Antarctica February 9, 2015

Just checking to see if anyone is following the Forum who is going on the Antarctica trip February 9, 2015. It is a bit in the future, but it is nice to visit with fellow travelers. I'll be traveling solo and know there are a few others (at least nine) doing the same.

I've read the other posts and there are a few contradictions about things needed, luggage situations, and things to do in Buenos Aires. I can always count on the Forum to clarify things. I'll be there three days in advance. This trip is following the Yellowstone in Winter trip and a couple of weeks visiting friends in Denver and Phoenix (my friends tell me they are getting tickets to the Super Bowl while I am there. That will be a good time).

Anyway, I am interested in getting the opportunity to "talk" to fellow travelers on this trip.
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  • My friend and I are also going on the Feb. 9, 2015 trip to Antarctic. We are two single women so we will add to the "singles" list. We are doing the full trip with no front or back end extensions. We both live in the south so finding winter waterproof pants and gloves may be a challenge for us but we are working on it. Planning on packing light because there may be restrictions on the in country flights. The ship looks gorgeous!
  • I am also going on this trip - as a solo female. I am arriving in Buenos Aires a day early - but other than that, no additions to the Tauck itinerary. I am coming from central Florida, so I am planning on the weather being a severe shock to my system. I am in the process of purchasing the warmest clothing I can find. The forums are a big help in what to do and buy. Looking forward to "chatting" with others before the trip too.
  • Hello! My husband and I are also going on the Feb 9 cruise. For us, it's the first leg of a 6-week trip to various S. American locations. Still haven't figured out how to pack. For those of you in the south, you can buy everything you need in the way of warm clothing on line. Looking forward to a great trip. I am sure I will have more questions as it gets closer.
  • Oops, I just lied on another thread. There are some folks who answered my earlier request for fellow travelers. Great to hear from you. I told the other thread no one had responded, but I haven't been in for a few days. I guess I should check before I open my big mouth.

    I am from Ohio, but am spending a couple of months in central Florida (Longboat Key) right now. I agree with Embee, you can get the clothing you need online, or you can go to "outdoor" shops, even in Florida, and have them order them for you. It really shouldn't be a problem.

    For those of you going early to Buenos Aires, are you staying in the "Tauck hotel?" Maybe we can talk later about some group touring of BA. There are some good websites with one, two, and three day itineraries for people traveling to BA. We have time to set this up.

    I am getting there three days early. Mainly, because I am going to Yellowstone In Winter in early January, then going to Denver and Phoenix, for a week each, to visit some friends before heading to South America. I figured a few extra days in BA would be a great way to see the city and surrounding areas.

    Good to hear from all of you.
  • I checked the internet for weather conditions in Buenos Aires for the month of February and it looks as though the temperatures are from the mid-70s to mid-80s at that time. Can someone give me the temperatures they experienced in Antarctica at that time? It seemed to be a bit more difficult to figure out the temperatures there.

    I am sure someone who has taken the trip during February can chime in and supply the information. Thanks.

  • We were in Antarctica in late January 2012. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it won't be all that cold...a bit below freezing. The cold factor comes in if you don't have waterproof gloves and outerwear since you'll likely get wet during the zodiac landings and that'll cool you off.
  • Re getting wet on zodiac landings.

    The high gum boots help. If the water is higher than the top of your boots … it can easily happen as you wade in … a tip is to be wearing 2 pairs of socks. Firm fitting & one of those super fabric types for the inner sock and thick pure wool outer socks. The wool will act as a wick. I got a boot full of water as I waded in and being mindful of the chill factor I was concerned. Well, as the penguins and elephant seals took over my attention I completely forgot my squelching boot. When I got back to my cabin I found my foot damp, but not overly cold, the inner sock also just damp and the outer woollen sock squishy. It had absorbed and "stored" the moisture. Woollen inner soles must have helped, too. Being too hard to squeeze out just I pegged it up to drip! This was for the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island this last March, but the same principles apply.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Jan, did the HEAVY wool socks effect the size of the boot you wore? Did you go a size up?

