Antarctica and the Falklands with Hurtigruten

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Cruise

Location

Date of travel

November, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Friend(s)

Reasons for trip

Regular holiday

Antarctica. What can I say? What a trip! They say if you can describe it you have not been so please forgive my attempt to describe the indescribable.

The adventure begins when you board the Roald Amundsen, the first Hybrid ship in the world, launched this year. Yes, we were on it’s second voyage to Antarctica, boarding in Punto Arenas, Chile. We settled into our spacious, comfortable cabin, received instructions on where and when to pick up our free waterproof jackets and our group badges, Wandering Albatross, and explored the ship with her three restaurants, lecture theatre, science lab, art room, bar and lounge, on deck running track, infinity pool and hot tubs, and sauna with windows to the sea. Then we set off and were on deck waving goodbye to Punto Arenas. Let the adventure begin.

The Roald Amundsen carries 500 passengers but we were about 400, probably the average age being late sixties. The knowledgeable expedition crew organized landings and activities and were always there to help. Many of them seemed as excited as we were. Each trip is a new adventure as you never know what the weather and ice conditions will allow.

As well as the jackets we were provided with warm rubber boots and there were always walking poles available. The screens in our cabins gave the days itinerary as well as the app on our phones and, of course, the loud speaker gave information too. We were always listening for “There is a whale on the port side”.

We cruised down the Beagle Chanel, or Glacier Avenue, with the loud speaker giving us the names of, and telling us about each glacier as we passed, all cameras clicking. Our first highlight came very soon, being able to go ashore at Cape Horn, a first for the ship. Only one in ten voyages manage to do this as sea conditions are normally too rough to make landings. How exciting, I have walked on Cape Horn, the most southerly tip of the America’s.

Then the two-day crossing of the Drake Chanel. Fortunately we had the Drake Lake instead of the Drake Shake and made good time. Throughout the trip there were numerous lectures to attend, if we wished, covering every aspect of Antarctica. My only grouse is that Scot was left out. It is a Norwegian Ship but Scot is still part of the history of the continent.

And then we were there, Antarctica, the white continent, the coldest on Earth, the highest on Earth, and the most inaccessible on Earth. We were there, white blue icebergs, ice flows, pack ice, whales, albatross and other birds we had to travel so far south to see, penguins and seals. We heard the grind of ice against the ship, the crash of ice breaking free to form more incredibly shaped icebergs, and the wild life, penguins and birds.

We made landings every day, dressed in our polar gear, helped in and out of the Zodiacs, exploring the islands and main land Antarctica and having close encounters with penguins. We rammed into pack ice and were able to walk on it (something very few ships are able to do as they don’t have access). We cruised slowly through Le Marais channel, almost frozen, slowly crunching our way through and taking in the stunning scenery. We kayaked, snowshoed and Sue and I were lucky enough to be able to camp out for a night. Yes, I have camped on Antarctica!!! We visited a research station and tasted their homemade vodka, and we wandered at the whole incredible experience.

The trip ended with a three-day stop on the Falkland Islands to visit Port Stanley and two of the smaller islands before returning via the Magellan straights.

Now I am home looking through my photos, recapturing each magical day and wandering if I can ever top this trip for adventure, beauty and majesty.

GypsyWanderer

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