Exploring Antarctica and Patagonia with Seabourn Expeditions

Exploring Antarctica and Patagonia with Seabourn Expeditions
There's an allure in the untouched beauty of Antarctica and the grandeur of Patagonia that beckons the adventurous soul. Sailing across the legendary Drake Passage aboard a Seabourn cruise is an expedition unlike any other. The journey to these distant, pristine lands is an experience interwoven with natural marvels, unique encounters, and the exceptional hospitality of Seabourn Expeditions.

Things to Consider When Planning an Antarctica Vacation

  • Best time to Travel to Antarctica: December 10 - February 15 (summer) Average temperature: 30-37 degrees. When looking for weather, most apps use the South Pole, which is about 850 from the coast, where you will be exploring; use Peterman Island or Astrolabe Island.
  • Who is onboard? The expedition teams hail from various fields, including geology, wildlife biology, volcanology, ornithology, and conservation? People who have worked in Antarctica onboard to enhance your experience?
  • Landings on Antarctica are done by Zodiacs. A maximum of 100 passengers may be ashore from a vessel at any one time and during landings from vessels, maintain a 1:20 guide to passenger ratio at all sites. Compare number of passengers on ship and ship size.  Large ships sail by, they do not make landings.
  • Consider cruise itineraries that include South Georgia Island.
  • 3-hour time change from CST
  • 3 1/2-hour flight from Ushuaia (bottom of South America) to Bueno Aires

Gear Up for Adventure
Antarctica's icy domain demands preparation. Layers become your best friend, from long johns to the provided parkas. Waterproof boots are essential for shore expeditions, ensuring comfort while exploring the frozen landscapes. Seabourn understands these needs, providing a hassle-free experience by offering essentials like the parka and, for added convenience, waterproof boots.
Recommended packing list:  2 pairs long john, 2 pairs gloves (1 water proof or resistant), warm socks (merino wool), waterproof pants, cold weather shirts and pants. With both self serve Laundry room and Laundry service available onboard, you can bring a lot fewer items. Seabourn provides a complimentary PolarShield Parka set.

Embracing the Journey... Twice traversing the challenging Drake Passage over 36 hours unveils a wealth of opportunities for engagement. Whether immersing oneself in a captivating book, capturing the scenic wonders with a camera, participating in lively card games, or simply savoring the awe-inspiring views, the time spent at sea seamlessly intertwines with the expedition's allure. Even on the fringes of early Antarctica, there's no need for concern—maintaining remote work and staying connected with family back home poses no obstacles. The internet persists, unfazed by the remote surroundings. Seabourn Conversations, luxurious hot tub sessions, entertainment galore, indulgent afternoon tea, the convenience of room service, and the allure of galley or bridge tours—all contribute to enhancing the journey.

Enchanting Destinations before Antartica - the coast of Chile!
Sailing the Chilean coast, the landscape unfolds into a spectacle of fjords and glaciers. Places like Punta Montt and Puerto Varas offer cultural immersion and scenic delights, making every shore excursion an adventure in itself.
  • Caleta Tortel: Nestled in Chilean Patagonia, Caleta Tortel is a picturesque village built on wooden walkways above the water, offering a unique experience of exploring its intricate maze of boardwalks, surrounded by lush forests and stunning fjords.
  • Puerto Montt: A bustling port city in southern Chile, Puerto Montt is nestled along the stunning coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It serves as a gateway to the scenic Chilean Patagonia, offering a vibrant mix of culture, commerce, and stunning views of volcanoes and fjords. If you don’t do full day tour, spend the morning taking a short walk to fish market/ flea market or to the center of town to Plaza de Armas. 
  • Puerto Varas: Excursion from Puerto Montt Known for its breathtaking beauty, Puerto Varas is a charming town set on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, with stunning views of Osorno Volcano. Its German architectural influences, coupled with a backdrop of lush landscapes, make it a picturesque and inviting destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.
  • Punta Arenas: Located on the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas serves as a gateway to Antarctica and Patagonia. It's a vibrant city steeped in history, offering a blend of cultural richness and breathtaking natural landscapes. Recommend going into town in the evening for dinner, several nice restaurants and a nice Plaza de Armas.
    Seabourn offers an optional excursion to visit Torres Del Paine National Park, which is an optional tour through Seabourn and very limited since it's a 45 minute small plane charter flight to Puerto Natales. It's also a 90 minute scenic ride to the entrance of the park. Book early! 
  • Chile is home to awe-inspiring glaciers and fjords. We used the zodiacs to explore Pio XI Glacier (Brüggen Glacier). This is the largest glacier in South America, located in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. 

