Antarctica Fly & Cruise

TWO DEPARTURES

February 1 – 8, 2023

February 6 – 13, 2023

 

Join PhotoEnrichment Adventures Founder and veteran tour organizer

Ralph Velasco for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica!

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 1, 2022

Join us in Antarctica!

 

SPECIAL NOTES TO START

Unlike most other trips to Antarctica you may have seen, it’s very important to note that this trip does NOT require an additional 4+ days (roundtrip) to sail through the notoriously rough Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean.  All participants will FLY from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the continent of Antarctica to meet our ship, and this flight is included in your fee.

It’s also worth noting that we’re going to experience this incredible destination on a 67-passenger boat, which is relatively small and intimate by most standards, and yet big enough to get us safely through this remote part of the world, and so it’s perfect for this adventure.  See image slideshow for photos of the ship and its cabins.

Of course, Mother Nature governs Antarctica and weather controls all on the harshest continent on Earth. This is why our Tour Operator has the best Contingency Plan in the industry, guided by consistency, transparency, and fairness, offering value and comfort should the weather delay our expedition.

 

OVERVIEW OF THIS INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE

Join us for an 8-day, 7 night, once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Antarctica!

The itinerary for this Fly & Cruise trip to Antarctica is our Tour Operator’s most popular expedition.

Once arriving by flight to Antarctica, you’ll sail between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Marvel at the ice-filled fjords and spectacular icebergs while spotting penguins, seals, orcas, and whales that call the White Continent home.

Daily excursions include hiking, kayaking, zodiac cruising, polar plunge opportunities, onboard presentations, and more.

 

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Participants on this trip should know that the overall activity level can be considered Moderate to Strenuous.  There will be a fair amount of walking on snow, ice, gravel, wet ground, mud and other unfavorable walking conditions, so a quality set of Walking Poles is highly recommended.  Also, on the continent there is an estimated 2 km (1.25 mile) walk from the airplane to where we’ll board our ship.

Those having difficulty walking or getting on and off an inflatable Zodiac a number of times each day should reach out to me in order to get more information about what to expect on this adventure.

Our main goal is the absolute safety of our guests.

 

ADD SEA KAYAKING AND/OR HIKING & SNOWSHOEING

For the more adventurous types you can also choose to add a sea kayaking package to your trip for an additional fee of $895 per person, and this includes instruction, training, and all equipment throughout our journey so you can plan to go as much as possible and as conditions and landing points allow.  Because this is a very special skill and participants will be trained by highly skilled personnel, kayaking packages are not shareable or transferrable to anyone other than the original registrant.

For a fee of $85 per person/per excursion, you can choose to join a group of up to 12 other adventurous participants for a hiking and snowshoeing experience that will take you to vantage points on the continent that other guests won’t be able to see.

Please ask for more details should this interest you.

 

CLICK HERE TO

REQUEST ITINERARY

 

All photos copyright their respective makers
and courtesy of our Tour Operator.

WHEN

Trip 1: February 1 – 8, 2023

Trip 2: February 6 – 13, 2023

COST

2023 Pricing

$14,799 per person in Double Occupancy

$20,999 per person in Single Occupancy

A triple room may be available by request.

Note: Single cabins are extremely limited for all departures and may not be available.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER

Register for This Adventure in 4 Easy Steps:

  1. Submit a Reservation Form.
  2. Read and agree to our Terms & Conditions.
  3. Provide a scan or smartphone photo of your passport’s signature page.
  4. Send in your $4,000 deposit or full payment.
DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS OCTOBER 1, 2022

 

To request the Reservation Form and Terms & Conditions for this experience please contact us at THIS LINK.

 

To make payment, you can use a credit card via PayPal (Click this Link to request invoice) or deposit a check directly into our bank account at any Bank of America branch (or send to our Rockford, IL, address, details will follow).

Paying by check affords each traveler a $200 per person discount.

We’ll send you all the payment details if you’ll CONTACT US HERE.

OVERVIEW

About This Itinerary

Each departure is limited to just 8 participants.  Single rooms may not available on the Feb. 1 – 8 departure and are strictly limited on the Feb. 6 – 13, 2023, dates.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You’ll want to wear good, sturdy walking shoes specifically made for Antarctic conditions and those will be provided in during the trip.

Throughout this adventure we’ll be getting on and off the ship to board Zodiacs to take us to land, and of course there’s snow, ice, water, gravel, dirt and other conditions that require excellent footwear.

It’s important to note, as well, that there is an approximately 2 km (1.2 mile) walk from our landing point on the continent to where we’ll meet our locals hosts.  Our large luggage will be transported for us and we’ll only need to carry our personal items.

