On an Antarctica vacation you will see a lot of ice; in fact Antarctica contains 90% of the world’s ice.
You will also see stadium size icebergs, jagged mountain peaks and an abundance of wildlife in one of the last true wilderness areas left on our great planet earth.
Antarctica is a huge continent, about one and half times the size of the United States and is contained almost completely within the Antarctic Circle. It is covered by a giant sheet of ice. On average the ice is 6,600 ft (2,012 m) thick although parts are over 14,000 ft (4267 m) deep. The highest point on Antarctica is Vision Massif at 16, 066 ft (4,897m).
When planning your vacation you want to go during Antarctica’s summer which is from October to March. December offers the longest periods of daylight with almost continuous daylight for the 24 hour day.
Winter in Antarctica is from April to September. The weather during winter is some of the most severe in the world. Average temperatures are minus 76 Fahrenheit with high winds, hail and snow. June offers some of the longest days of darkness on Antarctica. The only real way to take an Antarctica Vacation is by some sort of sea going vessel. Typically vessels are ice-reinforced and range in size from 50 to 150 passengers.
These types of Antarctica cruises are known as expedition cruises. Most of your time is spent off the ship. Zodiacs (rubberized landing crafts) allow passengers to explore away from the ship and virtually anywhere. A Naturalist usually accompanies explorers and offers a wealth of knowledge on wildlife and the surroundings, as well as helping to ensure explorer safety.
If you’re not heavy into exploring like an Antarctica expedition cruise allows; you can also book a vacation on a more traditional, larger cruise ship. These more typical cruises do offer half-day to full-day Antarctica explorations for you to get closer to the wildlife and scenery, while allowing you to enjoy the creature comforts of a luxury cruise ship at the end of the day.
The season for Antarctica vacations is limited and extremely popular. You need to consider planning ahead and reserving your space at least 9 months or more in advance.
Antarctica and surrounding areas are home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife. From your ship you could see Penguins, Whales, Seals and Seabirds.
Penguins are one of the highlights of an Antarctica vacation. Six species can be found in Antarctica: Adelie, chinstrap, Emperor, gentoo, king and macaroni. The Emperor penguin is the largest of the penguin species standing over three feet tall and can weigh up to 80 pounds.
Whales can be found in the Antarctic Ocean. You can see up to 10 species including: blue, finback, humpback, minke, fight sei and sperm. The blue whale can exceed 100 ft (30m) in length and weigh over 125 tons. You’ll always remember seeing a giant blue whale glide through the water on your vacation.
Six species of seals are found in Antarctica including; crabeater, fur, leopard, Ross, Weddell and elephant. The male elephant seals are huge and can weigh over 4 tons. They are an amazing sight in their natural environment.
Over forty species of seabirds can be seen on your vacation including: terns, petrels, skuas, and Albatross. The Albatross has a wingspan of 11.5 ft (3.5 m) and is the world’s largest seabird. It glides on air currents, hardly ever beating its wings.
How do I Choose an Antarctica Vacation?
There are many companies on the internet offering Antarctica vacations. In fact so many we have no specific recommendations; rather we suggest you do your research. When you’re ready to book your vacation call and ask to talk with a knowledgeable resource regarding your vacation plans.
The key thing is do you like the person/company you’re talking with and does their company offer what you’re looking for? Be sure to ask about familes with children.
After you go on an Antarctic vacation consider sharing your experience with our readers. You can use this form to submit your vacation experience.