Antarctica

 

Why join CNH Tours to Antarctica?

In Antarctic waters, you’ll find nearly 100 ships vying for your custom.  They range from minimalist Soviet-era research vessels to glamorous, 1,000+ passenger liners.  Some focus on quick trips, others offer longer itineraries.  Some just "sail by" with no disembarkations, while others let you camp overnight, snorkel with penguins and paddle board around the ice floes. 

There's a ship for all interests. 

Trying to identify a ship and itinerary most suited to yours can be a frustrating endeavor. It takes expert advice to ensure you are making the right choice.

We scoured the world in search for a seasoned Antarctica expert to join our team and help you find that ideal ship, that ideal itinerary.  We contacted the Polar Guides Association.  We combed through our various networks – we left no stone unturned.   After all that effort, we found Antarctica veteran Jane Wilson (see her bio below).   

Jane is at your service.  Consider her your very own Antarctica concierge - able to answer your questions, and help you find a ship and itinerary that will meet your expectations.   Contact her now to start that conversation: jane@cnhtours.com   

 

Trip Vision

Antarctica is remote and rugged.   Conditions can be challenging – but the destination is highly rewarding.  For most, it will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience (though for some, the draw of Antarctica is only intensified after a first visit).   

Under these circumstances, it will be important to experience it in a way that best meets your expectations.   

Some will want to be exposed to the greatest diversity of opportunities to experience the icescapes, seascapes and landscapes.  They will want to be sure they'll have as many opportunities as possible to go ashore and wander about, to develop their own, personal sense of the this "place beyond all places".

Others may be more inclined towards a less active trip, focusing on experiencing the magic of the land and sea without necessarily going on ice-hopping / glacier-summiting hikes.   

To make the best of your time there, you’ll want to have an experienced support team, a seasoned ship’s crew and robust, top-of-the-line conveyances giving you the best odds of a problem-free trip.

With the invaluable help of our 25 year Antarctica veteran, we are uniquely positioned to keep tabs on ships, their reputations, any incidents, the quality of the crew and guides.   Through our networks, we can easily reach out to seek the latest information the constantly changing situation among the service providers in this remote part of the world.  

 

Elements to Consider When Choosing Your Trip

CNH Tours’ Antarctica expert Jane Wilson can accompany you in sifting through the complexities involved in choosing the voyage that is best for you.  To start the process, she has developed a useful list of criteria to consider when deciding on a trip. Once you’ve gone through them, do feel free to contact Jane here and ask her to make some suggestions on ships and trips that best meet your needs.

  1. The ship

One of the most important considerations is the ship of course.   Here are three elements to consider: 

  • Comfort level. From full-on luxury to basic expedition style (but still reasonably comfortable) or even a real adventure on a sailing yacht.  To a certain degree, prices reflect the overall comfort level.  But the law of diminishing return works here as well.  Beyond the basics such as accommodations and typical on-board services, higher prices will start to reflect the addition of extras such as cigar smoking rooms, computer stations for photoshop workshops, on-board museum displays and other such amenities.   
  • Passenger Capacity:
    • Small ships (70-200 guests) have a greater focus on spending time ashore. Of course, the smaller the ship, the more you might feel the sea.
    • Mid-sized ships (200-500 guests), where the experience ashore is still good, but will be somewhat time-constrained due to the logistics of moving people ashore (no more than 100 people are allowed ashore at any given time).
    • Larger ships (500 – 1000+) that ‘sail by’ with no scheduled shore visits. These ships focus on exposing their guests to the varied scenery of the regoin.  This option is ideal for those who may have mobility issues preventing them from embarking / disembarking onto zodiacs.  
  • Ice class: Ships are assigned a particular ice class, depending on their ability to navigate in icy waters.  The ice class is determined in part by hull thickness and overall design.   The better the rating, the more likely your ship will be able to sail relatively unimpeded in Antarctic waters.     
  1. Itinerary – where? How long?

We list below a few of the most common itineraries to illustrate the range of possible options - though variations exist.   

