The world’s most popular vacation destination is the southernmost continent, Antarctica. The ice-bound land is one of the few destinations that comes with a price tag usually for those willing to make their way there year round or deal with some uncomfortable living conditions in order to stay at its luxury hotels and lodges on almost three decades old tourist attractions like South Pole Station.
Antarctica is a continent that has been largely ignored for years. However, it is beginning to gain popularity because of its untouched beauty and abundance of wildlife.
Over the last two years, expedition cruises to Antarctica have grown in popularity, with cruise companies such as Crystal Cruises, Ponant, Silversea, Hurtigruten, and Lindblad Expeditions introducing new itineraries and, in some instances, new ships to fulfill demand.
So, why is the world’s sole deserted continent so popular these days?
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There might be many explanations for this. The coronavirus pandemic is the initial, and most likely greatest, contribution to its surge in popularity.
It may seem strange that a pandemic that stopped and hampered the travel and tourism business on a worldwide scale for over two years would lead to a demand among travelers for new locations, but the epidemic profoundly transformed people’s perceptions of travel.
Travelers want journeys that are more environmentally friendly, less congested, and more individualized, with an emphasis on exploration and unique experiences.
For many, a journey to Antarctica accomplishes exactly that, with several expedition companies providing active experiences and scientific research opportunities that bring them closer to the continent’s natural beauties, whether it’s with penguins or glacier mountains.
Climate change is the second reason why Antarctica is one of the most popular adventure cruise locations. People who visit Antarctica today because they are concerned about the future are likely a tiny percentage of the continent’s tourists. Nonetheless, ABC News’ Amy Robach traveled to Antarctica earlier this month on Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance expedition ship for the network’s climate change coverage, where she spoke with scientists about local penguin population changes and other effects of climate change on the icy continent.
So, what are the possibilities for people who want to see the world’s seventh continent, which might be regarded a natural marvel in its own right?
There are several possibilities available, particularly today.
The National Geographic Resolution featuring penguins in Antarctica. (Image courtesy of Ralph Lee Hopkins)
Travelers will enjoy smaller ships, personalized service, luxurious rooms, and unusual and frequently adventurous activities like sea kayaking, skiing, hiking, and more, regardless of which cruise company they pick.
Many cruise lines start their journeys in Ushuaia, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile. Guests may prolong their journey by staying in Buenos Aires or Santiago before or after their cruise, and depending on their schedule, they can additionally visit the Falkland Islands, Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Peter I Island.
Some adventure cruise companies have been traveling in Antarctica for decades. Lindblad Expeditions and Hurtigruten Expeditions are two examples of excellent cruise lines.
Lindblad Expeditions has launched the National Geographic Resolution, a sister ship to the National Geographic Endurance, as its second polar vessel this year. Lindblad Expeditions, in collaboration with National Geographic, offers visitors an Antarctic voyage that includes excursions and lectures led by naturalists, wildlife photographers, biologists, and others who give authoritative insights into the enigmatic continent.
MS Roald Amundsen of Hurtigruten at Duse Bay, Antarctica. (picture courtesy of Hurtigruten Expeditions/Oscar Farrera)
Hurtigruten Expeditions, too, has expedition teams and even an aboard laboratory where passengers may learn about how scientists investigate Antarctica. They may assist in studies about the continent via the Citizen Science program, which enables students to do so both aboard and on excursions.
Ponant, a French cruise operator that provides luxury Antarctica voyages, introduced Le Commandant Charcot, its most environmentally friendly expedition ship ever, last month as part of a series of Antarctic itineraries that include the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. Onboard one of the most environmentally friendly expedition ships at sea, guests can enjoy comparable experiences to those listed above, as well as luxurious cabins and personalized care.
This autumn and winter, the Silver Cloud will go to Antarctica. (Silversea Cruises picture)
The Silver Cloud, Silver Wine, and Silver Explorer ships of Silversea Cruises resumed its Antarctic journeys in November. The cruise company provides some of the most opulent voyages to Antarctica, complete with private flights and transfers, hotel stays, excursions, and butler service for every room.
Crystal Voyages is another luxury cruise service that has recently started its first Antarctic adventure cruises aboard its newest ship. Onboard the Crystal Endeavor, it embarked on its inaugural adventure voyage to Antarctica in mid-November. The smaller adventure boat gives passengers exquisite accommodations, individual service, free pre- and post-cruise lodgings, and round-trip charter flights, as well as unusual itineraries and even a submersible for guests to explore the Antarctic seas in.
“Exploring Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we invite our passengers to join us as we establish a new benchmark in luxury expedition cruising,” said Crystal Cruises president Jack Anderson.
Antarctica trips are offered by a small number of cruise lines and expedition cruise lines. Travelers will find themselves on ships with excellent service, less crowds, and more opportunity to see the beautiful world around them, regardless of whatever option they select.
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Antarctica has seen a rise in popularity, which is due to its remote location and the unique opportunity that it provides. The continent’s rising popularity is also due to the many cruise ships that are now visiting Antarctica. Reference: antarctica cruise.
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