Are you in the midst of planning your dream trip to Antarctica, eagerly seeking tips and insights to transform your journey into a once-in-a-lifetime experience? We've got you covered!
In this article, we aim to unveil unique aspects that make your expedition cruise to Antarctica truly exceptional. Discover secret details shared by the expedition crew and valuable insights from us to help you create the perfect Antarctic adventure for yourself.
1. The Best Time to Book Your Expedition Cruise is at the Start of the Season.
A trip to the seventh is a magical experience, no matter when you decide to visit. However, according to one of the members of the expedition cruise, the real magic unfolds at the beginning of the season. The Antarctic season usually starts in late November and ends in late March. One of the main reasons we recommend booking at the start of the season is the expedition crew's positive and high energy. As the Antarctic season begins, crew members return to the ship with boundless enthusiasm after a winter break. Their energy and excitement infuse the entire experience, creating an outstanding atmosphere of anticipation!
2. The Best Time for Picture Taking and Capturing Pristine Landscapes
If you are a photo enthusiast wondering when is the best time for picture-taking on the seventh continent, the answer is during the early Antarctic season. Choosing to visit Antarctica early in the season grants you a unique opportunity to be among the first to set foot on the White Peninsula, where you'll step upon "brand new" snow, having freshly blanketed the terrain over the past months. With few or no snow tracks, visiting Antarctica during the beginning of the season will give you perfect photo opportunities to capture untouched, pristine landscapes. Later in the season, offers its charm as well. However, there will be plenty of tracks from other adventurers.
3. Smooth Sailing with Modern Technology
If you are planning your expedition cruise to Antarctica, you probably already know that the journey to the White Continent comes with crossing the notoriously Drake Passage. The Drake Passage can be daunting as the ships rock back and forth for up to two days due to the turbulent waters.
When booking your expedition cruise, we recommend booking a newer vessel equipped with modern stabilizers. During our Antarctic voyage, we decided to book with the company Albatros Expeditions on their new Ocean Victory vessel, which features modernized stabilizers. These technological marvels ensure a smoother journey, counteracting the disorienting side-to-side motion caused by waves.
On our trip, during seven-meter waves in the Drake Passage, we felt the stabilizers working their magic, helping us maintain our sea legs and keep our breakfasts down!
4. Affordable Tickets: Flexibility and Time are Key!
If you are planning an expedition cruise to Antarctica, you probably already noticed the astronomical prices it will cost to get you there. Nonetheless, there are a few secrets you should be aware of if you are looking to save some money during your Antarctica expedition cruise. For example, consider a flexible booking approach, and instead of booking your voyage well in advance (you can purchase tickets up to two years in advance), wait for a last-minute deal from the expedition companies.
When Jake and I arrived in Ushuaia, the port city where most Antarctic expeditions depart, we met several other travelers who had been in Ushuaia for weeks waiting on last-minute cruise deals. If you have time to spare, you can definitely catch last-minute deals offered by ship companies eager to fill the remaining spots. Just keep an eye out for offices and storefronts advertising these deals throughout the city. Also, with last-minute deals, you will most likely end up in a shared room with three other strangers. Nonetheless, if you are used to sleeping in Hostels or Couchsurfing, sleeping with strangers should be an issue; plus, it also adds a unique dash of adventure to your voyage!
Note: Jake and I booked our Antarctic adventure one year in advance. We booked a shared dorm room since it was cheaper, but to our surprise, we were upgraded at the last minute to a private double room with a balcony at no extra cost. We were super excited!
Room Tour of our upgraded private double room:
5. Book Additional Activities Prior to the Start of Your Expedition Cruise.
Most Antarctic expedition cruises include activities such as zodiac cruises and landings on the peninsula in their booking price. However, if you want a unique experience, some ships offer complimentary excursions such as kayaking, overnight camping on Antarctic land, and snowshoeing. However, these activities are not included in the booking price.
If you already know you want to do a specific activity, we recommend booking in advance as they tend to fill up quickly. During our journey, too many people were interested in booking add-ons that the crew had to raffle off the spaces. However, be aware that adverse weather conditions can lead to activity cancellations, even if pre-booked.
Note: Make sure you research the cruise ships' list of inclusions/exclusions before booking since not all companies offer the same activities. For example, some larger ships sail by the continent without letting passengers go ashore.
In conclusion, there is no definitive right or wrong time to visit Antarctica. Each season brings its unique charm and experiences. We hope these insights, shared by knowledgeable crew members and based on our own experiences, help you in planning your Antarctic adventure.
Whether you decide to begin or end the season, one thing is sure: Antarctica will leave unforgettable memories to cherish forever!
Final Note: The information shared in this article is based on our experiences during our Antarctic expedition voyage. Please note that every experience is different or can vary. We hope this has been helpful to you. Do you have any questions? Ask away in the comments below!