Antarctica Round up!!

Just back from Tauck Ponant Jan 26 to Feb. 8. Here are lots of suggestions I wish I had known before I packed up. 1, DO NOT OVER PACK!!! Tauck people wore same clothes for most landings. Merino wool worked best as it can be washed and dried very quickly. My suggested packing list. 1. Merino wool base layer leggings. I found mine on eBay . Great option. 2. One turtle neck base layer . Uniqlo has 3 types got mine there 2. One wool or micro fleece hoodie or sweater, 3. Two pr. Wool socks (wash and dry very easily). 4. 2 or 3 pairs regular socks for lounge wear on ship. 5. 1 hat and 1 pair insulated gloves . 5. 1 pair water proof pants (amazon has so many to choose from. Evening and loungewear. Our trip had many French passengers and they do dress up!!! However our Tauck group of 20 did not dress up. Most of us wore a nice blouse or sweater and added a scarf or necklace and that worked.. 1 pair of black slip on shoes or sandals good idea. Most of the days when we were not on landings we hung out in lounge wear. I had running tights and a matching jacket (TJMaxx) with tee shirt. Just bring what is comfortable no one cares. Shoes….. I brought one pair of black slipons, and one pair of ankle warm boots. Sneakers for walks in BA. IMPORTANT…The air on ship and outside is incredibly dry. Great for drying wet clothes (in a few hours hand washed were dry) however your skin will dry and crack even with lotion and your sinuses will dry up to the point I had to take a Zyrtec and use saline spray TG I brought them. If you can find a portable humidifier bring it. There is one on Amazon that you stick in a water bottle . Wish I had taken it. . The Drake!!! Going was great only 4 to 5 ft seas. However on the return we had very rough seas . So even though you say you don’t get seasick. take the patch. People who did not were sick. If you use a cpap or any necessary medical device … bring and extension cord. There is only one outlet in the room. Do not bring water bottles, they are provided. Big red Parkers provided for you are very very warm. You only need a hat and gloves for landings. And polarized sunglasses are definite. I brought 2 in case I lost one as I always do. I did notices that most people wore wrap around s.. On this cruise we were 140 passengers, which made everything easier. break down was about 65% French, 15% Asian, 20% English . We all got along. Walking sticks were necessary as most landings were on rocks or rough terrain. One each was all you need but I almost fell on the small rocky path to zodiac, the stick saved me!!! Got mine on eBay, as the ones on Amazon were to flimsy. We did a pre stay In Buenos Aires, great city but it was very very hot so pack some summer pants / capris and Short Sleeve tees. City tour was very good. They will take you to a market if you are there. For the weekend. Lots. Of stuff . Ladies, there is a shop just opposite the antique square. It is Karina Chasin . They sell the most beautiful printed scarfs. My friend and I both bought one(actually I got 2) and when we wore them the complements just kept on comming. They are long or square with a beautiful face print surrounded by flowers in bright colors. The small ones were $20 US and the long ones $40. They had other printed items ALSO. I wish I had gotten more for future gifts because they were just so unique and $20 for a gift is great. And pack up very small so they did not take up any space in luggage. If you forget anything, Ushuaia has a main street with everything you could possible need. You will pay top dollar but if you forgot anything you can get it and will have time before you board the ship. It was a wonderful experience, one that will stay with you forever. Our Tauck family was great, our TD Melisa was so much fun and always there for us. Now for the downside… You are at the mercy of the weather. We lucked out and got in 4 landings but if the wind is up or the seas are too rough you don’t go. You are only allowed 1&1/2 hours on land, and you can’t sit kneel or layin the snow. You have to stay far away from the penguins and they are at every landing. Zodiac rides were fill ins for when we could not land. The expedition leaders were all good though. As Melisa said you have to be flexible as things don’t always go as planned. Very good advise. One last word. The trip back to the states is long, lots of time on planes and in airports. Pace yourself and try to sleep when possible. Back to reality !!! Ugg


  • Thanks, bella c.
    Question, did it feel 4.5 days in actual Antartica too short? I would love to do this trip, but it seems too expensive for only 4 days inland and then as you see the pictures it looks Amazing!
    Please advise. :)

  • Considering no company is allowed to visit any Station or spend lots of time exploring 4 to 5 days is good. You can only see so many penguins before it is not exciting anymore. What stays with me is the beauty of the continent. I consider myself well traveled but icebergs, glaciers, snow covered mountains and clean fresh air can only be found in Antarctica . The expedition teams make it so much better. They love what they do.

