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donaldsc

South Georgia Island

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Just got back from a Quark South Georgia Island cruise.  We did the Falklands and S. Georgia Island.  I don't write reviews so don't expect one from me but all I can say is that if you have done Antarctica already, you need to do a S. Georgia Island trip.  It was the most awesome trip I have ever taken in my life.  

 

DON

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I'm going with Quark in November.  I did a HAL trip to Antarctica so super excited to get off the ship and get to South Georgia!

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On 12/16/2018 at 10:51 AM, donaldsc said:

Just got back from a Quark South Georgia Island cruise.  We did the Falklands and S. Georgia Island.  I don't write reviews so don't expect one from me but all I can say is that if you have done Antarctica already, you need to do a S. Georgia Island trip.  It was the most awesome trip I have ever taken in my life.  

 

DON

 

Agree 100% ... absolutely worth the added $$$s and time ... very much a highlight of any trip to Antarctica.

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Totally agree! We just returned last month from a trip with Hurtigruten to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. We had previously done a sail by with HAL to Antarctica, also stopping at Stanley in the Falklands. We decided we had to do some landings in Antarctica before we get too old!

If you are doing an expedition trip to Antarctica, then adding South Georgia and the Falklands is a must, IMO. The wildlife is just beyond imagination! Literally hundreds of thousands of penguins as far as the eye can see. We loved the wildlife in all three places, but I think South Georgia was probably the most impressive. 

Would love to go again, on another expedition cruise, but the cost has to be considered unfortunately.

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Looking at Dec, Jan and Feb sailings to Antarctica, S Georgia etc...

Is any time better than the next? 

Have read about high seas 22 ft swells preventing landings at Falkland Islands for example.

 

I realize we are talking weather. Just wondering if there are "norms".

TYIA

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Falklands Island (and South Georgia) are indeed areas with an impredictable and sometimes quite rough weather. Most companies will have several alternative plans if the weather prevents landing on one location. It is usually possible to find a spot that is more sheltered from wind/waves from a particular direction.

So  last-minute change of plans is the norm, but bad weather preventing landings completely on a given day is less common (although yes, it can happen).

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On 2/18/2019 at 6:46 PM, roaming_kiwi58 said:

Totally agree! We just returned last month from a trip with Hurtigruten to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. We had previously done a sail by with HAL to Antarctica, also stopping at Stanley in the Falklands. We decided we had to do some landings in Antarctica before we get too old!

If you are doing an expedition trip to Antarctica, then adding South Georgia and the Falklands is a must, IMO. The wildlife is just beyond imagination! Literally hundreds of thousands of penguins as far as the eye can see. We loved the wildlife in all three places, but I think South Georgia was probably the most impressive. 

Would love to go again, on another expedition cruise, but the cost has to be considered unfortunately.

RoamingKiwi, now that you’ve done Antarctica by HAL sail-by and on an expedition ship, can you compare the two experiences in regards to scenic viewing from the respective ships? Was the scenic viewing itself from the ships far superior on Hurtigruten when you were in Antarctica?

 

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@roaming_kiwi58

 

Yes would love to hear from you on both experiences. We were looking at a sail-by and I said to DH--will that be "enough" or will we feel we missed out. The price differences are extreme--  Yet I don't want to spend money only to have regret. KWIM  

 

And it never occurred to me that the S Georgia etc really needs to be included til I started reading here on CC. I had been thinking the Falklands ... So now it means really expedition as I don't think bigger ships include S.G as a stop/tender--only the expedition ships.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, SarniaLo said:

Falklands Island (and South Georgia) are indeed areas with an impredictable and sometimes quite rough weather. Most companies will have several alternative plans if the weather prevents landing on one location. It is usually possible to find a spot that is more sheltered from wind/waves from a particular direction.

So  last-minute change of plans is the norm, but bad weather preventing landings completely on a given day is less common (although yes, it can happen).

 

Thank you. That is what I am reading. Unpredictable weather and no guarantees... though certainly the trip of a lifetime

 

DH laughed and said that while we get to keep the parkas-- we dont have much use for them (live in a warm humid climate)  Ha

 

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35 minutes ago, Fogfog said:

DH laughed and said that while we get to keep the parkas-- we dont have much use for them (live in a warm humid climate)  Ha

 

Don't laugh, you never know. It depends on the type of parka I guess (which depends on the company) but I gave one of Hurtigruten's parka to my brother who lives in Tahiti (French Polynesia). The parka is the outer shell only, very good windproof and waterproof ability but it's not warm. It has been very helpful to my brother during heavy rains.

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50 minutes ago, Fogfog said:

@roaming_kiwi58

 

And it never occurred to me that the S Georgia etc really needs to be included til I started reading here on CC. I had been thinking the Falklands ... So now it means really expedition as I don't think bigger ships include S.G as a stop/tender--only the expedition ships.

