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Best of Antarctic Polar Cruises – UP TO 40% DISCOUNT – Offer ends 30 September 2020

Created with Sketch. Ushuaia, Argentina
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Duration

11 Days / 10 Nights

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Tour Type

Specific Tour

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Group Size

200 people

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Languages

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Overview

BEST OF ANTARCTICA POLAR CRUISES ON SPECIAL

 

Up to 40% discount offer.

Valid until 30th September 2020.

Departure dates: November 2021 – March 2022

11 Days / 10 Nights.

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Immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the Great White Continent – There aren’t too many places left on our planet that look like this!

Welcome to Antarctica, the pinnacle of expedition travel.  It’s a place of extremes, where the wildlife and landscape paint a picture like nowhere else in the world.  The extraordinary islands around the Antarctic Peninsula are a stunning reward for those who conquer the infamous Drake Passage – which is all of you – and amid the Antarctic’s barren beauty you may well encounter orcas, humpback whales gracefully gliding through the water, seals and watch penguins dancing on the ice.  Explore the ice-filled waters by Zodiac then set foot on the rock and ice that make up this mysterious continent.  Spend your evenings enjoying the state-of-the-art ship and its health and wellness facilities.  You’ll be talking about this journey for years to come!

Has it been a lifelong dream to witness the magnificent icebergs, glittering glaciers and unique wildlife of Antarctica?  The 2021/2022 season is your chance.  Book your place on one of the wide range of itineraries, a fantastic range of on- and off-board activities and a state-of-the-art ship, all the finer details are taken care of.  Come and experience the very best in polar expedition travel.

If you think of it, early explorers didn’t have the luxury of booking their expeditions online, they just assembled a valiant crew, trained a few huskies and worked on their ‘First to reach the South Pole’ victory speech.  These days it’s a bit easier, with a variety of Antarctic polar tours between November and March each year and cruising in comfort on state-of-the-art polar vessels.  But don’t be fooled – as adventures go, this is the big one – you’ll cross the infamous Drake Passage and set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, explore ice-dotted bays by zodiac and get up close with gentoo penguins and migrating blue whales. ‘Antarctic tours’ doesn’t really do it justice. These are Antarctic adventures.

 

ROUTE

Start: Ushuaia, Argentina, Drake Passage, at sea including Anvers Island, Deception Island and South Shetland Islands.
Finish: Ushuaia, Argentina.

 

THE SHIP – OCEAN ENDEAVOUR – YOUR HOME ON THE SEA

To ensure that your trip is as comfortable as possible while on board, your chosen vessel is equipped with modern conveniences like LED televisions and internet connectivity, along with luxurious touches that make each voyage a true pleasure.  Each ship boasts onboard chefs to prepare a range of hearty, quality meals, and onboard experts to ensure you spend more time seeing the sights and less time thumbing through a guidebook.

The Ocean Endeavour is a far cry from the expedition vessels of old.  Not only is it one of the few polar expedition ships in Antarctica with a focus on health and wellness, but it also has one crew member for every eight travellers.  This means you’ll enjoy a more personal, informative and comfortable trip.  With a gym, library, wide range of cabin types, modern Zodiacs and 360° views from the unique fly deck, the Ocean Endeavour is quite literally the coolest way to take the trip of a lifetime.  If you’re going to explore Antarctica, you might as well do it right.

 

Boat features

Classification Expedition
Total number of passengers 200
Total number of crew 124
Passenger to crew ratio 1:8
Guide Naturalist guide, ornithologist, marine biologist, historian, geologist, photographer
Regions Antarctica


ADVENTURE ADD ON’s

Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages.  Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping and snowshoeing.  All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost.  Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking.  For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential.

 

WHAT ANIMALS LIVE ON ANTARCTICA

Earth’s coldest, driest and windiest continent may not be very hospitable to human life, but the wonders of adaptation mean Antarctica’s waters and lands are home to 235 animal species.  The creatures that thrive in this seemingly barren environment capture our imagination as living proof of the remarkable resilience and adaptivity of life on earth.  They are also incredibly photogenic, so best get your camera ready.

Emperor penguin: The big daddy of the penguin world, emperor penguins can grow up to 1.2 metres tall (4 ft) and weigh up to 45 kilograms (100 lbs).  They are only found deep in the coldest parts of Antarctica and huddle together in large groups to stay warm.  Find them: Northern Antarctic Peninsula, breeding during winter.

