In this quick blog post, I will work you through the major decisions you need to make.
Where to leave from:
Australia / New Zealand – This option may sound more convenient, but you’ll spend 5 days at open sea, which can be unpleasant if you hit rough seas.
South America – you’ll need to do a couple of days of flying, to get there, but you’ll only be at open sea for 2 days each way. There is more wildlife and historical / research places to visit. This would be my recommendation.
Who to go with:
Luxury Ships: Silver Seas or Ponant offer luxury cruise ships visiting Antarctica. However, there are rules imposed by the ATCM that restrict the number of passengers allowed off to 100 people at a time, so if you go on these larger vessels that take up to 300 passengers, you will have limited time on excursions.
Expedition ships: One Ocean or Quark Expeditions offer adventure style expeditions. These ships are well fitted out (bar, restaurant, hot tub, sauna etc) but the vessel is purpose built for expeditions, not luxury. The benefit is that the ship only takes 100 people, so everyone can get off at every excursion. We use One Ocean and love it. https://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/
When to go:
November to March. Each month offers something slightly different. December/January is considered “peak season” so prices can be close to double. At the start of the season you will see more snow and penguin chicks. Towards the end of the season you’ll see the penguins grown up and a lot more whales.
Where to go:
Anywhere on the Antarctic Peninsular is amazing. A 11 day trip like this will let you see everything. https://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/voyages/antarctic-peninsula-adventure
If you have the extra time and money, you can incorporate something like this trip that takes in South Georgia. https://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/voyages/falkland-islands-south-georgia-antarctica
Why not combine it with a conference??
We will be running a combined medical and legal conference onboard the ship during the One Ocean 11 day peninsular cruise in March 2018. The conference program will be held mostly during the time that we are at sea, and during the morning / evening when there are no excursions, so you will still get to see and do everything that you would otherwise do. More information here: https://www.antarcticaconference.com/
Written by Unconventional Conventions Managing Director, Mark Cunich who has visited Antarctica 5 times, and dying to go back