I’m about to share with you the five worst things about going on a cruise to Antarctica. I’m Arshit yadav and this is another of my All About Travel. What possibly could be the worst parts of Antarctica cruise? Here you go.
1. Antarctica cruise cost
First of all. the cost. It is an incredibly expensive experience. You’re likely to spend between US $10,000 and US $15,000,and that’s not even on a luxury kind of experience. The cheapest you’re probably going to find something is around about, just for the cruise alone ,around about US$ 6,5000. It is a very expensive experience,and there are a number of key costs. You have the cruise only cost and then you have to get to Ushuaia. You’re going to have to either fly to Ushuaia or, what a lot of cruisers do, is your fly to Santiago and then across to Ushuaia. Then you also have to have specific gear.
You can hire the gear and some cruise lines will have relationships with suppliers where you hire the equipment. But you are going to have to invest or rent equipment. There’s specific boots you need, there’s different layers you need, hats, sunglasses. There’s a lot of gear that you need and so there’s a whole lot of cost involved with that. For many people, the worst part of an Antarctica cruise is not even the cost, its the getting there! To get to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, which is where most of the cruises go to, you have to cross Drake Passage.
2. Drake passage
Drake Passage has the roughest seas that you can imagine in the world. It doesn’t matter what time of year you go, its very unpredictable. Some people experience whats known as the “Drake Lake”, which is a very calm flat sea, but most people will actually experience “Drake Shake”, which can be pretty rough. We had a great crossing and had around about 4 to 5 meters swells, but its very unpredictable. For example, the cruise before us couldn’t even leave on the first day because there were 10 to 12 meter swells.
It then calmed down the next day and was almost completely flat. So, make sure that you’ve got sea sick remedies and whatever works for you and be prepared for rough seas. You may be lucky and not have it, but getting there for many people is the worst. I know people who’ve been turned Antarctica and spent two days in bed seasick there and two days in bed seasick going back.
3. Unpredictable weather of Antarctica
The other thing, which could be the worst part of an Antarctic, is the unpredictable nature of the weather. It can constantly change and you cant predict it – no matter what time of the year you go, and it can change very fast. I experienced as some days wed have really lousy weather in the morning until 10 o clock and then suddenly it would clear up and wed have blue skies. Or the fog would come in and then as quickly the fog would disappear. It is unpredictable weather.
Also whats very important is the trip depends on the ice and how the ice moves. There is no set schedule and they have a rough plan of where they want to try and go, to but they have to reassess it based on how much ice and how the ice has moved. You cant assume anything. The landings may or may not happen as they may be cancelled because of too much swell or the weathers too lousy. Its very unpredictable and you may spend all that money and go all the way to Antarctica and have a so-so experience because the weather is unpredictable. Of course, the cruise companies go to huge trouble to make sure that they find a way of making sure that you do see amazing thing, but bear in mind the worst part of it is its just completely unpredictable.
4. Short Season
The other thing is its a very short season and there’s only very few months of the year that they can actually cruise to Antarctica. The season starts towards the end of October, however most ships only really start going during November because the ice by then is starting to break up and they can get through. The season ends for most companies towards the end of February, though so go into March. The real peak of the season is December / January as that’s also when its warmest. It is a very short season and you don’t have a lot of flexibility about when you can go. The fact that the season is so short is also what drives the cost and availability.
5. Trouble booking in Antarctica cruise
One of the things that you’ll find with Antarctica is that people book way way in advance to make sure that they can get the cabin they want at the price they want at the time they want. Planning really early is really important. In my view one of the worst things that you could do is to go to Antarctica on a big ship. This is really important because the rules Antarctic are strict about being able to land. Only ships with a about 200 passengers actually can do landings in Antarctica as you’re only allowed to have a hundred people at any one landing site at one time.
They also limit the number of ships that can go to landing site over period of time. It is very regulated and those bigger ships going down to Antarctica are going to only be cruising by with no landings, and they tend to stay much more up north so you’re not going to get many of the experiences that Is poke. You’re not going to get in amongst the Penguins, you’re not going to get really close to whales and you’re not going to get it up amongst the seals. You are not going to get to climb up and look at rookeries. You’re basically going to do only the sail by experiences. Of course, you’re going to be able to tick the box that you one to Antarctica, but for me its going to be really frustrating because you’re going to be so close but not really there.
6. Big cruise ship
One of the worst things, in my view, you could do is go to Antarctica on a big ship. Make sure that you go on one of the smaller expedition ships, so for example the ship that I was on which is Silver sea Silver Cloud. That was great because the ship was small enough. It also fell within all the regulations and we could do all of the landings because wed go out in groups of around about a hundred at a time on the landings. Overall, the experience of Antarctica is phenomenal, and I have to say that it beat every expectation I had.
The worst things are never ever going to get in the way of making an amazing experience. It is incredibly expensive to go, but really it is a magical place and I would strongly recommend do whatever you can to save to one day go to Antarctica. I hope you found this helpful,interesting or inspiring. I would love it if you read many more of my All About Travel blogs as they are written to help you make the most of your precious travel time and money whether its on land, on sea or on the rivers of the world