Antarctica – some Frequently Asked Questions!
Raw, majestic and inspiring, Antarctica is a true bucket-list destination. Seeing this remote, amazing part of the world takes a bit of planning and, unfortunately, it doesn’t come too cheap. To make the most of your experience, it’s important to do your research first. We’ve got a list of frequently asked questions to help with your planning:
Are there any last minute deals for Antarctica cruises?
Unless you’re willing to spend several days in Ushuaia haunting the various cruise lines (when you may or may not be able to get a last minute offer), the answer is generally no. The best deals are usually the early-bird offers. Because the ships are smaller, they fill up more quickly so if you hold off, you’re more likely to miss out than secure a better deal. Book it as early as you possibly can!
What will the weather be like?
Quite possibly changeable! Prepare for anything, but take layers that will provide warmth without balk and that you can add or take off as necessary. Weather can never be guaranteed – least of all in Antarctica!
Will the sea be rough?
Mostly it should be ok but in all likelihood you’ll run into a bit of rough sailing somewhere along the way. The Drake Passage is notorious for being a bit of a rough ride, unless you encounter what is known as the “Drake Lake” when there’s barely a ripple. The thing is to be prepared. Come prepared with sea sickness medication or patches. It’s better to prevent rather than try to treat, when it’s usually too late. It’s also better to get out in the fresh air than stay in your cabin. If you’re a seasoned sailor and don’t mind a bit of a swell, it can be fantastic fun and makes for great stories when you get home. Antarctica is an adventure after all!
There are restrictions on how many people can set foot ashore each day. Often half the ship will go ashore while the other half do zodiac excursions and then swap for the afternoon. The cruise lines and crew want you to get the most out of your experience so they’ll take advantage of every opportunity they can to get you ashore and exploring… but only if it is within the restrictions and doesn’t negatively affect the wildlife.
How mobile do you have to be?
Antarctica is an adventure so you have to have a reasonable level of fitness. You’ll be in and out of zodiacs so you need to have a certain level of agility. Also, if the sea does get a bit rough, it helps to be a bit steadier on your feet.
What is the food like?
You can pretty much be assured the food will be of a high standard! It does depend on your chosen cruise line – for example, Ponant have gourmet French-themed cuisine – but you can generally expect excellent food and plenty of it. On longer cruises access to fresh produce will be a little harder but cruise lines pride themselves on their excellent dining so this typically isn’t a problem.
Where is the best cabin position?
Generally you can expect less movement closer to the middle of the ship and the lower to the water line. You may prefer to be close to the dining room or other facilities - it’s entirely personal preference. On small ships however, you’re never too far away from anything. Just be sure to check the category of cabin so that you don’t book a cabin with an obstructed view, for example (but your travel consultant will alert you of this).
How do I choose a cruise line?
The most important thing is to identify exactly what type of experience you are looking for. Would you prefer a true no-frills expedition voyage, or would you prefer luxury expedition where your cabin is bigger with extra comfort? Do you want all inclusive with meals and beverages or would you prefer meals included but pay for your own beverages on board? Are there particular places in Antarctica that you must see? The best way to choose is to have a clear picture of what you are looking for and then speak to a member of the Ultimate Cruising team so that we can match you with the cruise line that will suit you best!
I still have questions, who can I ask?
Everyone going to Antarctica has plenty of questions so don’t be shy! Give our Ultimate Cruising experts a call – they’re experienced and have all of the latest up-to-date information from the cruise lines so feel free to have a chat. You can request a call from them here. Alternatively, you can view our Antarctica cruise packages and itineraries here. We have a range of options available, and if you see something we don’t have listed, be sure to ask us about it as we can always tailor an itinerary just for you!