This cruise is full of activities, including kayaking, snowshoeing and mountaineering across the dramatic terrain of the Antarctic Peninsula. You spend six days on the white continent, giving mountaineers time to ascend glaciers and hardy passengers to camp out. In Buenos Aires, you can take canoeing and cycling excursions or opt for a walking and canoeing trip in the Tierra del Fuego National Park during a pre-cruise stay in Ushuaia.
Details: The 17-night package, which comprises the ten-night sailing, three nights in Buenos Aires and two nights in Ushuaia, departs on various dates between November 2015 and February 2016, with prices from £7,580pp, including flights, hotels and activities (01962 737632, chameleonworldwide.co.uk) Thanks for visiting. Just before we carry on I need to give thanks to http://www.fatmantravels.co.uk/ for their continued support and the support of their community. Having a help and support team like this means a lot to us as we continue to grow our consumer blog.
Pentathlon and penguins
Take part in a polar pentathlon amid the spectacular backdrop of the Antarctic Peninsula in a new option offered by Aurora Expeditions. Or try polar snorkelling, kayaking among the icebergs, climbing the continent’s peaks and the ultimate camping experience: sleeping ashore amid the snow and ice. However, the real test is a “polar plunge” into freezing water wearing nothing more than swimming togs!
Details: An 11-night Spirit of Antarctica voyage from Puerto Williams in Chile to Ushuaia in Argentina departs on December 8, with prices from £5,475pp based on three sharing. Flights from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams are included, but international flights are extra (020 7228 1230, auroraexpeditions.co.uk)
Cape to cape cruise
Become one of the 48 rookie crew when you sail from the tip of South America to South Africa on this cape-to-cape voyage on a traditional tall ship. It visits remote spots along the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and Weddell Sea before reaching South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha. As it’s a sail-training rigger, each passenger is mustered as voyage crew — and training is given.
Details: The 52-day voyage from Ushuaia to Cape Town departs on February 9, 2017. It costs from £5,744pp in a four to six-person cabin. Flights are extra (020 7097 1734,anotherworldadventures.com)
This voyage marks 100 years since the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was lost after it was encased by ice on an expedition to Antarctica. There will be onboard lectures and visits linked to the famous explorer, including his grave at the former whaling station of Grytviken on South Georgia. You’ll also visit the Falkland Islands.
Details: A 23-night package, including the 20-day voyage from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, leaves the UK on October 27, 2016, and costs from £12,510pp. It includes flights, two nights in Buenos Aires pre-cruise and one night post-cruise (01296 653000,lastfrontiers.com)
You can avoid the risk of seasickness on the notorious Drake Passage and fly both ways to Antarctica, but if you’re determined not to miss such a renowned crossing, Mundy Adventures offers the chance to sail one way. On its Antarctic Express package, you cruise south to the Antarctic Peninsula after joining the expeditionary ship Sea Adventurer in Ushuaia. You spend four days in the white continent, before disembarking on King George Island and flying to Punta Arenas in Chile, and returning to the UK.
Details: A 14-night package, featuring the ten-night sailing and an overnight stay in Buenos Aires pre-cruise and also in Punta Arenas post-cruise, departs on January 11 and costs from £11,649pp. Flights and hotels are included (020 7399 7630, mundyadventures.co.uk)
This new voyage from Hurtigruten is guaranteed to bring out your inner scientist with its programme of lectures and experiments conducted in the interactive “science laboratory” on board its newest ship, Midnatsol. During sailings to the Chilean fjords, Cape Horn and Antarctica, you’ll be able to study meteors found ashore and microscopically examine chunks of Arctic ice. Kayaking, snorkelling and camping under the stars are also on offer.
