Antarctica Air Cruise

Antarctic Adventure By Air and Sea
Aboard the Ocean Nova, Hebridean Sky, or Magellan Explorer

Trip Level

The trip is rated Level 1+, Easy. You will be travelling to a very remote destination. You must be able to complete on board safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures without the assistance of others. Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet, especially when walking on slippery decks or up and down steep gangways. Shore excursions often require hiking over uneven terrain without the benefit of a developed trail. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts. While several Zodiac landings are dry, many will require that you step in the water to get ashore. Zodiac and shore excursions are weather permitting.

Terrain

Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet, especially when walking on slippery decks or up and down steep gangways. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts. While a couple of Zodiac landings are dry, most will require that you step into calf-high water on rocky or sandy beaches to get ashore. your walks onshore will be over sandy or coarse gravel beaches or snow and often require hiking over uneven terrain without the benefit of a developed trail.

Weather

The Antarctic summer begins in November and ends in March—no tourist ships visit in the winter. December through February are the best times to visit as they bring long daylight hours and milder temperatures. You’ll experience a variety of weather conditions including rain, snow, sleet, and sunny skies no matter when you visit. Temperatures can change quickly and range from the high 30s to below freezing, sometimes with a significant wind chill. We recommend packing warm layers, hats, gloves, waterproof boots, and a good pair of sunglasses.

Cuisine

All meals will be taken on board. All ships we offer have the capacity to seat everyone at a single, open seating in the main dining room. In some cases outdoor buffet breakfast and lunch options are also available.  Please let us know of any special dietary needs; the ship will accommodate as best as possible.

EQUIPMENT

Having the right clothing and gear is vital to the enjoyment of your trip to Antarctica, layered breathable clothing is best with a fully waterproof jacket and waterproof over-pants (required).  Note that ponchos are NOT recommended as wind makes them less useful. A polar jacket is included on most voyages; waterproof boots are available to borrow on all cruises.

Visit wildernesstravel.newheadings.com to begin shopping. Be sure to check out our Get Ready Packages, which features 3 Polar Packages that provide excellent value for the gear necessary to keep you warm and dry. Polar gear is available to rent or buy and it may be possible that rental gear can be delivered to your hotel in South America prior to your cruise.

Wilderness Travel donates all profits from your purchases to the cultural and conservation groups we support worldwide. See the projects we support on our Making a Difference webpage.

MEDICAL ATTENTION AND EVACUATION IN REMOTE DESTINATIONS

Antarctica is an extremely remote and isolated region of the world. In the case of serious illness or injury, medical attention and swift evacuation are not always available. Once you sail from Ushuaia, you are far away from towns and medical facilities. In the case of serious illness or injury, the cruise ship will make every effort to reach medical facilities as soon as possible, but be aware that it may take several days to get you to a hospital. If you have health or medical issues of concern, please discuss them with your physician before considering this trip.

Due to the remoteness, emergency evacuation insurance is required for all voyages to Antarctica.

Best time to go

October, November, Early December (late spring-early summer)

The pack ice begins to break up, creating new landscapes of sculpted ice and pristine icebergs with plenty of fresh snow. It’s mating season for the penguins and other birds with whole colonies in spectacular displays of courtship rituals. You’re also likely to witness nest building and egg tending. Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and other seabirds return to their breeding sites.

Mid December—January (full summer)

This are usually Antarctica’s warmest months—the height of the Austral Summer when the sun is up 18 to 20 hours a day. Longer days create great light conditions for fabulous photo opportunities. Wildlife in full swing as temperatures warm and activity levels rise. Penguin chicks are hatching, and you’ll likely see them chasing after any adult penguin that is carrying food. Whale sightings of baleen and toothed whales along the Antarctic Peninsula increase and seal pups can be sighted on the beaches. Some 30 days after hatching, penguin chicks can be found in “crèches,” resembling a nursery of sorts, which leaves both of their tired and hungry parents free to rest and hunt for food.

February—March (late summer)

Whale sightings are at their peak. Fur seals are increasingly common along the Peninsula and offshore islands. Penguin chicks begin to fledge, losing their fuzzy down and developing their adult plumage. In some breeding colonies parents are starting to abandon any remaining chicks, to go out to sea to feed and fatten up for their own molting stage.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.