Cruise Report: Follow Shackleton to the great White Continent

 

Antarctica’s monumental icebergs, history of heroic exploration and fearless wildlife give it an allure that is enhanced by its remoteness. The only realistic way for tourists to visit the vast White Continent is by ship. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so it is important to choose carefully.

The season runs from November to March. Regulations introduced in 2011 mean that only ships carrying fewer than 500 passengers can make landings and no more than 100 people can come ashore in one place at the same time.

Landings are by rib boats, such as Zodiacs, sometimes involving wading ashore. Itineraries can never be exact because the captain can only sail where conditions allow, but on a 10- to 14-night cruise expect to spend four to seven days on or around the Antarctic Peninsula. It is well worth opting for a longer cruise that  also visits South Georgia for its  staggering wildlife and to see Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave.

Most cruises start at Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina and cross the 600-mile Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula.

w A high degree of comfort is offered on luxury ice-strengthened expedition ships with French line Compagnie du Ponant (0800 980 4027; ponant.com), German line Hapag-Lloyd (00 49 40 3070 3070; hl-cruises.com) and Anglophone Silversea (0844 251 0837; silversea.com). The Fram, of Norwegian line Hurtigruten (0844 272 8961; hurtigruten.co.uk), has some hotel-style cabins.

If you are short of time or fear seasickness, you can fly over the Drake Passage to start a cruise in the South Shetland Islands, sailing for six nights aboard 85-passenger Ocean Nova. Discover the World (01737 214250; discover-the-world.co.uk) offers departures on 2, 7, 12 and 17 December from £7,200pp including return flights from Punta Arenas in Chile, but not flights from the UK.

A 19-day Great Antarctic Voyage that includes the sub-Antarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia aboard 110-passenger Akademik Ioffe departs Ushuaia on 31 January 2014 and costs from £5,198pp cruise-only with Wildlife Worldwide (0845 1306982;  wildlifeworldwide.com).

There are two month-long voyages from Ushuaia aboard the 100-passenger MV Ortelius, departing on 9 January and 11 February, 2015, ending in New Zealand. The price starts at €18,850pp (£15,860) cruise-only in a four-berth cabin through The Cruise People  (020-7723 2450; cruisepeople.com).

For more information on Antarctic cruises, see the website of the  International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators: iaato.org.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam