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South Pole options for Antarctica trip

South Pole options for Antarctica trip

Old Jun 25, 21, 8:18 am
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South Pole options for Antarctica trip

I can't find too many options when attempting to plan an Antarctica trip that includes a visit to the South Pole. I see some ~$50k pp price tags for a packaged tours that includes the South Pole, but I'm not sold on booking it as part of a packaged itinerary. I'd imagined a nice cruise in one direction and a flight in the other, with a couple days on land and a flight down to overnight at the pole. I know it's a stretch, but maybe some of you have had similar aspirations and had more luck searching than I?

​​​​​I know it hardly qualifies as luxury, but the price point is high enough that this seems like the most appropriate place to post. Feel free to move this to Antarctica if you see fit.
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Old Jul 6, 21, 1:22 pm
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The only human-inhabited spaces are research bases and there are no commercial flights to get there. You're not going to find a hotel or lodge. Some adventurers manage to get there for self-propelled trips from a base to the geographic pole (and back or onward to another base). If you want to get to the pole w/o that effort, you'd have to charter and a/c outfitted with skiis. Refuelling and rescue logistics will be challenging and expensive.

You could overfly in the past (and perhaps present). Qantas has offered such flights at least in the past couple of decades and Air New Zealand used to until TE901.CFIT'd int Mt. Erebus.

A cheap cruise will barely touch Antarctica. A more-expensive one will get you to the peninsula closest to S. America.

Last edited by YVR Cockroach; Jul 6, 21 at 1:29 pm
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Old Jul 7, 21, 12:31 am
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Old Jul 7, 21, 12:42 am
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
The only human-inhabited spaces are research bases and there are no commercial flights to get there. You're not going to find a hotel or lodge.
Well, Marriott "seems" to have a few properties:

CY Empower

Empower Marriott

MV Empower

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Old Jul 7, 21, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
The only human-inhabited spaces are research bases and there are no commercial flights to get there. You're not going to find a hotel or lodge. Some adventurers manage to get there for self-propelled trips from a base to the geographic pole (and back or onward to another base). If you want to get to the pole w/o that effort, you'd have to charter and a/c outfitted with skiis. Refuelling and rescue logistics will be challenging and expensive.

You could overfly in the past (and perhaps present). Qantas has offered such flights at least in the past couple of decades and Air New Zealand used to until TE901.CFIT'd int Mt. Erebus.

A cheap cruise will barely touch Antarctica. A more-expensive one will get you to the peninsula closest to S. America.
Yes, it does appear charter is the only option outside planning my own expeditionary trek - and I will not be attempting the latter. There is at least one outfit (https://www.polarcruises.com/antarct...-camp-punta-14) that flies you down for an overnight as part of a seven day trip but I was hoping that there were options I hadn't found to book JUST the South Pole overnight, to fit into a longer itinerary I cobble together.

Regardless, I've come to terms with the fact that it's a pipe dream - even if I could find an outfit that offers that overnight for ~$20k pp, the kind of trip I have in mind would be longer than the 16 days max we can take for the next fifteen or so years. In the meantime, we can take one of the <100pax cruises - and who knows what the options will look like by 2035 when we're eligible for retirement.

Thank you for the response, though! I'd forgotten I'd posted this. I'd suddenly discovered how cheap two of my other fantasy destinations were, and figured there might be a small chance that we could hit our whole (current) bucket list before retirement. Fortunately, as we travel more and more, our bucket list increases almost infinitely. We'll have plenty of adventures in the meantime.
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Old Jul 7, 21, 4:12 am
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Man, if anything ever happens to my relationship, I'm going to figure out who I have to seduce to get a slot as a janitor at the South Pole station. I think I might even be serious.


Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Well, Marriott "seems" to have a few properties:

CY Empower

Empower Marriott

MV Empower

David
Hahaha, that's awesome, thank you for that. I feel like I want to book just to print the confirmation - availability is wide open for this (southern) summer ;-) If they actually let it go through, I'd proudly stash that away in our trip memories bin. A mattress run and hotel hopping in Antarctica is just the sort of thing my husband would expect me to do.
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Old Jul 7, 21, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by synergistic View Post
In the meantime, we can take one of the <100pax cruises -
It doesn't have to be a sub 100 pax cruise. The limitation is a maximum of 100 pax on the ground at any one time. Some cruise lines such as Ponant have ships in the 260-ish pax and more than enough Zodiac capacity to lift more than (the 100 max pax) that between ship and land.