Adelie penguin: Easily recognised by the white ring around their eyes, the Adelies also have stiff wings that can propel them to depths of 100 meters (330 ft) underwater.  Aside from emperor penguins, Adelie penguins are the only true Antarctic penguins, meaning they live there all year long.  Find them: Antarctic Peninsula, breeding from October to February, chicks present from late December to February.

Leopard seal: The only seals that kill other mammals for food, the solitary and adventurous leopard seal will migrate far and wide in search of a feast.  They have long bodies covered in spots (hence the name) and incredibly sharp teeth.  As they aren’t fond of company, spotting them is a rare treat.  Find them: Southern Antarctic Peninsula.

Crabeater seal: Crabeaters are the most commonly found seal in the world, with an estimated population of up to 15 million.  The male and females are both roughly the same size and have pale, cream coloured fur and a pointy face.  You won’t care that they’re common when you see them – trust us.  Find them: anywhere with pack ice.

Blue whale: The largest animal to have ever lived on planet earth.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  The biggest blue whale on record weighed nearly 200 tonnes – to put that in perspective, an adult male African elephant weighs 6 tonnes.  Blue-grey in colour, these beauties are rarely spotted, but if seen are impossible to forget.  Find them: South Georgia Island and Antarctic Peninsula, most active February to March. 

Antarctic orca:  The ‘killer whale’ is technically part of the dolphin family.  With their iconic glossy black back and striking white bellies, there is little chance of missing this mammal if they are close by.  Males grow up to nine-and-a-half metres (31 ft) in length, while females clock in at seven metres (23 ft).  Find them: All over Antarctica, most active February to March. 

Wandering albatross: One of the world’s largest seabirds, the albatross spends most of its time up in the air and can be easily spotted thanks to its long wings.  They love to glide behind big ships, so when you’re standing out on deck, look up at the skies and you may spot these graceful birds.  Find them: All over the continent, but most common in the skies around South Georgia. 

Antarctic petrel: Petrels spend all their time out at sea, so are very resilient even in the harshest of Antarctica’s weather.  The only time they will come inland is to nest.  Look out for colonies resting on icebergs in November, December and January – their brown colouring stands out against the white ice.  Find them: All over the continent. 

 

WHY CHOOSE THIS CRUISE:

Purpose-built ships: The ships are built for polar conditions, with ice-strengthened hulls and safety being the biggest priority.  Each vessel is equipped with modern conveniences and provides the perfect platform for Antarctic exploration.

Expert leaders: Intrepid’s experienced leaders have made hundreds of polar voyages.  Learn about the history, geography and wildlife of the Antarctic from experts in the field, including naturalists and ornithologists who are always at the ready to answer questions.

Twice daily excursions: Frequent excursions take place to get up-close to wildlife, allowing you to experience what it’s like exploring onshore.  Each day includes two excursions with your leaders exploring the sea ice, ready to encounter any wildlife that may waiting.  You’ll be given life vests and waterproof boots for each excursion.

Full board: All cruises provide three course meals, 24-hour tea and coffee, and main activities including Zodiac excursions, onboard seminars and shore landings.  The chefs know just how to warm you up after your Antarctic outing, just be ready for a second serving!

Safety: All the ships and operations teams undergo strict safety audits.  Intrepid is committed to upholding the highest safety standards on all our trips operating within the Antarctic region.

Sustainable travel: Intrepid strives to use travel as a force for good.  That’s why they choose to give back to the communities that they visit, carbon offset all trips and take social and environmental responsibilities seriously.  They have officially been certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp.

 

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS TRIP

This is the extended, 11-day version of the classic Antarctica cruise, perfect for first time explorers or seasoned adventurers. With an extra day on the Antarctic Peninsula, you will experience more of the Great White Continent.

Freezing is great but freedom is better.  Customise your trip with a wide range of optional activities on top of regular Zodiac excursions.  Explore the water by kayak, sign up for a photography masterclass, rejuvenate with some onboard yoga and a massage, take a refreshing polar plunge or camp overnight like a true polar explorer.

Whereas most polar expeditions of this kind have a crew-to-passenger ratio of ten, fifteen or twenty to one, Intrepid expeditions on the Ocean Endeavour have an expedition crew member for every 8 passengers for a greater personal touch.