    I can always count on folks in here to help with the subtleties of the trips.

    Thanks.
  • Embee, sklfi, and Sherri L, are you folks interested in getting together the day before the Tauck tour (if you are coming in early) and doing some sight seeing or having dinner that night? I am at the Tauck hotel (whichever one that is...I haven't looked). Sounds like a good idea to me if any, or all, of you are interested. I actually arrive on the February 6th at about 9 AM and plan on doing a couple days of snooping' and poopin' around the area. Having some company would be nice.

    I guess I'll have to start looking at some winter clothing that won't take up a lot of room. I am going to rent the boots so that I don't have to haul them to the boat or from the boat. I'll have enough surplus gear with the photo equipment to use up any extra space. I have some collapsible poles for the walking part of the trip. It'll be interesting also to see if anyone can give us some advice on how the sizing of the boots went. Did they go up a size for socks? Did the boots sizes on the chart of the website actually match up correctly?

    The ship looks great and it will be interesting to pick the crew's brains for information on the area and animals.
  • edited October 2014
    ndvb wrote:
    Jan, did the HEAVY wool socks effect the size of the boot you wore? Did you go a size up?

    I can always count on folks in here to help with the subtleties of the trips.

    Thanks.
    Well, yes …. and no. (I'm Irish … I can get away with that!) I went off to the hardware (think building & garden supply super store) store because that's where the ship told us to go. I waited for a cold day, wore both pairs of socks and staggered forth. I made the mistake of buying a size that I could get off by pulling at them. I didn't realise you actually toe them off with with the tip of your shoe to the heel of the other. So my boots were too big for my feet and too tall for my short little legs. I swapped them on the boat with one of the many similar discards. I left my boots for posterity on the ship when I left.

    Long and short… yes, I'd order a bigger size. You could always resort to the old fashioned trick of drawing an outline around your multi-socked tootsies on a piece of stiffish paper and then comparing that to the actual size of some real gumboots. Some internet sizing charts give an inch to shoe size chart. I don't know how US men's shoe sizes work. Come to that, I don't know how Aussie ones work either! If you are going to hire them and collect them onboard the ship, I bet you'd be able to change them… I bet people order the wrong size all the time. I think I read that somewhere on these forum pages. Probably back a bit. You could try searching by "boot exchange" or something similar. I know the search function isn't flash … you have to think of a unique phrase or word before you can expect any hits.

    The denser the knit of the wool sock the better they work … at keep you warm … and dry. The very best socks are made from a mix of pure merino wool and possum fur. Yes, that's right. Made in New Zealand … sensibly from long ago imported Aussie possums (they are a protected species here) which are a terrible pest in NZ.
    This is one company that sells them … in NZ … They ship and the US$ against the NZ$ rate is good in your favour. This type of textile is excellent for hats, too.
    http://www.possummerinonz.com/products/socks-thick-possum-fur-merino-wool?gclid=CNmQr5azv8ECFQQDvAod0DUAfA
    If you google, you will find lots of similar suppliers.

    Probably too much information, but it's all good!

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • ndvb, thanks for the kind invitation. Would love to meet up prior to the trip. At this point, I have no plans, other than recuperating from the flight. I hope others want to meet up too. I am staying at the Tauck hotel. My flight lands around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

    I have already ordered some warm clothing, but will continue to review this forum for more tips on what to purchase. I do plan on renting boots on board. Much easier than hauling them around. I did read on another forum that you are able to exchange them if the size you order isn't comfortable. Hope that is true.


  • edited October 2014
    Sounds good. I would assume by the time you get off the plane, go through security, and get to the hotel it will be at least noon--assuming an on-time flight. I am getting in on Thursday morning. I'll will have been traveling for about a month prior so I will probably just use Thursday to rest and walk around the city close to the hotel. I am going to look for some things to investigate for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Depending on how you feel from the travel, you are more than welcome to join me on Sunday's itinerary and have lunch and/or dinner. Any others who get there early are welcome to join us, as far as I am concerned. The more the merrier. A couple of days after I get back home from this trip I am flying down to Florida for a few months and I'll have time to rest and relax there.

