On a cruise to the Seventh Continent, the most isolated place on the planet is also one of the most romantic.
When you substitute the word “expedition” for “honeymoon,” adventure becomes a big part of the romantic equation. On board a luxury polar icebreaker to Antarctica from Argentina during the December to March sailing season, your days are filled with zipping around icy inlets on a Zodiac boat looking for whales or trekking on-land to penguin colonies and abandoned research stations. Calving glaciers, sculpture-like icebergs, lazy seals and mountain vistas will imprint themselves onto your memory in high definition, while your eyes process a thousand different shades of blue. Sea kayaking, overnight camping and maybe a polar plunge can amp up the action factor.
Life onboard is sweeter than you would think, as you may well be sailing on a cruise ship that spends its summers in the Mediterranean. The fine dining, however improbable in this neck of the woods, will be top-notch. And most tour companies travel with a crew of experts who help you learn about all the exotic wildlife and the history of the explorers that went before you.
Off-the-grid itineraries are myriad, delivering different routes – down to the Arctic Circle perhaps, or over to the Falklands or King Islands. There are also express options that fly you over the Drake Passage if you’re pressed for time.
Most cruise lines, including Quark Expeditions, dock at Ushuaia, Argentina, which bills itself as the city at the end of the world. Once you’ve disembarked, you can carry on to Patagonia for an extra dose of stunning natural beauty or jet up to Buenos Aires, where “real” summer is in full swing. There’s nothing like a weekend of the tango to shake off a few days of ice and snow.
Visit quarkexpeditions.com for more info.
Five things to know about Antarctica:
- There are an estimated 40 million penguins from six different species living in the Antarctic.
- You can mail a postcard home from the world’s most southerly post office at Port Lochroy, a British research facility and museum.
- The oldest ghost town in Antarctica is Deception Island, which was once a whaling station, abandoned in the 1930s.
- The Drake Passage is notoriously rough due to the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans. But that is part of the fun!
- While you might think the temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula is super cold, it actually hovers around –2° C in the “summer”.