If you are even slightly unsure of your walking capability in these conditions it’s HIGHLY recommended that you purchase a quality set of telescoping walking sticks at your local outdoor supply store or online before arriving in country.

Here’s a link to a quality set of trekking poles 

that comes highly recommended with over 37,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.

 

MORE IMPORTANT DETAILS

About Your Flights

Only after having been given the go ahead by PEA administrators, please arrange your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) to arrive by 2 pm local time (this is mandatory). All participants will have an airport transfer included on arrival that will take you directly to our hotel where we’ll meet our hosts.  The next day we fly down to Antarctica.

 

Regarding Your Flight Home

In order to take into account any flight delays due to weather, flights home should be arranged to leave PUQ as late as possible on the final tour date. and your airport transfer will be included (please don’t make any non-refundable travel arrangements until given the go ahead by PEA administrators). 

You can certainly choose to stay over in this area or move on to other parts of the region to enjoy the many other things to do, or transfer on your own to other parts of Chile and South America to continue your experience, but please arrange these additional services on your own.

We wish you safe travels and happy memories of what will surely be an unforgettable trip!

 

For more information and to register for this adventure,

please contact us at ralph@PhotoEnrichment.com.

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS 

OCTOBER 1, 2022

 

Please understand that all aspects of this itinerary are subject to change.

 

INCLUSIONS

INCLUDED IN YOUR FEE

  • Your flight from Punta Arenas to and from Frei Station on King George Island aboard a large 70+ passenger airplane designed to fly in these conditions (this saves us 4+ days of sailing on the notoriously rough Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean).
  • Airport transfers to and from our hotel in Punta Arenas (PUQ) and for our flights to and from the continent.
  • 7 nights’ accommodation consisting of 2 nights in Punta Arenas (Days 1 and 7) and 5 nights on board the 67 passenger Ocean Nova (formerly an ice breaker).
  • Welcome Dinner in Punta Arenas, Chile, on Day 1.
  • Meals: Buffet breakfast daily (B), plus 5 Buffet Lunches (L) and 5 other Dinners (D).
  • Unlimited water, juice, soft drinks, beer and wine at each meal. Outside of meals the ship has a cash bar with reasonable prices.
  • Coffee, tea, not chocolate, cappuccino, water, and snacks onboard the ship throughout our expedition.
  • All shore excursions including Zodiac transfers with English-speaking guides, naturalists and crew throughout.
  • Lectures and entertainment onboard.
  • Comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material.
  • Loan of waterproof expedition-style boots for landing in Antarctica (so you don’t have to bring your own!).
  • ALL TIPS for ship crew and guides.
  • SO much more…

Plus you’ll have plenty of free time to relax and explore the ship at your own pace and all excursions are optional.

 

NOT INCLUDED
  • International flights or other transportation to and from Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ), our starting point
  • Optional airport transfers outside of included transfers on tour dates.
  • Optional activities such as sea kayaking or snowshoeing which can be purchased on board.
  • Pre- or post-trip accommodations outside of our tour dates.
  • Personal travel and/or medical insurance is required (please see SquareMouth, for a FREE quote)
  • Meals not specifically outlined in the itinerary as included.
  • Drinks or other alcoholic beverages not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Additional tips for crew, guides and other service providers.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry, phone calls and WiFi access which may be available for an extra fee.
PLANNING

Travel Tips & More

On every journey, our Tour Operator’s (TO) team includes at least 12 expert polar guides, or less than 6 clients per expert at full capacity, and their number one priority is ensuring you have an unforgettable experience. 

Their team knows Antarctica’s unique geography, natural history, wildlife and ecology, and loves sharing their expertise with you, including the travel tips below. Their expeditions are suitable for adventurous travelers who enjoy full mobility and reasonably good health. Each year they welcome guests from over 40 different countries. They may travel alone, as a family, or as a part of a group. The one thing they all have in common is a curiosity for the world and a deep desire to explore it.

As an Antarctic specialist, our TO understand intimately how to coordinate air and sea operations in the ever-changing Antarctic environment. They’ve completed over 200 Fly and Cruise departures and bring all that experience to your journey. 

Needless to say, expedition travel to Antarctica requires flexibility and adaptation to ever-dynamic circumstances, to help you get prepared for an adventure to Antarctica we’ve created a list of important travel tips for you to review below.

 

Participation Form

Getting on and off the ship requires full mobility. You don’t need to be very agile but you do need to be able to walk and manage stairs independently, as well as to lift your legs over the pontoons of the Zodiacs to embark and disembark.