    From what I read, you are correct about the boot situation. Schlepping those things half-way around the world isn't something I plan on doing. Sizing online is sketchy at best, so being able to swap them out on the ship is a good thing. There is a chart on the boot rental site for conversion of sizes. It has a variety of shoe measurements worldwide. I'll just make a guess at what size I need and let them figure it out when I get onboard.

    http://www.shiptoshoretraveler.com

    I looked at the website Jan gave me for heavy socks and plan on ordering a couple pair of them to use on landings. She has been a great source of information in here. I've never heard anyone say she doesn't give good advice. I'll use the socks in Yellowstone in Winter before this trip too.

    OK, see you in Buenos Aires.....travel safely. I would give you my email but just don't feel comfortable doing that in here.
  • ndvb wrote:
    I looked at the website Jan gave me for heavy socks and plan on ordering a couple pair of them to use on landings. She has been a great source of information in here. I've never heard anyone say she doesn't give good advice. I'll use the socks in Yellowstone in Winter before this trip too.
    You're welcome! It's nice to be useful and it's even nicer when someone says so.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • You give good advice.....what else can I say. Plus, you've been on most of the trips I have been on, or are going on, so that experience is useful. Maybe someday we'll end up on the same excursion. Although, I am considering buying a motor home and just scooting around the US at my own pace. Put a car or motorcycle in tow and travel from sea to shining sea.


  • ndvb wrote:
    and travel from sea to shining sea.
    And now, for your next number you will perform ….. ;)))

    And there is such a lot to see in between those shining sees, too! It is a small world, so you never know if you never never go.

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS: Never never go is an homage to an autobiographical novel, "We of the Never Never", by Jeannie Gunn. It is an account of the her experiences in 1902 at Elsey Station near Mataranka, Northern Territory, Australia. She used the pen name "Mrs Aeneas Gunn", her husband's first and last name. The phrase was used again by the Northern Territory tourism people some years ago. "If you never, never go … you'll never, never know." It seemed to work a treat and the phrase re-stuck in our collective consciousness.
  • I was looking at the deck plans for the two ships used for the Antarctica trip and noticed that the ships have room for over 200 passengers. Am I correct to think Tauck isn't the only company with passengers on this ship? Is everyone, including Tauck clients, on the same schedule? I don't know which of the two ships we will be using, but they look very similar in their layout and criteria.

    Thanks.
  • I don't know about the Tauck content of the trip, as versus the other passengers. Tauck seems to be exclusively using ships of the Ponant line. (Except for the Galapagos cruise.) And a very good company it seems to be, too. And again, a very good match for Tauck and their clientele.

    There's plenty of info and opinions on other threads about the Ponant ships. Just search for pretty well any "cruise". I'm sure others will jump in here with their personal responses!

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • ndvb wrote:
    I was looking at the deck plans for the two ships used for the Antarctica trip and noticed that the ships have room for over 200 passengers. Am I correct to think Tauck isn't the only company with passengers on this ship? Is everyone, including Tauck clients, on the same schedule? I don't know which of the two ships we will be using, but they look very similar in their layout and criteria.

    Thanks.

    I have not done this tour, however I was on the sister ships to Iceland and the Baltic with Tauck. Tauck has about half of the berths on the ship and the rest are mostly individuals who have booked directly through Ponant. Since the ships are French registry, most of the other passengers were French. Tauck had special programs (lectures) and activities set up for their people and the shore excursions run by Tauck only contained their people. Since there were a number of groups (both Tauck and individual through the ship), shore tours had various departure times so that you did not have all of the passengers in the same area at the same time.
  • ndvb wrote:
    Embee, sklfi, and Sherri L, are you folks interested in getting together the day before the Tauck tour (if you are coming in early) and doing some sight seeing or having dinner that night? I am at the Tauck hotel (whichever one that is...I haven't looked). Sounds like a good idea to me if any, or all, of you are interested. I actually arrive on the February 6th at about 9 AM and plan on doing a couple days of snooping' and poopin' around the area. Having some company would be nice.

