March 21, 2023

A Second Journey to Antarctica with Youngsters

9 years in the past I took my 8-year-old daughter to Antarctica. It was a tremendous journey, and it was the explanation I began this web site. I wasn’t a journey author on the time; I merely wished to inform the world to take their children to Antarctica!

I hadn’t deliberate on returning to Antarctica, however two months in the past I bought a name from Adventures By Disney inviting me on their New Years Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition Cruise. My different daughter, 12, jumped on the probability to go, and December twenty ninth we flew from Colorado Springs (the place we had celebrated Christmas) to Buenos Aires.

I documented our Adventures By Disney Antarctica journey in real-time on Instagram, and I obtained over 1,500 DMs with feedback and questions. On this publish I’ll recap the journey, I’ll evaluate it to my first Antarctica journey, and I’ll reply the questions I obtained. As all the time, when you’re interested in one thing that’s not included right here, simply remark beneath.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - With my 12-year-old in Antarctica
With my 12-year-old in magical Antarctica

Why Journey to Antarctica?

First, why go to Antarctica in any respect? There are a selection of causes. Lots of people go merely to examine off their seventh continent. Then there are the adventurers, desirous to go someplace that 99% of individuals won’t ever get to see, and the intense photographers, desirous to doc the surroundings and animals.

Irrespective of why folks e book a visit, as soon as they arrive they witness the magic. Antarctica is stunningly stunning, and in contrast to anyplace else on earth – with towering mountains lined in snow and ice, volcanos, and glaciers and icebergs in each shade of blue – together with a number of species of penguins, whales and seals. Visiting Antarctica is adventurous, nevertheless it’s simple journey. It’s not scaling Mount Everest or free soloing El Capitan. You journey there on a (very good) ship, after which go onshore in a protected, organized style. It’s unique however not tough.

And each journey is completely different. No two ships could have an identical itineraries, since all the pieces is contingent on the climate and sea ice, and people change from hour to hour. You can return a dozen instances and have a dozen very completely different experiences, even when you journey on the identical ship each time.

Our Adventures By Disney Antarctica Itinerary
Our Adventures By Disney Antarctica Itinerary

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Most Antarctica journeys begin and finish in Buenos Aires. For this journey we arrived into Buenos Aires at 9am, rapidly went by way of immigration and bought our baggage, and we met up with an Adventures By Disney consultant within the arrivals corridor. We then joined one different household in a van for our switch to the Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta – the identical lodge the place my daughter and I stayed 9 years in the past. It’s an ideal base for exploring the town.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Waiting for us at the airport
Adventures By Disney ready for us on the airport

The Adventures By Disney itinerary had us in Buenos Aires for one evening earlier than flying all the way down to Ushuaia, the southernmost metropolis on the planet, with the remainder of the group. Throughout our day there we went to lunch, walked round a little bit and spent a while at El Ateneo, one of many world’s most stunning bookstores. At 3pm we returned to the lodge for a Covid take a look at. I used to be nervous in regards to the take a look at, since I actually didn’t need something to stop us from going to Antarctica on the final minute, however we examined detrimental, as did the opposite passengers. After the take a look at we relaxed on the lodge and we had a superb dinner at close by El Mirasol. Again on the lodge we repacked and positioned our baggage exterior our room earlier than 10pm for switch to the airport. We then went to sleep for the reason that subsequent day was beginning early!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - At El Ateneo in Buenos Aires
At El Ateneo in Buenos Aires
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Dinner at El Mirasol. So much food!
Dinner at El Mirasol. A lot meals!

Notice: this was my fourth time in Buenos Aires. I had explored much more with my different two children, and neither one had cherished the town so I assumed my 12-year-old wouldn’t both, and I didn’t plan on extra time there. If I hadn’t been to Buenos Aires earlier than I might have arrived a day or two earlier to see extra.

Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

Breakfast on the lodge began at 5am, and by 6:30am everybody was on buses heading to the airport for the constitution flight to Ushuaia. On the airport we bought our baggage and checked them in ourselves after which met again up on the gate for our 9:40am departure. (I’m making it sound like we did that independently, however Adventures By Disney representatives and Journey Guides have been all the time round to ensure all the pieces went easily).

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Departing the Sofitel for Antarctica!
Departing the Sofitel very early for Antarctica! Our different baggage was already on the airport.

