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Best luxury expedition ship to Antarctica?

Best luxury expedition ship to Antarctica?

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Old Jul 11, 14, 2:36 pm
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Best luxury expedition ship to Antarctica?

My husband and I hope to go on an Antarctic cruise in Dec 2015/Jan 2016 and are looking for recommendations for the best luxury expedition ship and best itinerary. We are now 44 and 56, and love adventurous activities and also luxury dining and a spacious suite. We are not prone to seasickness at all, and we prefer a smaller to midsize expedition type ship while also hoping for as much luxury and fantastic food as possible. We MUST have good food, and we must have as much chance to land in Antarctica as possible. We'd prefer no formal dress, if at all possible, but can handle a few nights if necessary to get what we like above. Price is no object, though we'd prefer to not spend all out if it doesn't deliver everything we want.

Best recommendations from our fellow flyertalk friends?
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Old Jul 13, 14, 12:33 pm
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If price is really no object... privately.
I went on one with 5 cabins - amazing suites, all friends.
This is as luxurious as you can get.
The itinerary was ours as we pleased, with a chef on board creating full breakfasts, multi course lunches and dinners. We could be in our sweats all day if we wanted (which is honestly more comfortable!) and only changed for our landings.
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Old Jul 27, 14, 5:53 pm
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Antarctica Cruise

I went in January 2013 with A&K and it was very luxurious, outstanding food, landings in morning and afternoon, not as luxurious as only 5 people, but very luxurious. Room choice. Handled everything very well. Luxury all the way!
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Old Jul 27, 14, 9:49 pm
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Originally Posted by janelex View Post
I went in January 2013 with A&K and it was very luxurious, outstanding food, landings in morning and afternoon, not as luxurious as only 5 people, but very luxurious. Room choice. Handled everything very well. Luxury all the way!
Do you recall the name of the vessel used by A&K?
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Old Jul 28, 14, 10:05 am
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I personally wouldn't chose Antarctica as a vacation destination if the prime object of your trip is a luxury cruise. Look into the National Geographic expeditions aboard their newer Explorer ship for the most exciting and engaging excursions; they do have some very nice and VERY expensive suites, but it's not comparable to A&K. That's not really who you book with Nat Geo though. They unquestionably deliver the most interesting, adventurous, knowledgable, hands-on experience from all that I've gathered. It's been a dream of mine for many years to do this, but my wife isn't into the idea one bit and I don't have any friends who could afford it.
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Old Jul 28, 14, 10:11 am
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Sorry, I meant The Orion (smaller ship) and not The Explorer. I believe it's part of Lindblad's fleet. They offer pricey balcony suites.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 5:00 pm
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Seabourn Quest goes to Antarctic now.

Plenty of luxury and good food, but 400ish passengers limits the expedition portion of the trip.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 5:32 pm
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Originally Posted by yojimbo View Post
Seabourn Quest goes to Antarctic now.

Plenty of luxury and good food, but 400ish passengers limits the expedition portion of the trip.
Yes, we saw the Quest. Its size is a problem, as we do prefer the more expedition type cruise allowing more landings on average. Its typical itinerary is also an issue for us, as they tend to be 21-24 days in length from Buenos Aires all the way to Antarctica and to Santiago. The prospect of seeing the Chilean cost is appealing, but spending 3+ weeks on a ship is not appealing for us. Antarctica we can only see by ship; the Chilean coast and other places visited can be visited by other means (or shorter means). For us, that puts Quest lower in our estimation, even though Seabourn's food is supposed to be among the best.