    I guess I'll have to start looking at some winter clothing that won't take up a lot of room. I am going to rent the boots so that I don't have to haul them to the boat or from the boat. I'll have enough surplus gear with the photo equipment to use up any extra space. I have some collapsible poles for the walking part of the trip. It'll be interesting also to see if anyone can give us some advice on how the sizing of the boots went. Did they go up a size for socks? Did the boots sizes on the chart of the website actually match up correctly?

    The ship looks great and it will be interesting to pick the crew's brains for information on the area and animals.


    We are not coming early. Landing on Feb. 9 so we will just be doing the Tauck tours. However, we have the afternoon and evening of day 2 (the day before we head south) on our own. Perhaps we can work out something for the afternoon or at least dinner.

    We plan on doing a lot of layering of clothing. I don't like heavy sweaters but I have "Cuddle-Duds" to wear under both tops and pants. They are basically like thermal or silk underwear but cost a lot less - they come in several different weights - light fleece to thin comfortwear. I got mine at Kohls. I live in the south (Atlanta area) so I don't really need heavy clothes normally. It is also typically in the 20's to 30's which isn't bad.

    Oh, the Tauck hotel is the Cesar Park Buenos Aires.
  • ndvb wrote:
    I was looking at the deck plans for the two ships used for the Antarctica trip and noticed that the ships have room for over 200 passengers. Am I correct to think Tauck isn't the only company with passengers on this ship? Is everyone, including Tauck clients, on the same schedule? I don't know which of the two ships we will be using, but they look very similar in their layout and criteria.

    Thanks.


    The website says for the Feb. 9 trip we are on the Soleal. If you go to the Ponant website you can get all the info about the ship itself. I am assuming there will be people that booked directly with Ponant as the website offers cruises and they are showing on for the time we are on the ship.
  • Thanks, Sherri. I, too, looked up the ship plans and the hotel and got information from someone else about the other folks on the ship.

    I am sure we can set something up for free time. We do have to eat and it might as well be an adventure.

    The layered clothing is good. I plan on the same thing. I haven't gotten any yet because I am in Florida until the middle of November. I have gotten the appropriate paperwork done in Argentina. Other than that I'll just wait. I'll use the same clothing for the Yellowstone in Winter which makes packing easier. I will have to get some summer stuff to use in Phoenix between the two trips. I can ship it there and ship it home. I think packing (clothing and photo equipment) will be tight for both trips, but especially Antarctica. It'll be fine.

    I haven't gone to the hotel website yet, but I am sure it is a great hotel. I'll do that later.

    Be well.


  • Hello ndvb and others. We are arriving in Buenos Aires on February 9 if all goes according to plan. We've been in BA before and just loved it. We'd be happy to meet up with others for dinner or walking around the city - I don't think we want to take any organized tours there. Still worrying about what to pack - this is the first leg of a trip that takes us to multiple climates in South America. I was just reading about the visas we have to get on-line for entering Argentina. I was not aware of that, so three cheers for the travel forums!
  • Embee,

    Good to hear from you. Lunch, dinner, walking around all sound like possibilities in Buenos Aires. We'll get together at the hotel with anyone else who wants to join in. I'm not sure how we all meet. Maybe before we go we'll put a time and place for everyone to meet in here. I am not willing to put my email address in a chat room.

    I get home from a couple of months in Florida this Thursday and will spend the Holidays with my family, getting all of my stuff together for the trip to Yellowstone and then Antarctica, with stops in Denver and Phoenix between them. Packing for all of this stuff is always an issue. Seems like some shipping might be in order.

    I am excited for both Tauck tours and seeing some great things. These will be my 5th and 6th Tauck tours. They have been impressive so far and I expect nothing less on these two. The people on all of the trips have been great. The last one was my first solo trip (wife died in September, 2013) and it was fantastic. She would have loved it, but it wasn't meant to be.

