Not long ago, we wrote about whale watching cruises and how they are a great alternative to regular cruises, the ones offered through major cruise lines. Another great alternative to the standard cruise vacation is an Antarctica cruise (technically an “antarctic cruise” for reasons related to parts of speech), which will take you to parts of the globe that in previous generations were only the terrain of extreme explorers. Cruises to Antarctica are perfect for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, as well as for those who merely want to get as far away from civilization as possible. (These groups are not necessarily mutually exclusive.)
First, we should probably mention that Antarctica is a continent that encapsulates the South Pole, just in case some of the details from your 3rd grade geography class are a little hazy. Being twice the size of Australia, Antarctica is fairly large, but the land is entirely blanketed by ice – tons of ice, in fact, as the ice is on average one mile thick.
Like a whale watching cruise, an antarctic cruise is generally undertaken for a specific purpose – to visit the antarctic region of the world, namely. In other words, you wouldn’t take a cruise to Antarctica to relax by the ship’s pool and gamble away your nights in the casino while you lose yourself in strong drink. You take an antarctic cruise with a mission in mind. On the other hand, an antarctic cruise is still a cruise. You get to live on a boat for a few days (depending on the cruise) and float around the ocean, and this is true no matter what part of the world you are visiting. So, an antarctic cruise offers two experiences at once. It is a serious adventure and a cruise vacation.
You might be thinking, “that’s great, but why on earth would I want to go to Antarctica, the coldest and windiest continent on earth with no permanent residents?” Great question. Our first answer is this: you would want to go to Antarctica precisely because it is the the coldest and windiest continent on earth with no permanent residents (human residents, that is). It would be an incredible experience – certainly a tale worth telling to any curious ear – and there is just something intrinsically worthwhile about these experiences, even if they aren’t entirely comfortable by the standards of contemporary vacations.
Of course, there are tons of other reasons you might want to take an antarctic cruise, with the main one being this: the extraordinary sights you will see. If you go on an antarctic cruise, you will see some of the most pristine areas on earth – corners of the world that are virtually unaffected by the forward march of humankind. You will see glaciers and ice formations of all shapes and sizes that are set against miles of empty white fields. You will see peaks that rise from sea level to 10,000 feet. These are stunning views to behold, even if you aren’t a “winter person” (although if you aren’t a winter person, you might want to think long and hard about taking a cruise to Antarctica). There are also opportunities to see wildlife that you would have a hard time seeing in any other part of the world besides an extreme environment like Antarctica. In this area of the globe, you might see huge penguin colonies, groups of seals, and albatrosses scattered about. There are also several activities to partake in during an antarctic cruise, like sea kayaking, cross-country skiing, and ice climbing.
If you are planning a cruise vacation, but you are looking for a decidedly unique experience, you might consider a trip to Antarctica. It truly is a perfect trip for adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts, as well as people who want to get far away from civilization, just as we said at the start of this article.