Walks on the beach or further inland, with some low hill climbing, are available. You should be reasonably fit to be able to enjoy those activities but it will always be up to you how far you choose to walk. All excursions are optional and physical activity will never be imposed and you can set your own pace.

In the Participation Form (provided later) you’ll be asked to tell us all about your health situation, either past or present, including allergies, etc. This will allow the ship’s onboard doctor to be aware of the medical needs of each one of our passengers, and allow him or her to be better prepared.

 

More About Insurance

Our Tour Operator requires participants to be adequately covered by medical insurance, including aero-medical evacuation from Antarctica. They also urge that all travelers be adequately covered by trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

The ship has a small, well-equipped infirmary for the attention of minor medical problems and is under the care of a licensed medical doctor. Serious emergencies require evacuation to medical centres in South America that are better equipped, which requires a very costly air evacuation procedure. This is why we ask our passengers to have an insurance policy that covers emergency medical evacuation.

 

Entry Fees & Entry Visas

Another important travel tip for Antarctica covers entry visas and fees. Travelers should check the entry requirements of the countries visited during their trip, based on their nationality. Our Antarctica Fly & Cruise visits Antarctica and Chile so the requirements of both countries should be considered.

U.S. citizens entering Chile must have a valid passport. U.S. citizens traveling to Chile for recreation, tourism, business, or academic conferences do not need to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Chile. A Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days.  No visa is necessary for travel to Antarctica but a valid passport is required.

 

Cruise & Dietary Information

We are privileged to have a group of international chefs prepare a delicious selection of different cuisines throughout our trip. Wine, beer, juice and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board our ships are included, as well as coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccino, water and snacks throughout the expedition.

Note: beverages purchased at the ship’s bar as well as not-included beverage purchased in the dining room require an additional charge.

Dietary requests must be made on the Participation Form you’ll receive after your booking confirmation. This information will be passed along to our staff so they can accommodate your needs while on your voyage.

Note: due to the nature of this expedition and the kitchen onboard the ship, we’re sorry but Kosher and vegan meals cannot be accommodated.

 

Personal Safety

Your safety is our main concern. You’ll be provided with a mandatory safety session before departing on your voyage. You’ll also be shown where the life jackets are, as well as the safety boats in case of an emergency evacuation.

During rough weather, do not walk in large, open areas and be sure to use handrails both outside and inside the vessel. Always use door handles and never hold doors by their frames, as a sudden movement may prove very dangerous. Always turn on the lights upon entering your cabin in case items have moved around.

Use non-slip shoes when on deck, as it can be wet and slippery at times, but know that expedition-style boots will be provided in Punta Arenas at our first evening and must be returned at the end of our trip.

 

Weather

Austral summer weather in Antarctica means mostly mild temperatures. You can expect cold, sunny days and brisk winds, which may turn into stormy weather and even a few snow flurries or snow. You should also be prepared for quick changes in weather conditions and always dress in layers.

Below we offering more packing and travel tips for your expedition with us.

 

MORE TIPS FOR ANTARCTICA

Photography Tips

To see the wildlife you should have a good pair of lightweight binoculars (the suggested magnification is 7x or 8x). If you’re passionate about photography, don’t forget a good, long zoom lens (100 – 400 mm?) to shoot wildlife while avoiding close approaches. Also, take with you a good supply of memory cards and a number of spare batteries since cold temperatures can reduce their life span.

For additional photography tips and links to a number of suggested articles and gear, download my WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS eBook.  This book does specifically focus on wildlife in Costa Rica, but much of the overall concepts explored in it will apply to shooting in Antarctica.

 

Internet Services

While we hope you’re able to disconnect from the outside world to enjoy your voyage to the fullest, we understand this is not always possible. We have a satellite telephone and Internet services on board, both of which are available at an additional charge to guests. 

Please note that due to the nature of our expedition and the location we travel, services will not be to the standard you are used to at home, and as such, you should expect slow or delayed services at best.

 

All Gratuities Are Included

It’s important to note that all gratuities are included in your fee for this trip, so no additional tips are necessary, unless, that is, you received extra special services from one or more of the staff and you’d like to tip them extra.

That said, you can be sure that everyone on board the ship will work hard to make your experience special. Although this is a personal choice, it is customary for passengers to leave a gratuity to the crew, service personnel, and expedition staff as a sign of appreciation. 

You can choose to make a single contribution at the end of the voyage. As a general guideline, we suggest US$15 per passenger per day (again, this has been included in your fee). 

Additional gratuities can be added prior to settling your shipboard account, or put in an envelope and dropped in a box set out on the last days of the voyage.