  • Shortest: Fly-in / Fly-out.  A very few companies will have you fly right into Antarctica from Puerto Williams (southern Chile) to board your ship there and start exploring the Antarctic Peninsula right away.  This avoids having to spend 2 days crossing (each way) the Drake Passage.  What would normally take 10 or 11 days can be done in 6 or 7 days.  The downside?  There is a flight delay risk of one or more days due to inclement weather, though the odds are well in your favour.  Best suited for those who are time constrained. 
  • Classic Peninsula: 10-11 day itinerary departing from southern South American (most often Ushuaia in Argentina). Suited for those with a bit more time and keen on acquiring the Drake Passage bragging rights. 
  • Crossing the Antarctic Circle: Some itineraries will take you further south while exploring the Peninsula.  12-14 days.  
  • Grand Tour: If you want to take it all in, a longer trip (apx. 21 days) will have you visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia (a.k.a the Serengeti of Antarctica, with spectacular abundance and diversity of wildlife), before looping down to the Peninsula.
  • Going all the way: Specialized operators offer the opportunity to go to the South Pole.   You are flown into the base camp there and spend 2 to 3 nights in a tented camp, with meals.  Typically you engage in winter activities / cross country skiing / hiking.   A pricey trip with few openings / year, but a memorable one.  For authentic winter enthusiasts.  Typically 5-6 days.  Out of Cape Town (South Africa) or Punta Arenas (Chile).  Combine it with a bespoke African safari – CNH Tours can help.
  • The Ross Sea: The most remote and furthest south possible by sea.  This is typically a one-month journey, out of New Zealand.  

 

      3. When to go?

  • The Austral summer season is from November to March. The start of the season is good for more dramatic snow and ice scenery.  Penguins are very active earlier in the season, as they court, mate, build nests and lay eggs.  
  • The seabirds and penguins are breeding throughout the season. The stages vary from courting to egg laying through chick raising and fledging.  Marine mammals become more active as the food sources increase over the summer, so seals and whale sightings become more numerous, particularly after December.
  • Icebergs are present throughout the season.
  • Relative high points for each part of the season:
    • early season:  The sea ice has not fully retreated, the snow is still melting - the landscape is more wintry. There is an energy among the wildlife like penguins that are busy starting to nest/coming and going for the short summer breeding season
    • mid season: Chicks are hatching in the seabird and penguin colonies; the ocean is open as sea ice has retreated in the ‘warmer’ months; Humpback Whales are more commonly observed as the plankton blooms, Leopard Seals start patrolling offshore for unsuspecting penguins and chicks
    • late season: Penguin chicks are close to fully grown and start to swim on their own; Some darkness starts to return at night so more chance of seeing Aurora Australis; Slowly the wildlife is migrating north for the winter; Fewer ships venture south later in the season

 

  1. How to engage with the land/seascapes

Unless you have mobility issues, an Antarctica expedition cruise can offer you a wide variety of activities that will get you “out and about” among the wildlife / landscapes and seascapes.  It’s important to realize that not all trips offer all opportunities.   Here are a few examples of what to expect on most trips: 

  • Hiking: Shorter or more adventurous walks / hikes, as a function of ship.  These are typically naturalist excursions, with a view to observing wildlife, exploring shorelines and nearby ice and land formations.  As a result, they tend to be slow, with frequent stops.  It's important to note that areas without snow or ice cover are limited in Antarctica, and these are often monopolized by wildlife.   Aslo, while you don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy excursions, you should feel comfortable on a 2-3 km hike over uneven terrain. 
  • Costal / Ice flow / Iceberg / sea life exploration by zodiac.
  • World class wildlife viewing.  

The following activities are offered by some ships, and space is usually limited:

  • Overnight camping (though it won’t get very dark)
  • Small group kayaking
  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • Snorkeling / diving (dry suits provided!)
  • Citizen science – where your observations are recorded and fed into a database set up by scientist
  • Photography workshops and advice
  • Skiing/mountaineering
  • Snowshoeing

 

      5. Choosing a ship operator

Approximately 85 ships are currently plying Antarctica waters.  Some are owner-operated, some are not.  Some are part of multi-national cruise ship lines. Some are operated by relatively new companies while others are operated by companies in the Antarctica business for decades.   Some are true polar experts, and some offer Antarctica as one of several cruise destinations. 

