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Suggestions/Advise for Antartica
  
 
Sagar
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


Its been my dream to visit Antartica. I am now planning/wishing to visit in 2018.
Looking for some advice/suggestions on trip and tour operators



Mar 29, 2017 at 02:18 PM
Bobg657
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


We went by cruise with Ponant, visiting the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. I found both islands to have far more wildlife than Antarctica, but YMMV. Landings were by Zodiac, and they had naturalists aboard explaining things well.

Doing it this way was very comfortable, even luxurious, the downside is you spend only a few hours in each location, I'm not sure if taking a photography specific trip would stay longer though.



Mar 30, 2017 at 02:42 AM
nugeny
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


Just S Georgia and some Falklands will give you all the images of Antarctica. Shorter and cost less.


Apr 26, 2017 at 08:25 PM
PatrickSweeney
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


Decide on what you want to see. The Falklands are often a leg of one or another cruise. You see the port, and usually get to one of the outer beaches to see the wildlife there. S. Georgia is a couple days haul across the south Atlantic. People complain about the Drake passage, but the steaming to and back from S. Georgia can be rougher.

If you want the classic Antarctica experience, you have to go to the peninsula. Look at the cruising speed of the ship. A fast ship (Ponant has fast ships) will get you across the Drake on a smooth crossing, in a day and a half. You get an extra half-day of seeing and photography. If you take a slower ship, it takes two days, and you're now a half-day behind. At $500+ per day, that matters.

The regs down there are no more than 100 people on-shore at a time. the crews are practiced at getting you there, dropping you off, and picking you up, in order, so there are no more than 100 people on shore, and everyone gets the most time possible.

Yes, you'll only spend a couple of hours on shore, but you'll do that twice a day (if things work out, the weather determines a lot down there) and you will be tired every day.

Take two cameras, one with a wide zoom and one with a telezoom. (You do not want to be changing lenses any more than you have to.) Take spare batteries, extra cards, a dry bag (trust me, one ooops and you are done taking pictures) and if you can swing the cost or weight, take a spare lens and a spare body. Yes, that's a lot of gear, but if anythign goes wrong, there is no fixing things until your cruise is done.



Sep 26, 2017 at 05:35 AM
 

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MalbikEndar
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


There tends to be significant variation between cruises in the length of time on land. Smaller ships will be better and cruises more oriented to excursions and less to luxurious living will be better.

I haven't done Antarctic but I did do an Arctic cruise with Gadventures. The same ship goes down south to the Antarctic for the northern winter. It's a small ship and they were good about getting us on land. The Norwegian company that runs the Hurtigruten also has a smaller ship that goes south. I think you might be dissatisfied with the major cruise lines with big ships.



Sep 27, 2017 at 03:26 PM
PatrickSweeney
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


It's not quite that simple. A small ship, with only 100 or less on it, might not offer more time on land, if it is slow and thus takes more time to get from one site to another. A faster one can drop everyone one off in turn, pick them up, then get to the next spot quickly, and offer as much, or even more, time.

Also, the number of zodiacs can be a bottleneck. A smaller ship, if it lacks enough zodiacs, can't shuttle people there and back quickly.

There won't be any "big" boats down there. The 100 on shore limit means no-one goes there with more than 200 passengers. If you see an "Antarctic cruise" on a ship that holds 1,000 people, ain't nobody going on shore on that cruise. Or if they are you get ashore once.

Our first cruise was with Ponant. Fast ships, 200 passengers max, two excursions a day, and no-one felt the lack of shore time. That the food was great was not a downside, either.

The second was on a smaller, slower ship. Only 120 passengers, but we took two full days to cross the Drake, we didn't cover as much territory (slower cruising) and didn't get any greater time ashore, for being on a smaller ship. And, the smaller ship, with a smaller crew, had less-good food. Oh, it wasn't bad, but for $500+ a day, cafeteria-level cuisine gets old after two weeks.



Sep 30, 2017 at 02:50 AM
patdbarry
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


I went to the peninsula with Hurtigruten on the MS Fram. Like most people have already mentioned weather will definitely dictate what you can do. If you get sea sick I would suggest a larger carrier. The drake can get pretty nasty. Even with pretty smooth sailing I noticed very few people in the dining room the first day for both lunch and dinner. The weather was bad enough the first day we skipped a landing to look for a more sheltered area to launch the zodiacs. They divide you into landing groups and alternate the order of landing. If you decide to do a shore excursion you get to do both the excursion and the normal landing. Food on Hurtigruten was great and the naturalists were very knowledgeable. If want more/specific information you can PM me.


Oct 27, 2017 at 03:04 AM
PatrickSweeney
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Suggestions/Advise for Antartica


An update: I just finished a South Georgia cruise. Getting there is at least three sea days, and the ship (any ship) was wise to break that up with a stop in the Falklands. Even the experienced were pretty green after two days of the south Atlantic. So, we took 16 days of trip, to have 6 days in South Georgia.

We had fabulous weather, and did everything we planned to. Which, we found out, was so rare an event that no-one in the expedition staff had ever had that experience ever before. Apparently, the weather in S.G. is usually so iffy that a cruise that gets 50% of their expected landings is considered a success.

So, having done, it, I'm never going back. I won't get the same weather, and having had the good weather, going there and getting a third to a half of the time expected, on-shore or zodiac cruising, just wouldn't be worth it.

But, going back to Antarctica, for the peninsula? Sure, happy to go. Better weather (or at least, the chances of it), a shorter sea time, plenty of wildlife, and icebergs as well, which you can't get in South Georgia.

And absolutely off the list would be the "all three" cruise. Considering the sea days required to do the Falklands, South Georgia, and the peninsula, for 2-3 days each, well, there's just no point.

But glad to have had this glorious South Georgia experience. Once I get done sorting through the 5,500 pictures and video clips, I'll post some.



Nov 14, 2017 at 03:10 AM







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