  • Thanks.

  • Bella, I’m confused about the breakdown of people on the ship, were you the only Americans?

  • This is actually a very busy trip. There are many on-board events not listed in this chart, and a number of events in Buenos Aires. You get enough practice ‘suiting up’ for the explorations that you feel like you are ready to land on the moon. Many people just wore their ‘base layer’ when hanging about on the ship. Ours was not a ‘full boat’ charter either. We had around eighty Tauck guests and three TDs. The Ponant guests are mostly French but include many nationalities. All of the announcements and presentations are done in both French and English … French first of course. I found it interesting in my flying career that I could understand the French speaking English better than the English speaking English. I will not even approach understanding the Scottish people.

  • I choose this expedition with another company. This was quite a while ago. Yes, this is a wonderful trip that doesn’t compare to anything else.

  • We went in January 2020. Half of the ship was Tauck. The other half was Ponant, which was a mixture of French, and Australian. We all mixed pretty freely. There may be less Tauck people on this trip because other cruise lines now have new expedition ships that are designed specifically for these types of trips .

  • Breakdown of passengers. 65%french. Only 20 people on Tauck tour. There were several Americans that booked directly with Ponant, not sure how many.. The rest were Asian.

  • A note to Sealord , yes there are many different touring ships that do Antarctica but all are at the Mercy the weather. So no stops are definite. I understand the next tour has 50 Tauckers and a full ship.

  • Interesting. We have done a number of Tauck trips on Ponant, and there were very few Asian people. There were many French, and many other European guests. There were some Americans who were not booked with Tauck. If you don’t speak English or French, you will have a difficult time knowing what is going happening on a Ponant ship. The servers are not necessarily fluent, but they speak many languages.

  • we were on same trip in bella c Tauck group. excellent summary. Yes, very good idea to have a ski pole for landings. Ponant expedition folks always available to assist you if route to or from landing was slippery or rocky. Don't overdress. Jeans and one dark khakis plenty for guys. We were fortunate to get full complement of zodiac trips and landings. I have another active posting with several pix of this trip. In BA the tango show was excellent. nice tour of cemetery. time to walk around in Ushuaia both ways to get your "end of the world" photo. Can't say enough about the entire staff on L'Austral - superb and attentive. access to bridge was often available. Food was good and plentiful, as was the wine. Level 2 dining was sit down and level 6 a buffet - similar selections often. At lunch, several days had outside grill going - great prawns one day. There is no polar plunge due to health liabilities. for rough seas, patch, ginger root, generic dramamine all work. always ginger ale at bars. several areas to enjoy an included cocktail. lots of whales, seals, penguins, birds. My favorite spot was Spert Island - awesome beauty ! You must remember - as bella c states, this adventure totally weather dependent, but so special.

  • to British: about 150 passengers on ship. perhaps 40% Engilsh speaking for general meetings, and perhaps half of that Americans. all staff spoke French and English. your zodiac trips were divided into groups, based on language.

  • mil - see my " now day to of Antartica" post - now complete tour pix. 4-5 days is great amount of time. especially if you are fortunate enough to get 2 zodiac / landings a day. one day they offered a nice bonus zodiac ride if we chose to shorten our stay on land, and we buzzed around huge bergs for 45 minutes and saw several humpbacks and seals.

  • oh yeah - Whatsapp is the method for media. safe, free, and the TD preferred communication. great for sharing pictures with fellow travelers. every day we were able to send photos back home.

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