You Can Never Photograph Too Many Penguins But They Do Stink
Many who travel to Antarctica for the first time often think that after they’ve seen a few penguins, it will be enough. However, they seem to get cuter and cuter as the days go by.
One surprising factor is how awful a penguin colony can smell. If you’ve ever been in a chicken house, it’s a similar odor. After a while, you’ll be overwhelmed by their appearance and antics and forget how bad they smell. One good thing–the odor will prevent you from trying to smuggle one back home as a pet.
What Are The Key Places To See When Visiting Antarctica
The key places to visit in Antarctica include the Antarctic Peninsula and its most notable islands and bodies of water, including the Antarctic Sound, Danco Coast and South Shetland Islands. At the northernmost tip of the continent, the Antarctic Sound is known for its proliferation of giant icebergs and Adélie penguin colonies, while along the Danko Coast, you find some of Antarcticas most scenic channels and bays. Famed for polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his expedition aboard Endurance, the historic South Shetland Islands are also home to Antarctic research stations, volcanic geology and abundant wildlife, such as gentoo and chinstrap penguins.
Antarctica News Reporting Stations
Even though there are no reporting stations in Antarctica, the continent does produce an abundance of internationally relevant news. Its research stations make important scientific discoveries on a regular basis, especially concerning both historical and recent climate changes.
Some of these findings, such as the rate of ice recession and glacial calving, offer insights about the degree to which rising temperatures are human caused versus cyclical. Research into Antarcticas ice cores and atmosphere also continue to operate on the cutting edge of climate science.
There is every reason to suspect that the scientific work taking place in Antarctica will continue to prove immeasurably valuable to our rapidly warming planet.
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Antarctica South Georgia & Falklands In Style
Voyage south in Shackletons footsteps, exploring the highlights of the Southern Ocean as part of this classic 20-day adventure. A well-balanced itinerary and the choice between 3 well-appointed expedition ships really marks this trip out. Plus, you
- 20 Days
The iconic emperor penguin is the goal of this expedition for wildlife enthusiasts, as your ice-strengthened ship sails into Antarcticas challenging and little-visited Weddell Sea. Delve deep into historically significant and ice-laden waters, heading for the remote emperor rookery
- 11 Days
Travelling on board this extremely comfortable ship, explore the highlights of the peninsula with a top class expedition team. Spacious cabins, delicious cuisine and optional adventure activities all help create this ideal marriage of comfort and
- 11-14 Days
Are Antarctic Cruises Expensive
A trip to Antarctica is a big ticket item in anyones book, so its important to have a firm understanding of the likely costs before you start getting too carried away.
- Whats the average percentage cost difference between travelling during High to Shoulder season?
- How much more expensive is it to fly to Antarctica, rather than to travel by ship?
Swoop can help to guide you.
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Why Travel With Chimu Adventures
We are true Polar specialists. Almost every Chimu team member has travelled to either Antarctica or the Arctic and collectively we have experienced over 50 expeditions.
You can choose from over 130 cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic,including itineraries aboard our own charter vessels.
We have inspected and continue to thoroughly research each individual vessel we work with, selecting only those with environmental, safety and value credentials.
We know all things Polar by heart and will work with you to determine which ship and itinerary is best suited to your needs.
Travellers visit the Polar regions for different reasons so whether your interests are wildlife or photography, or Antarctic activities such as snowshoeing and kayaking, we can work around you for the perfect trip.
From your initial enquiry until your trip ends, you will be assigned a personal Destination Specialist who will offer a full service for your travel needs: we can book flights, insurance and any ancillary travel required to complete your journey.
What Our Customers Think Of Antarctica Cruises
Antarctica Cruises trips scored 4.3/5 from 196 reviews
I will keep Swoop in mind for my future adventure trips and also recommend Swoop to my friends definitely. It’s a wonderful experience with Swoop. Thank you again for recommending and helping us to get the last cabin at that tight time before the trip’s departure, so we experienced this unforgettable Antarctica trip.
Travelled: January 2020
Jinyu Xu -United States of America
Working with Swoop was a delight. They were so helpful and provided such good advice and useful detailed information. Read the full review
Travelled: February 2019
Ralph Pollack -United States Of America
If you have never been there, there is no way of preparing for the impact of being there. The untouched, natural beauty, the mighty icebergs, the silliness of the penguins. You will be spending hours just sitting in one spot adoring the view.
Travelled: January 2018
Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth -Florida
We’ve traveled to 87 different countries, and this was without a doubt our favorite destination. Of all the cruises we’ve been on, we spent more time out on our balcony on this trip than all the rest combined. The scenery changes so much, you don’t want to miss anything. We saw countless whales from our balcony. And icebergs of every shape imaginable.
Travelled: December 2017
Chris & Amy -Florida
Larry and Julie -California
Kent Kimball -USA
Mike Walcher -USA
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The Countries Of Antarctica
Where there are no cities, what need of countries? As mentioned, Antarctica is home to numerous stations managed by dozens of nations around the globe. These entities claim the specific territories in which they operate, but no one country claims all of Antarctica. This, however, was not always the case.
