Would this stop you from considering a trip to Antarctica?
I was thinking about going, but this recent problem of both the ship and the rescue ship getting stuck in ice is making me think twice.
For Alaska we can cruise there from May till September.
Looks like Antarctica may be only a 2 month season.
Am hoping to hear from californian as I know she did alot of research before her trip on time to go, company to go with, ship to be on, etc.
I have been following the reports. Ships start to go in November but expect ice. The last go in February. What we were told is that the weather is very unpredictable. I was really lucky that I was able to make all the scheduled landings. There was one where we did an alternate because the place we were supposed to go was iced in. I have been trying to figure out where this ship is and have not seen a map but I suspect that they are farther south then we went. I read that another ship had been stranded for 2 months and then it melted and they were freed without rescue.
Icebergs were floating around my ship. Our ship had an Ice Captain who is a specialist and really knows how to read what is happening. He took over when we got to ice. This gave an additional feeling of safety.
Yes, GP, I did a lot of research in selecting the ship and safety was at the top of my list.
As to what month to go depends on what phase of penguin reproduction you want to witness. I choose late January to see chicks and the weather tends to be better. At times it can be 60 degrees in the daytime.
I asked myself if I would go if my trip was still in front of me and I think YES. This was by far the most beautiful scenery that I have seen and being able to walk close to penguins and observe the chicks was worth it. You also need to look at how many ships go there each year, which is a growing number, without incident. There had been one, a National Geographic ship, that sprung a leak and there were enough other ships close enough to rescue all the passengers. This is why I would not go on a large cruise ship that just passes by. If they had an emergency, there would not be enough ship capacity in the area to rescue 3000 passengers. They are trying to stop those cruise ships from going near Antarctica.
If anyone decides to go, I will go through more detail in helping select a ship.
I was just on a cruise, on a small ship that does World Voyages, but was only on for 16 days. The captain is one of the most experienced for the cruise line as they circle the globe 2-3 per year for the world voyages.
Anyways, during Q&A with the captain, another passenger asked him what is his favorite place to cruise, and he said Antarctica. He also said they would be reducing the number of ships cruising there, and we should consider going sooner rather than later. The ship we were on holds 800 passengers (only 700 were on board, as most folks want the glitzy, big ships to float around the Caribbean where I think they have only 4 ports that can accommodate the mega ships, nor can they get through the Panama Canal until the Chinese finish the 2nd canal).
I was trying the ship out as I hope to do the World Voyage one of these years, and just love the ship. Its older, very well maintained, with an excellent crew passenger ratio (400 crew for 800 passengers and are rarely fully booked due to the unusual itineraries).
Then I saw the news article and though I better learn more about the options, and which is best. I like the cruiseline alot. The last 2 cruises with them they upgraded me to a suite with 500 square feet of room. As always, vendors that give me perks not only get my attention, but also my business, and lots of positive visibility in social media I participate in.
Now (12/30 8 am est) the Australian ice cutter sent to help the Chinese ice cutter sent to rescue the Russian research ship, is stopped. Similar to my Alaskan hike where we saw very fascinating amorous black bears (which blocked our exit path), these are not great stories until they end successfully (had the bears changed their attention to us, hundreds of yards away, they wouldn't have been so 'fascinating'). Here's hoping it all ends well. I believe we will see fewer smiling faces and jokes about the coffee running out as the days wear on.
For those following, 3 icebreakers have failed to rescue the people on the ship. They are now attempting a helicopter rescue if the weather lets up. If all else fails, an American ship is heading there. It will take 10 days to get there and it is expected that this ship will be able to do the job.
I am glad that we are always willing to help those in need.
The 52 passengers have been rescued. The 22 crew remain on the ship planning to wait till the ship is freed.
The stranded ship did not have a heliport so the helicopter landed on the ice next to the ship 5 times taking the passengers 12 at a time. The Chinese icebreaker did have a heliport but the Australian vessel did not. (The ship that I was on had a heliport.) The original plan was to take the passengers back to the Chinese vessel and then use a barge to take them to the Australian ship but ice was in the way. So the helicopter landed on a large flat piece of floating ice and the passengers were taken to the Australian ship by small boat.
From what I read, the passengers were never in danger just stranded. They remained in good spirits and said it was the adventure of a lifetime.
The Australian vessel needs to drop off supplies at a research station and then then head to Tasmania. It will be about 2 weeks before they arrive.
I don't remember doing that but I did have to have a medical person OK me to go, knowing the amount of activity that I would be doing. This is not the ship but who ever runs Antarctica requires it.
I did know what I was getting into because of all the research that I did. For example, if I had a heart attack, all you have is a ships doctor with limited equipment. The nearest hospital is days away.
The weather can change on a dime. Every time we went to shore, there was a possibility that ice would drift in and block our ability to get back to the ship. The naturalists brought survival equipment with each landing.
For reasons like this it is important that you take care in selecting a ship.
Silliness warning - this is not a politcal statement, just early morning giggles at work.
Anadyr, you and your partner in crime, jerrycoin, often lead me into trouble (it's your professional training), but here goes, a reference six readers might get and even fewer will find amusing, but I can't help myself as a picture of Sam Kinison's routine about starving people in the African desert comes to mind; "hey polar bears, move!"
There I said it, please forgive me GP and Cal . Great news about the rescue.
If junior had options, you may be getting a free cruise to Antarctica and beyond! Good stuff.
Actually a lot of things grow in sand, with water. The Imperial Valley here is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the US. And dates (the Desert Versions) are also gown in sand with plenty of water. See the following; http://hydroponics.com.au/issue-02-sand-culture/
You need a program to follow along
Chinese icebreaker stuck after helping in Antarctic rescue - chicagotribune.com
Best wishes to all involved - holy cow (a Chicago reference, in appreciation for the Tribune's contribution)
Finally I was given the info to find the location on my Antarctica map. They were stranded on the opposite side on Antarctica from where I was. So this location appears to be as far from where I was as could be.
I wonder if the weather is the same where most ships go. I have not heard of any cancellations.
Man, I don't care what side of the bottom of the earth that is, that's cutting it too close for me. I'm whining that I have to head up I-95 tonight and stay at the Residence Inn at Cal Ripken's Ironbird Stadium (Aberdeen Md.) and pick up some team uniforms that missed a deadline - that's cold enough for me (I've stayed there during baseball games, but never in the middle of winter, so I bet a baseball stadium at night in January is a blast - yeehaw).
I'm just going to re-read your excellent write up http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/message/72198#72198 and focus on the warmer climes for '14.