The experienced leaders have made hundreds of polar voyages between them.  They’re experts in marine biology, glaciology and Antarctic history, and they’ll share their knowledge throughout the journey during a comprehensive lecture program.

Rest assured that footprints are all you’ll leave behind.  Your Antarctica expedition is carbon offset, and we serve only sustainably sourced seafood, avoid single-use plastics and use biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaning products.

Travelling solo? This is your perfect Antarctic adventure, with single cabins at the same price as some twins.

 

IS THIS TRIP RIGHT FOR YOU?

Although the ice-strengthened ships are big and sturdy, the Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough.  Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings, so please be prepared with medications to combat this – we’d hate for you to miss a single minute of this journey.  There is also a doctor on board should you need further assistance.

Believe it or not, temperatures in the Antarctic can be freezing and yet it can get surprisingly warm when the sun comes out, for instance, or with increased physical activity.  It’s best to dress in layers when you journey outside and you will be provided with waterproof boots that are sturdy, warm and highly fashionable (in Antarctica, at least).

Depending on the weather, you’ll be zipping around in a Zodiac boat quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife.  It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry.  Being cold and miserable is one thing, having no photos to show for it is another.  Sturdy sea legs are needed for wet and dry landings from the boat, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces.  The Ocean Endeavour has a lift, but you’ll need to take the stairs to get to the gangway and some other parts of the ship that the lift does not provide access to.

The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure, and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for.  A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially in such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting).  We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather.  The ship’s library and educational lectures are ideal ways to stay entertained, while the wellness spa, saunas, gym and yoga classes will keep you fresh for when the weather clears.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Discount applicable as follows:

Category 4 & 4A:  40% OFF when customers pay in full by 30 September 2020.

Category 5 & 6:     15%  OFF for a deposit payment, an additional 15% off IF paid in full by 30 September 2020.

Category 7, 8, 9: 20% OFF for a deposit payment , an additional 15% off IF paid in full by 30 September 2020.

Category 10:        25% OFF for a deposit payment, an additional 15% off IF paid in full by 30 September 2020.

T & Cs Apply.

 

Special offer also available on the following dates and cruises:

15% off Category 5 & 6 on the following voyages:

Best of Antarctica: 11 November 2021, 20 November 2021, 29 December 2021

Antarctic Eclipse: 29 November 2021

Christmas in Antarctica: 20 December 2021

WWF Giants of Antarctica: 16 February 2022

WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica: 25 February 2022

Antarctica Falklands and South Georgia Odyssey: 09 March 2022

20% off Category 7 & 8 on the following voyages:

Best of Antarctica: 11 November 2021, 20 November 2021, 29 December 2021

Antarctic Eclipse: 29 November 2021

Christmas in Antarctica: 20 December 2021

WWF Giants of Antarctica: 16 February 2022

WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica: 25 February 2022

20% off Category 9 on the following voyages:

Best of Antarctica: 11 November 2021, 20 November 2021

Antarctic Eclipse: 29 November 2021

Christmas in Antarctica: 20 December 2021

WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica: 25 February 2022

25% off Category 10 on the following voyages:

Best of Antarctica: 11 November 2021, 20 November 2021

Antarctic Eclipse: 29 November 2021

40% pay in full for Category 4 & 4A cabins on the following voyages:

Antarctic Eclipse: 29 November 2021

Christmas in Antarctica: 20 December 2021

Best of Antarctica: 29 December 2021

WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica: 25 February 2022

 

Note:

Offers available on new bookings only.

Made and deposited between 07th September 2020 and 30th September 2020

Travel from 01st November 2021 to 31 March 2022 on selected departures on the Ocean Endeavour only.

Spaces can only be held without payment for a period of 72 hours before being released.

Cannot be combined with any other discount.

Discounts apply to voyage fare only and are not applicable on land tours, additional on-board activities, additional hotel accommodation or transfers, flights, travel insurance.

Does not apply to group bookings.

Category 1, 2 and 3 cabins are not part of this promotion.

40% off Category 4 and 4A cabins on applicable voyages must be paid in full at time of booking. No discount applicable for deposit only.

All other voyages are applicable for a further 15% off the reduced price if full payment is made at time of booking.

Cabins are limited and offers may be withdrawn or amended at any time.

 

Payment requirements:

A deposit amount of ZAR17 545 per person for trips 11 days or less and ZAR35 090 for trips longer than 11 days.  This is required at the time of booking with full payment due at 95 days prior to departure.

