Madeline and I have been to six of the seven continents in this world of ours. Antarctica is the one we haven’t seen yet. We decided on an Antarctic cruise with Silversea because we already had a good experience with them in the Galapagos Islands.
Our trip starts in December of 2019, which might seem an odd time to go to such a cold place. But remember: Antarctica’s summer is during our winter. It’ll be the warmest time for a cruise ship to enter the area.
We’ll be on our journey during Christmas and New Year. Our Christmas presents this year will be seeing black-browed albatross, black and white Commerson’s dolphins, rockhopper penguins and imperial cormorants. Between Christmas and New Year, Antarctica should have beautiful icebergs and calving glaciers and the possibility of up-close encounters with penguins.
What We’ll See
We have seen videos of seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and humpback or Minke whales surfacing close to the ship. Like our Galapagos cruise, our Antarctic one is an expedition cruise, so you don’t sunbathe, party and sleep in late. We’ll awake early, eat breakfast, don life preservers, and the head to the Zodiacs for excursions. Some days we’ll cruise, and our naturalists will point out the wildlife.
We’re looking forward to going ashore to visit penguin rookeries led by a team of experts. Kayaking is available, like in the Galapagos, but we’ll probably pass—getting slower mean less paddling for us! We’ll let the naturalists and Zodiac drivers take care of us.
Where We’ll Go
Our voyage begins at the tip of South America in Ushuaia, Argentina, and first takes us to Saunders Island and the Falkland Islands. We hope to see gentoo, king, and rockhopper penguins here, along with imperial shags and black-browed albatross. Other birds we might see include the black-throated finch, ruddy-headed goose and Falkland steamer duck.
Next, we head to West Point Island and look for Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins. The island has only one family, and we get to visit them. In Stanley, we will have a chance to visit the Falkland Islands Museum and hang out with the locals.
Then it’s off to Elephant Island in Antarctica. Madeline really wants to see this because Sir Ernest Shackleton’s men were stranded on this island for more than four months. A bust commemorates the Chilean captain who finally helped Shackleton rescue the men in the middle of winter.
Next, we explore the Antarctic Peninsula to see more seals and penguin colonies. This depends on the weather and ice conditions, but hopefully there will be lots to see.
Then we go to the South Shetland Islands, to see the remains of whaling stations. This group of islands has 16 research stations run by Argentina, Chile, Spain, the United States and other countries.
What to Pack
We wondered what to pack on this cold-weather trip. Luckily, Silversea has us covered. We’ll rent most of the freezing weather outerwear like parkas and pants from them. Other layers can be purchased from Silversea, but we’ll purchase most of that before we leave. We can always use another layer of clothing in case we venture to another colder climate in our travels. However, purchasing an arctic weather parka seems a bit too extreme so we’re happy to rent.
We’ll bring our laptops, power strips, power adapters, cameras, and the like. You can find all of that in our Travel Essentials pages. We know the cabin won’t be like staying in a Park Hyatt suite, but we expect to get everything working in our Silversea cabin quickly and easily. We'll also need specific gear for the conditions. Find out more at Packing for Cruising Antarctica on Silversea.
We’re excited to be traveling to Antarctica, our seventh and last continent, on Silversea.
Update: We went to Antarctica and loved every minute of it. Our adventure began with Day 0. Follow along!