Details: A 16-night package that includes a 15-night Southern Hemisphere voyage from Punta Arenas to Montevideo departs on March 1, 2017. It costs from £3,535pp, which includes an overnight stay in Santiago pre-cruise and return flights to Punta Arenas. International flights are from £1,182pp (020 3582 6642,hurtigruten.co.uk)
Photograpy workshops at the pole
If you’re visiting some of the most unspoilt environments on Earth, take advantage of the photography workshops held regularly on this luxury Seabourn sailing to Antarctica and Patagonia. It stops at the Falkland Islands before reaching Hope Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula, where it spends nearly six days sailing through the dramatic landscapes of rocky cliffs, icebergs and glaciers. Shore landings and kayaking outings take passengers closer to the thousands-strong penguin colonies, through waters rich in marine life.
Details: A 21-night voyage from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso departs on January 13 and costs from £10,699pp for an ocean-view suite. Drinks and gratuities are included but flights are extra (0843 3732000, seabourn.com)
Norway’s northern lights
Nature’s own light show takes centre-stage on this winter sailing into the Arctic Circle aboard Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ newest addition to its fleet. Magellan is a 1,250-passenger adult-only ship that offers an ideal vantage point as it crosses into the Arctic Circle and sails as far north as Honningsvag. Visit the striking Arctic Cathedral in Tromso or have a drink in the ice bar of the Sorrisniva Igloo ice-hotel in Alta, where you can jump ship to stay the night.
Details: A 14-night round-trip Norway voyage leaves Tilbury on February 16. As part of the line’s “Buy one, get one half-price” offer, prices for the first passenger start at £1,359 and at £679 for a companion (0844 9983807, cruiseandmaritime.com)
A taste of aurora borealis
This six-night adventure is just the ticket for travellers wanting to spend less time at sea. Take a three-night sailing on the Hurtigruten coastal steamer across the roof of Norway from Tromso to Kirkenes on the Russian border, and spend the other three nights in Tromso (two pre-cruise and one post). Here, you can throw yourself into active pursuits, ranging from husky-sledding and reindeer trips to whale safaris and snow-mobile jaunts.
Details: The package is available until March, with prices from £1,335pp, including flights and hotel stays (01427 700115,simplysweden.co.uk)
Polar bears in Svalbard
Join this special voyage dedicated to spotting the so-called kings of the Arctic. The Polar Bear Special ventures past the fjords and coastline of north Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago to the edge of the Arctic sea ice, where the bears migrate. Presentations from onboard experts get you ready for sightings not just of bears, but of walruses, Arctic foxes, seals, whales and an array of birdlife. Ventures ashore include hiking and snowshoeing treks.
Details: Seven-night sailings depart on June 1, 15, and 22, and cost from £2,190pp. Flights are from £480pp (01428 620012, aqua-firma.co.uk)
Whale watching in Greenland
This isn’t any old whale-watching voyage, but a whale safari that hugs the icy coast of Greenland on a herring lugger turned expedition yacht that explores the region under sail. The 32-passenger schooner Rembrandt van Rijn traverses waters that are off-limits for much of the year because of the pack ice. The route takes it past remote fishing villages and former whaling settlements, stopping at glaciers for snowshoeing expeditions, and spotting the sperm whales and Greenland whales that inhabit these waters.
Details: A seven-night West Greenland whale safari between Maniitsoq and Aasiaat, departing on May 10, costs from £1,885pp based on three sharing. Flights via Copenhagen are from £860pp (01432 507280, small-cruise-ships.com)
This new One Ocean Expeditions voyage through Canada’s High Arctic traces the path of Sir John Franklin, who disappeared during a disastrous expedition to chart a section of the Northwest Passage in 1845. Passengers visit Beechey Island, where the ill-fated expedition spent its final winter, and cross Victoria Strait, close to where the remains of his ship HMS Erebus were discovered in September last year, 150 years after it vanished.
Details: An eight-night Finding Franklin sailing from Resolute in Nunavut to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, departs on August 20. It costs from £3,856pp ($5,895) based on three sharing. International flights are from £1,200pp and One Ocean charter flights between Edmonton and Nunavut are from £784pp (00 351 962 721836,oneoceanexpeditions.com)
From Spitsbergen to Greenland
Play your part in travel history as the Russian ice-breaker Kapitan Khlebnikov tries to set a new record as the first passenger vessel to sail over the northern tip of Greenland and along its remote western coast through Baffin Bay. Thick sea ice often makes this area inaccessible, but specialists will fly ahead by helicopter to assess conditions. If the route isn’t passable, the ship will travel past fjords and isolated Inuit communities along the country’s eastern coast.
