By Blake Powell
Antarctica is one of those destinations that everyone dreams of visiting. From childhoods pining over penguins and school years fascinated by icebergs, explorers and wildlife documentaries it’s easy to fall into a life-long romance with the seventh continent. The dream can become a reality with just a little planning and there are a wide range of Antarctica cruises available – hopefully this blog will help you when researching your trip.
Choosing a vessel and itinerary can be confusing so I thought I’d put down some thoughts outlining why I think the fly cruise option is seriously worth considering.
As polar specialists we help a lot of people plan their Antarctic adventures every year, the below is below is based on the most regular questions I receive when discussing Antarctica fly cruises.
What are the benefits of fly cruises to Antarctica?
Direct Flight Routing
I often get asked ‘What planes go to Antarctica’ or ‘Is there a flight to Antarctica?’. Antarctica is a long way from Australia & New Zealand – and there are no direct flights. So one of the great things about fly cruising is that it cuts out a lot of unnecessary kilometres. For example, a customer travelling on a traditional Antarctica cruise might book from Sydney to Santiago, then another flight across to Buenos Aires before a final flight to Ushuaia to board the ship. Fly cruise departures cut out the need to visit Ushuaia (and therefore Buenos Aires) so allow a more direct flight routing such as Sydney to Santiago and then to Punta Arenas for the flight leg(s) or your fly cruise.
There has been a lot written about cruising the Drake Passage over the years. It can be rough and it can be calm – and everyone’s tolerance to conditions is different so that’s probably worth a blog of it’s own at some point. One thing that is certain – most people would rather spend as much time on the Antarctic Peninsula as possible. Flying one (or both) ways is the easiest way to maximise your time amongst the exotic wildlife and spectacular scenery. An 8-day fly cruise trip to Antarctica including one night pre- and one night post-voyage will get you four full days exploring the Peninsula. An 11-day trip cruise/cruise itinerary including one night pre-voyage will also get you four days on the Peninsula including four days in potentially rough sea.
Avoid Sea Sickness
As I mentioned earlier, everyone reacts differently to rough seas – and some people simply want to avoid any chance of being in them if possible. For those of you that have a history of severe sea sickness, fly cruises will significantly reduce the chances of experiencing rough seas so are a much more appealing option. Where traditional Antarctic cruises will get you onto the Peninsula on day 4 of your cruise, fly cruises will have you there on your second day. So you can avoid needing sea sickness medication and as you and your fellow passengers jet your way to the action.
Pre and Post Touring Options
The airport used by fly cruises is Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Torres del Paine National park which is a stunning destination and perfect for pre- or post-touring. A lot of people find this option attractive as it makes sense to take advantage of being in the region to explore what is renowned as some of the most spectacular lakes & mountains in the world – as well as the elusive puma! Traditional cruise itineraries usually depart from and arrive back in Ushuaia, which is more isolated and requires a flight to reach another destination or begin the journey home.
Recommended Fly Cruises:
See our Antarctica Travel Information page for this and more information to start planning your Antarctic adventure.If you want to find out more about the destinations in this article, or have any questions in general please contact us.