Why isn’t everyone talking about this?
The first thing on everybody’s mind is ‘how do I get there?’ It’s easier than you think. The basic options are to concentrate on the peninsula via South Georgia, Cape Town or even the Falklands; or sail from New Zealand and cruise the historic route through the Ross Sea. Sorry, a plane is out of bounds (for now) in this part of the world so it’s time to imagine the wind in your hair and the scent of the icy sea pluming up your nostrils.
Arctic Al via Flickr
At the top of the luxury cruise tree is the Silver Explorer and the National Geographic Orion, both purpose built for exploring the massive continent. Carrying between 132 and 102 passengers respectively, 10 to 14 day cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula will cost around £650 per person per day. The less expensive Sea Explorer offers 23-night itineraries and starts from £7,995. For a really exclusive expedition to the South Pole, the 58-passenger Spirit of Enderby whisks you off on a two-month long voyage starting from £12, 425.
Richard McManus via Flickr
So why go? From whale watching to extreme snorkeling, emperor penguins to cute chubby seals, Antarctica is one of the most majestic places in the world. Between swimming and wondering into unknown territory, this palace of ice reveals a world of spellbinding contrasts. The continent’s latest extreme – underwater snorkeling lacks the tropical appeal of the Caribbean but is something to brag about either way. The extraordinary marinescape, up close and personal encounters with the South’s menacing (and cute) creatures opens up a kingdom very few have the chance to see and experience. Rather than colourful coral reefs you’ll see alien looking icebergs, mammoth mountainscapes, minke whales, orcas, humpbacks, sperm whales and blue whales – need we say more?
Michael Morris via Flickr
Where do I stay? Whilst you might be imagining a rough time at sea possibly hurling into a bucket, it’s possible to find that little bit of luxury on a polar adventure. A relatively new eco-experience by Mantis flies you directly into its deep field camp in Dronning Maud Land, far into the icy peaks of the continent. Seven pods are operated by the company from November through December and offer luxurious en-suite bedrooms, equipped with cozy heaters, animal-skin rugs, writing desk and authentic arctic loo (don’t worry it’s not made from ice). Whether you decide on a flying visit to see the penguins or go on a safari of epic proportions, there’s a little luxury to be had in one of the most remote holiday destinations in the world.