 

 

 

If you have any doubts about South Georgia, check out the Frozen Worlds episode of Our Planet on Netflix. I wasn't sure I wanted to go there, either, until I saw that. Funny, but it made me want to go (because it's so beautiful and impressive and so many animals) and not go (because I kinda feel we should leave those animals alone).

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18 hours ago, SarniaLo said:

Don't laugh, you never know. It depends on the type of parka I guess (which depends on the company) but I gave one of Hurtigruten's parka to my brother who lives in Tahiti (French Polynesia). The parka is the outer shell only, very good windproof and waterproof ability but it's not warm. It has been very helpful to my brother during heavy rains.

While the Hurtigruten parka is just the outer shell, some of the other companies have a 3-in-1 style jacket with a removable insulated lining.

 

Since I already have a few high-end GoreTex shells, I’ve never actually used the Hurtigruten jacket, but otherwise it could certainly be useful in warmer climates. I still might use it sailing or doing some other activity where the high-visibility hood and accents would be a good idea.

 

I really like the latest style of the GAdventures parka. It’s quite cozy! My similar-weight winter jacket is longer and styles more for city use, so I’ve used my G parka for more outdoorsy occasions like mountain cabin trips. And since it’s a 3-in-1, it will be good for multi-climate or variable-weather travel, since the layers can also be used individually.

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Hi Fogfog & Bella0714

 

On the expedition trip you get much closer to the scenery and in particular, the wildlife. The scenery on the drive by is pretty good along the Antarctic Peninsula, and that really wowed us when we did our first trip down there with HAL. You do see some wildlife, but not closeup.

 

On the expedition trip you really get up close to the scenery and the wildlife! The literally hundreds of thousands of penguins are just amazing (disclosure – I am a penguin fanatic!). They are very curious and not scared of people. We were not allowed to walk up close to them, but if you just stand there they will voluntarily come up to you. We also saw lots of other birds and different seal species and whales. You just don’t see the wildlife in that detail on the drive by.

 

To our surprise, we considered South Georgia to be the highlight of our expedition trip. The scenery is great and the wildlife is beyond imagination!


Of course what you see is very weather dependent. And the weather can change extremely quickly. On the expedition trip they did try to find alternative landing sites where possible, and this happened several times. But on the last day near the Antarctic Peninsula we had 2 landings cancelled because of too much ice for the polarcirkel boats to operate. As there was ice everywhere there were no alternatives and we just cruised around for the day, admiring the scenery.

 

Our expedition cruise to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica (22 nights with Hurtigruten)  was three times the cost of our drive by on HAL, a 21 night cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. I would love to do the expedition trip again, but it is just too much money to spend on one trip which we have done before. We are thinking we might do the drive by again in a few years time. I would love to return to South Georgia again on an expedition trip, more than the Antarctic Peninsula. When we booked our expedition trip there were actually a few trips that did the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, without the Antarctic Peninsula. Having done all three now, I would be interested in doing the Falkland Islands and South Georgia again, but I haven’t seen any of these shorter trips lately.

 

On the HAL drive by both crossings of the Drake Passage were very smooth. On the expedition trip  it was very rough between South Georgia and Antarctica, and a lot of passengers and crew were seasick. We also had it very rough across the Drake Passage returning to Ushuaia. Crockery and cutlery in the restaurant was flying everywhere and it was difficult to stay upright when walking.

 

I have started a full review of our expedition trip for Cruise Critic, but have been very busy and have not found the time to finish it. I will try and get back to it! If I don't do it soon, then it will be history! I can give you more information on our specific itinerary for the expedition trip if you want it, bearing in mind that every trip is different.

 

Hope this helped answer some of your queries!

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Thank you, roaming_kiwi. That was very helpful. It almost seems like a no-brainer when the expedition on Hurtigruten Midnatsol (13 days, 6 in Antarctica) is only $2,100 more than the sail-by with HAL: $11,200 vs. $9,100 for two.

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@roaming_kiwi58

 

TY so much for your thoughts. I will compare the various expeditions. Looked at Quark and G Adventures.

One thing we noted with Quark is there is no relationship with airlines --so unlike booking airfare through a cruise line and getting a nice discount... the RT Biz ticket will be a bigger factor

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You will not regret an expedition trip to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, or even just the Antarctic Peninsula if you don't want to do the full 3 week trip. Though I would strongly recommend including South Georgia if you possibly can.

It really is the trip of a lifetime...no doubt about that! I can't imagine for a minute how anyone could be disappointed with the scenery and the wildlife!

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Am waiting to do my second trip of a lifetime (visited South Georgia/Falklands and Antarctica in 1998/1999 - now 20 years ago!) and would consider South Georgia one of the absolute highlights of any trip that I've ever done - so if you are financially and physically (hiked a bit during the trip which made it even better) able to manage it, do it, you won't regret it.  Don't forget the rubber boots - and layering is the way to go with the clothes - that way you have whatever you need for the day. 

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