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Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

NZ
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Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

Hello everyone, I'm slowly starting to plan and think about a trip to Antarctica for the 2014/15 season and was looking for some advice.

Firstly, I'm based in New Zealand, which means the NZ departure could be easier, but I've heard those voyages are much longer at sea, and they dont go to places that are as interesting as those that leave from Argentina? Is this true? What are the key differences? (what you see, how long at sea, price, etc)

And for more background info as to what I'm looking for...

I'd like to at least set foot on Antarctica, and not just stay on the boat

If possible, perhaps even spend 1 night or 2 on Antarctica. I've heard there are some that will have you sleeping in a tent on the continent

I've heard some options allow for sea kayaking?

It'd be nice to see some penguins

I've heard there's a place where there's a 'red waterfall' or spot on the ice or something?

and lastly, I've heard the seas can get quite rough... as I do sometimes get seasick, I imagine this means I'd have to find a bigger boat (which I also realize will make it harder to get ashore). Are there some trips that have the best of both worlds and allow you to be on a bigger (more stable?) boat, yet also allow for one to go ashore via some smaller boat when you get close?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

cheers

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

If you take a look at a map you will see its logical that the voyage from NZ to Antarctica has considerably more sea days than from Ushuaia.

For example - when I left from Hobart it was day 6 that we started seeing bergs, day 7 land.

When I have left from Ushuaia we had bergs on day 2, sub antarctic island day 3 and the continent day 4.

Your New Zealand option is http://www.heritage-expeditions.com (cant think of any others in the region off the top of my head).

Your Ushuaia options are too many to list - off the top of my head:

http://www.peregrineadventures.com

http://www.quarkexpeditions.com

http://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com

http://www.gadventures.com

abercrombiekent.com/travel-destinations/anta…

If you want to set foot on the continent then stick with these small ship expedition companies (that stock zodiacs) rather than the big ships.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
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2. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

oops one other thing - you are looking at the coming season. Most of the itineraries for that season were released 6 months ago so the early bird sales are mostly over (ie the ones where you can save 20% or more depending on the company).

Best to go to each website and suscribe to their email list so you start recieving emails for any other special deals. The trips can sell out extremely fast when you are talking about ships with less than 150 passengers. The majority of passengers book 18 months or longer in advance.

However - if you are in a financial position to make the most of last minute deals via the email lists - some pretty good savings can be made there too.

Australia
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3. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

Hi An S

You will not regret any decision you make. I arrived home on 28 February and look at my photos every day. Putting them into folders and which ones to use for photo books. There are no words to describe what I saw in antarctica, other than stunning, awesome, wow! Fabulous and then there is just plain dumbstruck! As far as the sea sickness and rough oceans go, our trip was near perfect, sure there were days where I had to have 2 hands for the deck and looking out the windows or standing on deck when it was not too wild was the best thing. I also found lowered deck and in the middle good for me. The ship supplied motion sickness tablets which I used and then on the days where I thought I needed them I just used the travel calm with ginger and these worked really well. I was a little sleepy on the first 2 days but after that I seemed to be right. I had a great cabin mate who kept running up and down the stairs to check on me. It will be a trip to end all trips and if I can just give my opinion on size of ship, the sea adventurer that I went on was excellent. There were 112 passengers and just a great number. She ploughed through the sheet ice and rode the swells and provided a safe haven when the weather was a little rougher. So, if you want to experience your first trip of a lifetime look at Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic circle, your life will never be the same again after this expedition.

4. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

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Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

I should also mention, there's quite a diversity of vessels --- you can go on a very fancy ship for the shipboard amenities, but I feel that if you want shipboard games, the Mediterranean is a better place to go. For stability, the choice of a very large vessel leaves you unable to land (vessels > 500 passengers), or landing at very few sites usually for less than an hour at a time (vessels of 200-500). My personal favorite is Ortelius, a *wonderfully* stable vessel that carries < 100, so everybody can be ashore at once. When I first boarded her and went to sea, I was delighted that I could hang out on the bridge during crossings without getting seasick as I usually do! There's quite a range in vessel stability, mostly the result of hull design, not necessarily answered by whether or not the ship has active or passive stabilizers.

Boston...
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6. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

Tedcheese - by admitting you are involved with Cheeseman's you have violated TA guidelines against self promotion and solicitation. I kind of figured out as much based on your username and posting the same comment on several different threads though.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

Yep quite a few cheeseman staff have been deleted for self promo over the years here.

Michigan
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8. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

Which IMO detracts from what otherwise appears to be a worthwhile operation.

Edited: 20 March 2014, 14:52
Bendigo, Australia
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9. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

I've done the trip from NZ and yes it is long and you have a much better possibility of it being rough.

I don't think you can say its not as interesting as the Peninsula, they are very different places. The trips from NZ at the moment go to the Ross Sea which has a fascinating history, with Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and their parties living there in the earlier 1900's. The historic huts are fascinating, Adelie Penguin rookeries, the Ross Ice Shelf, the NZ base (if you can get in) and other sights make for a magical place. Stepping foot into the Huts is an experience I will never forgot and I still remember the chill that ran up my spine and the feeling of stepping back in time and looking over my shoulder expecting to find Scott behind me asking what the heck I'm doing trespassing in his home!

Also you get the Sub-Antarctic Islands which are wonderful on the way, especially Macquarie was a real highlight. The days at sea were just as special with the sea birds and whale watching and we spent about four days crunching through ice which was about as special as it gets and dead smooth!

So all I can say is do your research and don't take the lack of information about the trips from NZ as a sign just remember that a lot less people do this trip in any one year. It is expensive, but it is a 30 day trip with only a couple of operators so you need to book early and the 2014-2015 season will probably be already sold out and on wait lists. Good luck and I don't think any trip you go on will disappoint and if it doesn't cover everything on your wishlist you just will have to go back.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
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10. Re: Antarctica: go from Argentina or New Zealand? etc?

I would have to agree Lyn. Having been to both sides they simply cannot be compared with each other.

Take TedCheese's comments with a grain of salt. They were very carefully worded solely to promote his own company and the ship they use (and therefore promoting the peninsular over the top of locations they dont actually visit). His account has been reported to TA for investigation.