FlyerTalk member Misnerfamily asked earlier this year as to what is the least expensive way to visit Antartica — and I do believe that I have the answer.
Starting today, Quark Expeditions is having a flash sale on select departures aboard the Sea Spirit vessel for the upcoming Antarctic season where you can save 50 percent on travel to Antarctica — and this sale will only last one week or until supplies last.
Eligible voyages for the discount of 50 percent include the following, all on the Sea Spirit vessel:
- November 2, 2013 Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica via Buenos Aires: Explorers and Kings — normally priced from $13,995.00 for this specific voyage
- November 22, 2013 Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent — normally priced from $7,495.00 for this specific voyage
- December 2, 2013 South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari — normally priced from $14,995.00 for this specific voyage
- December 17, 2013 Crossing the Circle via Falklands and South Georgia: Epic Antarctica
— normally priced from $18,595.00 for this specific voyage
Bookings must be confirmed on the day of the reservation. Other terms and conditions apply.
I really, really wanted to take advantage of this promotion — as Antarctica is the only continent to which I have yet to visit — but I am unable to do so at this time. If I did go, I would ensure that I would take plenty of photographs and video of my experience…
…and because I prefer to stay overnight at a destination to count it as a place I have officially visited, I would have personally spent an extra $250.00 and added the camping option. This means that the least expensive trip to Antarctica will cost approximately $4,000.00 — not including taxes, fees, and other additional expenses and incidentals, of course.
Since I cannot seem to go at this time, I am hoping that you can take advantage of this offer — and if you do, please be certain to post a trip report on FlyerTalk.
Although discounts on travel to Antarctica are not exactly common, they are not unprecedented either: Quark Expeditions had a flash sale two years ago where a companion who traveled with a passenger who paid full fare for his or her voyage paid only one dollar — essentially, another version of a discount of 50 percent.
You also had the opportunity to save 50 percent off of a voyage to Antarctica five years ago with Quark Expeditions — and at a cost only slightly less than what you could spend today.
Also, the sale prices are not always 50 percent off of the least-expensive fare which you can procure. An example is the Antarctic Explorer voyage on November 22, 2013: while it normally costs $7,495.00 and you will expect to pay $3,747.50 during the flash sale, the same voyage on November 15, 2013 can cost as little as $4,595.00 at regular cost. Still, the $3,747.50 is a savings of $847.50…
…but I am simply pointing previous sales and the cost differential out if you want to go to Antarctica but are not able to at this time, as there is the possibility of having another opportunity in the future.
You cannot book this special offer via the Internet; you must either contact your travel agent — do people still really use a travel agent these days?!? — or call a polar travel adviser at Quark Expeditions directly at 1-888-892-0073.
Ultimately, the very minimum of what I would prefer to do while in Antarctica is be with penguins and stay overnight at the South Pole — difficult but not impossible to do, as penguins usually reside near water while the South Pole is roughly centered on the Antarctic continent.
That dream will have to wait, I suppose…