The flight was 3.5 hours and was enjoyable – accurately when Disney rents out a whole airplane! And flying into Patagonia is all the time gorgeous.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Before take off
Earlier than take off
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Argentinian Patagonia out the window
Argentinian Patagonia out the window

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park and the Beagle Channel

I’ll evaluate my earlier journey (with Nationwide Geographic Expeditions) with this one beneath, however one main distinction: 9 years in the past we flew into Ushuaia, did a reasonably brief catamaran journey on the Beagle Channel, boarded our expedition ship and set off for Antarctica – all in the identical day. This journey we had two leisurely half-days in Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park, spending the evening in-between on the ship in port. That allowed us to enter the park, have lunch with an awesome view, take the Finish of the World Prepare, discover Ushuaia, and have a 5.5-hour catamaran journey on the Beagle Channel. This prolonged the journey by a day, however I used to be nice with that. It was good to have extra time on this spectacular a part of the world, and from a sensible perspective, it gave us a full additional day to succeed in Ushuaia if we had had flight points.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - In Tierra del Fuego National Park
In Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - The End of the World Train
The Finish of the World Prepare
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - A brief train stop at Macarena Station and Waterfall
A short prepare cease at Macarena Station and Waterfall
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - A rainbow from the ship the first night
A rainbow from the ship the primary evening

Each journey is completely different. There are lots of completely different doable choices in and round Ushuaia, and we have been restricted a little bit by being there on New Years Day. You can simply have extra to select from. I actually loved the Finish of the World Prepare – gradual shifting however stunning – and the Beagle Channel cruise was wonderful. We made all of it the way in which to Isla Martillo close to the Argentina/Chile border and its massive colony of Magellanic Penguins – the primary penguins of the journey, and a brand new species for me.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Sea lions and cormorants on the Beagle Channel
Sea lions and cormorants on the Beagle Channel
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - The famous Beagle Channel lighthouse
The well-known Beagle Channel lighthouse
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Magellanic Penguins on Isla Martillo
Magellanic Penguins on Isla Martillo

We then returned to the ship and set off for Antarctica!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Another rainbow as we were departing Ushuaia for Antarctica
One other rainbow as we have been departing Ushuaia for Antarctica. It introduced us good luck!

The Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is the realm between South America and Antarctica the place the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans come collectively. It may be calm or it may be tough, and there’s no method to predict which model you’ll get. My first journey the seas have been 22 toes (7m) on the journey down and 30 toes (10m) on the journey again. It wasn’t enjoyable. This journey we had kind of calm waters. There have been some 10-foot seas whereas leaving Argentina, however the largest waves got here once we have been sleeping. By the point we awoke it was principally a Drake Lake. It was the identical on the way in which again – we had 10-15 foot seas whereas we have been sleeping, however then a clean crusing the remainder of the way in which.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Working out with my daughter in the gym during the calm Drake Passage crossing
Understanding with my daughter within the fitness center throughout the calm Drake Passage crossing

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE DRAKE PASSAGE! If it’s unhealthy, keep in mattress. If it’s not, benefit from the ship. Regardless, in a day and a half you’ll attain Antarctica. It’s all a part of the journey. It’s positively not a cause to not journey to Antarctica.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica Day One: The South Shetland Islands

You’ll attain the South Shetland Islands first – the northernmost portion of Antarctica. As a result of we made good time throughout the Drake Passage we have been capable of cease at Telefon Bay on Deception Island. This was an extremely cool cease because it’s not like anyplace else we’d go to. It feels…volcanic. It’s volcanic. The volcano there final erupted 54 years in the past, masking the glaciers and ice with ash and lava. There are waterfalls and rivers, some Chinstrap penguins, and lots of lava. We hiked up and explored for roughly an hour and a half earlier than returning to the ship (in two waves, since you’ll be able to by no means have greater than 100 folks on shore in Antarctica at any given time, and there have been 161 folks on our ship). An added bonus: it was snowing closely! I by no means noticed falling snow throughout my first journey.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - My daughter photographing a Chinstrap on Deception Island
My daughter photographing a Chinstrap on Deception Island
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Deception Island
Deception Island. So completely different!