To receive the additional 15% full payment discount, full payment needs to be made at the time of booking.

All other booking terms and conditions apply as per the supplier website.

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Antarctica – it’s a place of extremes, where the wildlife and landscape paint a picture like nowhere else in the world. Antarctica is so far removed from most people’s reality that it may as well be on a different planet. While it’s a mesmerising travel destination, it is also an interactive experience for travellers. Take to the extraordinary islands around the Antarctic Peninsula, spending 10 days on an unforgettable polar expedition – a stunning reward for conquering the Drake Passage. Amid the Antarctic’s barren beauty, you may well encounter orcas, humpback whales, seals and more. Explore the ice-filled waters by Zodiac then set foot on the rock and ice, into the world of bustling penguins - everything that makes up this mysterious continent. Spend your evenings and days at sea staying in modern and comfortable lodgings and enjoying its health and wellness facilities. Welcome to the pinnacle of adventure travel – an expedition to Antarctica.

Itinerary

DAY 1 - USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
DAY 1 - USHUAIA, ARGENTINA

Welcome to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. Upon your arrival at the Malvinas Argentina’s Ushuaia International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. Ushuaia is a city on the island of Tierra del Fuego in the Tierra del Fuego Province of Argentina. At night you will be briefed, at the hotel, on the journey and details for tomorrow’s embarkation, but if you happen to arrive early there are a surprising amount of ways to entertain yourself at ‘The End of the World’. Check out the Museo Maritimo to brush up on the region’s history, or take a stroll down Avenida San Martin if you’re after any last-minute essentials before departing. Oh, and did we mention this is Argentina – if all else fails, head to a local restaurant to get your fill of red wine and steak. Muy bueno! Meals Included: There are no meals included on this day.

DAY 2 - USHUAIA AND EMBARKATION DAY
DAY 2 - USHUAIA AND EMBARKATION DAY

This afternoon you’ll board the Ocean Endeavour, settle into your cabin and begin cruising down the stunning Beagle Channel, named for Charles Darwin’s ship. The channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America, and as the ship pulls away from port there’s always an air of anticipation. Wave goodbye to Argentina and know that the next time you see land you’ll be staring at Antarctica. Meals Included: Breakfast & dinner.

DAYS 3 & 4 - DRAKE PASSAGE CROSSING
DAYS 3 & 4 - DRAKE PASSAGE CROSSING

The time has come to cross the Drake Passage, the legendary body of water named after English explorer Sir Francis Drake. If the conditions are right, enjoy some time out on the deck to spot dolphins, orcas or perhaps albatross. If the waters are a little rough, the Ocean Endeavour is equipped with some seriously lush facilities for you to take advantage of. As well as safety briefings, a comprehensive lecture program will run throughout the journey delivered by experts in Antarctica’s history, geology and biology. With any luck we’ll make it to land by early evening on Day 4 – a moment that always brings much excitement. Meals Included: Breakfast (2) / Lunch (2) / Dinner (2).

DAYS 5 & 8 - ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
DAYS 5 & 8 - ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

The adventure truly begins once the Antarctic Convergence is left in your wake and exchanged for four incredible days of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Stare wide-eyed at glaciers, mountains and an unimaginable array of wildlife as the sheer magnitude and rawness of the area comes to light. Every day is a new adventure, and you’ll explore ice-filled bays and channels as well as Antarctica itself on Zodiac excursions and by foot. While the landscapes will no doubt take your breath away, Antarctica is all about the wildlife.
Visit penguin rookeries, spot humpback and minke whales and look out for leopard seals, all while calving glaciers crack through the immense silence. Meals Included: Breakfast (4) / Lunch (4) / Dinner (4)

DAYS 9 & 10 - AT SEA
DAYS 9 & 10 - AT SEA

Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula as we begin our return leg to Ushuaia. Take the opportunity to share photographs with fellow travellers, use your now expert skills in wildlife spotting and enjoy the final lectures from your polar experts. It’s also a great opportunity to make use of the Ocean Endeavour’s health and wellness facilities, including its saunas, spa, heated pool, yoga classes and gym. Meals Included: Breakfast (2) / Lunch (2) / Dinner (2).

