We just returned from our trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. As promised here is a quick trip report.
We sailed with the Scenic Eclipse which is a 220 passenger ship. The Antarctic voyages on Scenic are limited to 200 passengers. This is important as passenger ships with more than that number have limited opportunities for shore excursions. There were 160 passengers on our cruise.
We were divided into 4 color groups for shore excursions. The groups are rotated so that no group is always first on land.
We chose this cruise because all of the suites were verandah suites, the number of dining venues and the option of flight-seeing by helicopter and a submarine excursion. This was an all inclusive cruise with the exception of the helicopter and the submarine and the spa services. There are 8 restaurants onboard and three require reservations - the French restaurant, sushi bar and the Indian restaurant. These three are 8 course gourmet dining experiences. I asked for and received a vegan option at the French and Indian restaurant and both were outstanding. My husband also enjoyed his (non vegan) meals. The submarine was not functioning during our cruise but I really wasn’t interested in doing that anyway. We were on the ship during Thanksgiving and had turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy but not the full American holiday meal. We appreciated the fact that Americans onboard were served a holiday meal as most of the passengers were Australian.
We had two days sail between Ushuaia and the Falklands; two days between the Falklands and South Georgia island; two days between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula; and two days on the Drake Passage. We were very lucky and got the Drake Lake. The Drake Passage can be treacherous and a recent Viking cruise was hit by a 58 foot rogue wave and a passenger was killed and four others were injured.
If you are prone to motion sickness as I am, talk to your doctor about what protocol would be best for you. I used the scopolamine patch but that is not good for everyone. There can be miserable rebound side effects when you stop using it as someone on our trip found out and other medical conditions such as high blood pressure may contraindicate its use. I did a combo of scopolamine and half a phenergan tablet as needed and did fine. But again, talk to your doctor.
We took thin lightweight waterproof rain pants (not heavy ski pants), waterproof mittens, glove liners, thermal socks, thermal underwear, top and bottom mid layers, a warm hat, a buff, sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen. We brought extra mittens, hats and thermals and did not need them. For onboard, we brought 5 days worth of clothing. There is a free landerette onboard.
For camera gear, I brought my two dslr bodies, a 100 - 400 mm lens, 18 - 55 mm lens and an 11 - 16 mm lens. My husband took his mirrorless camera, 150 - 600 mm lens, 24 - 70 and 70 - 300 lens. We also brought rain covers for our cameras and some polarizing filters. We also had a Fuji underwater camera and the cell phone camera.
The weather was in the 30’s to low 40’s and with one exception the days were sunny. The day that it rained it was just a light rain. We did not have snow on any shore excursion but did experience snow when cruising on one occasion.
Shore landings were rotated as mentioned and we had about 1 1/2 hours onshore per landing. The landings are by zodiac. The zodiac is pulled up onshore as much as possible but on many occasions we were getting into and out of the zodiac in knee deep surf. The water proof muck boots that you are provided are knee high and fairly thick. Combined with the waterproof rain pants which go over the muck boots, you will not get wet. Getting into and out of the zodiac requires some agility but the crew is there to help you.