Antarctica – Image courtesy of nathab.com
Discover the frozen continent of the Antarctic Peninsula from the comfort of an expedition ship as you cruise this pristine wilderness on a honeymoon adventure of a lifetime.
Explore icy waterways and cruise the austere but beautiful panorama of glaciers, towering mountains and huge icebergs – each one individually forged through the power of nature.
Watch numerous species of wildlife interact in their natural habitat: from orcas, humpback and minke whales to chinstrap, gentoo, adelie and king penguins. Discover wandering albatross, snow petrels and elephant seals. See icebergs the size of office blocks and glaciers calving into the sea.
Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula
Expect to be amazed by dramatic mountain ranges, beaches ringed in tussock grass, sweeping glaciers, scenic fjords and startling blue ocean waters. Don’t be surprised when the summer sun doesn’t set: the phenomenon is similar to the Midnight Sun of Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska and northern Canada in the northern hemisphere.
What to see?
During October and November the pack ice breaks up and birds, especially penguins, can be found courting and mating. In December, your ship will crush through plates of surface ice, and with up to 20 hours of daylight each day, expect to see penguins nesting and massive icebergs.
By January, penguins are hatching eggs and feeding chicks while large skua gulls circle overhead waiting for the chance to swoop down for a meal. February and March are best for watching for seals, orcas, humpback whales and minke whales. Be on the lookout for several rare varieties of albatross: contrary to the experience of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, sighting one is said to be a good omen.
What to do?
Kayak in calm bays, take ice walks and meet scientists in their research bases. Discover research stations made famous by such explorers as Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton – it’s still possible to see remnants of their doomed expeditions, including century-old huts.
Shore visits are typically supervised by shipboard staff, which includes ornithologists, marine biologists, historians and naturalists.
All cruises offer informal onboard educational programs about Antarctica, with presentations and friendly discussions. No two voyages are the same and you can be as active or still as you please. The opportunities to ski, climb, camp, trek and for the first time, scuba dive, are on the increase. If you're interested in such activities, check when booking, as you may have to bring your own equipment.
What to pack?
Take heavy winter clothing and be prepared for wind, blowing snow, fog and frigid temperatures.
• Be sure to pack a brightly coloured parka; warm waterproof trousers; long underwear; wool sweater or a polar fleece jacket; turtlenecks; mittens and gloves; a woollen cap; warm socks and rubber boots.
• Dress in comfortable, loose layers. In the cold, it’s better to wear layers of relatively light and loose clothing rather than one thick heavy item. (Between each layer there is a film of trapped air which, when heated by your body, acts as an excellent insulator). Wool and silk are superior to cotton because they can trap warm air. Polar fleece is recommended.
• Avoid overdressing so as to reduce perspiration.
Did you know?
Previously known as Terra Australia Incognita – the Unknown Southern Land – the islands of the Antarctic Peninsula occupy an area of 13.7 million km² around the South Pole. Covered with an ice sheet 4km deep, Antarctica has no permanent human population other than a small number of personnel at 82 research stations run by 27 different nations.
• Be prepared for some very rough seas and possible gale-force winds
• Be prepared for changes in itinerary; vessels that are not icebreakers have to avoid waters with thicker ice
• Don’t forget to take a good camera, ideally with a good focal range, and plenty of camera batteries
• Read up on the history of Antarctica for some thrilling adventure stories before you set sail.
Best time to honeymoon in Antartica?
The ideal time to visit is during the Antarctic summer, between October and March, with December to February the best months for exploring, as you will experience sunny clear days and temperatures ranging between -1°C and 5°C. Nights are very cold, but at this latitude, brief.
For more climate info: Antarctica Weather Guide