Day Two: Neko Harbor by Zodiac

This was certainly one of my daughter’s favourite stops final time, because it’s the place she bought to go on shore and stomach slide like a penguin. This time there was an excessive amount of sea ice for us to land, so we did a Zodiac cruise across the harbor as a substitute and…it was my 12-year-old’s favourite exercise of your entire journey. I cherished it too. The water was nonetheless, the icebergs and surroundings have been gorgeous, and we noticed a Leopard Seal.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Heading out on our Zodiac cruise with Expedition Leader John Frick. He was amazing!
Heading out on our Zodiac cruise with Expedition Chief John Frick. He was wonderful!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Neko Harbor is stunning!
Neko Harbor is gorgeous!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - A Leopard Seal!
A Leopard Seal!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - The kids on our Zodiac photographing the Leopard Seal
The youngsters on our Zodiac photographing the Leopard Seal
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Antarctica is never boring!
Antarctica isn’t boring! A Gentoo on a small piece of ice.

Day Two: Danco Island

My first journey we did a Zodiac journey round Danco Island since we couldn’t land. This time we went on shore and it was my favourite tour of the journey. My daughter and I hiked all the way in which to the highest of the island, previous a number of penguin colonies. It was snowing a little bit however wasn’t chilly.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Hiking up to the top of Danco Island
Mountaineering as much as the highest of Danco Island
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - My daughter waiting with a penguin crossing guard who was monitoring the penguin highways and telling guests when they could proceed
My daughter ready with a penguin crossing guard who was monitoring the penguin highways and telling company once they may proceed
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Loved the penguins!!!
Cherished the penguins!!!
Disney Antarctica - So many penguins at all of our landings!
So many penguins in any respect of our landings!

Notice: each expedition is versatile. You’ll be able to skip them and keep on the ship. You’ll be able to hang around with penguins on the shore. Or you’ll be able to stroll/hike so far as you need, and return to the ship on the following Zodiac everytime you’re prepared. So glad we made it to the highest, however we have been within the minority.

Day Three: Dorian Bay

The expedition crew had gone onshore early (like they all the time do) and arrange stairs and two lengthy strolling paths for us at Dorian Bay. We selected to move to the appropriate across the bay and up the hill a little bit, previous a pair emergency huts. This was the one day with blue skies and we rapidly shed layers. A fully gorgeous hike and delightful day!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Heading up newly-created stairs to reach the Dorian Bay walking paths
Heading up newly-created stairs to succeed in the Dorian Bay strolling paths
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Always beautiful!
All the time stunning!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Shedding layers. Still had to carry everything though. Merino wool long-sleeve t-shirt from Unbound Merino.
Shedding layers. I lived in my merino wool long-sleeve t-shirts from Unbound Merino your entire journey – on excursions and on the ship.
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Walking around to the beach penguin colony at Dorian Bay
Strolling round to the seashore penguin colony at Dorian Bay
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Basically everywhere we could go at Dorian Bay - up to the left, to the right, or around the coast. Totally flexible.
Principally in every single place we may go at Dorian Bay – as much as the left, as much as the appropriate, or across the coast. Completely versatile.
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - On the Zodiac back to the ship
On the Zodiac again to the ship

Day Three: Port Lockroy and the Penguin Put up Workplace

My first journey we stopped at Port Lockroy to mail postcards from Antarctica’s solely publish workplace. I assumed that every one expeditions stopped there, however that’s not the case. Touchdown slots are restricted (for the reason that publish workplace and reward retailer are small) and this was the primary of 4 Adventures By Disney Antarctica journeys to have Port Lockroy on the itinerary. All the time enjoyable to go to. I bought a patch for my older daughter and a tote bag, and adopted a penguin. I additionally despatched a postcard again dwelling in fact.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - At Port Lockroy with my postcard
At Port Lockroy with my postcard
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - You can get passport stamps at Port Lockroy. Just be careful, since it's not an official country stamp, and some immigration officials may have an issue with it. I had them stamp my postcard instead.
You may get passport stamps at Port Lockroy. Simply watch out, because it’s not an official nation stamp, and a few immigration officers could have a problem with it. I had them stamp my postcard as a substitute.
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - They prefer credit cards at Port Lockroy, so they don't have to deal with cash
They like bank cards at Port Lockroy, so that they don’t must cope with money

Past the publish workplace and retailer, it’s fascinating to see the quarters for the British sailers who was stationed right here, and there are Gentoo penguins in every single place. The British initially selected Port Lockroy for a base partly as a result of there have been no penguins, however the penguins confirmed up quickly afterwards. The employees there conduct a penguin survey yearly to trace populations, eggs and births.