 

Preferred Seats for Fly & Cruise Expeditions

For extra comfort, clients can purchase a limited number of Preferred Seats on their Antarctic flight. Preferred Seats offer a guaranteed aisle or window seat at the front of the aircraft, priority boarding in Punta Arenas, and an amenities kit.

 

Adventure Activities

Sea Kayaking and Hiking & Snowshoeing are available as optional adventure activities on selected departures and require an additional fee of $895 per trip and $85/day, respectively. 

Please ask us for more information.

 

Seasickness

Seasickness is an unpleasant but very treatable condition. There are a variety of effective over-the-counter and prescription remedies for it. 

Remember that these treatments are generally more effective when taken BEFORE the onset of nausea; so if you are prone to seasickness, consider taking action before sailing or entering open seas. Although the ship’s doctor is available for advice, check with your personal doctor before departure about taking medication.

 

Personal Medications

Please ensure you pack any personal medication for your trip and it’s recommended that you carry them in their original containers, or at least have copies of your prescriptions to show customs officials if asked. 

Also consider bringing some additional doses in case there is any delay with flights or other parts of your trip.

 

Electrical Appliances & Outlets

Electric outlets on board are 220V/50Hz, and are equipped with standard U.S. two-pin system, 2-prong plug or Euro-plug and USB port. Please bring with you any necessary converters and adapters.

Electric outlets are different in the 3 ships:

Ocean Nova (our ship): Electric outlets on board are 220V/50HZ, and are equipped with standard 2-prong plug or Euro-plug.

 

Smoke-Free Policy

Smoking is not permitted on board, except in designated areas on the exterior decks, where cigarette butt containers are located.

All passenger areas, including cabins and balconies, are designated as non-smoking.

Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the ships (including the balcony areas,) on Zodiacs, or on landings during shore excursions in Antarctica.

International law dictates the allowed designated area for smoking on commercial vessels; This location will be clearly identified to passengers during the Safety Briefing at the beginning of the voyage. 

For safety and environmental reasons, never throw cigarette butts or any other material on the ground or into the sea.

 

Our Tour Operator is Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality is achieved by calculating a carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of efficiency measures in-house and supporting external projects that offset the emissions. To achieve this, our Tour Operator has worked with Natural Capital Partners, experts in delivering solutions for positive impact on carbon and renewable energy.

This company has achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with The Carbon Neutral Protocol, the global standard for carbon-neutral programs. This involved an independent assessment of the CO2 emissions produced by the company, followed by the purchase of units of a portfolio that invests in wind power projects in Chile. This environmental instrument supports low carbon sustainable development and renewable energy.

FLIGHTS

Dressing for Your Fly & Cruise Flight

The aircraft cabin is heated to provide you with a comfortable flight, however please bear in mind that you will be landing in Antarctica, where the temperature on average is 0°C (32°F). We suggest you wear layers of warm clothing and take with you a parka/anorak, waterproof trousers, a pair of gloves, and a cap or hat. Please ensure that you are wearing the rubber boots you’ll be provided when you disembark the aircraft.

 

Arrival & Departure Requirements in Punta Arenas, Chile

Travelers must arrive in Punta Arenas by 14:00 hrs (2:00 PM) on Day 1 of the itinerary of their trip. Travelers who miss this deadline will not be able to participate in the trip, and no refund will be extended. On the last day of the expedition, travelers are strongly encouraged to book flights departing in the late afternoon. We strongly recommend avoiding tight flight connections. We recommend booking a flexible airfare. It is also important to check visa requirements for your country for travel to Chile prior to your trip.

A number of national and international airlines land daily at Santiago’s airport. Two national airlines connect the capital of Chile and Punta Arenas with several daily flights. The distance between Santiago and Punta Arenas is about 3,000 km and a direct flight takes about 3 and half hours.

Punta Arenas is situated in the Chilean Patagonia where there are several border crossings between Chile and Argentina. Overland travel from El Calafate, Rio Gallegos, Rio Grande and Ushuaia is possible but takes a considerable amount of travel time. Punta Arenas can also be reached from Torres del Paine National Park (about 5 hours by car) and Puerto Natales (3 hours by car).

 

Baggage Allowance

One of our most important travel tips for Antarctica is the weight of your bag. The maximum luggage weight allowed on flights to and from Antarctica is 20 kg (44 lbs.) per passenger, including hand luggage. For trips starting and ending in Punta Arenas, luggage exceeding this weight limit can be left in the custody of our Tour Operator. This luggage custody service is not available for Antarctica Express Air-Cruises starting in Ushuaia.

 

Contingency Plan

Flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions. While historically only a minority of flights have experienced a delay, you should be prepared for that possibility.

