I returned from a 9 day expedition on Ocean Nova on November 29, 2019. I can really write a book... read more
I returned from a 9 day expedition on Ocean Nova on November 29, 2019. I can really write a book... read more
Let me start by saying I visited in December 2013... A LONG time ago. I STILL dream about this trip... read more
We recently completed the "Fly and Cruise" trip to Antarctica with Antarctica 21. The entire trip was wonderful. We actually booked through Road Scholar and they deserve some of the accolades as they bookended the trip with Welcome and Wrap up dinners and travel arrangements.
Other than what Mother Nature provided (which was breathtaking) the Staff from A21 was top notch. The folks in Punta Arenas were organized and made sure we were well informed about the schedule and what to expect. Once we arrived on King George Island, we were met by one of the most knowledgable, experienced, fun groups of folks i've ever encountered. For just over 65 passengers, there were over 15 A21 staff members working countless hours to make sure WE got to see and do whatever was possible on Antarctica. Additionally, the crew on the Ocean Nova were top notch and the service they provided to all the passengers (and A21 staff) was as good or better than I've experienced on mahor cruise lines.
I hesitate to go into too much detail as there were some surprises (good ones) that I don't want to spoil for those who follow us down there. I also know every cruise is a lttle different depending on what sites are visited and (especially) what weather is encountered. We had 2 1/2 days of brilliant sunshine and moderate winds. The A21 folks were surprised by out good fortune as the prior week saw very little sun and had days with winds up to 50+ knots. We certainly got the good end of the stick there.
It is a LONG trip down to get there but certainly worth it. A21 is rolling out a new ship next year. I believe they intend to charter the Ocean Nova again next year as well. The pictures and information online regarding the Magellan is fantastic. While Ocean Nova is a good expedition ship, the Magellan looks like it will add a level of sophistication and comfort to the experience.
Thank you A21 for all the memories.
Thank you so much for such a beautiful message. The Antarctica21 team is very happy to hear that you had such a wonderful experience on board the Ocean Nova. It is messages like yours that gives us motivation to continue to provide an unforgettable journey to an - already magnificent - destination.
The A21 team works very hard on ensuring that you feel comfortable on board, and that you enjoy every aspect of this voyage, from the landing sites, the food, the lectures, etc.
I'm glad to hear you had beautiful weather, it isn't always like that, so you were very lucky!
Thank you again for your message.
It’s hard to know where to begin this review — there are far too many elements that went into the experience. So perhaps the best place to start is simply to say that the trip was extraordinary in every way. And in no particular order, to then articulate what made it so special.
If it’s possible, set aside the fact that the environment, scenery & wildlife in Antarctica are all so entirely unique that it’s impossible not to be awed by its rare & stark beauty.
So turn to the ship. In our case, the Hebridean Sky. She’s lovely. Perfectly appointed. Large enough to feel roomy, small enough to feel intimate. We had a suite with a veranda. We never closed our curtains, and relished the constant gorgeous view we were able to enjoy.
Next, consider the staff. First of all, the ratio of staff to passengers was beyond luxurious. I believe we had under 70 passengers and about 75 on staff. Nothing was overlooked, delayed, forgotten. Ever member of the staff was dedicated to the safety & happiness of every passenger. And yet, it all lacked pretension. Our trip was simply filled with happy people, passengers & staff alike.
It would be impossible to single out any one staff member for one basic reason: each one was brimming with personality & expertise. I can count on one hand the number of trips we’ve ever taken where we could actually say this. Everyone we dealt with was professional; knowledgeable, & filled with good humor. For any of them that may be reading this, THANK YOU for making our trip unforgettable.
We didn’t interact much with the captain & bridge crew, but we know they negotiated the waters with skill. We always felt safe, even when the seas turned turbulent.
Every day, nimble planning allowed 2 zodiac excursions to fascinating landings. The zodiac rides were as fun as the destinations themselves.
The food on the ship wasn’t merely plentiful — it was also first rate. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hot drinks upon arrival after an excursion, cocktails & appetizers at the early evening daily recap & update sessions.
And then, the fellow passengers. An international collection of highly social well traveled people that were friendly & fun to talk & be with.
We’d heard from others that any trip to Antarctica can be great. But the company you travel with can either elevate the experience — or not.
We honestly cant think of one negative to report. Everything about our trip with Antarctica 21 was superb.
First of all, thank you very much on behalf of the whole Antarctica21 team for taking the time and detailing every single aspect of your trip that made it so special.
You're right, Antarctica itself is already a fantastic place to visit, and just being there is great, but I'm happy to hear that we were able to elevate that experience for you.
It is a great motivation for us to read reviews like yours, thank you so much again for writing it.
What a joyful experience we had with Antarctica 21! We did the sail/fly 6 day trip leaving out of Ushuaia on the Hebridean Sky, and we agree it was the best trip we've ever done. It was not easy to get down to the end of the world for our taking off and landing, the flights are pretty crazy. It is a difficult trip to plan, but completely worth the effort.
We arrived the day before and stayed in the Albatross hotel in Ushuaia. This was a perfect location as it was directly across the street from the port where we got on the Hebridean Sky the following afternoon.
The Hebridean Sky is a wonderfully updated ship with the most personable crew imaginable. The hotel staff were so kind, kept everything aboard absolutely spotless, and the meals were out of this world. We had delicious chateaubriand, Beef Wellington, and plentiful, amazing options throughout. We really loved the hashbrowns and English beans for breakfast as well.