Details: A 21-day voyage from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, with onward flight to Ottawa, departs on August 4 and costs from £17,000pp, based on three sharing. Flights are from £899pp (0808 2745111, intrepidtravel.com)
Help to clean Arctic shores while dodging polar bears on this “voluntourism”-style cruise with Gane & Marshall to the Svalbard Archipelago. Four days of the voyage around the coast of Spitsbergen and neighbouring islands are devoted to clearing ocean litter, though roaming bears mean locations can change at the last minute! Passengers are split into two groups, spending half the day cleaning and the remainder on excursions. You don’t have to participate in every cleaning mission, though these do give you access to more remote regions.
Details: A one-week round-trip voyage from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen departs on June 28 and costs from £2,335pp in a four-person cabin. Flights cost an extra £450pp (01822 600600,ganeandmarshall.com)
Explore this epic route along Russia’s remote Arctic coastline that for years was off-limits, while enjoying the luxury of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises upscale expeditionary ship Hanseatic. This seaway from Europe to Asia takes passengers from Norway through the Barents and Kara seas to the coast of Siberia. A highlight is Wrangel Island, off Russia’s Chukotka region, nicknamed the polar bear maternity ward because of its high number of cubs.
Details: A 28-night package leaves the UK on August 15, with the cruise departing Tromso for Nome in Alaska the next day. It costs from £15,875pp, which includes an overnight stay in Tromso, flight from Nome to Vancouver, and an overnight stay in the city before the return flight to the UK (020 7399 7670, hl-cruises.com)
Six great cruise deals
You need to be quick to snatch up this late two-week autumn break to the Caribbean with P&O Cruises (0843 3740111, pocruises.com) because it leaves on October 30. Sail from Southampton to the Azores and on to the Caribbean to St Maarten, St Kitts, Grenada and St Lucia before flying back on November 13. Prices start at £799pp and include the return flight.
A yuletide treat
This year’s Christmas market river cruises are virtually sold out, but AmaWaterways (0808 2568422, amawaterways.co.uk) still has availability on a festive sailing from Amsterdam to Basel, featuringthe BBC Countryfile presenter John Craven. The seven-night voyage, departing on December 7, has also been reduced by nearly £400 to £1,849pp. The price includes flights, drinks with meals, excursions and free wi-fi.
Big Apple bargain
Sail to New York to snap up some Christmas bargains, starting with this transatlantic sailing aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (0843 3742224, cunard.co.uk), which starts at only £699 for the seven-night crossing and includes the return flight. It leaves Southampton on December 15.
The luxury river cruise line Scenic (0808 2787131, scenic.co.uk) is promising savings of up to £2,500 per couple on selected 2016 Rhine, Danube and Bordeaux sailings. Additional bonuses for bookings made by November 15 are chauffeur-driven airport transfers, airport lounge pass and business-class flight upgrade on British Airways departures from Heathrow for the first 100 travellers to book a 2016 European river sailing. One-week Rhine voyages start at £1,545pp.
Enjoy a cut-price spring cruise to Spain and France aboard Princess Cruises’ ship Emerald Princess, which leaves Southampton on May 7, with calls including Bilbao and Bordeaux. The sailing is offered by Iglu Cruise (020 8544 6409, iglucruise.com) for £549pp instead of £1,160pp.
Take a new year cruise to the Arabian Gulf aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas. The specialist agency Cruise 118 (0808 1234118, cruise118.com) has knocked £200 off the price of a one-week sailing, with prices starting at £799pp, including flights. The round-trip Dubai voyage departs on January 11, and includes calls at Khasab in Oman, Muscat and Abu Dhabi.