It’s probably not the first destination that comes to mind when you think of last-minute vacations. In years past, Antarctic expeditions required a large investment of time and money, often taking travelers off the grid for weeks or even months on end.
Today, advances in cruise and communications technology have made the 7th continent a surprisingly attainable adventure travel destination. In fact, you can visit Antarctica and explore the Antarctic Peninsula in as little as 8 days! Keeping your options open and choosing to cruise last minute in the Polar Regions opens the door to huge savings as well, ensuring you’re receiving maximum value for your vacation budget.
If you’ve been on the fence or bogged down trying to decide the details of the Antarctic vacation you’ve always wanted to take, early season is an excellent time to visit the region. As with all polar travel, we go where the weather and sea conditions dictate – every day is an adventure, and every expedition unique!
It’s not too late to experience Antarctica in 2016.
Here are 5 high-value, last-minute Antarctic voyages departing this November or December.
1) Save $3,500* on Antarctic Express: Cruise South, Fly North
Departure: 6 Dec, 2016
Cruising south from Ushuaia affords travelers the opportunity to cross the famous Drake Passage, a polar rite of passage en route to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. On-board experts and expedition team members will prepare you for an exhilarating week of Zodiac cruises, landing exploration and Adventure Options as you journey south aboard the ice-strengthened Sea Adventurer.First Iceberg!- Photo credits: Quark Passenger Julio Landmann
Keep your eyes open for Adélie penguins adrift in the ice-choked waters of the peninsula. Minke and humpback whales may greet you as the Sea Adventurer guides you through towering, early season icebergs to the pristine white beaches beyond.
At this time of year, penguins are most active, as they begin their courtship and mating rituals. The weather determines our access to various landing sites and activities like snowshoeing Antarctica’s untouched early season icescapes or kayaking its still bays. Flying north over the Drake reduces return travel time: the entire trip takes just 10 days.
Visit Antarctica last minute, and you can save big on the 6 Dec 2016 Antarctic Express: Cruise South, Fly North expedition, with $1,500 in Classic Antarctic Savings and Additional Bonus Savings of $2,000.
2) Visit Antarctica for as Little as $6,795* on Antarctic Explorer Departure: 6 Nov 2016
Early season Antarctica offers you the first glimpse of the 7th continent, with pristine ice and snow. This is Antarctica at its most natural and rugged, before the extension of daylight, traffic of cruise travelers and warming temperatures begin leaving their inevitable fingerprints on the landscape.
This year, the 11-day Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent expedition departing November 6 offers unreal savings. Doubling up booking discounts means this trip on-board the well-appointed Ocean Endeavour is attainable for as little as $6,795.
Visit a chinstrap penguin colony atop a rocky ridge at Orne Harbour by day, and then relax in the restaurant or lounge – or even on the sundeck – with your fellow shipmates in the evening. Sleep off the day’s adventure in your spacious, newly refurbished cabin.
3) Save $1,500* on Antarctic Express: Fly The Drake Departure: 3, 18, 23 Dec 2016
Skipping the nautical Drake crossing entirely means you can reap the financial benefits of joining a cruise last minute while still experiencing one of the world’s last true frontiers – and you can do it in just 8 days.
Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake offers 3 departures in December 2016 that qualify for $1,500 Classic Antarctic Savings.
After your included flight from Santiago, you’ll meet your fellow travelers in Punta Arenas and together you’ll board a comfortable charter flight to King George Island. From the air, you’ll spot the small villages and working scientific stations that dot the craggy landscape of the largest island in the South Shetlands archipelago.
Here, you’ll embark on the adventure travel vacation of a lifetime, aboard the Sea Adventurer, a refurbished, ice-strengthened Yugoslav small ship. Your journey to the Antarctic Peninsula is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history, geology and ecosystem of this impressive place as on-board experts and Expedition Leaders share lectures, photos and their own unique experiences. The captain and crew keep watch for whales and seabirds, alerting shipmates of new sightings.
Passengers have described their first encounter witnessing the spectacle of the Antarctic Peninsula as we approach by water as awe inspiring, overwhelming and unbelievable. As you attempt to take it all in, you might rush to the deck or gather with new friends in the forward-facing lounge while the vastness and incredible scale of the 7th continent looms on the horizon. Whether it inspires excitement or a breathtaking sense of accomplishment at having achieved one of your life’s great goals (it’s not uncommon to see a few tears during this part of the journey!), one thing is for sure: you’ll never be the same.
The next several days promise a whirlwind of Zodiac cruises in search of whales and icebergs, treking frozen beaches teeming with inquisitive penguins and seals, and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime adventures. You might find yourself kayaking one beautiful morning, experiencing the Antarctic shoreline and wildlife from the vantage point of the surface of icy water. By afternoon, you’ll be learning how to tell Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins apart as you encounter colonies on guided hikes.
No two Antarctic vacations are alike – even passengers who’ve visited many times before have a unique experience each trip.
Save up to $6,000 on your Antarctic voyage by traveling between November 2016 and February 2017 with our Classic Antarctic Savings and Additional Bonus Savings, for new bookings by Sept. 30. For the greatest value, explore Antarctica early in the season and cruise last minute. Contact one of our experienced Polar Travel Advisers today to learn more!
*All rates per person in USD.