… the wind breaking the skin on my cheeks, the bitter cold penetrating the bones in my hands (my fingers shaking and numb), and the sweat underneath the wool hat tickling my forehead with an unbearable itch:
but all of this melted away, as I saw the majestic white mountains towering over the frigid landscape, looking like foamy sweet icing on a cake, and surrounding an ice-studded bay sparkling like floating diamonds, hitting one another and chiming with glee as our zodiac boat carefully glided through the ice over the glassy dark and cold Antarctic sea.
The peace and tranquility flowed over me like a warm shower, and contrasted nicely with the amazing landscape - like a beautiful symphony of shades of blues and whites: the mountains and islands were the musical notes, the tranquil sea like the space between them - creating a visual melody that dances in your mind’s eye…
My heart swelling with amazement and contentment, as I think to myself how ‘suertudo’ - lucky I am to be in such a remote place… face-to-face with nature in the raw:
Antarctica is truly Unbelievable: one has to see it, to believe it!
Filled with angst … an expedition cruise to Antarctica was one of the hardest trips I’ve prepared for: packing for super cold temperatures requiring layers of extra clothes, the expense of the expedition cruise itself (extra flight and insurance added to the expensive cruise as well), and safety precautions with hazards galore to be mindful of: not leaving anything behind in Antarctica, washing boots with chemicals every time one goes out and not districting the wildlife whatsoever - even with all of this, Antarctica did not disappoint and exceeded all of my expectations!
Traveling on small luxury ice-breaker ship and disembarking twice a day to step on the seventh continent itself, kayaking throughout Antarctic bays and trekking on its powder sugar mountains gave me a rush which I’ll never forget…
If you want to travel to Antarctica … aboard a luxury expedition cruise as well; here are some things to consider:
A small luxury cruise to Antarctica
typically follows a well-planned routine to ensure a memorable and comfortable experience for its passengers. Here's an overview of what a typical day on such a cruise might look like:
1. Morning Activities:
- Breakfast: Start your day with a delicious breakfast featuring a variety of options to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.
- Briefings: Attend informative briefings conducted by the onboard naturalists and expedition leaders. They will provide insights about the day's activities, wildlife sightings, safety procedures, and environmental guidelines.
2. Zodiac Cruises and Shore Excursions:
- Explore the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands aboard sturdy Zodiac boats, designed to navigate the icy waters safely.
- Marvel at breathtaking landscapes, pristine ice formations, and spectacular wildlife encounters, including penguins, seals, whales, and seabirds.
- Disembark on shore excursions guided by experienced naturalists, who will provide valuable information about the local wildlife, flora, and geological features.
3. Lectures and Workshops:
- Enjoy educational presentations, lectures, and workshops conducted by experts in various fields, such as marine biology, polar history, and geology.
- Learn about the unique ecosystem of Antarctica, its fragile environment, and the ongoing conservation efforts.
4. Gourmet Dining and Leisure Time:
- Savor gourmet meals prepared by talented onboard chefs, showcasing regional specialties and international cuisine.
- Take advantage of leisure time to relax in comfortable lounges, read books from the ship's library, or engage in conversations with fellow passengers and crew members.
5. Afternoon Activities:
- Participate in optional activities like kayaking, snowshoeing, or camping on the Antarctic continent (if conditions allow).
- Capture stunning photographs of the awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife encounters.
- Engage in citizen science programs, contributing to ongoing research efforts by collecting data and samples for scientific study.
6. Evening Entertainment:
- Attend social events and gatherings where you can share stories and experiences with fellow travelers.
- Enjoy onboard entertainment, which may include live music performances, movie screenings, or engaging talks by guest speakers.
- Relax and unwind while taking in the panoramic views of the Antarctic scenery from the ship's observation decks.
The focus of a small luxury cruise to Antarctica is to offer an intimate and immersive experience while ensuring the utmost comfort and safety of its passengers.
When people ask me if my trip to Antarctica was worth it?
Absolutely, a trip to Antarctica is often considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is definitely worth it for many reasons. Here are some key factors that make it a worthwhile journey:
Unique and Pristine Environment: Antarctica is a remote and untouched continent, offering unparalleled natural beauty and incredible wildlife. The breathtaking landscapes, towering icebergs, and vast expanses of pristine wilderness create a sense of awe and wonder.
Abundant Wildlife: Antarctica is home to diverse wildlife, including penguins, seals, whales, and seabirds. Observing these animals in their natural habitat is a remarkable and unforgettable experience. The opportunity to witness large colonies of penguins, seals lounging on ice floes, and whales breaching in the icy waters is truly extraordinary.
Stunning Landscapes: The Antarctic Peninsula showcases some of the world's most dramatic and picturesque scenery. From towering glaciers to jagged mountain peaks and crystal-clear waters, every corner of Antarctica offers breathtaking views and photo opportunities.
Educational and Scientific Value: Antarctica is a hub for scientific research and discovery. By visiting, you have the chance to learn about ongoing scientific studies, participate in citizen science projects, and gain insights into climate change, marine biology, and other important fields of research.
Sense of Adventure: A trip to Antarctica provides a sense of adventure and exploration. Navigating through icy waters, stepping foot on the seventh continent, and encountering the challenges of a unique environment create memories that will last a lifetime.
Environmental Consciousness: Visiting Antarctica often instills a deep sense of appreciation and environmental consciousness. Observing the fragile ecosystem and understanding the impacts of climate change firsthand can inspire individuals to become advocates for environmental conservation.
It's important to note that a trip to Antarctica requires planning, time, and financial investment. However, the rewards of this extraordinary experience are immeasurable, making it a highly sought-after destination for those seeking adventure, natural beauty, and a deeper connection with the natural world.