The “Important Information” and “Contingency Plan” sections of our Tour Operator’s brochure detail the plan should unfavorable weather conditions impact the operation of the Antarctic flight. Travelers should review and understand these details.

PACKING

PACKING TIPS OVERVIEW

One of the most important tips for traveling to Antarctica is ensuring you have the right gear.

The average temperature in the Antarctica Peninsula area during the Austral Summer (November – February) is about 0º C (32º F), although sometimes it may feel a little lower because of the wind chill factor. For this reason, it’s best to wear several layers of light, warm clothing, with a windproof and waterproof jacket and pants as the outer layer.

The suggested clothing for Antarctica is very similar to that recommended for snow skiing.

 

Dressing for Your Fly & Cruise Flight

The aircraft cabin is heated to provide you with a comfortable flight, however please bear in mind that you will be landing in Antarctica, where the temperature on average is 0°C (32°F). We suggest you wear layers of warm clothing and take with you a parka/anorak, waterproof trousers, a pair of gloves, and a cap or hat. Please ensure that you are wearing the rubber boots you’ll be provided when you disembark the aircraft.

 

Dressing Onboard Our Ship, the Ocean Nova

Casual attire (expedition style) is the most appropriate apparel for the voyage. Clothing should be comfortable and informal, including shoes.

There is no requirement to dress formally for any meals. Should you wish to be on the outside decks, the rubber boots you’ll be provided are ideally warm and comfortable to wear.

The average temperature on board is about 20°/22°C (68°/72°F).

 

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Quality Sunglasses

Good quality UV filtering sunglasses are essential. Glacier glasses have leather flaps at the sides to stop the light from passing through. Due to the high reflectance of UV radiation, you’ll also need good sun block lotion for your face (protection factor 30 and above) and lip balm.

Headgear

There are often high and cold winds in Antarctica. A warm cap, hat, or balaclava hood is needed.

Fleece layers

A Fleece jacket and trousers are recommended when on outdoor excursions.

Waterproof Parka

A waterproof hooded parka (similar to what is used for skiing) is recommended as your final outer layer during expeditions.

Thermal Layering

Thermal underwear, including sweatshirts, turtlenecks, socks (layering with wool, silk or synthetics fabrics, rather than cotton) are recommended.

Gloves

Well insulated thermal gloves or mittens are important to bring for your trip.

Pants

Insulated waterproof trousers (ski pants) are recommended as your final outer layer for excursions.

Clothes

We suggest comfortable clothes to wear on board the ship (temperature on board is about 20º-22ºC, or 68º-72ºF).

Swimsuit

A swimsuit is important to pack in case you want to partake in the Polar Plunge or use the sauna if available.

Shoes

Bring comfortable rubber-soled shoes to wear on board the ship.

Expedition Boots

On the first day of the program our Tour Operator’s staff will provide a pair of high quality boots to be used for landing in Antarctica to each passenger. Boots are provided on loan and will be collected before the end of the trip.

As most landings in Antarctica are “wet landings”, the best footwear is knee-high waterproof boots. You will not need to carry them with you since our Tour Operator will provide you with a pair of thermal rubber boots before arriving in Antarctica. To ensure a good fitting, we will request your shoe size in the participation form.

YOUR LEADER

Ralph Velasco with Camera by Michelle Kate LaVigne

Ralph Velasco is a U.S.-based travel photography instructor, author and international guide who has organized and led over 100 international tours and more than 100 domestic tours in the United States.  His international trips have included Armenia & the Republic of Georgia, Egypt, Morocco, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Iceland, Bhutan & Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Spain, Portugal, Tuscany, Romania, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Turkey and other locations.

Ralph is an award-winning travel photography blogger, podcast host and public speaker, and for more than 14 years he’s been the Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures.  

Recently he created a new travel brand called Alla Campagna Experiences where the focus is less on photography in each destination and even more about the culture, people, food, drink and other unique activities and experiences they have to offer, all while staying in unforgettable properties, such as private castles, wine estates, one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, villas and converted mansions, mostly around the Mediterranean.

Subscribe to Ralph’s new YouTube channel, The Continental DRIFTER, as well as visit its accompanying travel blog at this link.  At The Continental DRIFTER you can expect travel advice, interesting stories, expert interviews and easy-to-use photography tips for Baby Boomers and Gen X travelers.

Now, invest in yourself…get out and travel!

All aspects of this itinerary are subject to change.  We ask that you remain flexible as there are often circumstances beyond our control and modifications may be necessary.

The trip leader, tour operator and/or tour coordinator reserve the right to make adjustments to the published itinerary whenever, in their sole discretion, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort and/or safety of the group.

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