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Cruising Antarctica

Cruising Antarctica

Old Aug 23, 19, 8:33 am
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Arrow Cruising Antarctica

Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
One more time to Antarctica:

December 20, 2020.: Seabourn Quest. Buenos Aires—South Georgia—Antarctica—Santiago.
Please do report back.

We just cannot decide about a cruise to Antarctica.
I admit that one of our concerns is the distance - meaning time - if there is any medical emergency beyond the ship's medical center's capabilities.
(For the same reason, we worry about any ocean crossing, and may cancel our planned trip next spring. But that cancellation is more likely to be because we have other destinations in mind.)

Every time we see photos from Antarctic trips, we start the discussion all over again.

Enjoy!

GC
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Old Aug 24, 19, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
We just cannot decide about a cruise to Antarctica. I admit that one of our concerns is the distance - meaning time - if there is any medical emergency beyond the ship's medical center's capabilities.
It is a concern, but make sure your ship is prepared to handle it, and that you have medical evacuation insurance (our company required $100K minimum). On our trip to Antarctica, one of the SCUBA divers had issues and was airlifted back to South America. We were never told how time-critical the situation was, but it appears all went well.

The biggest concern with Antarctica is if you want to go ashore, international law restricts each ship to 100 people per landing (plus guides). So if you're on a larger ship, you may not get to go as often as you'd like or even at all. That's why we picked a ship that only carried 100 passengers and included all landings.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
It is a concern, but make sure your ship is prepared to handle it, and that you have medical evacuation insurance (our company required $100K minimum). On our trip to Antarctica, one of the SCUBA divers had issues and was airlifted back to South America. We were never told how time-critical the situation was, but it appears all went well.

The biggest concern with Antarctica is if you want to go ashore, international law restricts each ship to 100 people per landing (plus guides). So if you're on a larger ship, you may not get to go as often as you'd like or even at all. That's why we picked a ship that only carried 100 passengers and included all landings.
Thanks.

HOW was that scuba diver airlifted? Where was the ship?
This is exactly the kind of information that might help us decide

For example, we have MedJetAssist, in addition to regular travel insurance. But that doesn't kick in unless one is already an inpatient in a hospital. It's "getting to that hospital" (any hospital) from a ship that would be the concern in the Antarctic area.

Chances are nothing would happen, of course.
But IF something did, it could be "high cost" (and I'm not talking about money here, although that's also involved).

GC
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
HOW was that scuba diver airlifted? Where was the ship?
We detoured to a Chilean military base at the tip of the peninsula, and the plane left from there.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
We detoured to a Chilean military base at the tip of the peninsula, and the plane left from there.
Thanks very much!

GC
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Old Sep 3, 19, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
Please do report back.

We just cannot decide about a cruise to Antarctica.
I admit that one of our concerns is the distance - meaning time - if there is any medical emergency beyond the ship's medical center's capabilities.
(For the same reason, we worry about any ocean crossing, and may cancel our planned trip next spring. But that cancellation is more likely to be because we have other destinations in mind.)

Every time we see photos from Antarctic trips, we start the discussion all over again.

Enjoy!

GC
Thanks. We went to Antarctica in 2018, and it was The Trip of a Lifetime.

We just got off a cruise from Iceland-Greenland-Baffin Island, and it was filled with past Antarctica cruisers. It was interesting to talk to some of the cruisers who had not yet been to Antarctica. Everyone of these folks mentioned that when they asked previous travelers to Antarctica how they enjoyed it, the unanimous opinion was that it was The Trip of a Lifetime.

The lack of medical evacuation options once one is "down under" can be worrisome. It all depends on risk tolerance and medical situation. Personally, if I had to die and go to heaven, Antarctica would not be a bad place to start the journey.

FYI, there was a 2017 Seabourn Antarctica cruise that got diverted/shortened because of a medical condition that resulted in death of a passenger. Also, in 2018, the captain who commanded our Antarctica cruise died during the next voyage. https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/c...in-larsen.html So, medical stuff happens.
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Old Sep 3, 19, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Thanks. We went to Antarctica in 2018, and it was The Trip of a Lifetime.

