Preparing for your voyage
This is truly a trip of a lifetime, hence you will want to prepare as much as possible for your adventure. Prior to your voyage, typically 60 days or more out, we will send you an expedition manual with complete information regarding what to bring, what to expect with weather and wildlife, typical life onboard the ship, photography tips, and other important matters.
Since this is an expedition, the emphasis is on wildlife encounters, personal contact with the environs, visiting sites of historical interest and to a lesser extent scientific stations. The actual day to day program will vary to take best advantage of local conditions, spontaneous opportunities and wildlife movements. Experience in Antarctic waters dictates that a flexible program is essential: the published itinerary as merely a guide to some of our best opportunities. No two voyages are the same, so come prepared with a sense of adventure as there is always an element of the unexpected.
Select informal, practical attire for your trip that can be worn in layers. There is no dress code onboard. Emphasize clothing that retains warmth even when wet (e.g. don’t bring too much cotton, instead choose wool, fleece, polypropylene, and quick drying new fabrics). Bring a daypack, lined with a garbage bag or dry bag, packed with extra layers, allowing you to layer on and off at will.
Optional activities (e.g. scuba, sea kayaking, camping, etc.)
On a number of expeditions, you may have the opportunity to enjoy a range of very unique and exciting activities, at extra cost and availability permitting. These include:
- Camping on Antarctica
- Sea kayaking
- Scuba diving
In the pricing tab, you will see the optional activities offered on each expedition. If you need assistance, just call or email us.
You will want to reserve your activities before you go; however you can make your final decisions after you reserve your expedition space. Activities are weather dependent and offered with limited availability. For more information on any of these activities, email us and we can provide more details including cost, what to expect, etc.
You will want to be in good overall health before your trip. You should be able to walk several hours per day. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like.
To join most excursions, you must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. This will become progressively easier with practice. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. You are travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.
There is a doctor onboard the ship, as well as a modest infirmary.
Many people are understandably concerned about sea-sickness. Whether you become ill depends very much on the individual. Our experience is that a small percentage of people get sick on any trip and most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to sea-sickness then it is recommended you talk with your general physician prior to the trip. Bring enough motion sickness tablets or patches with you, drink plenty of water, and be sure you have eaten enough and feel rested. The ship physician will be there for emergencies and to treat sick passengers.
*** Please note: it is mandatory to have emergency evacuation insurance for this trip; the insurance should provide for a minimum of US$50,000 or more in evacuation related costs.
Food onboard your vessel is delicious, prepared by professional chefs. It is truly international cuisine. Breakfasts are buffet style, while lunches and dinners are sit down affairs, typically with three courses: soup, salad, and the main dish. Usually you will have a choice of vegetarian, meat, or fish. The staff can and do prepare special meals for those with unique dietary needs or requests - just let us know before you go.
The specialized Expedition staff generally consists of 1 Expedition Leader, 1 Assistant Expedition Leader, and 6 Guides. All 8 of the expedition staff also serve as expert lecturers while on the cruise.
The ship crew is generally Russian, while the hotel staff is often European.
Crew & guide tips, laundry bill, bar tab, and gifts purchased fro the small gift shop can all be paid at the end of the cruise via a credit card, either Visa or MasterCard (only). Alternatively, bills can be settled in cash, either in Euros or US dollars.
When you are on the mainland, in Argentina, know that most major restaurants and hotels generally take major cards. The local currency in Argentina is the peso.
INTERNET & Telephone Calls
On board the vessel, there is a satelite phone and a small internet cafe with 3 computers. Please be aware that there is a charge for any calling or emails sent or received as all communications are satelitle based.
In Argentina, internet is widely available especially in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. For phones, global cell phones will work and often only in the larger towns. You may want to consider renting one or getting a satellite phone. Our recommendation is to call your cell phone provider and seek their assistance to find out what your cell phone's and plan's capabilities are while on the mainland.
The main language on the expedition vessels is English.