Several Antarctic regions and islands have been gathered under the banners of Spanish, British, Norwegian, American, German, Soviet, French, Chilean, Argentine governments over the years. Attempts were made to reach an accord between these governments, but it was not until 1959 that the Antarctic Treaty was drafted in an attempt to avoid international conflict.
When it went into effect in 1961, it established Antarctica as a scientific preserve closed to all military activity. Not an altogether terrible example for the rest of the world to follow.
How To Keep Busy Aboard
Ship life aboard the Sea Spirit, will keep you busy. Enjoy gourmet meals in the restaurant or open-air bistro on deck, or join your fellow travelers for a chat at the bar. Our Salon Club offers coffee and tea 24/7 and snacks in-between meals.
Visit the captains bridge to be the first one to spot wildlife. Pick up binoculars, chat with the crew, or just simply enjoy the best views from this part of the ship.
We bring top scientists aboard and encourage our passengers to participate in their research. Check with us on what projects will be available on your cruise.
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Antarctica Cruise Operator Vaccination & Testing Requirements
Virtually all the best Antarctica cruise lines have announced vaccination requirements for guests and crew. With the constantly changing nature of the ongoing pandemic, there are likely to be additional changes to vaccination and testing requirements.
The Antarctica experts at AdventureSmith Explorations strive to keep our clients well informed of the testing and vaccination requirements associated with their particular adventure. For general information, consult our guide to How to Get a COVID Test for Travel. What follows are individual operator policies at the time of writing :
Quark Expeditions requires all guests and crew to show proof of vaccination. In addition, they require a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of boarding. Finally, they have implemented onboard rapid PCR testing with results available within 60 minutes, to ensure all guests test negative for COVID-19 before boarding ships.
Ponant requires all passengers and crew members over 16 years old to be vaccinated before the cruise. Guests and crew will also need to show proof of a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours of boarding the ship. This applies to all expeditions in Antarctica.
How To Get To Antarctica By Plane
For travelers short on time, or those prone to seasickness, flying over the Drake Passage is the best way to get to Antarctica. This cuts out 1.5-2 days of cruising through potentially rough seas. Options are limited, and some departures cruise one way and fly the other.
Punta Arenas, Chile, is the most popular departure point for Antarctic air cruises. These trips utilize flights to cross the Drake passage, landing on King George Island near the Antarctic Peninsula. Travelers then embark the ship in Antarctica.
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What Will Happen To Expedition Cruises To Antarctica In Winter 2020
Even before COVID-19, sailing to Antarctica is not a journey to be undertaken lightly.
Many expedition operators require participants to complete medical forms attesting to the mental and physical fitness of participants and obtain insurance with extensive air evacuation coverage. That’ s because once a ship makes a multi-day trek across the Drake, medical assistance for advanced issues can simply be out of reach.
And that has jeopardized — or outright killed — the 2020-2021 Antarctica season for most operators.
Popular Ports In Antarctica
Classic Antarctica sailings visit Deception Island, Port Lockroy, Elephant Island and Half Moon Island . The Lemaire Channel is also a popular attraction though not a port, Zodiacs are often lowered here for scenic cruising.
Longer Antarctic itineraries might also include stops in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
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Silversea Is The Best Cruise To Antarctica
With ten different luxury ships to choose from, Silversea Expeditions is the top name when it comes to Antarctic cruises. While these cruise trips can be a little pricey compared to European or Caribbean cruises, they take guests on a journey to one of the most isolated and gorgeous landscapes on the entire planet.
Silversea has many ships that are designed to cater to the whims of their passengers, but the real draw of a cruise to Antarctica is getting to see a part of the world that most people only ever see on television or in photographs.
Below youll find a breakdown of some of the amenities you can expect when you see the Antarctic with Silversea.
Yes You Can Go Swimming In Antarctica
Be sure to take along a swimsuit to Antarctica. Hardcore, thick-blooded northerners might not consider it “swimming”, but Antarctic cruise travelers often have the opportunity to take a short dip in the icy waters of Antarctica.
Hurtigruten and some other cruise lines offer “swimming” at almost every stop. Ships who allow guests to swim at only one port offer it at since the water is warmer due to volcanic activity.
On Hurtigruten cruises, all guests who go swimming get a certificate and their photo taken. Due to peer pressure, sometimes more than 50 guests will take the plunge.
If you think swimming in icy waters is crazy, then you can wear that swimsuit into the hot tub, sauna, or spa.
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The 5 Highlights Of A Cruise To The Antarctic Peninsula
Approaching the deep South and the Antarctic Circle, sailing on the Southern Ocean to discover an iconic array of wildlife and enormous icebergs… Going on a cruise in Antarctica means embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. An adventure full of magical moments. Here are five highlights that add to the charm of a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula.
