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GeezerCouple

Antarctic "sail by" cruises (not expeditions)

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Until reading a recent thread by MVPinBoynton and seeing their amazing photos, we had not realized that there are some non-expedition Antarctic cruises that really do go *close* to Antarctica.

I guess we thought the choice was around S. America, and not close to Antarctica, but with some "penguin" stops ;) , plus perhaps the Chilean Fjords *or* Antarctica excursions.

 

>> Which cruise lines offer an Antarctic cruise that has several days of sailing right by that magnificent scenery, but doesn't have excursions?

 

[Then we'll have to decide about excursion cruise or not, and that decision has several different factors specific to us, so we are *not* asking about which is recommended. Everyone will have their own set of factors/preferences/etc.]

 

And are there any ships doing this that have suites that are forward-facing?

 

Many thanks.

 

GC

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I know both Princess and Holland America have sailings that spend about 4 days in Antarctica but you have to take into account the time it takes to go there and back through the Drake Passage, probably limiting your time to about 2 days cruising near the Antarctic peninsula.

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A few years ago we did a Holland America cruise on the Zaandam, from Santiago to Buenos Aires, which included a stop in the Falkland Islands and several days cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. It was brilliant! The captain did his best to catch the good weather in the right places and we had some truly stunning views along the Antarctic Peninsula, on some gorgeous days. We also had a marvellous day at the Falklands. The onboard lecturers were superb. It was a trip we will always remember.

 

It got us hooked on Antarctica, and we are now booked to return, this time on an expedition trip with Hurtigruten, in December 2017/January 2018. This trip includes South Georgia and Falkland Islands. We are just hoping for good weather and no mishaps, as we will not be doing the exhibition trip again!

 

I know many people say the "drive by" is not worth it, you need to do the exhibition trip, but there is a whale of a difference in price! I would do the "drive by" again without hesitation. Of course we are hoping for a real "trip of a lifetime" on the expedition cruise, but I am expecting to still want to return again, even if it is just another "drive by". We do not travel for the ship, but for the places we visit, or just see from close by!

 

However you choose to get there, Antarctica is a truly memorable destination!

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A few years ago we did a Holland America cruise on the Zaandam, from Santiago to Buenos Aires, which included a stop in the Falkland Islands and several days cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. It was brilliant! The captain did his best to catch the good weather in the right places and we had some truly stunning views along the Antarctic Peninsula, on some gorgeous days. We also had a marvellous day at the Falklands. The onboard lecturers were superb. It was a trip we will always remember.

 

It got us hooked on Antarctica, and we are now booked to return, this time on an expedition trip with Hurtigruten, in December 2017/January 2018. This trip includes South Georgia and Falkland Islands. We are just hoping for good weather and no mishaps, as we will not be doing the exhibition trip again!

 

I know many people say the "drive by" is not worth it, you need to do the exhibition trip, but there is a whale of a difference in price! I would do the "drive by" again without hesitation. Of course we are hoping for a real "trip of a lifetime" on the expedition cruise, but I am expecting to still want to return again, even if it is just another "drive by". We do not travel for the ship, but for the places we visit, or just see from close by!

 

However you choose to get there, Antarctica is a truly memorable destination!

 

Thanks.

 

It was a description of a Zaandam cruise by VIPinBoynton that generated our question. They posted the most amazing photos :)

We hadn't known about this type of cruise until reading their post a short time ago.

 

As for Hurtigruten, in March, we were on their Trollfjord, for a round trip Norway cruise, in search of Northern Lights. (We saw them!)

We hadn't been sure what to expect, and probably underestimated what the ship experience would be like. We were delighted with the entire experience. (We had a large suite, so that probably helped, but of course, the rest of the ship was the same for everyone.) And the food was much better than we were expecting, too.

So an expedition like that is the alternative, but for a few reasons, we aren't sure that will be working for us.

 

But those few days so close to the Antarctic coast... looks almost otherworldly.

 

Thanks.

 

GC

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It got us hooked on Antarctica, and we are now booked to return, this time on an expedition trip with Hurtigruten, in December 2017/January 2018. This trip includes South Georgia and Falkland Islands. We are just hoping for good weather and no mishaps, as we will not be doing the exhibition trip again!

