Travel consultant Lina tells us about her trip to Antarctica, South Georgia and The Falklands.
Where have you been?
Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica.
Have you been before?
No, this was my first time.
How did you get there?
I flew first to Santiago with LATAM where I spent two nights and then continued to The Falkland Islands (Mount Pleasant) from where the cruise departed.
Santiago, Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica, Ushuaia, Buenos Aires.
How long were you there?
I spent two nights in Santiago, 18 nights aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov visiting Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica and one night in Buenos Aires.
Which was your favourite…
We visited so many great places that it is going to be very difficult to choose a favourite one… A couple of places to mention are Gold Harbour in South Georgia where we had a perfect day with beautiful mountains, glaciers, blue sky and loads and loads of king penguins walking along jostling elephant seals (all I could picture that day was David Attenborough coming out from the TV screen showing me the beauty of the place that I was seeing!). Another is when we visited St Andrews Harbour, where we saw a colony of 250,000 breeding pairs of king penguins with their brown fluffy babies or when we were at sea and encountered a family of orcas followed by the biggest mammal on earth: the blue whale!
Paradise Harbour in Antarctica is truly a paradise! I cannot forget when we landed on the continent at Orne Harbour and watched sunset at 10.40pm. But a memorable moment was when a single emperor penguin was floating on an iceberg towards the ship on our final day while we were leaving Antarctica; he came to say farewell to all of us and we ended the trip in the best possible way.
Appeals to which type of traveller?
It is ideal for every person of every age who is interested in wildlife, nature and photography. For those who want to do something unique and different in their lives visiting the driest, coldest, windiest, remotest but most beautiful continent on Earth!
What did you pack?
The cruise operator was providing the heavy stuff to carry like polar jacket, waterproof trousers, rubber boots, binoculars and walking pole. I just had to take plenty of thermal clothes, hats, gloves, fleece and a windproof jacket. I love photography so my camera equipment was a must, a waterproof camera bag was essential to keep the camera dry. A GoPro camera was great for those doing kayaking or to try to catch an elusive penguin swimming around the zodiac. Believe it or not, a swimming suit is a must; we had a hot tub and a sauna on board, which was a blessing after excursions.
Food, drink on board?
We were spoiled with the large variety of food; we had three-course meals twice a day with two meat options and one vegetarian, plenty of salad and sweets. Fortunately there was a gym on board and the ship had plenty of steps to walk up and down. Chocolate cookies were a delight... we even got the recipe at the end of our trip! We had an outdoor barbecue while in Antarctica, it was a lovely surprise!
Room for improvement?
I cannot find any fault in my trip: we had fantastic weather overall, a great ship, amazing expedition team and the people on board were incredible. It was a truly remarkable experience and without doubt, the best trip of my life!
How would you sum up your trip in a sentence or two?
I was totally overwhelmed with South Georgia and I was not expecting Antarctica to be better; but it was so different and beautiful that now I cannot decide which one is best. Both destinations are the perfect combination and everyone who wishes to see the Polar Regions, should not miss one or the other.
Any top tips?
If you are crazy enough and you wish to swim in Antarctic waters, neoprene shoes are a must (you need to look after your toes, the weakest and most sensitive part of your body when in freezing waters!).
Browse our Antarctica holidays.