My guess is that we will go with the Silver Explorer through Silversea. It likely won't have food as good as that on Quest, but it is a true expedition ship that does offer luxury otherwise, and has 10-12 day cruises to Antarctica that are more amenable to our timelines and preferences. And it's a bit less pricey for the top suites...
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Old Nov 11, 14, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
My husband and I hope to go on an Antarctic cruise in Dec 2015/Jan 2016 and are looking for recommendations for the best luxury expedition ship and best itinerary. We are now 44 and 56, and love adventurous activities and also luxury dining and a spacious suite. We are not prone to seasickness at all, and we prefer a smaller to midsize expedition type ship while also hoping for as much luxury and fantastic food as possible. We MUST have good food, and we must have as much chance to land in Antarctica as possible. We'd prefer no formal dress, if at all possible, but can handle a few nights if necessary to get what we like above. Price is no object, though we'd prefer to not spend all out if it doesn't deliver everything we want.

Best recommendations from our fellow flyertalk friends?
I'd recommend the Ocean Diamond. It's a super yacht and it's very stable due to special stabilizers which make crossing the Drake a lot less queasy...
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Old Dec 21, 14, 1:25 pm
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I am not sure if the OP is still searching, but we just came back from the "Classic Antarctica"itinerary on the Silversea Explorer. I would not use the word "luxury" to describe it, but it did hit a sweet spot between comfort and adventure. We typically prefer
Seabourn to SS, but the concept of 400 passengers on this itinerary did not appeal.

For anyone traveling to Antarctica, it is a mistake to expect a true luxury experience in such a remote area. In terms of food, for example, the chef is not able to procure fresh ingredients along the way. That said, we were very happy with the food on board and impressed with the energy put in by the chef/staff to try to provide variety at every meal. We actually preferred the food on this cruise to that on the Silver Shadow. It was
a very casual cruise. On the two "elegantly casual" evenings, maybe half of the men were wearing jackets.

The weather can be a big factor in the actual experience, and that is true for any ship in Antarctica.
We had to leave Antarctica a day early to stay ahead of a strong storm. Certainly, a day in Ushuaia isn't as compelling as one in the Antarctic Peninsula. I have read that the Silversea Explorer frequently ends up in Ushuaia a day early. On a typical day, we were able to have two landings, but one afternoon activity was canceled. The captain made a great effort to create special experiences - for us it was a cruise through the Lemaire Channel and a landing that allowed guests to walk on a glacier. Every trip will
be different, however, due to the changing conditions.

Our experience on the Drake was termed "average." Some people struggled on the way down. We were fine, but did find that we had to walk very carefully. We had a suite on Deck 7 - many warned us against being that high/forward, but we were happy for the extra space. A crew member did tell me that we would have been very uncomfortable up there in rougher seas. It's rolling the dice, but the days can get long and we were delighted with the extra space.

I imagine that several ships are at the same level as this one, but I doubt that any are
more service oriented and comfortable. So few people would have had the opportunity to compare on this particular itinerary. Happy to answer any questions.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 6:18 am
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If you want luxury in Antarctica, I would charter an expedition yacht.

Something like this should do the trick:

http://www.edmiston.com/yacht-charte...-de-nimes-249/

Not cheap, mind you.
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Old Aug 9, 16, 1:44 am
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
Yes, we saw the Quest. Its size is a problem, as we do prefer the more expedition type cruise allowing more landings on average. Its typical itinerary is also an issue for us, as they tend to be 21-24 days in length from Buenos Aires all the way to Antarctica and to Santiago. The prospect of seeing the Chilean cost is appealing, but spending 3+ weeks on a ship is not appealing for us. Antarctica we can only see by ship; the Chilean coast and other places visited can be visited by other means (or shorter means). For us, that puts Quest lower in our estimation, even though Seabourn's food is supposed to be among the best.