Disney Antarctica - Port Lockroy is a British base. Penguins everywhere!
Penguins in every single place now!

Day Three: Jougla Level

Jougla Level is a small cease with a very simple stroll, however there are 1000+ penguins, Weddell seals, and gorgeous views of the Seven Sisters (mountain vary). So glad we visited!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Photographing a Weddell Seal at Jougla Point
Photographing a Weddell Seal at Jougla Level
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - At Jougla Point. A stunning day!
At Jougla Level with the Seven Sisters behind us. A surprising day!

Day 4: Wilhelmina Bay By Zodiac

The climate within the Antarctic Peninsula modified in a single day, from blue skies to heavy snow and 40mph winds. The captain (Captain Fab) and expedition chief (John Frick) plotted a course that will get us out of the wind as a lot as doable, and we began the morning in mostly-sheltered Wilhelmina Bay, which we explored on Zodiacs. The spotlight: an Emperor Penguin, 400km from the closest Emperor colony. There have been additionally Humpback and Minke whales not too removed from our Zodiacs. A enjoyable, snowy tour!

Disney Antarctica -  Heading out on Zodiacs
Heading out on Zodiacs
Disney Antarctica - Our Emperor Penguin
Our Emperor Penguin (my iPhone picture)
Disney Antarctica - Our penguin (the ship photographers' photo)
Our penguin (the ship photographers’ picture)
Disney Antarctica - Lots of humpbacks around. No breaching though.
Numerous Humpbacks round. No breaching although.
Disney Antarctica -  So snowy!
A lot snow!

Within the afternoon we stayed on the ship, cruising by way of Charlotte Bay. Captain Fab and John wished to discover a spot to both land or ship the Zodiacs out, however there have been no good choices. So we adorned cookies as a substitute.

Disney Antarctica - Cookie decorating on board
Cookie adorning on board

Day 5: Mikkelsen Harbor

Mikkelsen Harbor has whale bones, numerous Gentoo penguins and lots of Weddell seals. This was a fast however enjoyable tour, and was the one time we bought to step off Zodiacs into sea ice.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - A Zodiac landing through sea ice. Fun!
A Zodiac touchdown by way of sea ice. Enjoyable!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Whale bones and an old boat at Mikkelsen Harbor
Whale bones and an previous boat at Mikkelsen Harbor
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Weddell Seals
Weddell Seals
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - A skua looking for penguin eggs
A skua in search of penguin eggs
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - We're here!
We’re right here!
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Gentoo and sea ice
Gentoo and sea ice

Day 5: Cierva Cove by Zodiac

Our closing tour was a Zodiac cruise round Cierva Cove. It was windy, there was freezing rain, and the ocean was a little bit tough – not a visit spotlight, however nonetheless adventurous and delightful, and Adventures By Disney shocked everybody with champagne (and juice) on the Zodiacs. My daughter favored the inclement climate excursions higher than the calm ones and cherished this trip!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - On a Zodiac in Cierva Cove
On a Zodiac in Cierva Cove
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Mimosas and glaciers
Mimosas and glaciers
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Icebergs the size of small towns are always impressive!
Icebergs the scale of small cities are all the time spectacular!

After which again on the ship, the Journey Guides put collectively an Antarctiki Social gathering on the pool. Chilly however enjoyable!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Captain Fab jumping in the pool for the Antarctiki Party
Captain Fab leaping within the pool for the Antarctiki Social gathering following the final tour
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - The full group photo
The complete group picture

Antarctica to Ushuaia to Buenos Aires to Residence

Per my part on the Drake Passage, we had comparatively clean crossings each instructions. As a result of we made good time heading north, Captain Fab set a course for Cape Horn, the southernmost level in South America. So cool! Everybody headed exterior as we neared the lighthouse. My images aren’t nice, nevertheless it was an sudden journey spotlight.

On the Drake Passage, trying to show how smooth it is!
On the Drake Passage, attempting to point out how clean it’s!
The Cape Horn lighthouse (center left) and the very tip of South America (front right)
The Cape Horn lighthouse (heart left) and the very tip of South America (entrance proper)

We docked in Ushuaia the morning of January tenth, headed to the airport round 8:30am (with a fast cease on the Ushuaia signal for images), and flew again to Buenos Aires on the identical constitution we got here down on. In Buenos Aires everybody mentioned their good-byes. FYI, we arrived from Ushuaia and had our baggage round 4pm. We have been capable of examine in for our 9pm Houston flight round 5pm, and we spent a number of hours within the very good Star Alliance lounge – together with in all probability half of our ship.