 

I know many people say the "drive by" is not worth it, you need to do the exhibition trip, but there is a whale of a difference in price! I would do the "drive by" again without hesitation. Of course we are hoping for a real "trip of a lifetime" on the expedition cruise, but I am expecting to still want to return again, even if it is just another "drive by". We do not travel for the ship, but for the places we visit, or just see from close by!

 

However you choose to get there, Antarctica is a truly memorable destination!

 

December 2017/January 2018 have been and gone... 2018/2019 perhaps?

 

We found the difference in cost between an expedition trip focussed on Antarctica on Hurtigruten's Fram, and booked at the lowest cost as soon as the brochure was published, and a drive-by which included, say, the Chilean Fjords, was not too much, and perfectly acceptable when it came to what we would actually experience.

 

In our experience, on multiple expedition trips, you really do not need a balcony and you really do not need to pay-to-sway in a cabin on a high deck. The vast majority of our time was spent in lectures, out on deck and on landings so our cabin was only for sleeping, bathing and changing. A cabin, mid-ships on the lowest deck, was more than acceptable and the lower cost (along with Hurtigruten's 5% discount for returning customers) helped to pay for the return trips.

 

And yes, there isn't a more beautiful place on Earth. Add to that the experience of walking amongst seals and penguins...!

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Thanks.

 

It was a description of a Zaandam cruise by VIPinBoynton that generated our question. They posted the most amazing photos :)

We hadn't known about this type of cruise until reading their post a short time ago.

 

As for Hurtigruten, in March, we were on their Trollfjord, for a round trip Norway cruise, in search of Northern Lights. (We saw them!)

We hadn't been sure what to expect, and probably underestimated what the ship experience would be like. We were delighted with the entire experience. (We had a large suite, so that probably helped, but of course, the rest of the ship was the same for everyone.) And the food was much better than we were expecting, too.

So an expedition like that is the alternative, but for a few reasons, we aren't sure that will be working for us.

 

But those few days so close to the Antarctic coast... looks almost otherworldly.

 

Thanks.

 

GC

Hurtigruten’s Fram is a beautiful ship and nicer than some traditional cruise ships I’ve been on. The only hang-up I see is the price, but I’ve gotten good deals booking very early and very late. Now that they’re also running the larger Midnatsol as well, there are even more options.

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We also did Hurtigruten.

 

Would do the trip again in a heartbeat.

 

But I think a driveby would be a great alternative for anyone who couldn't swing the $$ or didn't have the time.

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Yes, digitl, you are right, I got my dates wrong! I meant December 2018/January 2019!

 

We have booked the cheapest cabin on Hurtigruten, 18 months in advance of the trip. We never book for the cabin anyway, as we don't spend much time there, so there is no way we would have considered one of the more expensive options. This upcoming Hurtigruten cruise is still 3 times what our HAL Zaandam cruise cost us in 2015.

 

We were disappointed with the Chilean fjords. We have seen much more spectacular scenery elsewhere in the world, including here at home in NZ.

 

I do not expect anything will ever compare with Antarctica.

Whichever way you can manage it, drive by or expedition, just do it!

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We, too, were disappointed with the Chilean fjords when we did a Santiago - Buenos Aires cruise a few years ago.

 

Nothing can compare with Antarctica!

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We were disappointed with the Chilean fjords. We have seen much more spectacular scenery elsewhere in the world, including here at home in NZ.

 

 

We, too, were disappointed with the Chilean fjords when we did a Santiago - Buenos Aires cruise a few years ago.

 

Nothing can compare with Antarctica!

 

Wow, two posts expressing disappointment in the Chilean fjords! We have yet to do around South America and I had this on my list because of the Chilean fjords.

 

We've done Antartica (landings), the Beagle Channel as part of that cruise, and Norwegian fjords. We've also been in Glacier Bay in Alaska twice.

 

Sounds like the Chilean fjord part of the cruise will be disappointing :(

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Wow, two posts expressing disappointment in the Chilean fjords! We have yet to do around South America and I had this on my list because of the Chilean fjords.