We just got off a cruise from Iceland-Greenland-Baffin Island, and it was filled with past Antarctica cruisers. It was interesting to talk to some of the cruisers who had not yet been to Antarctica. Everyone of these folks mentioned that when they asked previous travelers to Antarctica how they enjoyed it, the unanimous opinion was that it was The Trip of a Lifetime.

The lack of medical evacuation options once one is "down under" can be worrisome. It all depends on risk tolerance and medical situation. Personally, if I had to die and go to heaven, Antarctica would not be a bad place to start the journey.

FYI, there was a 2017 Seabourn Antarctica cruise that got diverted/shortened because of a medical condition that resulted in death of a passenger. Also, in 2018, the captain who commanded our Antarctica cruise died during the next voyage. https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/c...in-larsen.html So, medical stuff happens.
Thanks. All of the above are concerns, of course. And we [sort of] agree about the "what a way to go", given we aren't young anymore, etc.
Someone who posted a *lot* on CruiseCritic (incredibly active and helpful, and had apparently met - including at his home - many others from CC) was with his wife, approximately half-way on a 'Round The World' cruise, when he passed... very sudden heart attack, as I understand it. Needless to say, it was a total nightmare for his wife, unfortunately.
But it isn't clear in many such cases whether being "closer to home" (or even AT home) would have yielded a different outcome. Of course, in *some* cases, it certainly could. DH needed emergency care on his *first* cruise, after it had taken me decades to convince him to give it a try [and he gets some sort of "Super Duper" award for continuing on other cruises! ]. We were very impressed with the medical care on board. He was transferred by ambulance to the ER at Bermuda, and there - and also at our major teaching hospital - all agreed that what had been done was precisely what they would have done had he presented in their ER at the start. But obviously, some procedures or even meds won't be available/possible during the Drake Shake, or such.

We've just booked a New Zealand & Australia cruise on short notice (already entered above), and ... some of the flight just to get there... there won't be a nearby emergency airport, etc. Likewise spending a week in a very rural mountain cabin, or such... no emergency care or ambulance "right nearby", etc.
However, somehow "Antarctica" sounds genuinely remote, because it is, in a different way. But we aren't going to "just stay home" (or "sit in the ER waiting room!?!) just in case......

We are actually getting closer to booking something to Antarctica (!!), even if we are thinking "perhaps we'll cancel before penalties". That would make it so much more likely that we *would* go, as we get more used to the idea. After all, the chance of "something happening just then!" are pretty low, given our generally good health, despite being "Geezers-in-Training".
[But as they say, "Life Happens!" - or not... ]

The more we read reports of those who've "been there"... how can we NOT go!??

GC
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Last edited by GeezerCouple; Sep 3, 19 at 3:07 pm Reason: format error
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Old Sep 7, 19, 6:11 pm
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Not that responsive to your question, but of our 15 plus cruises, the 3 plus week trip on Holland to Antarctica was the best. The three days in the Antarctic were magical. We bundled up in every piece of clothes we own (face masks, scarfs, thermals) and stood on our balcony for hours. Wife, inspite of keeping her camera in her coat, still had to go in occasionally to warm the camera back up. Viewing great well into the night.

People not as brave, or in interior/window cabins were mostly on the lido, where viewing was poor as the windows "fogged" up. Some of the heartiest were out on the bow. Wife did some of that. We were 70+-.

We missed Ushia, as the "cold war" with Argentina was going on. Captain was concerned if we put in, we might not be allowed out. We were also going to the Falklands, disputed territory. We took our second trip above the Arctic Circle (this time proceeding along the Norway coast, up and back down to several ports in Iceland. We also did the Amazon on Regent Seven Seas. All of these put us in remote areas. I do not see it much different than the 8 flights to Australia.