Disney Antarctica - A quick stop at the Ushuaia sign
A fast cease on the Ushuaia signal

Nationwide Geographic Expeditions Antarctica vs Adventures By Disney Antarctica

I obtained lots of questions in regards to the variations between my two journeys. Earlier than I get into that, there are two essential factors:

  1. As I discussed above, each journey is completely different primarily based on climate and sea ice. No matter firm you journey with will do its greatest to get you wonderful experiences every single day. You can go together with the most costly crusing and by no means have the ability to land, and you possibly can select the most cost effective, most elementary journey and have one of the best onshore experiences. There’s lots of luck concerned. I’m subsequently not going to match every day excursions.
  2. My journey with Nat Geo Expeditions was 9 years in the past. There could also be issues that they’ve modified, or Antarctic insurance policies which have modified. All I can do is evaluate my experiences.

Issues I Appreciated Higher with Nationwide Geographic Expeditions Antarctica

Buenos Aires Excursions

Nationwide Geographic took everybody round Buenos Aires. With Adventures By Disney, we have been on our personal.


On my first journey, as soon as we have been on the ship we have been ready to enroll in kayaking. There was no surcharge. There was no kayaking information. Once we had flat water, they might let 20 or so company head out. It was wonderful – an expertise everybody ought to have. And there was no age restrict – I went out with my 8-year-old daughter. Against this, on the Adventures By Disney crusing there have been solely 60 kayaking slots, and also you had to enroll far upfront and pay $420 per individual. The kayaking was way more formal, with a information, and the minimal age was 16.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Watching kayaking from our balcony
Watching kayaking from our balcony

Life Vests

With Nat Geo Expeditions, each time we went on shore we may depart our Zodiac life vests in a pile close to the touchdown website. With Adventures By Disney we needed to maintain them on for our hikes. They’re pretty light-weight, nevertheless it was nonetheless a little bit annoying to must convey them with us even once we have been nowhere close to water.

The Bridge

We have been on the bridge (the navigational room) on a regular basis on our first journey, speaking with the captain and crew, and overlooking Antarctica from that perspective. Against this, the bridge on L’Austral was by no means open to company.

The Onboard Reward Retailer

The Nationwide Geographic Explorer had an awesome reward retailer, with lots of Nat Geo Antarctica co-branded Patagonia gadgets, together with jackets and backpacks. I nonetheless put on my Nat Geo Patagonia parka on a regular basis. Against this, there was little or no fascinating within the Ponant reward retailer – nothing cobranded with Adventures By Disney, little or no particular to Antarctica, and never even many Ponant gadgets.

Issues I Appreciated Higher with Adventures By Disney Antarctica

The Ship

The Nationwide Geographic Explorer is an expedition ship. I don’t bear in mind a theater. I don’t bear in mind leisure in any respect really. There wasn’t a pool or fitness center. Our cabin didn’t have a balcony. Against this, the Ponant L’Austral has a theater, fitness center and a pool, and we had a balcony. It additionally had two eating places. It’s a far nicer ship, with way more locations to loosen up. I’d journey on that ship anyplace!

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Our cabin on L'Austral
Our cabin on L’Austral (506)
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - On our balcony
On our balcony whereas crusing by way of Antarctica

Disney Journey Guides

A standard Antarctica journey could have some onboard actions, nevertheless it’s going to be restricted. The 5 Disney Journey Guides went all in with leisure. There have been recreation exhibits, bingo, karaoke, trivia contests, cookie adorning, crafts, fixed motion pictures, humorous bulletins, birthday/anniversary celebrations, themed costume days, dance events and lots of child occasions. They made the cruise enjoyable. The Nat Geo Explorer was way more severe.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - My daughter showing Disney Adventure Guide Veronika photos of her cats
My daughter exhibiting Disney Journey Information Veronika images of her cats

Different Leisure

There was a five-person French dance crew onboard that carried out virtually nightly. They have been glorious and added a enjoyable, cultural aspect to the cruise.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Our French dancers the first night on the ship
Our French dancers the primary evening on the ship