    It sounds like you are making a whirlwind tour of South America and should have a great time. See you in BA.
  • I noticed that the tour ends at the airport at 1730 after the flight from Ushuaia. For those who have been on this trip, do they arrive about that time at the airport? My flight home doesn't leave until 2315 so I'll have almost six hours to kill. Not that I haven't done this before, but is there anything other than alcohol to get me through the wait? Since I am not much of a drinker, I guess I'll hope there is a lounge available for catching up on emails, editing photos, and sleeping (some eating wouldn't hurt, either). I'm flying either business or first class (there was only one class of those two available on the plane and I am too lazy to look it up) so I think there should be a more comfortable place to waste time than by the gate. I don't figure Tauck has anything on the schedule to help pass the time. Let me know about the airport please.

  • I noticed that the currency of choice for the ship on this tour is the Euro. Those of you who have been on this trip, do we need Euros for anything....drinks, etc.? Will we need any Argentinian Pesos? The current conversion rate looks to be about $1 USD to 8.5 ARS. I am assuming that anything bought on board the Le Soleal will be put on the final bill and can be put on a credit card. I am wondering if we will need any ARS for Buenos Aires or Ushuaia. I usually carry a small amount of local currency for things like bus or cab rides, a beer at a local pub, grocery store food/snacks, etc. I am just not sure it is necessary on this tour. Thanks for the help. Fifty days and a wake up. Looking forward to it.
  • Another stupid question for those that have been on this tour: Are the flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on regularly scheduled commercial flights or are they on smaller, charter planes? It looks like they are about 3.75 hours each way. How comfortable are they?
  • edited December 2014
    Hi ndvb,

    While you're on the ship, an account will be set up in advance for you, and you can put any expenses on that. Cash, traveler's checks, American Express, VISA, and MasterCard are all accepted for payment of shipboard accounts. If you're planning on going shopping while in Buenos Aires, it would be a good idea to have some local currency along; you'll be there for a couple days. As for the on-tour flights, they are chartered flights with LAN Argentina.

    I hope this helps!

    -Tim
  • Waitlisted since June. Got medical clearance and made payment on Dec 26th. Arizona winter visitor flying AA from Phoenix and arriving Friday Feb 6th about 8:30am. Staying at the Tauck hotel. Looking forward to meeting all of you. Would like to join you for pre-tour sightseeing.
  • jcrb

    I too am arriving for this tour on 6 February (leaves 5 February) from Phoenix, though Dallas Fort Worth. My flight arrives at 0849. It sound like we might be on the same flight. I am a solo traveler and at the Tauck hotel also for the three days before the tour actually starts. I would give you my email, but I protect it and don't give it out in this environment.

    Perhaps we'll get lucky and figure out who we are in the airport. I will have a green carry on from a previous Tauck tour that has the logo on it. Maybe that will be a hint. I have been looking at things to do in Buenos Aires and there are several local tours available. I just don't want to visit the same places we will tour with Tauck.

    I figure if we arrive around 0830-0900 (maybe 1030-1100 by the time we get through customs, get our luggage, and drive to the hotel) we will probably not be able to get into our hotel room until later so I might just use the "On-Off Bus tour" just to get a lay of the land. There are a couple of walking and biking tours that sound interesting for days two and three. I looked at a couple of air tours (fixed wing and helicopter) but they are pretty expensive to take alone. If you run across anything that sounds exciting let me know. I think there is a Segway tour too, but I haven't looked into it in detail.

    After an overnight 10.5 hour flight a lot of people just want to take a nap and rest, but I usually am ready to start looking around. There isn't a big change in time for this zone, so that makes it easier too. Hopefully, we can get together and enjoy the city.

    I'll be in Phoenix, actually, for a week prior to leaving there. I have good friends who live there and I am going to spend a week with them. I will have already spent a week in Denver with friends and 10 days in Tauck's Yellowstone in Winter. I'm looking at either going to the Grand Canyon for some photography or over to Las Vegas for a couple of days since I am in the area. I am not sure which I am going to do. I'm checking out some helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon no matter which location I take it from. I don't know how to get contact information to you so we could meet in Phoenix while I am there, but maybe you'll have an idea.

    See you soon.

    Take care and hopefully we can get together.
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