DAY 11 - USHUAIA AND DISEMBARKATION DAY
DAY 11 - USHUAIA AND DISEMBARKATION DAY

Your Antarctic adventure draws to a close after breakfast this morning. Farewell your shipmates and transfer to the airport if you’re flying out today, or perhaps spend some more time exploring this incredible part of the world. A departure transfer to the airport is included in your voyage fare if you are flying out today. If you are flying out today, please do not book your flight to depart Ushuaia before midday in case of any delays caused by unfavourable weather conditions. Meals Included: Breakfast.

Included/Exclude

  • 1 Nights' comfortable hotel accommodation in Ushuaia
  • 9 Nights' accommodation expedition cruise ship
  • 10 breakfasts / 8 lunches / 9 dinners
  • Transport by expedition cruise ship & zodiac
  • Return international flights, JNB - Argentina return
  • Return domestic flights, Buenos Aires - Ushuaia return
  • Flights can be arranged through XL Travel Centurion
  • Additional accommodation nights
  • All meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Visa and airport taxes
  • Travel and Medical Insurances
  • Service and gratuity fees
  • All expenses of a personal nature
  • Equipment and clothing not mentioned

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Ushuaia, Argentina

FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A voyage to Antarctica is a momentous thing, and chances are you have a question or two about your journey. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about our Antarctica tours here. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly staff if you have any further questions.
What’s included on your Antarctic trips?
Comfortable accommodation and comprehensive pre-departure information ensure the essential details are taken care of. Our onboard chefs pride themselves on all meals provided, with tea and coffee available around the clock. On departure, you will be provided with rubber boots to use for the duration of your trip so you are ready to explore. On all our polar expeditions, you have the option to step off the ship onto our fleet of sturdy Zodiac boats. Opportunities for bird and wildlife watching are the backbone of our expeditions. Groups are hosted by world-renowned naturalists and ornithologists, giving you insights to the Antarctic environment and its wildlife.
What’s not included in your Antarctic trips?
When booking your voyage, please enquire about international and domestic flights and transfers to and from your destination. We can arrange tour accommodation pre- and post-trip. Optional activities such as sea kayaking, snowshoeing and camping need to be booked prior to your journey. Drinks, souvenirs, laundry services and any communication charges are not included and need to be purchased separately.
Where do your tours begin and end?
Most cruises depart from southern South America, such as Ushuaia (Argentina), Punta Arenas (Chile) or Montevideo (Uruguay). Some cruises include visits to the nearby Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia. A small number of cruises go to the Ross Sea side of the continent, departing from Hobart, Australia or the South Island of New Zealand.
What optional activities are included during the expedition?
While you get the opportunity to step off the ship for an up-close look at wildlife and take part in excursions, there are other ways to get a perspective of the Great White Continent. Hike to remote alcoves with an experienced guide, go sea kayaking, snowshoeing and camping through calm water among sea birds (some kayaking experience is essential). These options must be booked prior to departure and incur additional costs. Spaces are limited, so please enquire at the time of booking.
Can I visit Antarctica at any time of year?
Trips to Antarctica depart between November and March. This is during the summer months when the ice melts enough to allow access and there is enough light to explore and see wildlife.
How far in advance should I book an Antarctica trip?
As Antarctic trips are seasonal, they tend to book out quickly. Our advice is to book as soon as you've made the decision to travel – you can look at availability on the trip page.

International flights are available for booking approximately 11 months prior to tour departure date. Please contact us to discuss booking options.
How fit do I need to be to participate?
All of our Antarctic trips have a low physical rating of one or two, which means they are accessible to people of all levels of fitness with no major mobility issues, and do not require any physical preparation. Activities onshore and excursions involve a bit of walking, but all are optional. You’ll be visiting sites where at times you may have to cross uneven ground and take on challenging conditions underfoot. You will have support stepping on and off the Zodiac boats.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your group leader before taking part.

