Antarctic Cruises 2012
Alot of Antarctic cruises for 2012 are now fully booked, especially after the wonderful Frozen Planet series. However, here we've identified cruises that still have availability for this season and the beginning of next.
Antarctica 2012 Available departures
November & December 2012
Active Antarctica Cruise
Departure dates: 6th Nov 2012 and 26th Nov 2012 (11-days long)
Extra activities: kayaking
Highlights: Paradise Bay & Cuverville Island, Deception Island and swimming in Antarctic water at Pendulum Cove.
South Georgia Antarctic Cruise
Departure dates: 10th Nov 2012 (17 days long), 12th Nov 2012 (19 days long),
Extra activities: Kayaking
Highlights: 2 days in the Falklands, South Georgia, South Orkney Islands & Elephant Island (scene of Ernest Shackleton's infamous voyage)
Ultimate Antarctica Voyage
Departure dates: 11th Nov, 20th Dec, 30th Dec 2012 (9-days long)
Highlights: Gerlache Strait, the Neumayer Channel, and the Lemaire Channel, walking on the ice at Paradise Bay and seeing thousands of Adélie Penguins on Paulet Island.
Falkland Islands & South Georgia Journey
Departure date: 20th Nov 2012 (20-days long)
Extra activities: 2 days in Falkland Islands, seeing King Penguins in the South Georgia, Brown Bluff Volcano (home to thousands of penguins), crossing the Weddell Sea, visiting Shackleton's grave, and the whaling station of Stromness.
Springtime Antarctic Voyage
Departure dates: 26th Nov, (8 days long, Fly to Antarctica & sail back), 30th Nov, (12 days long sail only), 3rd Dec, 11th Dec, 19th Dec, 22nd Dec, 30th Dec 2012
Extra activities: Kayaking & Camping available
Highlights: Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula
South Georgia Antarctic Cruise
Departure dates: 10th Nov 2012, 12th Nov 2012, 27th Dec 2012,
Extra activities: Antarctica sea kayaking places limited
Highlights: A Fly & Cruise trip that takes you straight to the Falklands by plane. See Adelie penguins in the South Orkney Islands and visit the South Shetland Islands and Elephant Island, a point of historical interest.
Springtime Antarctica Voyage
Departure dates: 26th Nov, 30th Nov, 11th Dec, 19th Dec, 22nd Dec, 31st Dec 2012
Extra activities: Sea kayaking & ice climbing
Highlights: Cruise or fly and cruise depending on which date you plan to visit. Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula includes sailing along the Gerlache Strait whilst whale watching.
Express Tour of Antarctica
Departure dates: 29th Nov
Highlights: Sail to Antarctica and fly back to the mainland. Great if you're short on time, you'll visit the South Shetland Islands, several penguin colonies and King George Island too.
Trip of a Lifetime Air Cruise
Departure dates: 2nd Dec (limited availability), 22nd Dec (v.limited availability)
Highlights: Fly to and from Antarctica, cutting out 2 days at sea. You'll visit the South Shetland Islands and land at beautiful spots on the Antarctic continent. You'll also aim to cross the Antarctic Circle.
7-Day Fly and Cruise Expedition
Departure dates: 7th Dec, 17th Dec
Highlights: Fly to and from Antarctica, cutting out 2 days at sea. You'll visit the South Shetland Islands, cross the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea filled with tabular icebergs and visit several wonderful places including Paulet Island and Hope Bay. You'll also stop at Brown Bluff, an ancient extinct volcano famous for its thousands of penguins.
Weddell Sea Odyssey
Departure dates: 9th Dec 2012
Highlights: Sail deep into the Weddell Sea where Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship the Endeavour sank. See Antarctica's top spots including the Gerlache Strait and Paradise Bay, and walk amongst thousands of Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap penguins.
Antarctica offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to see glaciers, icebergs and wildlife; and remains one of the world's true wildernesses.
Summer is in full swing with penguin chicks hatching all fluffy and grey, you'll see them earlier in the South Shetland Islands and later in the month to the south of the Peninsula. In January watch out for:
- Fur and leopard seal pups getting bigger, sticking close to their mums on the beaches.
- Penguin colonies are a hive of activity, with parents finding as much food as possible for their young, fending off giant Skua birds that prey on baby penguins.
February is still summertime and the continuously receding ice means that ice breakers can explore further south, visiting the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea. Expect to see:
- Young penguin chicks are starting to get strong and big and can be seen huddling in 'penguin creches'.
- The concentration of fur seals increases
- February is prime time for whale watching with a variety of breeds feeding in the Antarctic Peninsula
By March, Autumn is well and truly here. The days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to drop as the sun sinks below the southern horizon. Extensive walks into the South Shetland Islands are possible as although you may experience some winter frost during the night, snow cover is at its minimum.
- Young penguins are now in a state of adolescence and are interested and inquisitive in visitors
- Adult penguins are molting, making them look strangely shabby! They spend a lot of their time teaching their young to go to sea
- Whale watching is still very good at this time of year and there's a high chance you'll get near to lots of them
November is springtime in Antarctica, and as the ice begins to break and melt thanks to the sun's energy, Antarctica gets a burst of life - with plankton blooming on the ice and krill swelling in abundance. After a long, dark winter, Antartica's creatures make the most of the spring to fatten up before darkness strikes again. In November you'll see:
- Crabeater seals (born between September and November)
- Penguin courting rituals, nest building and stone stealing
- Penguin, petrel and comorant eggs are laid in November
- Elephant alpha seals aggressively guarding their harems on the beach until December
- Seals lounging on many icebergs
- Minke, Southern right whales and humpbacks arriving to feed
We're in early summer now, and many animals are being born, parents are searching for food for their young, and the variety of wildlife that can be seen on the icebergs, ice cliffs and Antarctic beaches is extraordinary. You'll see:
- whales feeding in Antarctica's food rich waters
- Petrel and comorant eggs are still hatching
- Penguin eggs start to hatch at the end of December in South Shetland Islands
- Days are lengthening so you should be getting near to 24 hours of daylight
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