8 exciting ways an Antarctica cruise might change your life

People who have taken an Antarctic cruise will tell you it is an experience not quite like any other vacation experience they’ve ever had. And chances are, they’ll keep trying to tell you, again and again, how life-changing the trip truly was, only pausing when they take a moment to book their next trip to the south.

So what is it about the Antarctic that has travelers searching for words? What keeps them coming back for more? Here are just 9 reasons why your friends won’t stop bragging about their awesome trip to the Antarctic.

1. Become a part of history

The Antarctic was one of the last great exploration holdouts, becoming the focus of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration that blossomed during the early 1900s. And here’s the thing – it’s still a frontier. Heading south on an Antarctic cruise means you’re going to be one of the first human beings to ever set foot on our southernmost continent in the history of humankind.

Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica ©Rolf Stange - Oceanwide Expeditions

Granted, your name probably won’t hit the history books like Shackleton’s did, but considering how he ended up, that’s probably a good thing.

2. It’s not just a vacation, it’s an adventure

Because of the Antarctic’s remote location, it’s still very much an untamed land. Antarctica does not and has never had an indigenous population and there aren’t hospitals, taxis, or tacky t-shirt shops around every corner. In fact, there aren’t really any corners in the first place. Aside from your cruise ship and a few science stations, the Antarctic is one of the hold-outs on Earth that can still put the “wild” in “wilderness.”

Antarctic Peninsula - its an adventure © Dietmar Denger - Oceanwide-Expeditions

3. There’s camping… and then there’s Antarctic camping

That’s right, some cruise lines offer you the chance to sleep out under the Antarctic skies. You’ll hunker down in a spot far enough away to not disturb the wildlife, and get to go to sleep under skies unhampered by any sort of light pollution.

Camping in Antarctica © Richard Wadey - Oceanwide Expeditions

4. Get some major photo props without having to improve your photo skills

The Antarctic offers fantastically beautiful landscapes every which way that you turn. You’ve got interesting wildlife, blue waters contrasting with snowy white mountains, crystalline blue icebergs sailing past. You’d have to actually put some effort into taking a bad picture, which means you’re going to go home with a memory card full of awesome pics.

Humpback Whale Photography - Major Photo Props © Dietmar Denger - Oceanwide Expeditions

And if you happen to actually want to improve your shutterbug skills some cruise lines offer lectures and workshops with professional photographers as part of their cruise line-ups.

5. It’s a brand new experience

Even if you happen to live in an environment that has snow for part of the year, it’s just not the same as setting foot on the Antarctic continent. Maybe it’s the unique wildlife, perhaps it’s the knowledge that you are days away from anything resembling civilization… whatever the cause, visiting the Antarctic is a bit like blasting off for a whole other world.

McMurdo Dry Valleys © Rolf Stange - Oceanwide Expeditions

NASA agrees. They’ve used Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys as a testing ground for some of their equipment because of its similarities to the environments of Mars and the moon.

6. You can learn stuff (or not, it’s up to you)

Some cruises offer lectures on a variety of topics, given by certified experts. So if you’re in the mood you might hunker down with some hot chocolate and learn about the wildlife, geology, the science experiments being conducted on the continent, why Antarctica is so important to the world’s environment, or the history of the region.

Some cruises offer lectures & workshops

7. No two cruises are exactly the same

All cruise lines are of course subject to the environment, but Mother Nature tends to have much more of a say in where and when Antarctic cruises can hit a spot of interest.

For some odd reason Antarctic cruise lines put a lot of effort into making sure their passengers are “safe” and can “survive the trip” and don’t “die horribly.” That means adhering to weather patterns when it comes to selecting bays that they anchor in.

They also take great care in maintaining environmental safety for the local wildlife. So if there’s even a whiff of danger that something might upset the animals cruise lines will veer off.

And of course there’s the wildlife itself – sometimes whales (for example) are complete show-offs and are putting on a show every way you turn. On other days they can turn shy and hide under the waves.

Antarctic Peninsula - no-cruises-are-the-same © Dietmar Denger - Oceanwide Expeditions

All of this combines to ensure that each Antarctic cruise is its own thing, and that no two cruises are cookie-cutter copies of each other.

8. Penguins!

Just look at them!

Gentoo Penguins with mv Plancius © Dietmar Denger - Oceanwide Expeditions

Matt Schwachofer is the Online Marketing Manager at Oceanwide Expeditions.

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