 

We've done Antartica (landings), the Beagle Channel as part of that cruise, and Norwegian fjords. We've also been in Glacier Bay in Alaska twice.

 

Sounds like the Chilean fjord part of the cruise will be disappointing :(

 

May I add my thoughts on the Chilean fjords? I have been fortunate to visit the fjords of New Zealand, Norway, Alaska, Chile, and did a 4 day sail-by of Antarctica. Our first day in the Chilean fjord region was underwhelming, I thought when I retired for the night. (This was a Santiago to Buenos Aires sailing.) The further South the Zaandam sailed, the better and more interesting the scenery became. Those on the Cruise Staff who narrated our passage in particularly scenic areas added immeasurably to my enjoyment of the area.

 

Little can match the beauty of Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford Sounds in New Zealand on a day that is clear, sunny, blue skies with the waters in the Sounds serving as mirrors for the surrounding mountains. Hubbard Glacier puts many other Alaska glaciers to shame, in my opinion. But, each geographic area is "different" and I have learned to appreciate as well as I can the sights I am seeing.

 

diane.in.ny. go to Chile and visit the Fjords with an open mind, remembering that "some like their Iced Tea sweetened and some don't". (I hope you understand what I just wrote.)

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May I add my thoughts on the Chilean fjords? I have been fortunate to visit the fjords of New Zealand, Norway, Alaska, Chile, and did a 4 day sail-by of Antarctica. Our first day in the Chilean fjord region was underwhelming, I thought when I retired for the night. (This was a Santiago to Buenos Aires sailing.) The further South the Zaandam sailed, the better and more interesting the scenery became. Those on the Cruise Staff who narrated our passage in particularly scenic areas added immeasurably to my enjoyment of the area.

 

Little can match the beauty of Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford Sounds in New Zealand on a day that is clear, sunny, blue skies with the waters in the Sounds serving as mirrors for the surrounding mountains. Hubbard Glacier puts many other Alaska glaciers to shame, in my opinion. But, each geographic area is "different" and I have learned to appreciate as well as I can the sights I am seeing.

 

diane.in.ny. go to Chile and visit the Fjords with an open mind, remembering that "some like their Iced Tea sweetened and some don't". (I hope you understand what I just wrote.)

 

We agree about Hubbard Glacier.

 

We had specifically chosen an Alaska cruise that included Glacier Bay. Everyone said it was a "must see".

Well, yes, it was beautiful there, and peaceful. A wonderful few hours, no question.

 

And then we went to Hubbard Glacier.

WOW!

That was amazing. Beyond amazing. Dramatic. Thunderous.

And the captain stayed there for quite a long time, slowly spinning the ship around and around.

 

I suspect that different scenery will appeal to / be preferred by different people, no surprise.

 

But after seeing the photos of the Antarctic sail by... we cancelled our regular "round the tip" S. America cruise.

Now, the decision is "sail by" or "expedition".

 

rkacruiser, thanks for mentioning some special sights in New Zealand. We recently added that to our future travel list :)

 

GC

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The sounds in NZ - Dusky, Doubtful & Milford, etc, are pretty spectacular in all weathers! We have seen them rain and shine. Yes, as rka cruiser said, they are great on a sunny day, but when it is raining the sides of the fjords are alive with waterfalls, and it makes an amazing sight.

 

So, GeezerCouple, if you do manage to get to that part of NZ and you don't get the best weather (and they do get a lot of rain down there), don't be disappointed - you will still get some great views. Worth the trip IMO!

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Little can match the beauty of Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford Sounds in New Zealand on a day that is clear, sunny, blue skies with the waters in the Sounds serving as mirrors for the surrounding mountains. Hubbard Glacier puts many other Alaska glaciers to shame, in my opinion. But, each geographic area is "different" and I have learned to appreciate as well as I can the sights I am seeing.

 

diane.in.ny. go to Chile and visit the Fjords with an open mind, remembering that "some like their Iced Tea sweetened and some don't". (I hope you understand what I just wrote.)

 

I had forgotten that we also did Doubtful and Milford Sounds. Guess we'll have to put Chilean fjords back on the list.

 

We agree about Hubbard Glacier.