Experience in the Antarctic expedition cruising business equals a depth of knowledge of all crew to know how to navigate the icy waters, knowledge of the best landing places as a function of ice floes and tide, and even when is the best time to schedule an outdoor bbq onboard.  Experience matters and CNH Tours knows which ship operators have the most of it. 

 

       6. The expedition team

The expedition team is made up of those people hired to help you make the best out of your time in Antarctica.  You have the guides who will join you on the outings and help interpret what you are seeing and doing.   There may be on-board experts in a variety of fields such as marine biology, glaciology, photography and history who will give lectures and workshops during crossings or evenings.  There will be zodiac drivers whose job it is to get you from point A to point B safely.  A good expedition team will also be best able to take advantage of impromptu opportunities, providing its guests with the maximum exposure to what Antarctica is all about.   

In choosing a trip, it’s important to be confident that your expedition team is well-rounded, experienced and professional.   Jane Wilson’s 25 year experience in Antarctica has given her an invaluable network of contacts among various expedition teams.  She can easily determine which ships have more seasoned expedition teams on board.  

 

 

 

 

Your Antarctica right-hand-woman

Jane Wilson - Seasoned Antarctica veteran

 

Jane was born and raised in Australia. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Science and then a Master of Environmental Studies. 

Her interest in Antarctica was sparked when she was a teenager and her father was attending the first ‘colour slide’ shows hosted by returning Station Leaders of the Australian Antarctic National Research Expedition.  She bought a book about Antarctica then, and also found out her ancestors George Stewardson Brady (1832-1921) and Henry Bowman Brady (1835-1891) were the first true Antarctic marine scientists who described and illustrated hundreds of new zooplankton species from Antarctic waters in the 1800’s.  Today the Brady Medal is awarded annually to scientists for outstanding achievements in micropalaeontology. 

Jane started her career working for the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service for 15 years until she was bitten by the Antarctic bug. For several years Jane worked in remote field camps in Antarctica (near Davis Station and Macquarie Island – south west of Australia) as a wildlife research scientist specialising in the ecology of seabirds. This coincided with the boom in expedition cruising and Antarctic tourism in the late 1990s. 

For the last 20 years Jane has worked on expedition cruise vessels (including some Russian polar ice strengthened and icebreaker vessels) as a zodiac driver, lecturer and expedition leader in many remote corners of the world including Antarctica.  She has guided guests to many far reaches of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic including the Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula, the Ross Sea and New Zealand/Australian sub-Antarctic islands.  She was also lucky to visit the explorer’s huts of Scott and Shackleton fame as well as Mawson’s Hut at Commonwealth Bay. 

She concurrently continued her interest in science and has worked as Voyage Leader for the Australian Antarctic Division, being responsible for deploying support personnel, cargo and scientists to stations (Casey, Mawson, Davis and Macquarie & Heard Islands) and field camps in Antarctica on the Australian research and re- supply icebreaker Aurora Australis.

 She is a keen skier and now calls Vancouver Island in Canada home.

 

 

Sample Itineraries - Overview

Below we present sample itineraries to give you an idea of what's possible. Variations on those itineraries exist - ask us for details. Prices are indicative and based on double occupancy.  Some ships accommodate solo travellers at double occupancy rates.  Prices don't include international flights.  

The Grand Tour
: 21 days 

  • Departing Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) with visits to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Fabulously abundant wildlife combined with outstanding Antarctic landscapes
  • Fascinating historical sites – whaling stations and the indomitable Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s final resting place
  • Kayaking option: Reserve your kayak for the duration of the trip 
  • Starting at apx. $20,000

The Peninsula Explorer: 13 days 

  • Departing Ushuaia with a singular focus on exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and associated islands
  • Antarctic land and seascapes at their best; numerous species of penguins, seals, and whales
  • Historic landing sites and active research stations.
  • Camping option: Spend one night in a tent, on the shores of the Antarctic ocean 
  • Kayaking option: Reserve your kayak for the duration of the trip 
  • Starting at apx. $12,000

Fly-in / Cruise / Fly-out:  7-8 days

  • Departing Punta Arenas (Chile)
  • Fly to the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Four full days cruising along the peninsula, with off-ship excursions every day
  • Fly back to Punta Arenas
  • Ideal for those who may be time-constrained.
  • Ideal for those who would rather not negotiate the Drake Passage.   
  • Starting at apx. $10,000

