The polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic are unlike anywhere else, a true adventure in every sense of the word. Thousands of penguins, dramatic glaciers, sparkling pack ice await, and even polar bears await, but what’s the best way to travel to the polar regions?
While you can’t go wrong with any cruise or flight option, we do have a soft spot for the comfort and exclusivity of high-end trips. Why go on a luxury cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic? As one of the world’s most iconic destinations, it’s one that’s definitely worth investing in, allowing yourself the advantages of smaller ships, high passenger-to-crew ratios, and lots of extra touches that make all the difference, from onboard spas to private balconies.
How is a luxury Antarctica cruise different?
With so many cruising options for Antarctica, what makes a luxury cruise different from any other?
It’s a great question to ask when booking a cruise, so we took it straight to the experts – the Chimu Destination Specialist team. Collectively, they’ve experienced all of Chimu’s luxury Antarctica cruises, giving them vital first-hand knowledge to better assist Chimu travellers in planning their adventures.
At Chimu, our staff love travel more than anyone and have had the pleasure of travelling on many Antarctica and Arctic polar voyages, giving them unique insights into how the ships operate and which voyages are ideal for each type of traveller.
Here’s what they had to say about their experiences.
What was your favourite moment from your trip?
Destination Specialist Jason Dudson explains, “My favourite moment on the trip was the inclusion of a 20-minute helicopter scenic flight-seeing adventure, included in the voyage for all passengers. The expectation I had of flying over the Antarctic continent could not compare to the actual flight. The cruise operator’s attention to safety and procedure really made every client feel safe and secure.
The flight was only five people per trip allowing us all to have a window view unobstructed. We flew over glaciers, mountains and huge icebergs that were shining in bright neon blue colours. You could only gain access to this scenery in the helicopter and it is a moment I will never forget. This was one of my lifetime bucket list items crossed off. Every passenger once completed the flight had nothing but amazement in their eyes and that evening around the ship all people could rave about was this experience.”
“I was onboard the Le Soleal with Ponant where we had champagne from a block of sea ice (set up by Ponant). I also remember drinking wine from our balcony room while watching Antarctica go by, just a few small examples of why a little luxury in Antarctica is worth it”, explains Symone Sawyer, Senior Product Executive.
“The Captain’s welcome dinner. This occurred on the 2nd night of the cruise as we were already cruising through the polar ice cap towards the North Pole. All passengers and the Captain and crew had gathered in the lounge to have delicious French champagne and canapes as well as mingle and get to know each other in the lounge. We then made our way to the Nuna Restaurant to start an amazing 4-course meal paired again with delicious French wine.
All passengers were dressed up for the occasion including the crew. Just as the first course was served the call came over the PA that we had spotted our first polar bear. In fact, it was a mother and her about 1 ½ year old cub. An instant buzz of excitement spread around the passengers and everyone got up and made their way out onto the observation decks.
The ship had stopped so as not to scare the polar bear however they were curious about us and came close to the ship. I watched them from the observation deck then wanted to get a good picture so ran back to my cabin and had the thought that I should check if I can get a good view of them from the balcony of my cabin. I was very lucky to have them walk right in front of my cabin jumping between ice sheets. I managed to get the below picture.
After watching the mother and cub who were comfortable enough to breastfeed in front of us which is extremely rare to see that behaviour the bears wandered off into the icy distance. All passengers returned to the restaurant buzzing, in disbelief and the cooks had managed the whole situation very well, meals came out perfect and we had such a great night on a high from what we had seen”, says Reservations Manager Kieron Tebbutt.
What about your ship made it a fantastic option for luxury travellers?
Jason travelled onboard the Ultramarine, a brand-new, purpose-built expedition ship:
“The operational side of things runs like clockwork. All guests are given shore landings, zodiac cruises and flight-seeing helicopter trips. This was the highlight. The food onboard exceeded what anyone was expecting. Breakfast and lunch buffet style with various food cuisines available every day, wine and local beers for each meal included.
Dinner is set in an amazing restaurant in front of the ship with 360-degree views of the scenery outside. Dinner is a 3-course al-a-carte menu with a few options in each. The staff on board knew every passenger by name, what they liked to drink, and went above and beyond to cater to every need. You were met with warm smiles and made to feel like you were the centre of attention at every sitting.”
Kieron explored the Arctic with Le Commandant Charcot:
“The Le Commandant Charcot is an exploration ship with all of the amenities of a deluxe ship; however as it is the world’s first luxury hybrid icebreaker it has the capacity to go to destinations in the Arctic and Antarctica that no other ship can reach.
Therefore it has very unique itineraries and you have the chance to witness some truly once in a lifetime experiences all while travelling in amazing comfort, eating delicious food and receiving first class service.”
How can I decide which Antarctica trip is right for me?
Booking any trip is a big decision, but particularly so with complex and hard-to-reach destinations like Antarctica. We have a wide range of Antarctica guides and blogs, but to discuss your trip in more detail, contact one of our experienced and passionate Destination Specialists. Their assistance is just a phone call or email away, based on real, first-hand experience.
With many staff travelling during the 2023 Antarctic and Arctic season, they’re bursting with excitement about their incredible trips and can’t wait to share their knowledge with you. Contact us today and start planning your Antarctic or Arctic trip of a lifetime!