Best of Antarctica: A White Christmas (Ocean Endeavour)

Trip Code: GQMAC

Why we love it

Experience a guaranteed white Christmas as you explore the icy wilderness of the White Continent., The festive season is a wonderful time for wildlife lovers to visit Antarctica, as penguin chicks are hatching and abundant on the peninsula and South Shetland Islands., With over 22 hours of sunlight each day, you’ll have more time for exploration., Enjoy daily zodiac excursions, on-shore landings and take advantage of optional activities during the voyage such as sea kayaking, ice camping and snowshoeing., Benefit from a variety of on-board activities including educational lectures on history, geology and ecology by the expedition team., When you’re not exploring, avail of amenities onboard including expedition lounge, restaurant, bar, pool, jacuzzi, library, gym, sun deck, spa facilities and sauna.

Is this trip right for me?

Although our ice-strengthened ships are big and sturdy, the Antarctic waters can be unpredictable and rough. Some people may experience seasickness, especially through the Drake Passage and other open water crossings, so please be prepared with medications to combat this – we’d hate for you to miss a single minute of this journey. There is also a doctor on board should you need further assistance.

Believe it or not, temperatures in the Antarctic can be freezing. And yet it can get surprisingly warm when the sun comes out, for instance, or with increased physical activity. It’s best to dress in layers when you journey outside and we’ll provide you with waterproof boots that are sturdy, warm and highly fashionable (in Antarctica, at least). Please see the trip notes for information about what to bring.

Depending on the weather, you’ll be zipping around in a Zodiac boat quite regularly to explore the area and search for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera safe and dry. Being cold and miserable is one thing, having no photos to show for it is another. Sturdy sea legs are needed for wet and dry landings from the boat, as well as on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. The Ocean Endeavour has a lift, but you’ll need to take the stairs to get to the gangway and some other parts of the ship that the lift does not provide access to.

The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure, and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially in such a remote area. There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands; the places mentioned in the itinerary may need to be changed to others (which are equally as interesting). We may also be confined to the ship during rough weather. The ship’s library and educational lectures are ideal ways to stay entertained, while the wellness spa, saunas, gym and yoga classes will keep you fresh for when the weather clears.

Important information

ADVENTURE ADD ON's
Kayaking is available to book on all Antarctic voyages. Some voyages also offer other activities such as camping and snowshoeing. All of these activities must be booked prior to departure and incur an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography workshops are offered as an optional activity on our Ocean Endeavour departures. It is an opportunity for photography enthusiasts of any skill level to fast track their learning on board and make the most of the expert advice that is on offer. Participants will have dedicated Zodiac and photography guided landing where your photography guide will accompany you and give you tips along the way for taking the perfect picture. It is at an additional cost to you and needs to be booked in prior to departure as spaces are limited. If you are interested in taking part, please contact your booking agent for pricing and availability.

What to bring/pack

The Antarctic Peninsula has relatively mild weather conditions when compared to the rest of the continent. As a result, you should not need to make many expensive specialist gear purchases, although you do need good wet weather pants and warm clothing.
The dress code onboard is relaxed and casual and you will not need to dress formally for meals.

The inside of the Ocean Endeavour is well heated, so you will not require special clothing on board. Indeed, you could spend most of your time in light trousers and a t-shirt! However, it is not unusual for you to want to go out on deck suddenly – a whale sighting or seals on a nearby ice-floe nearly always produce a major exodus, so you need to keep warm clothing handy at all times, even when a shore excursion is not imminent.

When you do go ashore you will require warm clothing - a few layers of light and medium-weight items which can be easily adjusted rather than one or two large and bulky items - and wet weather gear to protect you from the spray which can sometimes be encountered on the Zodiacs.

PROVIDED EXPEDITION GEAR
Staying warm and dry during your voyage is vital. Our Expedition gear has been carefully selected and has all the important features to ensure maximum enjoyment on your Antarctic adventure. Sizing for your provided Expedition Gear will be collected approx 6 months prior to departure of your voyage and provided to you once onboard the vessel.

• Expedition Parka (on loan): A water repellent coating on the outer layer helps to move moisture away from the body, making this a breathable and light jacket. With hi-vis elements, large pockets for easy accessibility and watertight seals, this is the perfect parka to keep you warm and dry on the ship to shore Zodiac excursions in all kinds of weather.

• Insulated Inner Jacket (yours to keep): Made out of 100% recycled synthetic fibres, your vegan 600 fill insulated puffer jacket will keep you warm even on the wildest days of your expedition. With a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, which encourages water to bead off the fabric’s surface, the jacket was produced using sustainable chemistry with minimal impact on people and the environment. A great memento to take home at the end of your voyage to remember your incredible Antarctic adventure!

• Muck Boots (on loan): We will provide black, rubber Muck Boots for the entire duration of your voyage. They are specifically engineered to deliver grip and performance on snow and ice while keeping your feet warm and dry.

PACKING LIST
We have prepared a full list of equipment to use as a checklist when packing for your Antarctic expedition. Please refer to the Antarctic Travellers Guide for more information. Laundry facilities are available onboard the Ocean Endeavour (at extra cost).

Physical rating

1

Although you don't need to be particularly fit to take part in an Antarctic expedition, you do need to have a good level of mobility. You must be able to complete the onboard safety drills and emergency evacuation procedures unaided. Rolling seas and windy conditions require you to be stable on your feet while negotiating the ship over potentially slippery decks and gangways. Zodiacs are accessed via a gangway which is reached via some steep and narrow internal stairs. The Ocean Endeavour has a lift (elevator), but it does not access all decks so some stair climbing on board will be necessary.

Onshore conditions will vary. Ice and snow underfoot can make conditions slippery. Some locations have steep climbs or longer walks to reach a place of interest but wherever possible, the expedition guides will offer options of shorter or longer stays onshore, and varying levels of activity. The Expedition Team and crew are on hand to assist guests on and off the Zodiacs during all excursions.

Joining your group

Ushuaia Port, , Ushuaia, ARGENTINA

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Ushuaia Port, , Ushuaia, ARGENTINA

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 10

Lunches included: 8

Dinners included: 9

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room. Hours of operation will be posted and are subject to change to accommodate the expedition. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available around the clock. The tap water on board is safe to drink.
We're able to meet most special dietary requests, as long as you have clearly indicated your requirements far in advance of your voyage via your online Polar forms. Kosher food cannot be prepared.

Climate & seasonal information

In case of emergency

Issues on your trip:
While we always endeavour to provide you with the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your Expedition Leader straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

Intrepid’s Antarctica Ground Operations: +54 9 261 532 3110

Accommodations

Transportation

The Ocean Endeavour has a fleet of 20 Zodiacs which means that all passengers can enjoy a landing at the same time.


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