These ships of course only touch Antartica as the geographic south pole is still quite a distance away
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Old Jul 15, 21, 2:37 pm
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Marriott

Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Well, Marriott "seems" to have a few properties:

CY Empower

Empower Marriott

MV Empower

David
I think all of these were one ship that Marriott used to charter or was supposed to charter. CY means Charter Yacht
and MV means Motor Vessel.
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Old Aug 31, 21, 11:57 am
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There are strict rules governing cruises and travel in general to Antarctica, and they only got stricter a couple of years ago. As you've found, there are a very limited number of ships which travel there. Most of the mass market lines that used to do "Antarctica" cruises only did driveby's from a distance--Norwegian and Princess might have been two of them. But since the ice worthiness of the hull was updated a couple years ago, many of those ships no longer qualify to get close enough to even call them an "Antarctica" cruise. Celebrity Infinity, which is not a polar vessel sails to the very northern tip of Antarctica but has no excursions, they only do drive-bys. The lines that do travel there now aren't going to be budget friendly, National Geographic/Lindblad, Viking, Silver Sea, Ponant, Seabourn, etc.

Most of the cruises don't cross the Antarctic Circle. National Geo/Lindblad, Oceanwide Expeditions, and A&K all have cruises that cross the Circle, I'm sure there are more.*

We plan on sailing with National Geographic/Lindblad on their Epic Antarctica Voyage when we retire in a few years. Very expensive, but you can't take it with you. It's probably the expedition/cruise that will get you closest to the South Pole. We started saving specifically for it a few years ago.

*Quark offers camping on the ice, I'm not sure anyone else does that. Quark also has some itineraries that cross the Circle.

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 6, 21, 9:16 am
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You might also want to look into cruises that depart NZ, as there are more "southerly" options than the ones that depart from South America.
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Old Sep 7, 21, 5:49 am
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i've been in contact with Quark several times as i've been planning a multi-country south america trip, including Antarctica, for a couple years now.

they do have a "crossing the circle" cruise, you get less time (maybe close to no time) on the ground. it's a hard choice.

their take on the small ship/big ship thing is that the bigger ships are for the people who don't care about getting on the continent, so they just do a "drive by".

the whole thing is moot since it's about impossible to get into Argentina or Chile to catch the boat/plane.
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Old Sep 8, 21, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Dave737 View Post
i've been in contact with Quark several times as i've been planning a multi-country south america trip, including Antarctica, for a couple years now.

they do have a "crossing the circle" cruise, you get less time (maybe close to no time) on the ground. it's a hard choice.

their take on the small ship/big ship thing is that the bigger ships are for the people who don't care about getting on the continent, so they just do a "drive by".

the whole thing is moot since it's about impossible to get into Argentina or Chile to catch the boat/plane.
true, but one can dream, can't they?
I did the 10 day Antarctic Explorer and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I go back again my goal is to do one of the Falklands/South Georgia/Peninsula trips, as the wildlife in FI SGI is a must for me.
The Circle crossing doesn't hold much interest for me.
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Old Sep 8, 21, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jetsetter777 View Post
true, but one can dream, can't they?
I did the 10 day Antarctic Explorer and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I go back again my goal is to do one of the Falklands/South Georgia/Peninsula trips, as the wildlife in FI SGI is a must for me.
The Circle crossing doesn't hold much interest for me.
We will likely do that itinerary at some point as well. But not one that goes back to Antarctica, I think once will likely be satisfying enough. Have you visited Patagonia yet? I've heard it's remarkable.
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Old Sep 8, 21, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Annerk View Post
We will likely do that itinerary at some point as well. But not one that goes back to Antarctica, I think once will likely be satisfying enough. Have you visited Patagonia yet? I've heard it's remarkable.
just the very small taste we received of the Baha Lapataia / fin del mundo area on a day tour before our Antarctica ship sailed. So, very very little, as you can see! Would love to go back and visit. Hoping for the covid situation in AR and surrounding countries to stabilize soon. Things are really tough there right now aren't they.
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Old Sep 8, 21, 3:43 pm
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i've read rumors it may open up to vax'd people come November / December, but that's too late for me. my planned trip is 5 weeks in South America:

Panama Canal
Bogota
Lima
Cusco / Machu Pichu
La Paz / Lake Titicaca (insert Beavis remark here)
Santiago / Easter Island
Antarctica
Buenos Aires
[Sao Paulo - maybe]
Rio
[Aruba - maybe]
Havana
[Florida Keys - maybe]

it's really getting too late to book all of that a month or two out, and it all hinges around getting in and out of Chile. plus some countries are 7 day quarantine even for vax'd. constant PCR tests and quarantining in every country doesn't work for me.

next year (?).
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