Epic Antarctica - the Ross Sea:  28 days

  • Departing from Christchurch, New Zealand
  • The most remote parts of Antarctica accessible by sea
  • Includes New Zealand sub-antarctic islands (World Heritage site)
  • Ideal for those also keen on a mind-trip - harder to achieve on shorter, busier journeys
  • Apx $29,000

South Pole - Going All the Way:  5-7 days

  • Departing from Cape Town (South Africa) or Punta Arenas (Chile)
  • 1-3 days at the pole - depending on your package
  • Tented accommodations 
  • Security of the nearby Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
  • For true winter outdoor enthusiasts
  • Apx. $55,000

 

 

What's Included? Not Included?

AN ANTARCTIC TRIP WILL TYPICALLY INCLUDE

(items below are indicative and will depend on the ship selected)

1. PRIOR TO EMBARKATION:

  • Local airport transfers at port of embarkation / disembarkation
  • One or two nights of accommodation prior to embarkation
  • Transfer from group hotel to ship for embarkation

 2. ON BOARD:

  • Shipboard accommodations
  • All meals on board
  • All alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (some super premium brands excluded)
  • Coffee/Tea/Cocoa 24 hours a day
  • All scheduled landings and excursions
  • Certified emergency doctor and clinic
  • The on-board citizen science program: participation in a variety of scientific activities that support important research projects
  • Live entertainment
  • Dedicated passenger service manager
  • Expedition jackets (yours to keep)
  • A pair of loaner boots for use during the voyage
  • WiFi from the public computers; 200 MB WiFi card for use on your personal devices
  • Daily international news service
  • All port fees
  • All landing fees
  • Digital Voyage Log
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance (CNH Tours guests only)
  • Carbon offset:  Your trip will be carbon neutral from embarkation(CNH Tours guests only)

 

POST DISEMBARKATION:

  • Group transfer from ship to airport, or to a local hotel following disembarkation.  

 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Any travel costs to and from your port of embarkation / disembarkation
  • Any visa fees or other fees for travel related purposes
  • Transfer from airport to group hotel, unless arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary
  • Pre- or post-voyage expenses in Ushuaia
  • Travel insurance; emergency medical insurance; 
  • Laundry and personal expenses incurred on board
  • Onboard communication charges such as outgoing phone calls, WiFi from personal devices in excess of the 200 MB provided
  • Staff gratuities

 

Detailed Itinerary : "Grand Tour" (21 Days)

INDICATIVE GRAND TOUR ITINERARY

(actual itinerary may vary depending on ship - and weather conditions)

The sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands/Malvinas and South Georgia are home to some of the most unique and abundant wildlife on earth. With beaches absolutely covered in fur seals, elephant seals, and hundreds of thousands of penguins, it’s one of the most jaw-dropping nature scenes you will ever experience. We’ll also explore the fascinating history of the area, dating back to the grandiose times of the ‘Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration’ of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Exploring the remote British outpost port of Stanley
  • Penguin rookeries with hundreds of thousands of birds on South Georgia
  • Zodiac cruising amongst colossal icebergs
  • Potential encounters with orca, humpback and minke whales
  • A visit to Grytviken, a former whaling station, and the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton

 

DAY 1:  Arrival Ushuaia.  

Please arrange to be in Ushuaia on day 1 of our adventure.  This will avoid stress over missed connections or flight delays as you arrive with plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the beautiful Arakur Resort & Spa or spend time discovering the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia.

Day 2:  Ushuaia.   

Explore the sights of Ushuaia such as the museums and Argentinean leather markets or continue relaxing at the hotel. Attend the optional evening briefing for the opportunity to ask questions and meet some of your fellow travelers.   If you like, we can help arrange interesting day or ½ day trips on this day.

Day 3:   Ushuaia /embarkation / casting off  

Spend your morning exploring Ushuaia or unwinding at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Our Expedition Team and ship staff will greet you on board, followed by a safety and orientation briefing and Captain’s welcome dinner.

