Bucket List Bonanza: Antarctica with Atlas Ocean Voyages
Having recently read Endurance, the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions to Antarctica, the intrigue of the white continent grabbed my imagination and propelled me to venture into something entirely different than my usual cruise itineraries.
Exciting as the journey itself was the fact that I would be traveling with my family and sharing my adventures through a documentary on the Atlas Ocean Voyages’ experience. Arranging for our video crew to travel alongside assured that we would be able to capture every component of this life awakening experience in a professional light.
Realizing that this is not your normal beach cruise experience, I turned to Ship to Shore Traveler to fully outfit the entire team and what a wise choice that was. Custom parkas, boots, under layers, hats and gloves were all waiting for us in our stateroom on arrival to the ship. The company’s experience in adventure travel proved to be an amazing solution to proper outfitting for the weather fluctuations of the sub-continent, keeping us warm and comfortable during the chills snd thrills of the journey
The excitement begins as the handsome leather bound Atlas Cruise Planner with personalized baggage tags arrive at our doorstep. The pre-trip assistance provided by Atlas Ocean Voyages was invaluable with documentation information, COVID testing protocol, Argentinian health questionnaires and transfer arrangements all handled in a detailed manner through their booked guest portal on their website.
Required PCR testing for all guests prior to the flight is not only convenient but the significant screening is assuring as well.
Prior to the private charter flight to Ushuaia from Orlando, guests are greeted in the comfort of a hotel along with a delicious meal and entertainment. The non-stop flight itself was in the comfort of a spacious AirBus 330. Upon arrival in Argentina, all guests are treated to a complimentary excursion of countryside highlights and an exclusively prepared Argentinian lunch.
A prompt 2pm embarkation on board World Navigator provided a glimpse of the elaborate beauty of this new expedition ship.
One of my initial concerns was the documented narrative surrounding the crossing of Drake Passage. However, even with significant wave action, sailing on the World Navigator, designed specifically for these conditions, quickly dispelled those concerns.
The hospitality of the crew and their anticipation of every need was exceptional and the Expedition Team, led by their leader Henry Wulff provided first hand knowledge of Antarctic details throughout the voyage both onboard and ashore. Zodiac cruising is a highlight of Antarctic exploration and their expertise in scouting fascinating destinations and landing sites makes this mode of travel both exciting and safe.
While massive icebergs and moonscape volcanic craters provide eye popping images, nothing compares to the wildlife that surrounds every step ashore and the zodiacs. Whales effortlessly glide along side the ship and the cacophony of penguins rings out as they carry on their daily lives without regard to our human intrusion. Leopard and elephant seals curiously stare into our eyes oblivious to the click of our cameras. Bird watchers can have a field day trying to name the dozens of birds that circle the ship as it carved its way through the icy waters.
Dining onboard is curated by an outstanding culinary team using regional menu ingredients. The food was exceptional and exceeded my expectations.
Atlas Ocean Voyages has left an indelible stamp on my cruise memories and those of the Porthole Cruise and Travel team. I look forward to sharing the thrills of my adventure as a documentary on Cruise Control with Bill Panoff on YouTube and the Porthole Cruise and Travel website in the next few days. Stay tuned!