A visit to the White Continent is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who has the opportunity. The vastness of the landscape, as well as the diversity of its wildlife, are simply breathtaking. On Antarctic cruises, it is also common for passengers to spend several days at sea.
Antarctica voyages last an average of 10-12 days, with four of those days spent at sea in the Southern Ocean. These figures can be increased by a factor of two for longer itineraries, such as those that include stops in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
As a result, we receive a lot of questions from prospective cruisers about what they can do on their days at sea. Here are some suggestions. This question prompted us to compile a list of things to do while at sea in Antarctica in order to provide an answer.
Enjoying the company of animals in their natural environment
One of the most popular reasons to travel to Antarctica is to see the wildlife there. During a day at sea, passengers on a cruise ship can take in the abundance of marine life in this area from the deck of the ship.
All kinds of animals, including dolphins, humpback whales, orcas, petrels, and the world-famous wandering albatross, call the Drake Passage their home. Observing the albatross soar just inches above the water while using their enormous wingspan is a breathtaking experience.
The Beagle Channel, closer to Ushuaia, is a popular spot for visitors to see dolphins bow-riding the ship, much to the delight of the passengers. Fur seals and Magellanic penguins are also known to frequent these waters on a regular basis.
It is not always necessary to bring binoculars, but if you want to get up close and personal with the majestic wildlife, especially whales, we strongly recommend that you do so. The Antarctic convergence zone is where the majority of whale sightings occur. At approximately halfway across the Drake Passage, where warmer currents meet colder Antarctic waters, a massive amount of krill is attracted to the area, which in turn attracts a diverse range of whales.
A lecture series on the ship will be presented by members of the expedition team.
An expedition cruise is distinguished by the daily talks given by members of the expedition team on board the ship. These talks are one of the most memorable aspects of the voyage. The majority of the expedition members will be experts in their own right, with a working knowledge of Antarctica in some capacity.
The lectures cover a wide range of topics, but they are frequently centered on the fauna, flora, and climate of Antarctica. It is not uncommon to overhear conversations about the geology of the region, penguins, climate change, and other relevant topics.
Typically, a one-hour discussion is all that is necessary. In addition to the lectures that take place during sea days, which are a wonderful and educational way to pass the time.
Those who are interested in photography will be able to attend a special photography lecture given by an expert onboard during the majority of cruises.
Citizenship in Science programs are a good example of this.
Many Antarctic voyages will take part in a citizen science program, which is being promoted by the National Geographic Society. Approximately 10,000 people visit Antarctica each year, and this program aims to make the most of that number by providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with scientists and contribute to data collection.
For example, it covers glaciology, oceanography, ornithology, meteorology, and marine biology, among other areas of study. In addition, the Happy Whale initiative allows visitors to upload their own photos of whales, which are then used to track the movements of those whales all over the world. This is one of the most widely used studies.
Other popular studies include seabird surveys and cloud observations, to name a few examples. It’s a popular recreational activity among children because it provides them with something to do while they’re on vacation.
Take advantage of the onboard amenities to rejuvenate your body and spirit.
The act of reading while at sea in Antarctica is one of the most enjoyable ways to pass the time. Fortunately, guests can take advantage of the Polar library, which is available on board the majority of ships.
Most of the time, the Polar Library is quiet, and it has a large collection of books on the polar regions from which to choose. ‘ If you are unable to obtain phone service in order to look up information, your best option is to visit the library.
It is not uncommon for Antarctic ships to have an observation lounge as part of their design. These are typically large, open spaces with plenty of furniture and plenty of windows to allow as much natural light as possible to stream into the space.
One of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon is to sit back and relax with a cup of tea or coffee while gazing out at the ocean.
Spas will be available on board some of the newer ships as well. Jacuzzis, saunas, and massages are now commonplace in hotels and resorts. There has never been a better time to take advantage of these conveniences and get yourself ready for the upcoming workday.