Day 4:  Southern Ocean

As we sail south, important briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety are held, and you won’t want to miss our experts as they begin their informative and entertaining talks about the wildlife, history, and geology of the area.  You’ll be able to enjoy the seascapes look for seabirds and marine life.

Day 5:  West Falkland Island

We’ll be exploring some of the westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands, where you can take in the beautiful countryside and look for Black-Browed albatross or Rockhopper, King, and Magellanic penguin rookeries.

Day 6: Stanley, East Falkland.

Stanley is a lively hub of activity nestled in a sheltered harbor. Head out on foot to explore the museum, shops and services centered on the port, or look for sea lions, dolphins, and bird life along the shores.

Day 7-8: Southern Ocean.

Things really start to ramp up with plenty of wildlife identifying to do as we make our way east across the Antarctic Convergence[1] and officially enter Antarctic waters. Shipboard presentations continue, featuring topics such as the captivating history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia.

Day 9-12: South Georgia.

South Georgia is often referred to as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ and it’s easy to see why as you take in tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals, and seabirds. Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, icebergs, a rich historical tapestry, and an incredible array of wildlife will astound you as we travel down South Georgia's leeward coast. We’ll also visit historic Grytviken whaling station, featuring the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.

Day 13-14: Scotia Sea.

Heading farther south, we’ll continue our informative presentations and wildlife spotting as the icebergs become bigger and more plentiful.

Day 15-18: Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.

Here we’ll explore any number of picturesque bays and famed harbors, maneuvering through majestic channels as we travel the wildlife-rich waters. There are great opportunities to stop at several active scientific bases and historic landing sites as we spot numerous species of penguins, seals, and whales along the rugged coastlines and in the sea. Falklands, S Georgia & Antarctica via Ushuaia – 21 Days, Page 3 of 3

Day 19-20: Drake Passage.

We leave this magical place and make our way north, once again heading across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. We have one last hurrah as we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow and a final meal together.

Day 21: Ushuaia disembarkation.

With huge smiles on weary, content faces, we disembark in the morning.  Most flights to Buneos Aires depart in the afternoon.  Let us know if you’d like to spend more time in the region, either in Southern Argentina or Chile, or further north, and we would be happy to help you put together a wonderful itinerary.

 

[1] a curve continuously encircling Antarctica, varying in latitude seasonally, where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the relatively warmer waters of the Subantarctic.  It’s a zone very high in marine productivity, especially for Antarctic krill. 

 

Detailed Itinerary: "Peninsula Explorer" (13 days)

INDICATIVE PENINSULAR EXPLORER ITINERARY

(actual itinerary may vary depending on ship - and weather conditions)

 

Celebrate the best that the Antarctic Peninsula has to offer – from towering icebergs and impressive glaciers to unreal wildlife encounters and fascinating historical sites. Get ready to spend your days blissfully exploring the hidden beauty of the white continent.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Witness the stunning landscapes and beautiful bays and channels of the Peninsula
  • Unforgettable wildlife encounters with numerous species of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds
  • Zodiac cruising amongst immense glaciers and enormous icebergs
  • Potential stops at active scientific bases and historical sites

 

 

DAY 1:  Arrival Ushuaia.  

Please arrange to be in Ushuaia on day 1 of our adventure.  This will avoid stress over missed connections or flight delays as you arrive with plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the beautiful Arakur Resort & Spa or spend time discovering the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia.

Day 2:  Ushuaia.  

Explore the sights of Ushuaia such as the museums and Argentinean leather markets or continue relaxing at the hotel. Attend the optional evening briefing for the opportunity to ask questions and meet some of your fellow travelers.   If you like, we can help arrange interesting day or ½ day trips on this day.

Day 3:   Ushuaia /embarkation / casting off 

Spend your morning exploring Ushuaia or unwinding at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship. Our Expedition Team and ship staff will greet you on board, followed by a safety and orientation briefing and Captain’s welcome dinner.

Day 4-5: Drake Passage.

Join our Polar Experts as they teach you about everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history; participate in our renowned Citizen Science program; or sit back and take in this fabled journey while catching exciting glimpses of wildlife. Grab your binoculars to identify the many seabirds that follow the ship as we cross the Antarctic Convergence[1] into Antarctic waters and noticeably cooler temperatures.

