Our office staff’s top tips for expedition cruises
While our guides and expedition leaders certainly have the most in-field experience when it comes to polar travel, many of our office staff have also experienced enough of the Arctic and Antarctica to impart some highly useful polar cruise tips.
What follows is some well-earned wisdom from three of our office colleagues, proof of their many adventurous hours away from the keyboard.
Picture by Pippa Low
Mellany van der Hulst - Marketing & Inhouse Design
Arrive one day early for your cruise. If you arrive one day early in Ushuaia, for example, you’ll have time to get souvenirs to take home. When you return to Ushuaia after your Antarctica trip, you won’t have time to do this.
One thing I also recommend for Ushuaia is a tour of the national park. Book a private excursion there. It’s worth the money, and you can avoid the busy busses filled with other tourists. The history and nature is beautiful.
Then, after your luggage drop on embarkation day, have a nice lunch or drink in Ramos Generales. It’s a bakery, restaurant, and museum all in one. It used to be a house where a family lived in the earlier days of Ushuaia. It also housed a warehouse and a place for town meetings.
Picture by Dietmar Denger
There are so many gorgeous eateries in Ushuaia where you can find king crab, if that’s what you like, or a selection of pastas and pizzas. There is enough choice for every taste. But what mostly remained in my thoughts was Ramos Generales.
As for the evening meals, one must eat lomo (Argentinian tenderloin) accompanied with a good bottle of Malbec. With that limited time in Ushuaia, it’s all about making choices.
Oh, and forget your diet while taking a trip like this. Take a pause and just enjoy all the fantastic food in Ushuaia and on board.
Picture by Mellany van der Hulst
And one last thing that helped me was buying my own waterproof boots to wear on the vessel. I purchased them half a size to one size bigger, then I put in a fleece inlay sole so that my feet were always warm when out on deck spotting wildlife.
Sebastiaan Schijf - Financial Controller
Try to prepare yourself for what you’re going to see on your trip so you can spot things easier or search for specific wildlife.
Bring medication to prevent seasickness, too. Although there’s sufficient supply on board, it is best to bring your own if possible. Sitting outside on deck also helped me with motion sickness.
Also, bring equipment like binoculars, a camera with extra data storage, and sufficient batteries. Batteries run down very quickly in cold temperatures. And of course, you’ll want to pack good winter clothes, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Picture by Max Draeger
During landings, remember not to approach the wildlife. If you remain calm and stay quiet, some of the wildlife (like penguins) may get curious and approach you.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask the expedition staff anything you would like to know about the environment or animals. They are happy to share extra info or beautiful stories.
And don’t forget to enjoy just being there instead of only taking photos!
Picture by Max Draeger
Dorita de Bruijn - HR Manager
First of all, familiarize yourself with the area you’re going to visit. Do some research and read about it. Even then you can get surprised, just as we were when we saw an emperor penguin in an area of Antarctica where they are normally not seen.
Check the weather conditions for how to pack. People tend to believe it’s always minus 20 or colder in Antarctica. It’s not.
And don’t only check the weather in Antarctica but also Ushuaia or places you have flight connections. If you transfer in Buenos Aires, for instance, you won’t want to have only polar clothing in your suitcase!
Picture by Hubert Neufeld
And while you’re at it, also check if you need to change some settings for your credit card account. If you forget to tell your bank you’ll be in South America, you may not be able to use your credit cards or get cash out of the ATM machines.
But once you’re on your polar cruise, enjoy the ride and go with the amazing flow. Don’t see the sights only through your camera. Let yourself be enchanted by the amazing landscape and scenery.
And don’t be ashamed when you get emotional. It’s hard not to.