Antarctica is the southernmost continent, sometimes referred to as the South Pole. Actually, this is a misnomer. You won’t see the actual South Pole on an Antarctic cruise. It is deep inland on a high plateau. Cruises travel the Drake Passage to Paradise Harbour and the Lemaire Channel. Antarctica is one of the most beautiful and the most forbidding places on earth. Almost 98 percent of the continent is covered by ice. Think bitterly cold, dry and windy. There are no hotels, no tourism infrastructure and no human residents on Antarctica. A cruise ship is the safest and only comfortable way to see this beautiful land.
Best Bets: Antarctic cruises run the gamut from working supply vessels to luxury cruise ships. Unless you are a truly adventurous and intrepid traveler, choose an Antarctic cruise that offers views of the breathtaking vistas and amazing wildlife without making landfall. If you want to get up close and personal, check out cruise tours that are members of International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (www.iaato.org). Best Time: Cruising is only possible during the southern hemisphere summer from late November to early March when temperatures are often a “balmy” 20º F.
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