Antarctica – The Cruise Of A Lifetime!
It’s becoming springtime in Antarctica and a number of cruise companies are posting new Antarctic cruise offerings. If you enjoy cruising, if you are looking for more exotic destinations, this is a cruise not to miss!
It seems hard to believe but we can now visit Antarctica on a cruise. Each year thousands of passengers stand in awe as the snow and ice covered mountains of Antarctica slide by while whales and penguins break the water all around your ship.
Each year more and more cruise ships are taking passengers into the frozen realm of the South Pole with visits to Paradise Bay, Elephant Island and cruising along the continent’s coasts. There a also hundreds of smaller expedition boats taking visitors ashore to walk on the ice sheets and visit penguin colonies.
Antarctic Itineraries – Currently a number of major cruise companies offer cruises to Antarctica with Buenos Aries being a favorite departure port. You can find itineraries that include several ports of call in South America like Montevideo, Porto Madryn and the Antarctic cruise departure port of Ushuaia, Argentina. Most cruises to Antarctica will visit the peninsula with a day in Paradise Bay, a cruise around Elephant Island and an additional port call in the Falklands.
Porto Madryn is specially noted for wildlife viewing (it’s the place where Orcas chase seals up on the beach) and the Falklands is a major breeding ground for sea lions along with six species of penguins. Ushuaia is a fast growing city that sits at the entrance to Tierra del Fuego and the end of the world with the incredible wildlife watching found in the Beagle Channel.
Visiting Antartica is controlled by an international association setting rules for private tour operators. It seems that eight countries have made territorial claims in Antarctica and no country recognizes the claim of any other country. That leaves it very unclear what authority is in charge of the continent. As world travel and exotic destinations grew in popularity more and more businesses realized there was a serious opportunity for Antarctic tourism. This has left the Antarctic tourism industry largely self-regulated but they’re working hard at being responsible. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) was founded in 1991 by seven companies growing to around a hundred members today.
*Under existing IAATO rules, only ships carrying fewer than 500 passengers are allowed to make landings at approved sites and only 100 people allowed ashore at a time and must be accompanied by certified guides with a ratio of 1:20. They must not bring food ashore or leave anything behind or take anything back.
It’s time to explore those Antarctic options and be prepared for the cruise of your life!
Cruising Antarctica is the newest experience for travelers. Sailing on luxury ocean liners or smaller expedition boats it is an experience not to be missed.