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, Ushuaia and Montevideo, exude a rich culture informed by the same frontier spirit and by a rich colonial past. Likewise, you will witness a fascinating British-flavored culture in the Falkland Islands, particularly at the port of Stanley, the archipelago’s tiny capital.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Sightseeing in Buenos Aires takes place on air-conditioned/heated coaches with guides. Shore excursions in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and Antarctica require walking on uneven terrain. Travelers must also be able to climb in and out of PolarCirkel landing boats, and sometimes wade through shallow water. This is a tour for active travelers.
PACING: We spend 18 nights cruising aboard the ms Fram, 2 nights in a Moderate Deluxe hotel in Buenos Aires, and 1 night in Montevideo. We spend 10 days at sea and a total of 7 days exploring the shores and sites of Antarctica, the South Georgia Islands, and the Falkland Islands. 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 a charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego for embarkation. 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 Montevideo will fly overnight to the US, 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 PolarCirkel expedition boat rides of about 15 minutes each way to reach the shore. PolarCirkel crafts hold eight passengers each. Getting in and out of these 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 PolarCirkel from the ms Fram 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 Fram 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.