Antarctica XXI | 10-12 days
Antarctica XXI is unique – the first air cruise to Antarctica. The basis of this extraordinary voyage is that you avoid the notorious two day crossing of the Drake Passage and instead take a one and a half hour flight from Punta Arenas in Southern Chile to King George Island, the largest island of the South Shetland Archipelago, where you board your expedition ship. For the next four days you are on a Classic Antarctic Peninsula voyage with active adventures, several landings daily by zodiac and a programme of enjoyable on-board lectures. The aim of the expedition is to cross the Lemaire Channel at latitude 65 degrees south.
Three longer mid-season departures cross the Polar Circle. For those who still wish to experience crossing the Drake Passage in one direction, the first and last voyages of the season include a one way crossing by air. Staff to guest ratios are higher than on standard voyages and there is an open bar policy throughout the voyage.
Note: Hebridean Sky was formerly Sea Explorer - she was renamed in May 2016 following a multi-million dollar refurbishment.
When: Various departures November 2016 – February 2017 and November 2017 – February 2018
Guide price:From £9,895-£13,035 per person based on twin cabin (private facilities)
Options:Sea Adventurer also offers three similar voyages in December 2016. Price from £9,570 per person
Fiona’s travel tips
TOP TIP: Dress in layers - you will need them.
BEST TIME TO GO: The best time of year to visit the Falkland Islands is during the Austral Summer, particularly between the months of December to February. This is the peak of wildlife activity and, usually, the warmest time of the year.
WHY NOT: Combine your voyage in the South Atlantic with a fabulous trip to Argentina or Chile – we have plenty of suggestions!
DON’T MISS: Camping overnight on the peninsula to experience Antarctic weather close up. It might seem tough at the time but you won’t regret it! Don’t forget to pre-book as it’s popular.
LET US KNOW: If you have a former connection with any of the polar regions we visit by ship. Perhaps you or a relative lived on one of the bases, or were a member of a past expedition? We can offer you the chance to share your experiences, diaries or photographs with others on your voyage. In the past we’ve even got the ship to make unscheduled visits to tie in with such an event.
“I've seen the most wonderful aspects of mother nature in the most inhospitable area of the world, also the most heartrending part in the fight for survival in the animal kingdom. The service by Fiona was second to none and I would not have accomplished half of it by doing it myself. Everything I needed was at my fingertips before I left the UK without having to worry that I had forgotten anything.”
Rhona Cox, Crossing the Polar Circle, Antarctic, February 2016
“I have never travelled abroad on my own, but the years are ticking by, so it was Go, Now. I was surprised to be alone, but the arrangements were so clearly laid out that I decided that this was all part of my ‘pioneering spirit’. The escorts could not have been better, especially at Buenos Aires where I was initially nervous of city life. They took me under their wing, looked out for me, and were always at my side when I needed them. They were just great. And on board the expedition ship, the camaraderie was so terrific that all my earlier worries just evaporated. Thank you Arcturus for my wonderful experience.”
Clare Keast, Antarctica and the Patagonian Coast, March 2016
“The holiday was great and met all my expectations – all the connections worked like clockwork. The cruise was fantastic and we landed on all except the South Orkneys which were ice bound. Food was very good and plenty of it – Iguazu was really good and connections etc worked well – the room was fantastic with Falls view as specified – at the end of the day it was good to relax by the pool and enjoy the Bacardi and coke as you do. Thanks for organising the trip it was one in a lifetime.”
Allen Cooper, The Falklands, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, Antarctic Peninsula discovery cruise
“As you know, I have waited 60 years for this and the whole Plancius experience on the exact centenary of Scott’s last expedition was just magical. Absolutely brilliant.”
John Sharples, Antarctic Peninsula
“In December 2012 I was able to fulfil my dream of setting foot on Antarctica despite my age (83 and eight months) and disability. Thanks to Fiona’s meticulous planning and the resulting support of guides and the Plancius crew at every step en-route and on the boat, I was able to travel there and back alone, and to enjoy shore landings and zodiac rides. A truly stunning experience. I realise how blessed I was to have so much encouragement and help both from Fiona and the expedition team.”
Dr Grete Gross, Antarctic Peninsula voyage
“It was a fascinating voyage with lasting impressions. The wildlife both on the Falklands and on Antarctica is incredibly rich. The organisation on board the ship was very good. Among the talks given by the scientific crew I enjoyed the witty talks by Robert Headland the most. The familiar atmosphere in the lodges on Sea Lion Island and on Carcass Island was very nice indeed. Last but not least I should like to thank you for the impeccable organisation on your part.”
Mr Hubert Kalf, Epic Antarctica icebreaker voyage
“Most helpful, informative, and friendly service at all stages. Absolutely spectacular trip which exceeded my already high expectations. Brilliant value for money, notwithstanding the high cost. It says it all that I was looking at your brochure for a future trip, as soon as I got back!”
Judith Philip, Antarctic Peninsula