Day 6-7: South Shetland Islands.

The volcanic South Shetland Islands offer amazing abundance and beauty, so we’ll hop into our inflatable Zodiac boats and spend as much time as possible exploring. Be prepared to marvel up close at nature’s glory!

Day 8-10: Antarctica.

Here we’ll explore any number of picturesque bays and famed harbors, maneuvering through majestic channels as we travel the wildlife-rich waters. There are great opportunities to stop at several active scientific bases and historic landing sites as we spot numerous species of penguins, seals, and whales along the rugged coastlines and in the sea.

Day 11-12: Drake Passage.

We leave this magical place and make our way north, once again crossing the legendary Drake Passage. We have one last hurrah as we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow and a final meal together.

Day 13: Ushuaia disembarkation.

With huge smiles on weary, content faces, we disembark in the morning.  Most flights to Buneos Aires depart in the afternoon.  Let us know if you’d like to spend more time in the region, either in Southern Argentina or Chile, or further north, and we would be happy to help you put together a wonderful itinerary.

 

[1] a curve continuously encircling Antarctica, varying in latitude seasonally, where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the relatively warmer waters of the Subantarctic.  It’s a zone very high in marine productivity, especially for Antarctic krill. 

 

Detailed Itinerary: "Fly-in / Cruise / Fly out" (7 days)

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Start of the Air-Cruise Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, before 2 PM, where you are welcomed by ship staff and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you are welcomed at Explorers House to attend a briefing that provides important information about your air-cruise and reviews the essential guidelines for Antarctic visitors. Later, gather for a welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers while enjoying a typical regional menu.

Day 2: Flight to Antarctica - embarkation

Scheduled Flight to Antarctica George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. As you exit the airplane, the clear Antarctic air fills your lungs for the first time. You then walk 2-km (1.25-miles), passing Chile’s Frei Station and Russia’s Bellingshausen Station to reach the shore and board a Zodiac that will take you to your boutique expedition vessel.

Days 3 - 6: Exploring coastlines, islands and icebergs

We'll be cruising between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and among spectacular icebergs, while enjoying the company of seabirds, penguins, seals, and whales. Each day disembark by Zodiac and explore the landscape together with expert polar guides. On board the ship, attend an engaging program of educational presentations, and enjoy spectacular views from the lounge while sharing your daily adventures with fellow guests.

No journey is the same and flexibility is the key to success in Antarctica. The Expedition Team plans the voyage route to take advantage of the ever-changing opportunities provided by nature, crafting a unique and extraordinary experience every time. While the exact itinerary changes with each expedition, you will explore several sites that offer the best possible overview of the varied Antarctic environment. Your voyage may include visits to sites in the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Sound, the Gerlache Strait, and the Penola Strait.

Day 7: Disembarkation and return flight to Punta Arenas

Scheduled Return Flight from Antarctica Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program).

Day 8: Hotel check-out, trip ends

End of Air-Cruise. After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward flight, or ask about extension opportunities. 

 

Featured Ship: The Island Sky

While we happily endorse the Island Sky as an ideal ship for Antarctica (not too big, very comfortable, focused on getting out and about), we work with a wide range of other ships in which we have full confidence.   The information provided below serves to give you an idea on what a good ship looks like in the region.

ISLAND SKY

With spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, an ice-strengthened hull, and redundant core technology (providing back-up systems in case of malfunctions), the Island Sky is a very comfortable home in Antarctica.  It’s  also one of the few ships in its class that boasts 3 decks of suites with sliding-glass doors, offering you immediate access to Antarctica from the privacy of your suite.  An internal elevator allows for comfortable movement between decks.  As an added bonus, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are included for the entirety of the voyage. 

For more images, click here.

Deck Plan:

 

Specifications:

  • Passengers: 118 (though limited to 112 for our trips)                   
  • Crew: 75 (includes expedition staff)
  • Built in: 1992
  • Refurbished: 2017
  • Length: 90,6 m
  • Width: 15,3 m
  • Tonnage: 4 200 GRT
  • Class: B.V. Ice Class 1D
  • Stabilization: Blohm & Voss Stabilization System with wave-anticipation roll technology

 

 

Terms & Conditions & Insurance

INDICATIVE TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR AN ANTARCTICA TRIP

While terms and conditions vary slightly between ship operators, they generally follow the same lines.  Below, we provide an indication of what they look like.  Be sure to read the terms and conditions specific to your trip before making a deposit. 