My guess is that we will go with the Silver Explorer through Silversea. It likely won't have food as good as that on Quest, but it is a true expedition ship that does offer luxury otherwise, and has 10-12 day cruises to Antarctica that are more amenable to our timelines and preferences. And it's a bit less pricey for the top suites...
After much debate and our preferences being similar to yours, we are going on Seabourn Quest in December. It just ticks the boxes and is luxury compared to the alternatives, and you can do up to 5 landings unlike the really big ships. Mour friends who went last year loved it. Great naturalists onboard, food on the better side considering the location, very nice rooms, etc. our cruise is 24 days - yes long, but I think better than staying overnight in Ushaia or Punta Arenas and going from there. Just my Humble opinion after much research. But everyone is different so others may not enjoy. I'll report back when we get home next January!
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Old Nov 28, 16, 11:29 am
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Larkin - I just got off the Quest in Barbados. As someone more accustomed to expedition style ships with around 100 passengers, I have to say the Quest just bowled me over. It was by far the youngest ship we have ever been on and offered superb levels of comfort and outstanding food in the casual restaurant where we ate virtually every meal. We were not remotely impressed by the Thomas Keller restaurant. The cabins were superbly designed and ours was serviced without fail when we were at breakfast. Service levels throughout the ship were high. We especially liked Seabourn Square where you could get a proper coffee, browse the library, surf the internet, read your local newspaper on a iPad and much more besides. On these bigger ships we tend to go for tables for two and are generally rather anti-social. We never see the shows, never use the casino, never saw the spa, and the pool deck wasn't great either though that won't be an issue on your cruise.

Which brings me to this - We have thought long and hard about taking this ship to Antarctica and South Georgia and I think we may well do so, favouring the Quest over the smaller expedition ships. It will ride better in rough seas, offer a degree more comfort, and while you will definitely get fewer zodiac landings and less bonding with Mr and Mrs Penguin, previous polar experience tells me that kitting up in all your over-clothes and rubber boots isn't something you want to do three or four times a day. And the scenery is often better from a ship.

I hope you enjoy your trip and let us know how you get on.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
Larkin - I just got off the Quest in Barbados. As someone more accustomed to expedition style ships with around 100 passengers, I have to say the Quest just bowled me over. It was by far the youngest ship we have ever been on and offered superb levels of comfort and outstanding food in the casual restaurant where we ate virtually every meal. We were not remotely impressed by the Thomas Keller restaurant. The cabins were superbly designed and ours was serviced without fail when we were at breakfast. Service levels throughout the ship were high. We especially liked Seabourn Square where you could get a proper coffee, browse the library, surf the internet, read your local newspaper on a iPad and much more besides. On these bigger ships we tend to go for tables for two and are generally rather anti-social. We never see the shows, never use the casino, never saw the spa, and the pool deck wasn't great either though that won't be an issue on your cruise.

Which brings me to this - We have thought long and hard about taking this ship to Antarctica and South Georgia and I think we may well do so, favouring the Quest over the smaller expedition ships. It will ride better in rough seas, offer a degree more comfort, and while you will definitely get fewer zodiac landings and less bonding with Mr and Mrs Penguin, previous polar experience tells me that kitting up in all your over-clothes and rubber boots isn't something you want to do three or four times a day. And the scenery is often better from a ship.

I hope you enjoy your trip and let us know how you get on.
We are leaving for Chile in 2 weeks and then onto the ship to Antartica! So glad to hear you had a good experience with Quest! I will certainly report back on our experience. Everything we have read has been very positive so we are very much looking forward to the adventure! Thank you for the great feedback on Quest!
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Old Nov 29, 16, 12:38 am
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Another advantage of going to Antarctica on a bigger ship is the issue of deck space. A few years ago I was on an expedition ship with about 100 passengers and en route from Tristan da Cunha to South Georgia we ran into a storm system which meant we missed South Georgia altogether and sailed for ten full days to the Falklands. All of us were locked inside the ship. As the outside decks were closed the smallness of the ship and the lack of facilities became acute and claustrophobic.

One last thing - Seabourn's main rival in the luxury cruise market, Silversea, is about to launch its ship, the Silver Cloud, as an expedition vessel. In Sao Tome last year its tenders failed to land us in only a modest swell but one assumes the new arrangements with zodiacs will make that unlikely. The Cloud might now be the perfect ship for Antarctica -

http://www.silversea.com/ships/silve...erary-port=all

Last edited by Pausanias; Nov 29, 16 at 10:28 am
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