Polar Cruises 2023/24
Unspoilt and remote, the continent of Antarctica is one of the least visited regions on the planet – and certainly the coldest! – and offers a truly memorable holiday experience. Almost twice the size of Australia, Antarctica is officially classified as a desert due to the lack of significant precipitation. Pristine scenery, icebergs of all shapes and sizes that you can actually touch, abandoned whaling stations and wildlife that will leave you spellbound, including whales, penguins, leopard seals, giant petrels and albatrosses, not to mention hundreds of scientists! You may also have the opportunity to camp overnight on Antarctica itself and even go kayaking.
Many cruises start from the Argentinian port of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world. And no two days are the same, as the captain will chart his course taking into account the prevailing weather conditions. Most voyages will involve a crossing of Drake Passage, named after Sir Francis Drake who discovered it in 1578. The Spanish refer to this body of water that links the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean as Mar de Hoces, as they believe that it was in fact a Spanish navigator, Francisco de Hoces, who made the discovery in 1525, over 50 years before the British seafaring legend who would later claim to have ‘singed the King of Spain’s beard’ when he launched a devastatingly successful attack on the Spanish fleet in Cadiz.
Small-ship adventures to the ‘White Continent’ will usually include calls to the barren and snow-covered South Shetland Islands of Deception Island, a sunken volcano, and Whalers Bay, both discovered in 1819 by William Smith, an English explorer. The area known as the Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the southernmost continent, and includes Lemaire Chanel, Wilhelmina Bay, Port Lockroy and Brown Bluff. Some itineraries also include the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. All in all, the ultimate travel experience.