You can learn more about our physical rating system here, and read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ section under the trip you're interested in to find out specifics.
Do I need to take part in every activity?
An Antarctic voyage can be as active or as low-key as you want it to be. While a trip to Antarctica provides many opportunities to get off the ship, it’s up to you whether you want to venture further afield on a Zodiac boat or explore onshore. Some optional activities need to be booked before departing.
What should I pack for an Antarctica trip?
Once you've confirmed your booking we will send out a detailed pre-departure Essential Trip Information pack covering practical information, including a general packing list and any specific items you may need to bring. This is particularly important for polar trips. Your consultant will be happy to assist you with any further questions.
Are there any age restrictions on your tours?
There is no specific upper age limit on our tours. We welcome travellers over the age of eight to join us on our Antarctic expeditions, provided those under the age of 18 are accompanied by a legal guardian. Please note that height and weight restrictions apply for excursion by Zodiac and some optional activities have separate age limits. It’s best to contact us directly to discuss specifics. Check the Essential Trip Information for physical rating and activities involved to see if a trip is right for you.
Who will I be travelling with?
You will likely find a diverse group of ages and nationalities on board. All programs are delivered in English.
Are children allowed on polar trips?
Due to the nature of polar expeditions, the minimum age for children to take part is 8 years and those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. In addition, there is a minimum height and weight restriction for riding in a Zodiac (the smaller inflatable speedboat used on excursions and for boarding). Age limits also apply to optional activities. Children are not commonly travelling on these trips but it is still possible. We can discuss your options with you.
I am travelling alone. Will you find a roommate for me?
If you’re travelling alone, you’ll be paired with someone of the same gender to bunk with. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll be happy to work with you to organise a rooming configuration that you feel comfortable with.

If you don’t want to share your space, mention it to our customer service team when booking and they may be able to organise your own room – we call this a single supplement – depending on availability. You may need to pay a single supplement charge.
Can I pay a single supplement and get my own room?
If you're travelling solo and would prefer not to be paired up with a fellow traveller to share a room, ask your booking consultant if the tour you’re interested in offers a 'single supplement' so that you can be allocated a room alone – this is subject to availability and an additional charge.

If you are travelling with someone, please let us know what room setup you would prefer (twin or double, or in some cases triple rooms may be available).
What is the average group size for Antarctic voyages?
The average group size for an Antarctic voyage is between 132 and 200 people, depending on which ship you choose. Depending on the group size, the number of passengers may be split so that, on a given day, half can venture out in Zodiacs on the water and the other half explore onshore. All passengers take part in planned activities.
Do I need to have travel insurance?
Travel insurance is absolutely necessary on all Intrepid tours, and a condition of travel. When selecting your policy, it should be comprehensive and cover for medical expenses, including emergency repatriation. We strongly suggest the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. We can organise travel insurance for you at any stage prior to travel.
Are there any vaccinations required for this region?
Vaccinations vary from country to country. We strongly recommend you visit your travel doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure, so allow plenty of time.
Will I experience seasickness?
The waters of the Antarctic can be rough, especially when crossing the Drake Passage. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before departing. It's also recommended that passengers come equipped with motion sickness tablets or patches, and avoid eating greasy foods or consuming alcohol. There is a doctor on board to assist in severe cases.
Is tipping included? If not, how much should I budget?
Gratuities are generally not included in your voyage and are at your discretion. We recommend you allow USD 15 per day for the hotel and ships’ crew and an additional amount if you wish to tip the expedition team. Please see the pre-departure information under the ‘Money Matters’ section of your Essential Trip Information to see if your voyage includes gratuities.
Can you help arrange my travel visas?
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a rule of thumb, most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

We keep the visa information in our Essential Trip Information up to date as much as possible. But rules do change, so it is important to check visa information for yourself.
What happens if there is bad weather?
Trip delays and unforeseen disruptions are not uncommon in Antarctica – mainly due to weather and sea conditions – so a travel insurance policy that covers bad weather delays is an absolute must (especially if you are travelling on a fly/cruise voyage). When travelling in remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel and means that every voyage is unique. Please be aware that while we endeavour to make the best arrangements for each trip, no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
What happens if I need to change or cancel my tour?
Cancellation conditions are laid out in the ‘Important Information’ section of your Essential Trip Information. We will endeavour to allow changes to your booking, but please note that fees will apply (with a penalty of up to 100%) depending on when the changes are made.
Can I join a tour at a later time after official departure or leave earlier?
Generally it’s not possible to join a tour after it has departed. As our destinations are extremely remote and itineraries can vary to suit the conditions, there are minimal opportunities to meet the ship at another point.
Who operates the tours?
Our polar trips are operated by our partners Chimu Adventures and Quark Expeditions. Both offer unrivalled expertise, state-of-the-art ships and the highest safety standards.

