Antarctica is the most pristine location left remaining on our planet Earth; I’ve never felt more alive and clear headed than during my time exploring there. --Stephanie Huston
An expedition cruise to Antarctica is an active and dynamic type of travel, aiming to get off the ship as much as possible and to ship cruise bays channels and fjords to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and exotic wildlife of the White Continent. A cruise to Antarctica is the best choice to explore this remote part of the planet as there is no hotel infrastructure for tourism. The ship will be your home for the length of the voyage. The educational program will be carried out by a team of polar experts who will perform lectures and will guide you during the visits on land.
When to go:
Antarctic visits are mainly concentrated at ice-free coastal zones over the Antarctic summer, in the five-month period from November to March, in high summer there will be 20+ hours of daylight.
Culture & History
Antarctica “the white continent” is the fifth largest continent in the world with its unique wildlife, extreme coldness, dryness, windiness and unexplored territories. The word Antarctica is derived from the Greek word antarktike, which means “opposite to north” i.e., opposite to the Arctic.
It is situated within the Antarctic Circle and is surrounded by Southern Ocean. James Cook discovered Antarctica when he was crossing the Antarctic Circle. The world’s largest ocean current, the Antarctic circumpolar current circumvents the Antarctic continent. Of the 14 million-sq.km area, 98% is covered with thick ice sheets that formed 25 million years ago and holds 75% of the earth’s fresh water.
The remaining 2% ice-free areas dote Antarctica where major research stations have been established. Currently Antarctica is host to numerous research stations spread over the entire continent. Almost 30 countries have constructed around 69 research stations in different regions of Antarctica. Argentina and Russia have more than 5 number of research stations. The largest research station in Antarctica is McMurdo constructed by USA which is capable of catering to 1000 researchers.
The average thickness of the ice sheet is about 1.9k m with the highest being 3.6 km near the pole. It has the highest average elevation among all the continents. It is the only continent, which is uninhabited by humans. Over 170 million years ago, Antarctica and India were a part of the Gondwana and further a part of the super-continent Pangea. Due to plate tectonics, the continents split and moved to form new continents. Antarctica was thus formed and reached its present position about 25 million years ago.
The weather in Antarctica varies between extremely cold (winter) to cold (summer). The lowest temperature recorded on earth is -89⁰C in Vostok station of Antarctica was on 21 July 1983 (78°27′50″S 106°50′15″E). Typical minimum temperature during winter range between -80ºC to -90ºC in the interior and the maximum temperatures in summer range from 5ºC to 15ºC along the coast. Antarctica is a cold desert (Heywood 1984) because its average precipitation is about 10 cm per year, only 4 times higher than that of the annual precipitation in Sahara Desert.
Precipitation is mostly in the form of snowfall. Some exceptional phenomena’s such as Aurora Australis (natural light display in the sky formed due to the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles), sundog (it is bright light spot on either side of the sun like a halo) and diamond dust (it is a ground level cloud consisting of small ice crystals) are observed in Antarctica which are unique to this region.
Cruise Lines that go to