when her Captains have decided it would be more fun to take the (safe!) direct route rather than sail around. If I remember correctly, she is quite happy in year-old, metre-thick, sea ice. Glacial ice is something different for ships as it is much harder.

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I’ve been to Port Lockroy in November but we missed it in December. The ice wasn’t a problem at all for the ship, but the wind had blown too much loose ice up against the shore, so the landing boate couldn’t get through.

 

My November trip was one of the first of the season that year, and we did miss some landings because they were still fully iced in, but in exchange we got to make first tracks at several of the landings we did achieve. With so many ships these days, I wouldn’t really count on that anymore, but it was certainly a magical experience.

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We've just completed an Antarctic cruise on Silver Cloud. It seems to me that there are pluses and minuses for most months. The ice was pristine (and the icebergs were spectacular!) so there weren't many people tracks - only penguins! There also wasn't much penguin poop as I think it was all covered by snow! We managed to get ashore twice on 2 days (which were beautiful blue skies and sunshine) but on the 3rd day we didn't get ashore at all because of the weather conditions, and on the 4th day we managed to get ashore in the morning but couldn't make it in the afternoon.

 

We saw loads of penguins (rockhoppers in the Falklands and then chinstraps, gentoo and macaroni) but couldn't get as far south as was originally intended due to the sea ice (though our ship did plough through quite a lot of it which was fairly spectacular!) and the landings we missed meant that we didn't see adelies.  Also, the penguins were mating or sitting on eggs but it was too early for any to have hatched. We saw about 50-100 whales on one of the clear days (humpback and minke) but only occasional ones after that. We also saw a fair number of seals.

 

We loved the whole trip.....but the problem is that I want to go again to see what we missed this time. I think that would probably always be the case regardless of when you go! But it's an amazing experience. Don't miss it!

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12 hours ago, Mocamps said:

We loved the whole trip.....but the problem is that I want to go again to see what we missed this time. I think that would probably always be the case regardless of when you go! But it's an amazing experience. Don't miss it!

 

Lol you have fallen for the trap !! I've done 4 trips totalling 116 days and there is still "stuff I might have missed that I need to go back for"!! 

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On 8/5/2018 at 11:16 AM, donaldsc said:

 

Not necessarily true. I just booked a S. Georgia and Falklands trip that leaves in November 2018. I am getting 40% off the rack rate. I am not saying that you should not book 2 years in advance but there are probably will be options closer to the sail date.

 

DON

 

Response to myself.  If you are very flexible and willing to take chances, you can fly to Ushuaia w/o reservations and go to one of the many places that have last minutes cruises.  I just got back from a S. Georgia cruise and there were lots of options available out of Ushuaia.  I will admit that that I did not check prices and I am not sure that I would want to pay the money to fly to Ushuaia w/o reservations but people apparently do.  There were about 30 empty spots on the S. Georgia ship that I took and that was to S. Georgia and not Antarctica.  I am sure that there were more empty spots on ships going to Antarctica as there are more ships doing that route.

 

DON

Edited by donaldsc

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