The Drake Passage:Taming the Wild   Antartica is 620 miles from South America.   Known as the gateway to Antarctica, the Drake Passage is infamous for its tempestuous nature—its mood swings from 'Drake Lake' to 'Drake Shake' are a testament to the capricious seas. The immense Antarctic Circumpolar Current whips through this channel, which can create a tumultuous ride. Though they need a new name for the one we experienced, somewhere in the middle with 13-16 feet seas and wind, but not overwhelming as to ruin your sleep or ability to get around the ship.

Antartica  Antarctica - Penguins

Antartica Plan A, B, Cand maybe even F and why an experienced expedition teamis key. In the vast and unpredictable landscape of the Antarctic, navigating sea swells and ice requires preparation beyond Plan A; it's all about Plans B, C, and perhaps even Plan F. The expedition crew is dedicated to curating diverse and captivating experiences, ensuring not just breathtaking views but also opportunities to witness the remarkable wildlife. Be prepared, sometime ice blocks a landing spot, or the snow is to deep that what was planned will be changed.  Tip: Organize your layers in Seabourn's warming closet, so when they start calling groups to depart ship, it's easy to add your layers... gloves, hats, and neck gaiter in the pocket of your parka.  Optional Excursions for the true adventures are kayaking and submarines tour of the Southern Ocean!

November is early in the season and a special and exclusive opportunity emerges: the exhilarating chance to stroll on ice sheets, where even penguins pay friendly visits, making it a truly enjoyable and distinct experience.  And yes, it snows in November (their spring) in Antarctica! It’s too cold for rain and the snow is still pristine white as the penguins are just starting to find their mates and nesting.

Words can't capture the sheer magnificence of the icebergs and stark landscapes of Antarctica. It's like stepping into a surreal wonderland of pure beauty. 🏔️ The seals, penguins, whales, and countless sea birds are the ultimate lagniappe—adding an extra layer of awe to this already incredible adventure. 🐧🐋 Mother Nature's masterpiece! 🙌

Why a Seabourn Expedition Cruise   Seabourn’s all-inclusive approach elevates the expedition experience. No receipts, no need for key cards—just seamless enjoyment. The meticulously planned excursions, inclusive drinks, gratuities, and even the availability of a workout room and hot tubs ensure a luxurious yet adventurous journey.

  1. Seabourn's Expedition Team, composed of many experts including naturalists, scientists, and photographers, adds a layer of depth to the journey. The Seabourn Conversations program, featuring talks on topics like "Antarctica Wildlife Treasure, Whale Tales, Cetacean Intelligence & Cultures or the South Pole Station Operations, offering a deeper understanding of the regions visited. And concluding each afternoon with Recap and Briefing to talk about the next day’s highlights.  
  2. Entertainment and Music- daily live music by resident talent, plus special guests like Carnegie Hall performing pianist and performance by UK Voice Winner, Kalon Rae. And of course, the timeless cruise favorites like daily trivia, name that tune and games. Something unique to expedition cruising is the opportunity to be on the bridge while sailing.
  3. Culinary Delights... 
  • In-suite dining which we enjoyed breakfast daily and they set the table as if enjoying the dining room. The breakfast selection was wide and varied from oatmeal and cereal to eggs Benedict and freshly baked almond croissants
  • The Colonnade offers an incredible lunch buffet daily changing food focused on countries, great salad bar and desserts.
  • One of our favorite evening activities was just enjoying appetizers. First the Constellation Lounge that offers Tapas and Tunes, and cross the deck to The Club, with its selection of sushi rolls, sashimi, edamame, and Japanese nuts.
  • And of course, The Restaurant, offered daily fully served breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as specialty meals including the Sommelier’s Lunch and Chef's Dinner
  • Other nice touches are a fruit bowl daily replenished with different fruit, but truly incredible grapes in your stateroom and The Square -for coffee/teas / hot chocolate (my husband’s favorite) and light snacks.  And finally, the Bow Lounge for great viewing.
  1. Memories and Mementos:  As a testament to the unforgettable voyage, Seabourn provides special gifts like the exclusive "Cruising the Antarctica" book, Seabourn merino wool beanies, and waterproof backpacks token of the extraordinary journey we embarked upon.
  2. Diverse group of guests, about 60% North American and 30% European 10% Asian or South Pacific

Embarking on an Antarctic expedition aboard a Seabourn cruise is an immersive, all-encompassing experience, combining luxury with exploration, making it an enticing recommendation for the curious traveler. 

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