What to Expect
Each Vantage Adventure is designed to help you fully experience local culture and to get out and explore while keeping active. We find these are the two most fulfilling and rewarding ways to transform any trip into an adventure, and into the experience of a lifetime. To that end, we’ve rated each trip to indicate the level of cultural immersion and physical activity, with “1” being the lowest and “3” being the highest.
CULTURAL IMMERSION: The lack of an overarching culture in Antarctica makes it a truly unique environment. There are no permanent residents here: only explorers and scientists and a handful of intrepid souls—therefore, the continent is defined by its frontier spirit. Other destinations on this adventure, such as Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, exude a rich culture informed by the same frontier spirit and by a rich colonial past.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Sightseeing in Buenos Aires takes place on air-conditioned/heated coaches with guides. Shore excursions in Antarctica require walking on uneven terrain. Travelers must also be able to climb in and out of landing boats, and sometimes wade through shallow water. (Waterproof boots are available aboard ship free of charge; see below under "Landing on the Antarctic Coast.") This is a tour for active travelers.
PACING: We spend 11 nights cruising aboard the ms Midnatsol and 3 nights in a Moderate Deluxe hotel in Buenos Aires (2 before and 1 after the cruise). We spend 4 days at sea and a total of 6 days exploring the shores and sites of Antarctica. Numerous shore landings take place on the Antarctic Peninsula, although the order and number varies depending upon weather and ice conditions. The itinerary also includes roundtrip charter flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego. This adventure is moderately paced.
FLIGHTS: If you purchase airfare from Vantage, the flight to South America will connect through Miami. Most flights from Miami to South America depart in the late evening. Depending upon your home city, you may have a shorter or longer layover in Miami before your flight departs. At the end of the trip, your flight from Buenos Aires will fly overnight to Miami, arriving the following day.
LANDING ON THE ANTARCTIC COAST: Landings on the Antarctic Peninsula require heavy walking on natural, uneven terrain, including beaches with sand and rocks, trails up small hills, and ice and snow. There will be expedition boat rides of about 15 minutes each way to reach the shore. The crafts hold up to 16 passengers each. Getting in and out of a craft is safe and relatively easy; however, you must be able to step in and out of them at the ship's boarding platform and at the shore.
Boarding a landing craft from the ms Midnatsol takes place from a stable, water-level platform with handrails. Getting out of the boat on shore will sometimes require walking through shallow water, depending on the conditions of the landing site. The expedition team will assist travelers in getting out of the boat and onto the shore. Waterproof boots will be provided for exploring the Antarctic mainland. You will also receive a Hurtigruten water- and wind-proof jacket that you can keep at the end of your adventure.
SPECIAL FACTORS: The ms Midnatsol is an expedition ship built especially to cruise to Antarctica. The ship is outfitted with art-filled public areas, exercise rooms, saunas, elevators and stabilizers. Unlike traditional cruises, however, there is no organized entertainment on board. In Antarctica, Mother Nature is the entertainer! Think of this adventure as your alternative to a traditional cruise. Though we stop in many ports, sightseeing time may be limited. Temperatures in Antarctica will change during the course of the voyage and even throughout the day. See "What to Pack for Antarctica" in the Travel Notes section for more information. In addition, the two-day crossing to and from Antarctica can be quite rough.