Category: Antarctica

Beyond The Bow: HANSEATIC inspiration

28 May 2024
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Antarctica, Beyond The Bow, Hapag-Lloyd

Lucy sets sail on Hapag-Lloyd Cruise’s newest expedition ship Here at Polar Routes, we are excited to launch our new ship review series Beyond The Bow, a blog aimed at taking a closer look through the porthole at the world’s finest expedition cruise ships, as experienced from the perspectives of our polar specialists. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a curious traveler yearning for an extraordinary adventure on the polar seas, our features are designed to be your go-to resource for first-hand expert ship reviews. We’re kicking things off with a thoroughly modern classic in the shape of Hapag-Lloyd’s formidable vessel, the HANSEATIC inspiration. Our senior polar specialist, Lucy Yeoman, let us know her thoughts after her Antarctic voyage on this ship. What was your first impression of the HANSEATIC inspiration? We arrived in Ushuaia and boarded the ship that afternoon, where we were greeted by the Expedition Team and…

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A Day In The Life Of… a HX Hurtigruten Expedition Leader

26 April 2024
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A Day In The Life Of, Antarctica, Arctic, HX

We spoke to Expedition Leader for HX Hurtigruten Expeditions, Torstein Gaustad. He has a strong bond with the sea, having grown up on the Norwegian coast. Travelling has always been a source of immense joy, as he loves exploring new destinations, immersing himself in the local culture, and gaining knowledge about the history and environment of each place he visits. In his role, he makes sure the guests get the best experience possible by sharing his knowledge and expertise. It is absolutely his dream job! How does a typical day start for you? With coffee! And a walk out on deck to check the conditions and take a moment to enjoy the view, while thinking of the day’s expeditions. After that, I go to the bridge to talk to the captain and the officers, to get the latest update on timings, conditions, and position and see if the operational plan…

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Life In The World’s Most Southerly Post Office: An Interview with Lucy Bruzzone

9 April 2024
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A Day In The Life Of, Antarctica

It was a case of when Lucy met Lucy when, during another big trip to Antarctica, our Senior Polar Specialist Lucy Yeoman sat down to speak with Lucy Bruzzone, the Education Program Director at Cambridge University who spent a season in Antarctica working in the world’s most southerly Post Office at the historic Port Lockroy Station. Located on the scenic island of Goudier on the Antarctic Peninsula, the site has been open to visitors since 1966 during the Antarctic summer (November to March) and is now managed by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which runs the site as a ‘living museum’ with a popular gift shop. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what attracted you to work in this part of the world? Lucy B: I am a geographer by training and so I have always had an interest in the natural world, but also the human connection…

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A Day In The Life Of…an Antarctic Guide

Richard on a zodiac excursion
13 July 2023
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A Day In The Life Of, Antarctica, Swan Hellenic

On her wonderful trip to the Antarctic this year, our Senior Polar Specialist Lucy sat down to speak with Swan Hellenic’s Polar Guide, Richard Simpson, to learn more about his working life of outdoor pursuits and expeditions to Antarctica. After a full career in the British Army where he was awarded numerous awards for exemplary service, Richard moved on to the military’s adventure training foundation wing where he worked instructing and leading small groups, before joining Swan Hellenic in his current role guiding passengers from ship to shore. Lucy: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what attracted you to work in this part of the world? Richard: I am a two-time Antarctic explorer, and I was given the opportunity to work with Swan Hellenic after they helped evacuate me and seven other teammates in the Antarctic Peninsula on our last expedition. When I was given this…

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Our Routes in the Antarctic Circle

Lucy on board the SH Vega
23 May 2023
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Antarctica, Our Routes, Q&A, Swan Hellenic

…with Senior Polar Specialist, Lucy The latest edition of this series offers personal insights into an adventurous expedition cruise by our Senior Polar Specialist Lucy Yeoman, who enjoyed a penguin chick-filled 13-day voyage with Swan Hellenic sailing from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. WHAT DESTINATIONS DID YOU VISIT? A 12-day Antarctic Circle expedition with Swan Hellenic on the SH Vega HOW DID YOU GET THERE?  I flew to Buenos Aires and spent a couple of days there exploring the city. Swan Hellenic arranged a charter flight to take the guests from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia where we boarded our ship, the SH Vega and set sail that evening across the Drake Passage, heading towards the Antarctic Circle. FIRST TIME OR REPEAT TRIP? This was my fourth expedition to Antarctica; previous ones were in November and December. There was less sea ice, the chicks had hatched although further south towards the circle many of the…

