Following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Antarctica and Arctic Expedition Travel. More are added all the time. If you have your own questions you would like answered about preparing for your polar adventure, please let us know! Please note that the information here is general in nature and may not apply to every single expedition ship - so if you have a specific question you would like to check, please Contact Us!
How hard is it to get in and out of the Zodiacs?
Help getting in and out of the Zodiac landing craft will be given by the expedition staff. There are possible wet landings where you will be required to disembark the zodiac into ankle deep water - making rubber boots a necessary item.
Is there email/internet access onboard the ship?
Yes, on most expedition vessels there is email access available through satellite communication equipment for a charge.
When is the best time to go to the Antarctic and the High Arctic?
The Antarctic season runs from November through to March with all months having some special characteristics, including untouched winter snow, great whale and seal action, good weather, and even a little star gazing. The Arctic season runs from July through to September. Operating dates are carefully based on historical patterns in the ice, which allows for optimal viewing for all wildlife (walrus, polar bear, seals, whales) not to mention access to special landing sites.
What nationalities are usually onboard?
There usually are travellers from many countries travelling on these expeditions. Most often from Europe, North America and Australia but from all over the world. A great chance to meet new friends! Unless otherwise specified the expedition staff give lectures and all safety briefings in English.
I am travelling alone - do I need to pay a single supplement?
Many people come alone and some purchase the single cabin / sole use option. However for those wishing to share, almost every expedition ship offers the possibility to pair single travellers of the same gender together at no charge.
Do I need gloves?
It is best to take two or three pairs of gloves. It is important to have spare dry gloves in case one set gets wet.
Do I need a parka?
Expensive specialty gear is not required, but you should have warm, waterproof clothing available upon your arrival at the embarkation point. Some ships offer waterproof jackets, bib pants and rubber/Wellington/gum boots for hire while on board and there is also a clothing hire company in the main Antarctic port of Ushuaia.
How often do we get off the ship?
You will get off the ship as much as possible, usually two to three times a day when we are around the Antarctic / Arctic coastline. Usually between two and six hours is spent at each location depending on the prevailing conditions.
Should I be concerned about Seasickness?
If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, then it is a good idea to talk to your own doctor. Come armed with motion sickness tablets. There will be a doctor on board and each ship is equipped with a small treatment facility.
What can I expect on the cruise?
All these voyages are "expedition" style cruises. The emphasis is on wildlife encounters, personal contact with the environs, visiting sites of historical interest and to a lesser extent, scientific stations. The actual program will vary to take best advantage of local conditions, spontaneous opportunities and wildlife. Experience in Arctic and Antarctic waters shows that a flexible program is essential when it comes to dealing with the published itinerary as a guide to some of our best opportunities. No two voyages are the same and you can expect the unexpected!
How do I prepare for the expedition?
When packing, don't weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear. Select informal, practical attire for your trip that can be worn in layers. During the booking process more detailed information will be sent to you regarding clothing lists, what to pack and what to expect on the voyage, as well as background information about the destination, wildlife etc - and reading lists for those wanting to find out even more.
Are there restrictions regarding what can be done ashore?
Yes, an overriding concern is the protection of the wildlife, environment and cultures in any of the areas visited. The expedition team will address conservation issues in the onboard briefings and will assist you ashore. Most important rules are: Do not leave anything but footprints and do not take anything but memories!