 

We had specifically chosen an Alaska cruise that included Glacier Bay. Everyone said it was a "must see".

Well, yes, it was beautiful there, and peaceful. A wonderful few hours, no question.

 

And then we went to Hubbard Glacier.

WOW!

That was amazing. Beyond amazing. Dramatic. Thunderous.

And the captain stayed there for quite a long time, slowly spinning the ship around and around.

 

 

And now I need to add a third trip to Alaska but this time make sure we go to Hubbard Glacier.

 

Boy, the list doesn't get any smaller does it? :D

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WHICH CRUISE LINES?

 

Which cruise lines have "sail by" Antarctic sailings with a few days cruising right along Antarctica such as shown in VIPinBoynton's photos?

 

Again, *not* looking for suggestions about expedition type cruises.

(IF it turns out we are able to do this, we've already "got our little list" ;))

 

HAL, obviously.

 

Others?

 

Many thanks!

 

GC

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GeezerCouple,

 

Obviously, I can only recommend HAL based upon my experience for a sail-by visit.

 

In my opinion, three things to research and consider as a result of my experience:

 

#1: How much time/days are actually spent sailing along the Continent?

 

#2: What will the on-board Enrichment Program concerning the geographic area where you will be visiting be while you are on your cruise? My experience on HAL exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. A Biologist, a Geologist, a Social Scientist: all gave almost daily Power Point presentations; some times more than one/day. Their efforts were complimented by an EXC Guide who presented information in the main showroom as well as helped out with P.A. commentary that could be heard in the Crow's Nest as well as on the outside decks.

 

#3: Will a Team from the Palmer Station be brought aboard (if weather permits) to make a presentation and answer questions?

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WHICH CRUISE LINES?

 

Which cruise lines have "sail by" Antarctic sailings with a few days cruising right along Antarctica such as shown in VIPinBoynton's photos?

 

Again, *not* looking for suggestions about expedition type cruises.

(IF it turns out we are able to do this, we've already "got our little list" ;))

 

HAL, obviously.

 

Others?

 

Many thanks!

 

GC

Princess, Celebrity, and Azamara also have drive-bys

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WHICH CRUISE LINES?

 

Which cruise lines have "sail by" Antarctic sailings with a few days cruising right along Antarctica such as shown in VIPinBoynton's photos?

 

Again, *not* looking for suggestions about expedition type cruises.

(IF it turns out we are able to do this, we've already "got our little list" ;))

 

HAL, obviously.

 

Others?

 

Many thanks!

 

GC

 

My travel agent told me she always recommends HAL for South America over Princess. She says 'they have an excellent SA product.'

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Antarctica with Holland America (Valparaiso to Buenos Aires) was amazing! 4 days around the various islands of Antarctica and the mainland...photos here so you see the various days' sights...

 

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If you do decide to see the Chilean fjords do it before going to Antarctica. We did that in reverse and Chile just cannot compare.

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If you do decide to see the Chilean fjords do it before going to Antarctica. We did that in reverse and Chile just cannot compare.

 

OK, Chilean fjords move down on the list again. lol

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OK, Chilean fjords move down on the list again. lol

 

Ditto!

 

At least *every* destination isn't always heading to the top of the list ;)

 

GC

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Celebrity also goes to Antarctica; but only spends two days in Antarctica, so I would pass on the, since you want as many days as possible.

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Celebrity also goes to Antarctica; but only spends two days in Antarctica, so I would pass on the, since you want as many days as possible.

I’ve seen a few Celebrity sailings that listed more than two days of scenic cruising in Antarctica. This one has four days, hoping to visit Schollaert Channel, Paradise Bay, Gerlache Strait, and Elephant Island:

https://www.celebritycruises.com/itinerary-details?packageID=EC14F084&sDT=2019-01-20&cCD=CO&aCB=false

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I’ve seen a few Celebrity sailings that listed more than two days of scenic cruising in Antarctica. This one has four days, hoping to visit Schollaert Channel, Paradise Bay, Gerlache Strait, and Elephant Island:

https://www.celebritycruises.com/itinerary-details?packageID=EC14F084&sDT=2019-01-20&cCD=CO&aCB=false

 

I hope they do.

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