The Antarctica XXI crew were wonderful. The lectures were engaging, shoutout to Annette and her whale lecture. Zack was very kind and engaging, and did a great job driving our zodiak boat from the Hebridean Sky to the Antarctic landings. The doctor aboard, Dr. Bill was such a kind, HUMBLE doctor who cared genuinely about your well being, seasickness prevention, and sunscreen application! Any help you needed from him was cheerfully given, and included in the price of the cruise. He is a gem.
We were fortunate enough to circumnavigate Cape Horn on our sailing down, and that was quite the site to see. We saw whales and albatross swimming and flying alongside the boat on the way to the great white continent. The ship library was one of our favorite places to hang out and enjoy ourselves, reading a book and relaxing. The hot tea bar was great, and we loved the peppermint tea and vanilla cookies which were always available.
The three landings we did in Antarctica were all handled safely and professionally. We delighted in seeing seals, and both Gentoo and chinstrap penguins, and plenty of them at that! The staff always had suggestions for what to wear and how to wear our life vests safely.
I love how conscientious the Antarctica XXI staff were of the penguins and keeping Antarctica pristine. I will say though, if you have mobility issues, you need to be aware that we had to climb over large rocks, hills, etc to avoid walking on penguin paths and disturbing their environment. Boarding the zodiacs requires good balance and riding around can be quite bumpy. At the end of the trip there is a 30 minute hike uphill to board the airplane. Those with limited mobility may not be able to experience this trip to its absolute fullest, so go as quickly as you possibly can.
The flight out of Antarctica went off without a hitch, and it was 2 hours to Punta Arenas. Included in our trip was a stay at the Hotel Cabo de Hornos which was well situated in town, and was a lovely hotel.
This was the trip of a lifetime, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone.
Hi Rose T,
I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to write us this wonderful review. The Antarctica21 team works very hard to ensure all our guests have a wonderful experience pre-cruise, on board, and post-cruise so it's of course a great motivation when we receive positive feedbacks like yours.
At Antarctica21, we feel very strongly about preserving this beautiful, pristine place, which is why it is extremely important for us to make sure that we're always abiding by the Antarctica Tourism regulations stated by IAATO.
Thank you so much for recommending us!
I am still on Ocean Nova as it heads back towards Antarctica. We left Ushuaia on 11 November 2018, the first Antarctica21 departure of the season. It has been brilliant.
Pre-departure information from the company via its personalised web page is excellent. Tells you everything you need to know.
Getting to Ushuaia - arrive a few days early. All those flight cancellation stories you read about really do happen. Several of us nearly missed the cruise. Be careful.
Ushuaia - taxi from airport to the town is cheap. Tourist information office is one of the most helpful I’ve ever been in. Port is just facing the tourist information office so dead easy to find. Several souvenir shops, tour operators, places to eat etc in the town.
The Ocean Nova - home for ten days. Comfortable and spotlessly clean. Excellent food. Good lecture programme.
The Drake Passage - not to be underestimated. My doctor in the UK prescribed me Stemetil (prochlorperazine maleate). The ship’s doctor prescribed promethezine.
Internet - $US 79 for 10 days unlimited access on one device - a bargain.
The crew - some of the loveliest people you’ll ever find. Genuinely warm people who want you to have a great experience. I could not praise them enough.
Antarctica - just absolutely stunning, everything that I had hoped for.
I would not hesitate to recommend to you Antarctica21.
Thank you for your wonderful message. The team here at Antarctica21 could not be more thrilled to have given you such a great experience on the Ocean Nova in Antarctica. We thrive on positive feedback, and it encourages us to continue to provide an unforgettable journey before, during, and after.
It is our priority to make sure our guests feel at home and comfortable when on board, to make the most out of this unique Antarctic experience, and our expedition leaders and guides are there to ensure that this trip surpasses your expectations.
Thank you for recommending us!
Unlike the other unhappy reviews, my trip went off with no weather concerns. I would not call the cabins or food luxurious but they were ok. The scenery, wildlife and penguins are unforgettable. At the end of the trip our plane was late so we were told to relax on the ship until it arrived. After a while they insisted that we eat, saying it would be a while. Immediately after eating they insisted that we get off the ship because the new guests had arrived. We stood in the cold with no information and no rest rooms for hours waiting for the plane. Once on the plane, they refused to allow anyone to use the restroom. We were treated like animals.
We regret that the events at the end of your trip have had such a strong impact your overall enjoyment of the trip. We make every effort to offer the best possible experiences under constantly changing circumstances. We would love to have the opportunity to learn more your experience and to provide any explanations and clarifications if we can. Should you wish to offer us that opportunity, please get in touch with our office using the contact details outlined in our TripAdvisor profile
We did the Fly-Cruise program from Punta Arenas Chile with our 8y/o son. It was his 7th continent so we were all anxious if the weather would cooperate with our desires. We were supposed to fly first thing in the morning but the window got moved to a much later time. I was fearing the worst and being stuck in Punta Arenas for the next 5 days after having paid for the most expensive vacations not our lives. And then we got the signal that our flight was a go. I was sooooo relieved and ecstatic! The expedition crew is amazing! We love Ben for always going out of his way to make the experience special for our son, since he was the only kid in the whole ship. We love Pablo, Lu, Tim, Nico, Jonathan, and Falk for all their enthusiasm and willingness to make the trip comfortable and knowledgeable for us. We love the nightly recaps and really learned a lot! The Filipino crew though- they’re the best - making our mealtimes always something to look forward to. We miss you miss Dhaisy, Edgar and Rex!
If you’re confused about the options out there flying to Antarctica (because you’re smart and you’re skipping the Drake Passage), this is it. BEST. ADVENTURE. EVER. We came as a family of three but left with almost 60more! We made lots of friends in the trip!
Amazing, we are glad the weather cooperated and you had the family trip of a lifetime!
Thank you for taking the time to review us!