We have launched a new range of voyages departing in 2020/21 that will be operated by Intrepid Travel on our newly acquired ship, the Ocean Endeavour.
What type of food will I eat?
The food served on our cruise ships is excellent. Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet style, with dinners generally served to your table and usually featuring three courses. A vegetarian choice is always offered. The range of food is diverse, with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of gourmet dishes.
What if I have dietary requirements or restrictions?
If you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please let us know before the trip starts. If you have a more restrictive dietary requirement (vegan, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, etc) it is likely you can be catered for. Unfortunately we are unable to cater for a kosher diet.
Are snacks available during the day and in between meals?
Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is provided every day.
How does Intrepid minimise its environmental impact in Antarctica?
Intrepid’s partners, Chimu Adventures and Quark Expeditions, are both members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators operators (IATTO) – dedicated to promoting and practicing safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica.

Members of IATTO are obligated to operate within the parameters of the Antarctic Treaty System along with IMO Conventions and similar international and national laws and agreements.
How can I be environmentally conscious during my trip?
Tourism and cruise activities in the Antarctic operate within a comprehensive framework of international and national laws and regulations to ensure safety and preservation of the environment.

You will be briefed during each trip on the best way to be respectful, environmentally friendly and safe during the expedition.

Top responsible travel tips for The Antarctic:

Don’t use aircraft, vessels, small boats or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.

Don’t feed, touch or handle birds or seals, and don’t approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or moulting.

To avoid damaging plants, refrain from walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.

Don’t take ‘souvenirs’ of rocks or flora off the island.

Don’t use guns or explosives. Keep noise to a minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.

Ensure that all backpacks and clothing that will be worn on shore are free of seeds and other foreign matter before going ashore.

Know the location of areas that have been afforded special protection and observe any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near those areas.

Be careful not to damage, remove, or destroy historic sites or monuments, or any artefacts associated with them.

Don’t interfere with scientific research facilities or equipment.

Dispose of rubbish thoughtfully, including cigarette butts. Refrain from smoking in wilderness areas and leave no rubbish behind.

For more tips, see the IATTO visitor guidelines.
Where is Antarctica?
Antarctica is the seventh continent in the world, located on the southernmost part of the globe. Its closest access point is in South America (Ushuaia, Argentina is the major thoroughfare for Antarctic cruises). From here you can visit the Antarctic Peninsula as well as the sub Antarctic islands such as South Georgia and the Falkland islands. A cruise will take anywhere from 10 to 23 days when leaving from Ushuaia; if crossing directly to the peninsula you can be there in as soon as one-and-a-half to two days.

Punta Arenas in Chile is another gateway for cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula. From there, travellers may take a flight to the South Shetland Islands to board their vessel – perfect for those looking to cruise in Antarctica but avoid the Drake Passage.

Limited cruises depart from Hobart, Australia, or the South Island of New Zealand, involving approximately a 28-day expedition to Commonwealth Bay, a remote location rarely visited by tourists. The cruise is inspired by the Australian scientific explorer Douglas Mawson. Visits may include Macquarie Island, Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands, the East Antarctic coast, impressive Commonwealth Bay and, depending on conditions, the legendary Mawson's Hut.
What country is Antarctica in?
Antarctica is governed internationally through the Antarctic Treaty system. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by the 12 countries whose scientists had been active in and around Antarctica at the time. Among the original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty were Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. These countries have various territorial claims to parts of Antarctica, some of which overlap. The Antarctic Treaty helps avoid any conflict over sovereignty. It entered into force in 1961 and has since been agreed to by many other nations.
When is the best time to visit Antarctica?
Late spring and early summer (November to early December)
As the winter pack-ice begins to melt, fresh and magnificent ice landscapes emerge and animals come out to play.

Witness the courting rituals of colonies of penguins and seabirds

Watch seals take to fast ice and shorelines

See spring wildflowers bloom on Falkland and South Georgia Islands

View elephant and fur seals establishing breeding territories

See ice at its sharpest.

Full summer (mid-December to January)

The festive season sees local wildlife activity reach an incredible peak.

Watch seal pups play on Falkland and South Georgia Islands

Keep an eye out for the increasing number of visiting whales

The long days and wondrous midnight light is perfect for photography

Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins are sheltering eggs; chicks hatch in January.

Late summer (February to March)

At this spectacular time of year, you can witness:

Penguin chicks beginning to fledge

Snow algae in bloom

Beautiful Antarctic sunrises and sunsets

Whale sightings at their best
What is the average temperature and weather in Antarctica?
The Antarctic is only accessible during the southern hemisphere’s summer, generally between December and March when the sea ice melts enough to enable access.

