Antarctica is a difficult place to describe to potential travellers. It’s a place that needs to be felt to be understood. The wind howls, the snow falls and the wildlife plays at your feet. Yet despite being the driest, windiest and coldest place on earth, Antarctica captivates people with its wild and untamed beauty.
For cruise lovers with a sense of adventure, Antarctica is the ultimate destination. Forget calm seas, sunbathing and nightly shows, an Antarctica cruise is an expedition to the end of the earth.
Below I have listed the top 7 reasons to visit Antarctica.
Antarctica is a paradise for wildlife. Protected under the Antarctic Treaty, the penguins, seals and marine life that inhabit the continent are totally unconcerned with humans and you’ll be able to get up close and personal with many of the cute creatures. Many Antarctic cruise itineraries also visit South Georgia and the Falkland Islands where penguins and seals inhabit the beaches in their millions!
There aren’t many places in the world where one can view icebergs. However, there are even less places on earth where those icebergs dwarf full sized cruise ships! Don’t panic though, navigational technology has moved on since the days of the Titanic and these majestic landscapes of sculptured ice can now be viewed in comfort from the deck of your ship. If you get lucky you might even spot a ‘flipped’ iceberg
Lack of tourists
We all know the feeling of disembarking our cruise ship to find that we’ve landed in some Disneyland tourist town jam packed with loud travellers doing there best to ruin your nice day. There is literally zero chance of this happening in Antarctica. Strict Antarctica tourist protocols state that only one ship at any time can be in a landing location. This effectively means that you and your fellow cruisers have each site to yourself. The peace and serenity is a thing of beauty!
One of the best things about visiting Antarctica is taking the daily zodiac tours. Most cruise ships in Antarctica will have a fleet of zodiacs to allow travellers to explore the region in more detail. The small motor boats can navigate narrow channels and inlets that are otherwise inaccessible. You’ll be able to sail past lounging seals, get up close to stunning blue-hued icebergs and make numerous shore landings to explore the coastal regions.
This one may sound a bit odd, but experiencing the cold and windy extremes of Antarctica is one of the highlights that makes the whole experience so memorable. You’ll get caught in blizzards and deep snow, yet you’ll also experience the crisp clean air and witness some incredible sunsets during the continent’s long days.
Most Antarctica cruise ships offer a whole host of extra activities that make the cruise that much more special. Sea kayaking is one of the most popular as you venture out into the ice-floats and icebergs to explore the landscape and nature up close. Skiing and snowshoeing is often offered during shore landings and the notorious ‘Polar plunge’ is one of the most heart-racing activities one can experience!
The Drake Passage
Often termed a ‘rite-of-passage’ for Antarctic travellers, the Drake Passage is one of the most notoriously rough stretches of water on earth. Although it can sometimes be dead calm, the passage is more often referred to as the ‘Drake Shake’ because of the choppy seas that prevail in the region. Once again though, the passage simply adds to the overall adventurous nature of the cruise and leaves you feeling totally buzzed to arrive on the White Continent.