Taking a vacation in the white continent is the nearest thing to heaven and you probably cannot get any closer than that! When you want to explore Antarctica you have two landing spots in this continent. The Antarctic Peninsula located on the northern most tip of the white continent is the most popular landing spot and lies very close to South America and the other landing spot is located on the southern tip of the white continent which is mainly used by travellers from New Zealand by sailing through the connecting Ross Sea.
Getting to Antarctica
So if you are flying out from the US to reach the white continent you will be landing in Buenos Aires in South America as most cruise liners kick-start their cruises to Antarctica from the nearby island Ushuaia / Tierra Del Fuego. Daily expeditions to Antarctica on ship start from here via the Beagle Channel. En route to the Antarctic Peninsula you’ll be passing by Drake Passages, King George Island, Port Lockroy and Antarctic Archipelago. During the cruise you’ll be sighting white snow capped mountains and glaciers, we recommend taking snapshots of the scenic views while you are on the move. The Drake Passage is a stretch of water separating South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the Drake Passage by ship can be very cumbersome and difficult because the waterway is known for being notorious and sometimes you could even be confronting sea waves of the height of 30 feet and it’s gonna take two long days for crossing it before you reach your landing spot- the Antarctic Peninsula. If you suffer from sea sickness or if you want to save a few days of your vacationing then you must choose to fly over the Drake Passage, the airfield in South Shetlands is where you can take a flight to land directly in Antarctica and it only takes two hours to reach by plane. Mind you this flight option comes at a price, you must be willing to shell out more dollars for your vacation and as it is, holiday deals to Antarctica are very expensive.
At the Drake Passage if you are lucky you could be sighting a flying Albatross, just be watchful and try to take a snapshot of the rare sighting if you come across one. Most cruise lines take a detour from Drakes Passage to Falkland Islands which is a popular spot for sighting some penguins and then eventually head southwards again to reach South Shetlands. For some passengers in the ship who have opted for air travel South Shetlands become the disembarkation port for boarding the flight to Antarctica from the airfield of King George island while the rest of the passengers will continue their cruise to reach their final destination.
The difference in taking a cruise to Antarctica and other destinations is here the ship or vessel you choose merely serves as a place for your accommodation and food, the entertainment begins only when you disembark the ship during your stopovers on the different islands en route to the landing spot unlike in conventional cruises where entertainment like tribute bands, casinos and dance classes is part of the cruise.
Things to do on the White continent
When you disembark the ship there are so many adventurous things for you on the white continent to get your Adrenalin pumped up. You can zip around the Zodiacs to discover the wildlife of the continent, expect to sight some penguins and rare sights of deadly sea predators (Leopard seals) hunting penguins. A must-do thing for you is to visit the Research Sea base for chatting with the scientists to gain some educational insight on the white continent and its wildlife. If you like to play some sports then we recommend kayaking around the ice bergs and diving in the cold waters of the ocean.
Just a small note on your holidaying in Antarctica
Antarctica can only be explored during November to March as this is the time when the icebergs begin to break, allowing ships to pass freely through the waterways. December to January is perhaps the best time to travel because this period has longer days allowing you to experience the sun for longer duration (almost 20 hours) that is ideal for vacationing.
Another vital piece of information is most holiday packages to Antarctica are very expensive and the itineraries can be confusing and intentionally vague. What you need to keep in mind is that the cruise itineraries are subject to the external conditions like the prevailing whether conditions and the melting of ice during your expedition.