February 27, 2024

Cruising the largest desert on Earth: Antarctica

Picture of Isabelle Guillaume
Isabelle Guillaume

It's like another planet: tales from an Antarctica expedition cruise

The journey to Antarctica is an adventure in itself. Whether by cruise or expedition ship, reaching the southernmost continent involves crossing the infamous Drake Passage, providing a sense of accomplishment and adding an element of excitement to the overall experience. Activities such as kayaking, ice climbing, and camping on the Antarctic Peninsula offer a chance for adventure seekers to push their boundaries.

Calling it a trip of a lifetime or the ultimate check off your bucket list doesn’t begin to do it justice. Antarctica is a place of extremes. It’s not only the coldest and most southernmost continent. It’s also the windiest and driest, all on a chunk of land that is nearly 98 percent ice. Yet it is teeming with life on land, in the air, and in the water.

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Why use a travel advisor?

Make the far away feel close to home & use you a travel advisor to make travel planning a breeze! MVT travel advisors know setting sail on an Antarctica cruise is not just any vacation; it's an odyssey into the heart of nature's grandeur. Departing from ports in South America, such as Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile, these expeditions traverse the tumultuous waters of the Drake Passage, known for its legendary rough seas. While the crossing can be challenging, it's a rite of passage for adventurers. 

Just imagine yourself on deck, bundled up in layers, eagerly scaning the horizon for signs of wildlife – majestic whales breaching the surface to colonies of adorable penguins waddling along the shore. \

The best travel tip? Book now. 

Silversea Cruises in Antarctica

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey with Silversea Cruises' exclusive Antarctica itinerary, departing from Punta Arenas, Chile. This unique expedition bypasses the notoriously challenging Drake Passage, offering guests a swift and comfortable private charter flight directly to King George Island, where their Antarctic adventure begins.

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As the journey comes to a close, guests return to King George Island, where they board private flights back to Chile. With memories of incredible landscapes and unforgettable encounters with wildlife, this Antarctic expedition leaves a lasting impression on all who embark upon it, promising an adventure of a lifetime.

A new meaning to shore excursion; exploring Antarctic wonders & wildlife

The highlight of any Antarctica cruise is undoubtedly the shore excursions. Led by experienced guides, passengers disembark onto the icy terrain, venturing into a world unlike any other. Hiking across glaciers, kayaking amidst floating ice floes, and even camping overnight on the continent are just a few of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences awaiting intrepid explorers. 

Antarctica is home to an incredible array of wildlife, perfectly adapted to its harsh environment. Seals bask on ice floes, oblivious to the human visitors in their midst. Whales breach the surface, their haunting songs echoing across the icy expanse. And of course, there are the penguins – thousands upon thousands of these charming birds, going about their daily lives with an endearing mix of clumsiness and grace. 

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From the Arctic to Antarctica: Viking's 87-day voyage across 12 countries

From Greenland's icy wilderness to the majestic glaciers of the Chilean Fjords and the wildlife-rich landscapes of Antarctica, travelers embark on an unforgettable journey. Highlights on this Viking cruise include exploring remote Arctic landscapes, delving into maritime history along Canada's coast, and sailing through the Panama Canal. Culminating in Antarctica, passengers witness penguins, seals, and whales in their natural habitat before concluding the voyage in Ushuaia, Argentina. With inclusive benefits like free business class airfare and shore excursion credits, it's an adventure of a lifetime.

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Enjoy an extraordinary 9-night Ushuaia roundtrip voyage with Atlas Ocean Voyages, departing from the southernmost tip of Argentina. Beginning in Ushuaia, known as the "End of the World," travelers are greeted by vibrant landscapes and rich indigenous culture. Navigating through the legendary Drake Passage, Atlas Ocean Voyages guests enjoy unparalleled amenities and cultural immersion activities aboard the World Traveller ship, before venturing into the pristine wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctica. With Captain’s Choice excursions, passengers witness breathtaking glaciers and encounter diverse wildlife, making each day an adventure of discovery. Returning to Ushuaia, guests reflect on their remarkable journey, enriched by complimentary cultural experiences, dining options, and shore excursions, ensuring an unforgettable exploration of the world's last frontier.

AntarcticaLakesHurtigruten & the desert of ice

Hurtigruten offers a mesmerizing 22-day expedition cruise with Hurtigruten, journeying from Valparaíso to Antarctica, where you'll traverse the awe-inspiring Chilean fjords and delve into the frozen wonderland of the Seventh Continent. This extraordinary itinerary is a fusion of cultural discovery, natural exploration, and once-in-a-lifetime encounters.

Setting sail from the UNESCO gem of Valparaíso, you'll be immersed in its vibrant streets and historic charm before venturing southward. Along the way, you'll discover Castro's Chilotan charm, with its colorful markets and ornate churches, and experience the remote allure of Puerto Edén, where traditional life meets untouched wilderness.