The warmest month is January. Coastal areas of Antarctica experience milder temperatures with summer temperatures generally reaching a maximum of 5°–15°C (41–59°F), with long periods of constant sunlight.

On the west coast the temperatures exceed 0°C (32°F) for three to four months during the summer (December to March) and rarely fall below –10°C (–14° F) during the winter.

The east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is much colder, with mean temperatures exceeding 0°C for a month at most and winter temperatures ranging from –5°C to –25°C (23 to –13°F). In winter, mean temperatures are usually between –10°C and –30°C (14 to –20°F) near the coast, falling to below –60°C (–76°F) on the high interior plateau, with long periods of constant darkness.
What wildlife might I see in Antarctica?
Each day brings the possibility of new wildlife sightings, including Adelie and king penguins; leopard and Weddell seals; orcas patrolling the waters; fin and humpback whales breaching nearby; and in some parts you can see albatross. The opportunities to encounter wildlife on each voyage are endless.
Who owns the ships that Intrepid Travel expeditions are on?
Intrepid works in partnership with Chimu Adventures and Quark Expeditions in providing polar trips with an experienced team on the ground, having led thousands of voyages. However, our new range of voyages which are departing in 2020 and 2021 will take place aboard Intrepid's newly acquired ship, the Ocean Endeavour.
What type of ships do you use in Antarctica?
All expedition vessels have ice strengthened hulls so they are perfectly suited to travel in this icy environment. As well as being tough expedition vessels, they are built for passenger comfort; all cabins have an ensuite, majority of cabins are external with either a window or a porthole, and the ships’ restaurants, lecture theatres and lounges are warm and cosy.
What is a Zodiac?
All ships are accompanied by a sturdy, inflatable fleet of Zodiac boats. These small vessels fit 10–12 people and are used to transfer passengers from the ship to the shore. Essential to all polar voyages, they’re also used to navigate closer to the ice and get up close to marine life.
Is medical assistance available onboard if I fall ill?
Yes. A licensed doctor and emergency doctor is assigned to every ship.
Are the ships accessible for people with physical restrictions?
Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access on our ships. Some ships have lifts but these may not access all decks on the ship. There are often stairways, and passengers need to be mobile enough to keep themselves steady and be able to get around reasonably without being assisted. We can help you to further clarify whether this trip is right for you.
Is there internet, wi-fi, email or telephone access available on the ships?
Internet access is available on most Antarctic ships, at a cost. Alternatively, there may be a ship-based email system where you will have an email account to stay in touch with family and friends. Because of the remoteness of Antarctica, connections can be slow, so all ships charge for data used rather than time spent online. Please refer to your detailed pre-departure information for more information on Internet facilities on your ship.
Is there mobile phone coverage in Antarctica?
No, but a satellite phone is available (for emergencies only).
Can my family and friends contact me while I’m on board in the case of an emergency at home?
Yes. There is a number to call the ship and you can purchase data for the wi-fi onboard, although the connection is intermittent and not to be relied on.
What is the currency used onboard?
There is no currency in Antarctica. The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentinean peso, in Chile it is the Chilean peso and in Uruguay it is the Uruguayan peso. If your Antarctic cruise includes the Falkland Islands, the currency of the islands is the Falkland Islands pound, although the GBP is accepted as well. If you visit Port Lockroy Post Office on the Antarctic Peninsula, USD is accepted, as is the GBP and EUR. Most cruise ships accept EUR and USD. Major credit cards, particularly Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted on board. In general, all onboard purchases made during the cruise are charged to your cabin and settled at the end of the voyage.
Will I be able to change currency onboard?
No. You will need to come prepared with local currency for any purchases made off the ship. Refer to your pre-departure information for more detail.
What forms of payment do you accept onboard?
Major credit cards are accepted on all ships. Refer to your pre-departure information for information on currencies accepted onboard.
What language is spoken onboard?
All announcements made onboard are in English. At times, there may be large groups of non-English speakers travelling with their own translator. Although the crew will be from various countries and speak multiple languages, the only translation service offered for individual travellers is on Quark ships in Mandarin.
Are life jackets provided?
Yes, all ships are equipped with life jackets. You will wear a life jacket every time you step off the ship and into a Zodiac boat, or if you choose to go kayaking.
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