On the Explorer we needed to convey our personal tour boots. On the L’Austral that they had boots for everybody to borrow. Made it simpler to pack gentle.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Ponant seemed to have boots in everyone's sizes
Ponant appeared to have boots in everybody’s sizes


The day after we returned dwelling, Adventures By Disney despatched us a hyperlink to 2,346 images that the Journey Guides had taken throughout the journey. They captured all the pieces and everybody, and I like lots of the images they took of me and my daughter. Such a pleasant contact for them to doc all the pieces – at no cost.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Adventure Guide Damien photographing people hiking up Deception Island
Journey Information Damien photographing folks mountain climbing up Deception Island

All of the Little Issues

Adventures By Disney considered all the pieces upfront. They delivered Chapstick to everybody’s rooms the primary evening. They’d sunscreen out by the expedition deck. They gave out stamped postcards in each Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park and Antarctica so everybody may mail them dwelling with zero difficulties. They delivered items to our rooms a number of nights, together with sweets and jars of dulce de leche. They introduced dozens of board video games on board.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Chapstick in our cabin
Chapstick in our cabin

In addition they despatched out massive containers to all passengers upfront, together with water bottles, a backpack, hats, baggage straps and Disney pins.

Total Household Friendliness

I discussed child occasions above, however family-friendliness went farther than that. This was a youthful crowd than on my first journey, with lots of {couples} of their 30s, 40s and 50s, and a dozen children (there have been 44 children on the Christmas Antarctica crusing earlier than ours). I spotted in direction of the tip of the cruise that I hadn’t heard a single curse phrase in 10 days – loopy in any group of adults. And the nightly recaps have been excellent for all ages – entertaining and academic with out diving too deep (there have been lectures at different instances for that).

Meals: Nationwide Geographic Explorer vs Ponant L’Austral

The meals on each journeys was good. There’s one restaurant on the Explorer and two on L’Austral. On the Explorer there have been completely different menu choices every day (often with a Scandinavian theme, for the reason that head chef was Scandinavian), together with off-menu choices like steak, potatoes and pasta for anybody not excited by the specials. I bear in mind consuming properly, and my daughter all the time having the ability to discover issues that she favored.

L’Austral had extra selections. All three meals have been served in each eating places. Breakfast was a buffet: eggs, sausage, bacon, yogurts, smoothies, fruit, pastries and breads at each eating places. In the event you went to Deck 2 you possibly can additionally order pancakes. Lunch and dinner have been buffets up on Deck 6 and desk service on Deck 2. The meals modified every single day – all the time meats, veggies and fish with specials like hamburgers, pasta, pizza, dim sum, casseroles, Indian and Thai. You can get the identical factor at each eating places, however on Dec 2 there was a set menu as properly, with steaks, hamburgers and rooster sandwiches. There was additionally an intensive salad bar. For choosy children there have been all the time rooster nuggets and french fries.

Ponant L'Austral Antarctica - Dinner on Deck 2 as we were crossing the Drake Passage
Dinner on Deck 2 as we have been crossing the Drake Passage

In the primary lounge on L’Austral you possibly can get espresso and drinks from the bar all day lengthy. My daughter bought an iced espresso latte there every single day. In addition they had pastries within the morning and snacks within the afternoon – issues like crepes, sandwiches and macarons.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Afternoon crepes in the main lounge
Afternoon crepes and pancakes in the primary lounge

Which Journey Was Higher?

There’s no method to choose a favourite journey. They have been each magical, and the above factors are supposed to be suggestions for Disney – which now owns each Nationwide Geographic and Adventures By Disney, and which may make every expedition even higher by incorporating some components from the opposite. Because it stands now, every journey is nice for a selected kind of traveler. In the event you’re a hardcore expedition photographer, and wish to study from Nationwide Geographic specialists, go together with Nat Geo Expeditions. If in case you have children and wish to have enjoyable on the ship, go for Adventures By Disney.

In Antarctica with my 12-year-old daughter as part of an Adventures By Disney partnership
With Adventures By Disney
With National Geographic Expeditions
With Nationwide Geographic Expeditions

I mentioned above it’s not honest to match every day excursions, since each journey is completely different. For the report, with nearly an identical itineraries (on paper at the least), our Nat Geo Expeditions journey had six landings, one crusing right into a frozen fjord (quick ice), and one Zodiac cruise. This Adventures By Disney Antarctica journey had six landings and three Zodiac cruises. There was no quick ice this 12 months to sail into.

