Antarctica Useful Information

When to go

Antarctic expeditions run from early November to late March, each month offering its own unique experience:

November – pristine scenes of early season, pack ice is breaking up and birds are courting and mating.

December and January – long daylight hours (up to 20 hours), seas tend to be calmer and wildlife viewing is at its best both from onboard and on shore. You will see hatching penguins, baby chicks and seal pups being born.

February and March – in late summer the pack ice has broken up. There are spectacular sunsets, whale sightings are more frequent and chicks have becoming fledglings.

Antarctic Expedition ships

Our providers use smaller expedition vessels, ranging from 2 to 5 stars to suit different budgets.  The accommodation is comfortable and will vary from bunk beds with shared facilities to spacious suites, contact us to discuss your requirements.

All ships have onboard experts providing lectures and presentations about the ecology, geology and history of the Antarctica.

Ships sailing in the Polar Regions must adhere to International Standards and are assigned an ice class based on their ice strengthened hulls, all ships we use carry an ice class rating of 1D or higher using the Finnish-Swedish ice class regulation system.

Zodiacs allow you to access and explore the remote shores and up-close wildlife encounters.

All itineraries are a guide, the final route will be confirmed by the ship’s Captain but may change according to weather conditions.

Zodiacs

Zodiacs are small inflatable rubber motorised crafts which are highly manoeuvrable allowing you to get close up views.  You will make wet landings which involves sliding off the Zodiac into shallow water and walking ashore.  Zodiacs carry between 9 and 14 passengers, a driver and a guide.

Getting to your ship

Most cruises sail from Ushuaia in Argentina.  Passengers typically pass through Buenos Aires; it is about a 3 hour flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and approximately 36 hours of sailing from Ushuaia to the Antarctica Peninsular.

Note: some cruises depart from Chile, please  contact us for details.

Cruise duration varies from 7 to 20 nights.  Longer cruises add in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island.


Suitability

General fitness and agility is needed to take shore trips on the Zodiacs.

Sea Sickness – for sufferers please note it takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage. This is a stretch of rough seas separating South America and Antarctica.  There is a fly/cruise option; a flight across the Drake Passage to King George Island where you will embark.

Insurance & Health

We recommend you choose your insurance company carefully especially if you are insured by your credit card, given the inaccessibility of the Antarctica Peninsula.  Please note it is mandatory to return a medical questionnaire prior to your Antarctica expedition to fulfil safety rules in the polar zone.

What to pack

During the summer months in the Antarctica Peninsular daytime temperatures are normally just above freezing.

Wear layers

Wool, silk and polypropylene fabrics keep you warmer than cotton

Plenty of woolly socks to keep your feet warm

Good quality waterproof and windproof trousers and jackets –providers usually supply a parker and waterproof boots for your voyage

Fleece/silk glove liners and waterproof mitts

Fleecy scarf and hat covering the ears

UV protective sunglasses

On board dress is usually informal

Camera, memory cards, spares camera batteries and recharger – batteries run down quickly in cold weather.

Large zip-seal bags to keep camera gear dry whilst riding in the Zodiac/wet landings

Binoculars

Recommend you use sturdy soft sided luggage for easy stowing in your cabin

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To book or make further enquiries about your Antarctica expedition or for our free detailed fact sheets please call our travel consultants on 023 807 330 73 or contact us

 

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