Travels with Bob

Way ‘Down Under’ Or ‘Over the Top’

polar expedition cruise - penguins

Emperor Penguins hang out on the Antarctica Plateau.

If you think you have done it all, now may be the right time for a travel adventure taking you to the southern or northern ends of the earth – aboard a polar expedition cruise for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

While several premium and luxury lines offer varied itineraries to the polar regions, my personal recommendation is Silversea, providing all-inclusive, small-ship luxury cruises in both regions. Your destination choice will depend upon the type of adventure you seek. The geography and ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctica are vastly different:

  • Antarctica is a continent surrounded by oceans and noted for marine mammals and penguins.
  • The Arctic is an ocean bordered by land (eight countries including the United States and Canada) and noted for its marine mammals, birds and polar bears.

Seven or ten-day Antarctica exploration cruises usually depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southern-most town. You will traverse the Drake Passage en route to exploring the Antarctic Sound via zodiac and kayaks, venture on land to get close to the penguins and enjoy magical vistas from the ship’s open decks. Heavy parkas, boots and other gear are provided by the ship at no additional cost.

Aboard the all-inclusive Silver Explorer (140 guests) or the all-inclusive Silver Cloud (240 guests), you will appreciate understated luxurious accommodations, world-class cuisine, naturalists sharing their expertise and meeting fellow guests from around the world.

The summer thaw opens the Arctic ice for nine-day to three-week cruises departing from Nome, Alaska; Manitoba, Canada; or Greenland and Iceland. Following routes of the Vikings, you will experience abundant wildlife, dramatic landscapes and the Land of the Mid-Night Sun. Late season cruisers may also see the Aurora Borealis as few people do.

Your adventure aboard Silver Cloud includes exploration of Svalbard, as you hike and Zodiac amid icebergs and spectacular tundra. Huge polar bears roam freely there, so keep a safe distance. Excursions, designed for several levels of endurance, are included.

Such adventure travel is certainly not for everyone nor is it inexpensive. Yet, if I sparked your interest, start planning and saving now for a leisure travel experience you will never forget.