As you navigate through the waters of Patagonia, each bend reveals new wonders: from the bohemian atmosphere of Puerto Natales to the dramatic landscapes of the Chilean fjords. Your journey reaches its climax as you round the legendary Cape Horn, a testament to the spirit of exploration.

Aurora Expeditions; Becoming a Certified B Corporation

To become a certified B Corp, a company must undergo a comprehensive assessment process that evaluates a business’s performance across five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Customers and Environment.

B Corp, short for ‘Benefit for all’ Corporation, is a type of for-profit business that meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. B Corps are certified by a non-profit organisation called B Lab, based on their commitment to balancing purpose and profit.

Aurora Expeditions prides itself on re-defining what successful expedition tourism can look like when a business is a force for good. They have been calculating and offsetting our emissions since 2021. 

Aurora Expedition Cruise "Antarctic Explorer featuring the Chilean Fjords" offers a 14-day journey through the pristine landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula and the majestic Chilean Fjords aboard the Sylvia Earle. Departing from Punta Arenas, Chile, travelers embark on an adventure filled with wildlife encounters, glacier sightings, and zodiac cruises. Highlights include exploring secluded bays, crossing the Drake Passage, and sailing through the dramatic Chilean Fjords. The expedition promises an unforgettable exploration of some of the most remote and breathtaking regions on Earth.

Flowers Blooming in Antarctica

A hidden garden waiting to be discovered; Antarctica's blossoming flora serves as both a marvel and a call to action, urging us to protect our planet and cherish the wonders it holds, even in the most unlikely places.

Antarctica's harsh climate and freezing temperatures make it one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Yet, beneath the icy surface, lies a hidden world waiting to be discovered. In recent years, researchers have uncovered patches of mosses and lichens that have managed to adapt and thrive in the extreme conditions, creating a delicate tapestry of life against the stark white backdrop. 

Antarctica, often considered a frozen wilderness, is known for its extreme conditions and vast expanses of ice. However, in recent years, a remarkable phenomenon has captured the attention of scientists and nature enthusiasts alike – the unexpected blooming of flowers in this icy continent.

The warming temperatures in Antarctica, attributed to global climate change, play a crucial role in creating pockets of habitable conditions for these resilient plants. As the ice melts and exposes the underlying soil, it provides a nutrient-rich environment for the flora to take root and flourish.

The antarctic strawberry feather star

Antarctica serves as a living laboratory for scientists from around the globe. Research stations, such as the famous McMurdo Station, provide a base for scientists to conduct studies in diverse fields, including climate science, astronomy, and biology.

A recent discovery by researchers trawling the ocean depths near Antarctica, has sparked intrigue and fascination within the scientific community. With its peculiar morphology featuring 20 "arms" and a striking resemblance to a strawberry when observed up close, this enigmatic creature adds a captivating chapter to the annals of marine biology. Led by marine biology professor Greg Rouse and his team from the University of California, San Diego, the formal naming of Promachocrinus fragarius pays homage to its strawberry-like appearance, highlighting the whimsical side of taxonomic nomenclature while also emphasizing the creature's uniqueness in the Antarctic feather star group.

The unveiling of the Antarctic strawberry feather star not only expands our understanding of the diverse life forms inhabiting Earth's oceans but also underscores the importance of continued exploration and conservation efforts in these ecosystems. As scientists delve deeper into the uncharted realms of marine biodiversity, each new discovery offers insights into the intricacies of evolution and adaptation, enriching our collective knowledge of the natural world. Furthermore, the discovery serves as a poignant reminder of the need to safeguard marine environments and preserve the delicate balance of ecosystems, ensuring the continued survival of species like the Antarctic strawberry feather star for generations to come.

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Scenic Antartica Ocean Cruises

When cruising through Antarctica, the difference is in the details. Innovative world-class ship design and low guest numbers allow multiple landings led by an expert Discovery Team of up to 20 specialists. 

Let Scenic take you further than others.

Reflections on an Unforgettable Journey

As the cruise draws to a close and the ship begins its journey back across the Drake Passage, passengers find themselves reflecting on the profound impact of their Antarctic adventure. They leave with memories that will last a lifetime – of icy landscapes bathed in the soft light of the midnight sun, of close encounters with majestic wildlife, and of the undeniable power and beauty of the natural world.

An Antarctica cruise is more than just a vacation – it's a transformative experience that leaves an indelible mark on all who undertake it. It's a reminder of our connection to the planet and the importance of preserving its most remote and precious places. For those with a spirit of adventure and a love of nature, it's the journey of a lifetime – a voyage to the end of the Earth and back again.

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