While scouring the net, I was drawn to the Independent’s travel section again for inspiration late last week. I chanced upon Rebecca Stephens’ article on her trip to Antarctica. An accomplished climber (summited Everest in 1993) who started out in journalism, Rebecca also trekked across the Antarctic in 2001.
Click here to read Rebecca’s article.
It has always been one of the bucket list (probably at the bottom of the heap) for us to be able to visit the 7th and last continent on earth.
One significant “barrier” is cost, as it is an arduous long journey to even get to the starting point in the first place – ie the embarkation point of a voyage (and we are not just limiting this is luxury cruises) to Antarctica. The last time we had flown to South America (Peru that is), it took us more than 35 hours due to all the stops and transfers…
The most frequent and probably practical is to depart from the South America – from a distance as well as geographic accessibility perspectives.
Unlike Australia and New Zealand or South Africa which sees the expanse of the great southern ocean “standing” between them and the Antarctic, South America comes closest and even boasts of a string of islands in between.
So what are one’s choices?
- Luxury expedition – the kind you’d come to expect with amenities that feels as you checked into a 5-Star hotel floating in the ocean. As you’d expect, this class of travel comes with the usual dining and perhaps even shows. However it combines elements of science with lectures, expedition options etc. Cruise lines such as Silversea operate such. I looked up a site that cited Nat Geo as operating such routes as well! Expect to pay more than US$10,000pp.
- Expeditionary – usually “smaller”, these cruises offer even more intimate experience of nature, except that you still have most of the creature comforts. Sure there would probable be a theatre onboard, just don’t expect a gala dinner and show. Have not seen any prices <US$7000pp.
- Specialty trips – focus not so much on the continent as covering a multitude of places to enjoy historic sites of the explorers, as well as visiting lots of wildlife locations and getting up close. Normally longer than the other cruises, there is a larger selection of cruise itineraries that not only cover the seas around Antarctica but also further northwards. As can be expected, prices will vary.
Some routes that the cruises take,
Some day this may be the crowning trip of our lives.