When I was younger, I had to abandon an airplane (100 seats, 25 passengers) in Alaska, that started on fire as we went down the runway. Had we not been able to abort before getting airborne (we were just starting accent) things might have been different. Since we have "run" from cyclones in the South Pacific twice on cruises. One they locked us in the ship (chained the doors) with waves/water to the top of the ship for days. Our cruise from SAN down to Peru and back featured a volcano eruption, "title wave" , and earthquake on our way back, each was a day or two from when we left port! Nothing ate us on our recent trip to Africa with nearly a dozen safari drives/boats. I am going until I am physically to shot to do so. What I am trying to say, is there is risk in life.

So my response, the question is not the risk, but how important is the reward? Your preexisting condition (s)? and desire to make the trip, in the end are personal decisions.

Here is our Antarctic TR South America and Antartica land and sea

Last edited by ranles; Sep 7, 19 at 6:14 pm Reason: left off trip report
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Old Sep 7, 19, 6:20 pm
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Originally Posted by ranles View Post
Our cruise from SAN down to Peru and back featured a volcano eruption, "title wave" , and earthquake on our way back
Is a "title wave" just a tidal wave that makes the headlines?

If you're physically able, any trip to Antarctica where you stay on the ship is only a tiny fraction of the experience.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post

If you're physically able, any trip to Antarctica where you stay on the ship is only a tiny fraction of the experience.
Agreed. The shore excursions among the penguins and seals make it all worth while.

I developed pneumonia halfway through our cruise and the ship offered to unload me on the above mentioned Chilean air force base. I declined, and after a few days of antibiotics was able to at least go out on deck again and watch the whales and albatrosses. I had to miss the last excursions ashore, but just being there was satisfying enough.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
If you're physically able, any trip to Antarctica where you stay on the ship is only a tiny fraction of the experience.
I wouldn't take the trip if I couldn't go ashore. Seeing it would not be enough. I've set food in every other continent and wouldn't want to be that close without landfall even for a short period.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 9:28 pm
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I went on Hurtigruten in December 2016, and I agree it was the trip of my lifetime!

At least on my cruise, we had to provide a written form signed by my doctor saying I was healthy enough to be in that situation where help would be difficult and expensive. They took this very seriously, the ship’s doctor initially had a fit because I accidentally handed him a photocopy instead of the original. I’d assumed that was standard, but maybe not. Of course it doesn’t prevent a medical event from happening, and I’m sure there have even been cases of forgery!

If you go, read up on the impacts of going early and late in the season. Both have advantages, but you may prefer one over the other!






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Last edited by Mike B; Nov 9, 19 at 9:41 pm
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Old Nov 9, 19, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
I wouldn't take the trip if I couldn't go ashore. Seeing it would not be enough. I've set food in every other continent and wouldn't want to be that close without landfall even for a short period.
it is of course a matter of choice. There are so many wondrous things to see, being ship bound would still be a great experience, but frustrating to be so close. Maybe when I’m too old to handle wet landings. On my one trip (with landings) there was a wheelchair bound passenger. She took great joy in what she saw, but the crew went to great trouble to carry her ashore at one landing so she had set foot. I wasn’t there, but I hope they got her close to some penguins!
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Old Nov 9, 19, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
I've set food in every other continent
I believe it's illegal for tourists to bring food onto Antarctica.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by Mike B View Post
it is of course a matter of choice. There are so many wondrous things to see, being ship bound would still be a great experience, but frustrating to be so close. Maybe when I’m too old to handle wet landings. On my one trip (with landings) there was a wheelchair bound passenger. She took great joy in what she saw, but the crew went to great trouble to carry her ashore at one landing so she had set foot. I wasn’t there, but I hope they got her close to some penguins!
That is amazing that the crew helped her like that!
What cruise line/ship was this, and approximately when?

I wouldn't need *that* kind of assistance!

We were also wondering about Hurtigruten (some of their ships, anyway) use of the polarcirkel boats instead of the regular (zodiacs?).
Apparently the polarcirkels are easier hold on to, and also have more comfortable/stable seating??
I don't know if their new "green" ships have the polarcirkels or not.

Has anyone been on these?

Thanks.

GC
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