Highlights of Antarctica and Iguazu Falls
Ronald Taylor | February 28, 2023 | Hurtigruten | MS Kong Harald
My wife and I have recently returned from a “bucket list” trip to Antarctica on the MS Fridtjof Nansen in January this year with Hurtigruten.
The trip was to see the Highlights of Antarctica, and we also extended the trip to include a trip to the Iguazu Falls on the Argentina / Brazil border.
We are both in our mid sixty’s and in reasonable health and are regular ocean cruisers, so this was certainly very different from any of our previous holidays.
The package included the return flights from the UK to Buenos Aries and onto Ushuaia where we boarded the ship, and all hotel stays and transfers were included.
The ship itself is lovely. We stayed in a type of RS Outside Cabin (with large window) on deck 4. The cabin was spacious enough and clean. The trip is labelled as an “expedition,” and it is certainly not a cruise.
After two days crossing the Drake Passage which was quite rough but could have been a lot worse, we had five consecutive days of landings ashore on the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands.
The ship capacity is around five hundred passengers and I believe it was almost full. There are no more than 100 people allowed ashore at any one time so we were split into groups and everyone was given the opportunity to go ashore (weather permitting) once a day and also an excursion in the zodiac boats.
The Hurtigruten staff are extremely knowledgeable and very vigilant to ensure everyone follows the necessary protocols for shore landings as these must be followed to ensure we leave the area exactly as we found it.
The experience of actually landing in Antarctica is amazing and we both agreed this was the most incredible and beautiful place we have ever been to. The scenery is absolutely stunning.
We also witnessed countless numbers of Penguins close up as well as sightings of seals, whales and numerous birds.
This was truly a once in a lifetime trip for us but it IS a very active and at times can be a quite physical trip and we wished we had done this sooner when we were a bit younger and fitter.
The expedition staff were first class and very helpful in getting people safely ashore but a couple of the landings required scrambling up slippery rocks and my wife struggled a bit with this.
The ship itself is clean and very nice and there are an interesting selection of talks and seminars to go to every day which were very interesting.
We were a little bit disappointed with the food selection available onboard but this was probably because we were unfairly comparing the restaurant choices to what we normally experience on an ocean type cruise ship which this was certainly not.
The post Antarctica trip to Iguazu was also very spectacular but also requires a lot of walking with a lot of steps which at times my wife found challenging, especially in the heat as it was 35 Deg C!
I would do it all again tomorrow if I could but my wife wouldn’t due to the more physical demands due to the amount of walking required and climbing in and out of the boats.
In short, if you are thinking about a trip to Antarctica, it I would definitely recommend it but don’t leave it until it too late.
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