Cruise Antarctica

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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To cruise Antarctica is to enter into a remote, spectacular, permanently-wintry world that is uninhabited except by a few scientists in their research stations and a lot of penguins. This continent has no native peoples, no capital, no government, no currency, and no official language. With an area of 5,100, 021 square miles, it is the fifth-largest continent, with the unique distinction of being almost completely covered by ice year-round.

There are so many differences between Antarctica and the rest of the planet, it is hard to list them all. It is so cold that all humidity evaporates, leaving the continent as dry as a desert even though it is perpetually blanketed with ice. There is little precipitation and almost no clouds directly over the South Pole, yet dry blizzards cause "whiteout," in which it is impossible to see objects three feet away.

Cruise Antarctica in Safety

Antarctica trips are definitely not land-based! Cruise Antarctica and marvel at the towering icebergs from the safety and comfort of an ocean liner. Most sea journeys also visit the South Shetland Islands, which are close by the Antarctic Peninsula. Elephant Island is just one of many small islands that make up the South Shetlands; all are a sanctuary for wildlife, with enormous colonies of penguins and large gatherings of fur seals. Most amusing, perhaps, are the gigantic southern elephant seals wallowing in pools of mud.

Tourists on Antarctic cruise vacations are not always confined to their ship. For those intrepid visitors, scuba diving, sea kayaking, and camping are available on the peninsula, but mostly on the more environmentally moderate South Shetlands. For those hoping to cruise Antarctica, take a look at the itineraries of the several companies that offer cruises to Antarctica, which are generally available online, for they vary in locations visited, length of voyages, and activities planned.

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