RATES

Published voyage rates are always quoted in U.S. dollars and are usually based on passengers sharing a cabin. Rates for voyages are based on anticipated fuel costs at the time of departure multiplied by a maximum daily usage. There will be no fuel surcharge for voyages if the price of fuel, delivered locally, does not exceed US$1100 per metric ton. Should the price go above this a surcharge, to cover only the increase in fuel costs, may apply. In this case agents will be notified immediately, and passengers will have the right to cancel their reservations within 14 days of notice of increase without penalty.

RESERVATIONS

To confirm a booking a deposit of $1500 per person is required. Final payment is due in full 120 days prior to departure. Within 120 days of departure, full payment is required to confirm a booking.

CANCELLATION / PAYMENTS

All cancellations must be received in writing. Reservations cancelled 181 days or more prior to departure are subject to a $1000 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations 180 days to 121 days prior to departure are subject to a $1500 per person cancellation fee.  Reservations cancelled 120 days or less prior to departure are subject to full fare forfeiture. In cases where payment is late, we reserve the right to treat the booking as canceled by you.  All payments may be made via cheque or wire transfer.

ELIGIBILITY

In general there are no specific physical requirements for travel in Antarctica. However, we are traveling to the most remote region of the world and we are traveling on a ship which, at times, may be in rough seas and which has limited facilities. Passengers with unstable medical/health issues may not be appropriate for this type of expedition and are advised to exercise appropriate caution.

CHILDREN

In general, our policy is that children must be at least 12 years old to join a voyage. However, we may on a case-by-case basis accept children between the ages of 7-11 with additional screening and prior approval before booking, and the completion of our Child waiver by the parents/guardians.

 

GUEST MEDICAL INFORMATION

We require all passengers to submit basic medical information prior to departure. Upon receipt of that basic medical information, significant disabilities or unstable medical conditions may necessitate additional documentation from a passenger’s physician certifying fitness to travel on a voyage to Antarctica. If additional medical confirmation is requested, boarding will not be allowed absent receipt of that confirmation. PLEASE NOTE: please review our medical form at time of booking, and if there is any question regarding your eligibility contact your agent immediately to begin a dialog with us. While we cannot dispense medical advice, we reserve the right to deny passage to any passenger whose individual situation is deemed to be a safety risk, or who has not disclosed accurate information as to their physical or mental condition. In such a case CNH Tours cannot be responsible for any expenses incurred. This includes non-refundable cruise fees, airfare or any other miscellaneous expenses. If you have any questions, please contact us for further clarification.

CNH Tours places the highest value on the safety of our guests.  As such we maintain strict health and safety protocols prior to boarding and throughout our operation. All passengers will be required to comply with all of our safety protocols as well as with all local, national, international and industry laws, rules, regulations and protocols, and to provide proof of same prior to embarkation.  Additionally, we may require passengers to undergo health screenings or other precautions prior to embarkation, and/or enhanced safety protocols onboard. Should a passenger fail, refuse, be unwilling or unable to comply, we must deny boarding, or if a passenger has already boarded, we must insist the passenger disembark, and as circumstances dictate, we may invoke standard cancellation terms.

CNH Tours has a pregnancy policy that women who will be in the 13th through 22nd weeks of pregnancy during the entire voyage are welcome with explicit doctor’s permission and having signed a specific waiver. Pregnancy policies of carriers (airlines, bus companies, hotels, etc.) may also apply. Please note that medical information will, of necessity, be available to designated ship staff.

Please note that regardless of general eligibility there may be instances where environmental conditions require a level of fitness/mobility. In these cases, individual participation in the landing(s) in question may be restricted by the Captain, Expedition Leader, or ship’s doctor.

INSURANCE

All passengers must carry a Travel Insurance Plan. While all CNH Tours guests are covered by a complimentary US$200,000 emergency medical evacuation insurance policy, guests must acquire a travel insurance plan that covers other eventualities, including personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses and pre-existing medical conditions.