Packing For Antarctica

I created a separate publish for my Antarctica Packing Checklist. Click on by way of to see what we would have liked and what we didn’t. It’s really doable to pack gentle for Antarctica!

Disney Antarctica - Take hats! Adventures By Disney sends you hats in the mail.
Take hats! I wore my Unbound Merino beanie when it was chilly. My daughter cherished her Adventures By Disney hat that they despatched all vacationers. No have to convey your individual ice.

The Minimal Age for Antarctica

I’ve obtained lots of questions on what age I like to recommend for Antarctica. I’ve now traveled to the seventh continent with an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old and each ladies did amazingly. There was nothing that they had issues with. If something, it’s a bonus to be younger and light-weight because you don’t fall by way of the snow as a lot as adults do on the penguin hikes. My 8-year-old appeared mesmerized by the penguins greater than my 12-year-old.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - With my 8-year-old at Port Lockroy
With my 8-year-old at Port Lockroy
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - My 12-year-old at the same spot
My 12-year-old on the identical spot

Adventures By Disney’s minimal age for this Antarctica cruise is 10, and so they suggest 12+. That’s an inexpensive minimal given that every one children are completely different when it comes to their confidence and love of journey. The moist landings (stepping off the Zodiacs into water after which strolling ashore) are often considered problematic for shorter legs, however my children haven’t had points. The water’s by no means greater than a foot deep, and several other landings have been instantly onto the seashore or rocks. Take your children to Antarctica! There’s probably nothing they gained’t have the ability to deal with.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - The Zodiacs are easy to get into...
The Zodiacs are simple to get into…
Adventures By Disney Antarctica - ...and out of. This was the landing at Dorian Bay.
…and out of. This was the touchdown at Dorian Bay.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica: Healthcare, Insurance coverage and Security

As I discussed in my journey recap, everybody wanted to check detrimental for Covid earlier than leaving Buenos Aires for Ushuaia. So not solely have been we pretty assured that nobody on the journey had Covid, but additionally, nobody on the ship gave the impression to be sick in any respect. Perhaps folks have been additional paranoid about their well being earlier than the journey? We didn’t put on masks (apart from the Port Lockroy publish workplace go to) and felt 100% wholesome your entire expedition.

Adventures By Disney extremely really helpful that everybody on the Antarctica expedition buy journey insurance coverage. It will be horrible to check optimistic for Covid in Buenos Aires and never have the ability to go! We now have an annual journey medical health insurance coverage (by way of G1G) that covers nearly all the pieces that might have gone improper, from Covid to flight delays to accidents. Fortunately we didn’t want it. And per my packing record, we took alongside a medical kit full of antibiotics and didn’t want that both.

We by no means felt unsafe anyplace. The Buenos Aires lodge is in a very good space of city, and Antarctica shore and Zodiac excursions are all the time protected – or as protected as they are often provided that the climate and sea circumstances can change quickly. It’s why you wish to have an skilled expedition crew.

Adventures By Disney Antarctica: Finance

Journey By Disney’s Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition Cruise begins at $12,399 for adults and $11,099 for youths (2023/2024). That’s aggressive with different Antarctica cruise operators. It consists of the lodge in Buenos Aires, transfers, suggestions, Buenos Aires-Ushuaia spherical journey flights, all meals besides two in Buenos Aires, an expedition jacket to maintain, boots to make use of in Antarctica, the Tierra del Fuego excursions and, properly, just about all the pieces else. Off-peak dates are inexpensive than vacation sailings, and it’s all the time most cost-effective to e book far upfront. In the event you’ve traveled with Adventures By Disney at the least as soon as earlier than you’ll be able to save $750 per person (there’s some high-quality print there).

Adventures By Disney Antarctica - Book far in advance to save money!
Boarding in Ushuaia. E-book far upfront to save cash!

A be aware on pricing: Antarctica journeys are costly because it’s costly for cruise traces to function there. Our crusing had 161 passengers and 169 crew members, and the crew have been very skilled and succesful. It is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket record journey. I really feel extraordinarily lucky to have been twice.


If in case you have questions on Adventures By Disney Antarctica, Nationwide Geographic Expeditions (I’ve traveled with them seven instances), or Antarctica, please submit them beneath!