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Top 5 Expedition Cruises Unique to Le Commandant Charcot

11 May 2023
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Antarctica, Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Ponant, Svalbard

Le Commandant Charcot is the first-ever hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) making it possible to travel to the farthest reaches of the southern and northern hemispheres in a level of luxury never offered before. It’s also the world’s first passenger ship to be fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) hull, giving it the ability to sail between the sheets of drifting ice and reach the most remote and isolated areas. This gives the icebreaker a truly unique offering in the polar regions, which means the opportunities for exploration are almost endless but certainly unique. Here are our top 5 expeditions that can only be undertaken on PONANT’s newest vessel… The Emperor Penguins of the Weddell Sea In November 2023, Le Commandant Charcot is heading to the Weddell Sea area of the Antarctic Peninsula and seeing the Emperor Penguins will be firmly on the agenda. In last season’s…

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The Trip Of A Lifetime Aboard Le Commandant Charcot

Le Charcot bow sunset
21 April 2023
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Antarctica, Ponant, Wildlife

In March of 2023, our Co-Director Martin Johnson and his wife Sarah lived the polar dream with PONANT aboard their magnificent Le Commandant Charcot flagship, which sailed from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. Read on for Martin’s personal take on the many plus points of expedition cruising on this unique vessel, as well as their memorable days in the Antarctic sun spotting penguins, whales, and seals amongst the stunning vistas. I first visited Le Commandant Charcot at its launch event in 2021, in a cold and windy northern French port called Le Havre. Despite the less-than-illustrious surroundings, from the minute I stepped on board, I could tell this ship was something special. As you enter, you’re greeted by a soaring 5-storey atrium space, with cool lines, stylish furniture, and a huge digital art installation that runs the full height of this space, I had never seen anything like it before on…

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Our Routes in the Antarctic Peninsula

10 March 2023
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Antarctica, Our Routes, Q&A

…with Polar Specialist, Ben The latest edition of this series offers personal insights into an adventurous expedition cruise by our Polar Specialist Ben Rowley, who enjoyed his amazing 12-day journey with AE Expeditions sailing from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. WHAT DESTINATIONS DID YOU VISIT? The Antarctic Peninsula. HOW DID YOU GET THERE?  I flew from London to Buenos Aires and on to Ushuaia, before boarding Greg Mortimer and crossing the Drake Passage. FIRST TIME OR REPEAT TRIP? First time! FAVOURITE LOCATION?  Neko Harbour – the huge glacier looms close and the backdrop is immensely beautiful. Paradise Bay is a very close second! MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?  We came across a female blue whale with her calf on the Drake Passage on the way south. The marine biologist on our expedition was over the moon with this sighting and said she’d never seen a blue whale calf in this area. In truth,…

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Our Routes in Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia

1 February 2023
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Antarctica, Our Routes, Ponant, Q&A, Wildlife

…with Senior Polar Specialist, James The latest edition of this series offers personal insights into an exceptional polar expedition cruise by our Senior Polar Specialist James Townsend, who set sail with his partner on an epic 16-day journey with PONANT that took them from the southernmost point of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, allowing for a full discovery of the most beautiful sites of these southern lands.   WHAT DESTINATIONS DID YOU VISIT? I joined Ponant on their Great Austral Loop itinerary, which is a 16-day expedition to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica. HOW DID YOU GET THERE?  I flew direct from London Heathrow to Buenos Aires, where I checked in for an included overnight stay at the 5* Sofitel Recoleta. The next day all passengers flew together on a charter flight to Ushuaia (the southernmost point of Argentina), where we boarded our ship, L’Austral. FIRST TIME OR REPEAT TRIP?…

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A Day In The Life Of… A Polar Photography Guide

Michelle Sole
19 January 2023
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A Day In The Life Of, Antarctica, Arctic, Quark Expeditions

We spoke to Photography Guide Michelle Sole to find out how she spends her time snapping wildlife on her many trips to the polar regions. From the age of thirteen Michelle spent 10 years chasing winters around the world and competed for Great Britain as a downhill ski racer. Having always had a love for animals and the outdoors, in 2011 Michelle moved to South Africa to learn the ropes as a safari guide and wildlife photographer. In 2017 Michelle swapped elephants and lions for penguins and polar bears and started working for Quark Expeditions. She now divides her time between the icy Polar Regions and the African sun. Michelle’s photographic work has been published in Africa Geographic and The Guardian. How does a typical day start for you? Being British a typical day starts with a good cup of tea! Each morning we monitor the weather and the ice…

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