CNH Tours will require information as to carrier, policy number, and a 24-hour contact number. Additionally, passengers are strongly advised to carry a Comprehensive Travel Insurance Plan which should also include coverage for cancellation, curtailment, trip interruption, and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience occurring to or otherwise involving a passenger. Please also note: Travel to Antarctica carries with it a slight but inherent risk that a voyage may be interrupted after the voyage has begun. In such matters the Master of the vessel has full authority to make decisions that can affect itineraries and trip length. In such a case, CNH Tours cannot be responsible for situations outside its control, and in the event of financial losses, your travel insurance may be your only recourse for recovery of funds. Should you elect to travel without comprehensive insurance you are accepting this risk.

ITINERARIES

The ship’s captain and expedition team will do everything possible to complete the voyage as outlined in the voyage itinerary. However, itineraries in polar regions are heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions. Occasionally conditions and or safety concerns require itinerary changes. The Captain and expedition team will accordingly make every effort to find the best alternative to the original itinerary while keeping passengers informed and updated. Itinerary changes are not subject to passenger approval/consent, and in the event of such a change no refunds or price adjustments are possible. Placement of a booking with CNH Tours amounts to an acknowledgement that itinerary changes are possible.

VOYAGE CANCELLATION

In the unlikely event that an expedition is cancelled by the ship operator prior to sailing, passengers will be offered preferential booking on alternative voyages of similar itinerary based on availability. Please note that CNH Tours will not be responsible for travel arrangements or other expenses outside the voyage cost.

ACTIVITIES

All activities, whether on board or ashore, conducted during a voyage are permitted by authorities and must comply with strict guidelines and regulations. As such, no one may conduct unauthorized activities during a voyage. The use of personal recreation equipment or technologies without clear pre-voyage consent is not allowed. The ship operator is currently permitted for the commercial use of UAVs (drones) by trained members of our staff. Please note that individual permits are not possible, and personal drones are strictly prohibited.

ON-BOARD LANGUAGE

All voyages are conducted in English as the principal language. Our on-board staff will do their best to make the voyage as enjoyable as possible for our non-English speaking guests. However, if safety is an issue, guests not fully understanding briefings may be excluded from an activity at the discretion of the Expedition Leader or Captain.

ON-BOARD AUTHORITY

All passengers are subject to instructions or regulations given by the Captain or the Expedition team.

PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEO

The ship operator reserves the right to use photographs and/or videos taken during the operation of the voyage for promotional purposes for the company and/or its sales agents. Passengers who prefer that their images not be used are asked to identify themselves to the ship representative prior to embarkation.

SMOKING

Our ships offer a smoke-free environment. Smoking is permitted only in the designated smoking area. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the ship (including the balcony areas). The Expedition Leader will discuss this policy with anyone known or suspected to be smoking in a non-designated area so that there is no misunderstanding as to the proper location and protocol for smoking. Repeated non-compliance will result in a $1,000 penalty to be added to your shipboard account. The Expedition Leader and Captain also reserve the right to disallow participation in off ship activities.

ALCOHOL

The ship operator reserves the right to refuse alcohol to anyone deemed to be intoxicated.

ON-BOARD PAYMENTS

All payments are in US dollars. Passengers may run a tab which must be paid prior to disembarkation. Payments can be made in cash or with a credit card.

RESPONSIBILITY

The ship operator is a qualified tour operator that organizes and administers its polar voyages. It will provide services in conjunction with local operators and air and sea operators. The designated operator(s), in turn, acts only as an agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with these tours (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. The passenger tickets in use by the carriers shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger; the carriers are not responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time participants are not aboard their conveyances. 

CNH Tours, the ship operator and its designated service providers shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, watercraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider; and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against CNH Tours or its service providers for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. 

By accepting passage on a CNH Tours voyage, the participant acknowledges these terms and conditions and certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CNH Tours and its designated tour operator reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant from a voyage.  The ship operator reserves the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants. The Captain and Expedition Leader have the right to restrict the activities of any passenger who repeatedly violates onboard or on shore protocols. 

Neither CNH Tours, nor its service providers shall be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non – refundable ticket to or from the participant’s departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.