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Cruises with excursions that land on Antarctica


FourthQ
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My first post here, please be patient with me. I have only one cruise so far, and that too nearly 10 years ago.

We hope to retire in 2022 and would like to celebrate by going on a cruise to Antarctica. Specifically, we want a cruise that offers excursions from ship to land on Antarctica or nearby islands. Not a sail-by cruise.

I have looked at websites from Oceania, Seabourne, National Geographic/ Lindblad, Viking, Regent and Silversea. It is clear Viking and Lindblad offer Zodiac trips/ hikes on land, but others do not seem to specify. Would someone help us with their experience and knowledge? We are English-speakers and would like to stick to a line where that is the primary language.

Apologies if this has been answered before, I am just getting familiar with the Boards here.

Edited by FourthQ
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  • FourthQ changed the title to Cruises with excursions that land on Antarctica

NatGeo/Lindblad and Silversea do offer zodiac landings.  We've been twice ... once on Quark and once on Oceanwide ... both of these companies offer landings, sometimes multiple times a day ... the experience is more in line with a true expedition and both are well experienced in Polar Regions.  Another company that offers zodiac landings is Hurtigruten.  I have not traveled on this line, but the reviews from those who have are always positive.  As for English speaking, Quark and Oceanwide definitely; I believe Hurtigruten offers announcements, lectures, etc. in multiple languages.

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If you do a search for "Antarctic expedition cruises" you will turn up a number of resellers who sell cruises from multiple smaller operators. These resellers can make recommendations based on your particular desires. Some of these smaller operators that I am aware of include: Gadventures, Hurtigruten, and Polar Latitudes. Even limiting your search to operators that include landings there is a range of price and amenities.

 

I have used Gadventures to the Arctic and I am scheduled on Polar Latitudes this year.

 

 

 

Edited by pavementends
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I have been on Quark and One Ocean for expeditions and my parents have used Lindblad/natgeo several times.  They all offer typically an AM and PM landing.  Keeping in mind that Antartica weather is crazy unpredictable and you end up missing a large number of your stops.

 

As they like to remind you, “This is an expedition, not a cruise.” And the name of the game in Antartica is FLEXIBILITY.  I honestly couldnt even tell you how many landings/ whole days of landings I’ve missed.  It definitely hurts when you miss one as the cost of the expedition’s is so high, but that’s just the way the weather it that far south sadly.

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Thank you pavementends. Gadventures has a nice website, and as you say I can filter results to narrow choices.

Thank you rimmit. Appreciate the wise reminder that our plans are just that, and weather and heavens dictate what happens. In another thread on these boards, someone had recommended a website "traveltothepoles", and that site echoes your advice on the size of ship.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/13/2021 at 11:10 PM, rimmit said:

I have been on Quark and One Ocean for expeditions and my parents have used Lindblad/natgeo several times.  They all offer typically an AM and PM landing.  Keeping in mind that Antartica weather is crazy unpredictable and you end up missing a large number of your stops.

 

As they like to remind you, “This is an expedition, not a cruise.” And the name of the game in Antartica is FLEXIBILITY.  I honestly couldnt even tell you how many landings/ whole days of landings I’ve missed.  It definitely hurts when you miss one as the cost of the expedition’s is so high, but that’s just the way the weather it that far south sadly.

Unfortunately, One Ocean is no longer in business.... They were who I took to Antarctica as they checked all my boxes- time, size of boat, cost, activities...

 

I've been looking at Oceanwide for my Arctic trip, but Intrepid also contracts out a boat in addition to Gadventures.  Cost can swing wildly and SilverSea is one of the most expensive (but also luxurious).  

 

For Antarctica, no ship with over 500 people can land, and no more than 100 people can be on the ice at any time (per IAATO... you can break it but most reputable ships will be members).  Obviously, the more ice time you want, the fewer the people that can be passengers.  I also think that they can only make one landing per day now (when I went in 2019 it was 2).  You may also want one where you are given (or loaned) a jacket and boots so you don't have to buy or bring it.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/10/2021 at 8:45 AM, FourthQ said:

My first post here, please be patient with me. I have only one cruise so far, and that too nearly 10 years ago.

We hope to retire in 2022 and would like to celebrate by going on a cruise to Antarctica. Specifically, we want a cruise that offers excursions from ship to land on Antarctica or nearby islands. Not a sail-by cruise.

I have looked at websites from Oceania, Seabourne, National Geographic/ Lindblad, Viking, Regent and Silversea. It is clear Viking and Lindblad offer Zodiac trips/ hikes on land, but others do not seem to specify. Would someone help us with their experience and knowledge? We are English-speakers and would like to stick to a line where that is the primary language.

Apologies if this has been answered before, I am just getting familiar with the Boards here.

Just happened upon your post. Did you make any decisions on companies? I'm just now starting my research. 

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On 3/8/2022 at 7:59 PM, Tigger Mom said:

Just happened upon your post. Did you make any decisions on companies? I'm just now starting my research. 

 

I am not the OP,  but just did a ton of research on many different companies and we just booked.

In the end, it came down to two companies Viking 2 ships ,and Silversea 3 ships. They both had many pros and cons.  The end deciding factor was the ships themselves. The Silversea ships are older, the Viking brand new. (Nat. Geo, Aurora also same design). We chose Viking for the top-notch design, and compliance with the newest designs in safety  and polar ice ratings. Recent reviews have been extraordinary and there is a wonderful  group for Viking Expedition Antarctica cruises on the popular social  networking website. Yes, their ships are larger than the 100 passengers recommended, and that was of concern. They manage the passenger landing limits by offering different excursions at the same time - kayaking, whale watching in the Special Ops boats, submarine tours, zodiac tours, and actual landings. The flights were another deciding factor - Viking charters passengers from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. We looked at doing the flights ourselves for other lines, and it involved an airport change in BA. The cruises that originate from BA, rather than Ushuaia take longer to reach the Antarctic.

We are very excited! 

 

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