A Passion For Antarctic History
On some islands, the volcanic beaches of black sand are dotted with old and run down huts. They once welcomed men lured by the fruits of the whaling industry. In South Georgia, the remains of whaling stations serve as a reminder of a past in which hunting decimated populations of large cetaceans, leading to their near extinction. They cry out to us to ensure their preservation even today.
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Can You Travel To Antarctica
Yes, Antarctica is open for travel. The Antarctica travel ban has been lifted and Antarctica cruises are operating. If you are wondering if you can travel to Antarctica right now, the answer is yes. Or begin planning now for next season.
Some operators have consolidated departures aboard fewer ships. Others have altered embarkation ports or cruise dates. So, there are many changes for booked or interested passengers. But the good news is that the Antarctica travel ban is over and cruises are operating in Antarctica.
All cruises from November 2020-March 2021, were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So Antarctica had not see cruise passengers since March 2020 until ships started sailing again in November 2021.
A Brighter Outlook: 2021
For those who still want to visit The Last Continent, there is good news: the future looks brighter for sailings departing in Fall 2021 and beyond. Some lines, like Quark Expeditions, have already announced their 2022 Antarctica sailing program, allowing cruisers to book adventures departing further down the road.
The 2021-2022 season will also see several new entrants into the Antarctic cruise arena.
Polar newcomer Atlas Ocean Voyages will sail its first Antarctic season beginning in November 2021, including a rare Antarctica Solar Eclipse voyage on November 28, 2021.
In late 2022, Viking Expeditions will debut its first-ever Antarctic voyages, sailing aboard a fleet of purpose-built expedition ships that combine the comforts of Viking’s larger oceangoing fleet and its iconic European riverboats.
There are also some surprising entrants into Antarctica: in January and February 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line will send its Norwegian Star on 14-day cruises to Antarctica sailing from Buenos Aires. Because of its size, Norwegian Star will be limited to cruising-only, with no shore landings. But its deployment is another sign of Antarctica’s enduring popularity.
Additionally, the chances of having better air support next season are far better than right now, when international air travel and other restrictions make it difficult, if not impossible, to travel to remote embarkation ports like Ushuaia.
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The Pros & Cons Of Antarctica Without The Drake Passage
The pros of cruising Antarctica without the Drake Passage are fairly clear: you save time and you help beat the odds of seasickness. And the novelty and excitement of flying into Antarctica and seeing it from above is a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
One con can be that crossing the Drake Passage is somewhat of an explorers rite of passage. The uncertainty of whether you will get the infamous tumultuous seas or the calm Drake lake is part of the adventure, and the extra days at sea allow you to bond with fellow guests and learn from the crew in preparation for whats to come, or reflect on what has passed. Antarctica cruises that include a Drake Passage crossing often allow for more lectures, games and camaraderie with fellow guests. These informative lectures really set the tone for the trip and enrich your time ashore. Time spent on deck viewing birds and whales and the excitement of spotting the first iceberg are highlights of the Drake crossing. When you fly the Drake Passage, you arrive so quickly in Antarctica that theres less time for this excitement of anticipation and learning. This is certainly something to consider when embarking on your Antarctica cruise search.
But no one ever promised getting to Antarctica was easy, so choose your expedition based on your needs. And know that the challenge of getting there is what makes it so special!
A Primer On Flights To Antarctica
Look into Antarcticas storied history, and youll read accounts of weeks, months and years at sea to get there. When determining how to get to Antarctica today, modern travelers now have a choice. You can sail through the infamously rough Drake Passage over the course of 2 days, or you can fly over it in a few hours.
Currently, all Antarctica flights for air cruises depart from Punta Arenas, Chile, via charter flight. They land at Chiles Frei Station research base on King George Island in the South Shetland archipelago, where passengers then board an Antarctic ship to begin the cruise portion of the trip.
Antarctica charter flights are booked and arranged in conjunction with your cruise, so there is no shopping around for Antarctica flights. You simply board the flight arranged by your Antarctica cruise operator.
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Antarctica Cruise Covid Protocols: What To Expect
Travelers booked on or considering an upcoming cruise can expect things to be quieter than usual with fewer boats. As weve seen with the return of Galapagos cruises and Alaska cruises, wildlife sightings are exceptional after the temporary closures caused by the pandemic.
Cruise operators are updating their procedures and protocols to protect travelers and locals. While these protocols continue to evolve, there are several things you can expect on an Antarctica cruise during COVID:
- Vaccination requirements for Antarctica cruises
- Pre-boarding mandatory health questionnaires
- Additional COVID-19 tests immediately prior to boarding
- Chile and Argentina will continue to require proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test to enter
- Adherence to local mask mandates and social distancing in Chile and Argentina
- Strict COVID-19 management protocols . See IAATO COVID-19 recommendations.
- Possible reduced or eliminated visits to Antarctica research stations
- Testing requirements for return to the United States. View United States entry requirements.