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Expedition Cruise Diary

Stowaway Medias exclusive Expedition Cruise Diary

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ANTARCTICA<br />

WHO GOES THERE<br />

ANTARCTICA<br />

SOUTH GEORGIA<br />

South Georgia, famous as the place where the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton found help to<br />

rescue his failed mission to reach the South Pole in 1916, is some 800 miles south-east of the<br />

Falkland Islands and a popular stop for longer expedition cruises through the Southern Ocean.<br />

Just 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, the island was discovered by James Cook in 1775<br />

and for the next 200 years was the scene of mass slaughter as first the sealing and then the<br />

whaling industries moved in and wiped out entire populations of fur seals and cetaceans.<br />

These days cruise passengers come with far more peaceful intent – namely to see Shackleton’s<br />

grave in the small settlement of Grytviken, admire the picturesque Alps-like scenery and marvel<br />

at the abundance of wildlife.<br />

That includes huge populations of fur and elephant seals, which have returned to the island<br />

in the 50 years since the sealers and whalers left, millions of penguins and sea birds, and<br />

thousands of albatrosses.<br />

Aurora <strong>Expedition</strong>s<br />

Ships: Greg Mortimer (from November 2019) – 7,400 tons; 160 passengers (120 in<br />

the polar regions).<br />

Itineraries: Antarctica sailings operate round-trip from Ushuaia in Argentina and<br />

include 13-day voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula and longer trips that take in<br />

Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.<br />

Sample: From US$10,500 per person for the maiden 12-day Spirit of Antarctica<br />

voyage round-trip from Ushuaia departing October 30 2019. Excludes flights.<br />

Silversea <strong>Expedition</strong>s<br />

Ship: Silver Cloud - 16,800 tons, 240 passengers; Silver Explorer - 6,072 tons, 144<br />

passengers.<br />

Itineraries: Sailings operate round-trip from Ushuaia in Argentina and range from<br />

10-day cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula to 15 and 18-day voyages combining<br />

Antarctica with the Falklands and/or South Georgia.<br />

Sample: From £11,970 per person for a 10-day cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula on<br />

Silver Cloud departing December 10 2019. Excludes flights.<br />

Ponant<br />

Ships: Le Lyrial - 10,992 tons, 244 passengers; Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal –<br />

10,944 tons, 264 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: Sailings round-trip from Ushuaia in Argentina range from 10-night<br />

cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula to 21-day voyages combining the Falklands with<br />

South Georgia, the South Orkney Islands and Antarctica.<br />

Sample: From €10,550 per person for a 10-night Emblematic Antarctica cruise on<br />

Le Soléal departing February 19 2020. Excludes flights.<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

• Australia’s Aurora <strong>Expedition</strong>s is launching new ship Greg<br />

Mortimer in November. Named after the company’s founder, the<br />

vessel has a revolutionary X-Bow, which pierces the waves instead<br />

of rising up and down on them, resulting in a more comfortable<br />

ride. The majority of cabins have a balcony, almost two-thirds<br />

can accommodate three people and it has two outdoor hydraulic<br />

viewing platforms from where passengers can get closer to the<br />

wildlife and landscape.<br />

• Crystal <strong>Cruise</strong>s’ new discovery yacht Crystal Endeavor is visiting<br />

Antarctica for the first time in 2021, but venturing to the<br />

eastern side of the continent, where few cruise ships go. The<br />

200-passenger vessel is built for luxury exploration. It will have<br />

all-suite, all-balcony accommodation serviced by butlers and<br />

six restaurants, including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma, Italian<br />

Prego and the Waterside main dining room. The vessel will have<br />

a large spa, a two-storey solarium and carry two helicopters<br />

and a submarine.<br />

• Hapag-Lloyd <strong>Cruise</strong>s is launching new expedition ship Hanseatic<br />

Inspiration in October. The vessel will have three restaurants, a<br />

Grand Suite with a shower that transforms into a steam room,<br />

and glass viewing platforms that fold out of the ship’s hull and<br />

hover 15 metres above the ocean. This is an international ship<br />

with all cruises conducted in German and English.<br />

• Hurtigruten is launching the world’s first hybrid cruise ship in May.<br />

Called Roald Amundsen, it will operate mainly on Liquefied Natural<br />

Gas but be able to switch to electric power for short periods. The<br />

vessel, which makes its Antarctic debut in winter 2019/20, has an<br />

on-board science centre where passengers can interact with the<br />

expedition team and learn more about the places they are visiting.<br />

Sister ship Fridtjof Nansen launches in 2020.<br />

• Scenic’s discovery ship Scenic Eclipse is launching in August an makes<br />

its Antarctica debut in winter 2019/20. The vessel will have all-balcony<br />

suites, butler service for all, 10 places to eat and carry a helicopter and<br />

seven-man sub for exploring above and below the waves.<br />

Scenic<br />

Ships: Scenic Eclipse (launches August 2019) – 17,085 tons, 228 passengers (200<br />

in polar regions).<br />

Itineraries: Packages range from 16 to 23 days and pair cruises round-trip from<br />

Ushuaia with pre and post-cruise overnights in Buenos Aires. Voyages visit the<br />

Antarctic Peninsula and combine Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.<br />

Sample: From £12,705 per person for a 16-day Antarctica in Depth voyage<br />

departing March 5 2020. Includes flights<br />

Hapag-Lloyd <strong>Cruise</strong>s<br />

Ships: Hanseatic Inspiration (launches October 2019) – 15,650 tons, 230<br />

passengers (max 199 in Antarctica).<br />

Itineraries: <strong>Cruise</strong>s of from 12 to 18 days operate round-trip from Ushuaia to the<br />

Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.<br />

Sample: From £11,723 per person for a 16-day voyage departing December 1<br />

2020. Excludes flights.<br />

G Adventures<br />

Ship: G <strong>Expedition</strong> – 6,334 tons, 134 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: <strong>Cruise</strong>s are from 11 to 22 days round-trip from Ushuaia to the Antarctic<br />

Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.<br />

Sample: From £5,099 per person for a 13-day Antarctica Classic in Depth cruise<br />

departing November 11 2019, based on a triple-share cabin. Excludes flights.<br />

Seabourn<br />

Ship: Seabourn Quest – 32,000 tons, 458 passengers (max 430 in Antarctica).<br />

Itineraries: Offers 21-day cruises between Buenos Aires and San Antonio in Chile<br />

that include six days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Longer 24-day voyages add<br />

the Falklands and South Georgia.<br />

Sample: From £8,499 per person for a 21-day Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia cruise<br />

from San Antonio to Buenos Aires departing November 28 2019. Excludes flights.<br />

Crystal <strong>Cruise</strong>s<br />

Ship: Crystal Endeavor – 20,000 tons, 200 passengers.<br />

Itineraries: Two 22-day voyages from Tasmania and New Zealand in January 2021<br />

spend eight days exploring Antarctica’s Ross Sea with visits to Adélie and Emperor<br />

penguin rookeries, and an ice-free desert.<br />

Sample: From £28,113 per person for a 22-day Antarctic Splendor cruise from<br />

Hobart to Christchurch departing January 6 2021. Excludes flights.<br />

26 | <strong>Expedition</strong> <strong>Cruise</strong> <strong>Diary</strong> | March 2019<br />

Stowaway Media | 27

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